It’s Up to Us to Tackle Trumpism
2 February 2017 at 8:23 am
A new campaign, Up to Us, is urging everyday Australians to stand up to the rise of Trump-like politics spreading across the globe.
Created by the Campaign for Australian Aid, the campaign’s first major goal is to influence the federal government’s foreign policy white paper – its first since 2003.
Announced late last year by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the strategic document will provide a framework for Australia’s international relations.
The white paper, likely to be released in the second half of 2017, is open to public submissions, and Up to Us is calling on Australians to have their say.
“We think it’s a really exciting opportunity for the public to have some influence over the future direction of Australia’s foreign policy,” Campaign for Australian Aid director Tony Milne told Pro Bono News.
“People can stand up to [and] resist the kind of agenda not just of Trump, but Trump-like politics that is happening all over the world.
“We’re seeing it in the UK, we’ve seen it on the rise here in Australia. It’s the politics of nationalism and isolation that we’re really challenging with this campaign.”
He said Australians could “absolutely” influence global politics through collective action.
“We’ve seen large numbers of people come together around a common vision, and with common values they can make a real impact,” he said.
“We saw that with Make Poverty History back in 2004 and 2005 where lots of young people, a lot of concerned people, a lot of church organisations came together, and that resulted in the government making changes around its foreign policy and taking more of a leadership role.
“So we think the public is really powerful and they can have a powerful influence over the direction of the country and ultimately the government’s foreign affairs white paper should reflect the views of the public, and that’s why we’re encouraging them to have their say.”
Those interested can make a submission via Up to Us.
Campaign for Australian Aid itself has a long wish list for the foreign policy white paper.
“We’re definitely encouraging the public to have its say and put forward its views, but we want to see an Australia that is compassionate,” Milne said.
“An Australia that has an outward focus to its foreign policy and that is part of the global community in terms of tackling issues such as climate change, such as global poverty, such as the humanitarian crises that we’re seeing all over the world.
“And we think Australia has a really important role to play and we want to see Australia be a leading global citizen and working with other countries to address those joint challenges.”
Following the white paper public consultation period, he said Up to Us would call on contributors to continue the push for change.
“By putting forward a submission they’re indicating that they have an interest in being involved on an ongoing basis and we’re going to go back to all those that contribute to encourage them to take further actions,” Milne said.
“So that might be engaging with their local members of parliament to talk about why these global issues are so important and the role that Australia can play within them.”
Collective action against Trump and Trump-like politics, organised by a coalition of advocacy groups, has already seen millions of people globally take to the streets to protest.
Milne said Campaign for Australian Aid would use a similar approach, working with other organisations to achieve greater impact.
“We’re already a coalition of over 50 aid and development organisations, and church and community groups,” he said.
“We’re reaching out beyond just the aid and development community to those involved in refugee issues, people seeking asylum, the climate change movement, and we’re saying let’s all cooperate together to advocate for Australia to be a good global citizen and to play a leading role around these collective challenges we face, challenges that don’t respect national boundaries.”