25 October 2013


Last month the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report  which concluded that ‘Human influence on the climate system is clear’ and that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.’

The major predicted effects of climate change include:-
-an increase in extreme weather events
-significant biodiversity loss through species extinction
-reductions of crop productivity
-significant loss of water availability for human consumption
-more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise
-an increased death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts

In Australia the last month was the hottest September ever recorded following a summer which was the hottest on record and which broke 120 records. The 2013/4 summer has arrived early with already major bushfires breaking out in NSW - unprecedented for October.

Meanwhile, political leaders remain in denial when faced with the overwhelming scientific evidence about this most serious threat to the planet, and remain unwilling to implement the potentially unpopular measures needed to address the issue.

The newly elected Australian Government is already going backwards on climate change having cut the climate department, abolished the Climate Commission, and planning to repeal legislation which has put a price on pollution and provided funding for renewable energy. Alarmingly the government appears to have no credible plans to respond to this most serious threat to our planet.

Get-Up  is planning a National Day of Climate Action on 17th November in capital cities and towns across the nation. Visit the above website for details.


In May, this bulletin reported on the historic adoption of an arms trade treaty at the UN - the culmination of ten years of lobbying and campaigning by NGOs and concerned global citizens like us. Significant progress has been achieved since then.

At the official signing ceremony at the UN in New York in June 67 states, more than a third of UN member states, signed up to the treaty. Since then there has been a steady increase in the number of states that have signed and ratified the treaty. Currently 114 countries have signed the treaty.

In September Secretary of State John Kerry signed on behalf of the United States, officially making the largest arms exporter part of the global treaty.

Later that month the UN Security Council passed a landmark resolution to tackle the devastating impacts of small arms and light weapons (SALW). The adoption signals a major step forward in international cooperation on arms control and is the first time that the Security Council has ever adopted a resolution on this subject.

Resolution S/RES/2117 brings together a broad range of tools and actions for the UN Security Council to use to prevent the destabilising accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons. These include provisions relating to improving the use of arms embargoes, mandating peace operations to conduct disarmament programs and calling for nations to ensure the strong involvement of women in disarmament activities.

The resolution references the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in its preamble and as an operative paragraph where it urges States to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible. Australia (which recently became a non-permanent member of the Security Council) played a leading role in promoting the resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with Russia abstaining.

The Control Arms coalition  will continue campaigning for all countries to ratify the treaty (the treaty will enter info force 90 days after it has been ratified by the 50th State) and to then to ensure states implement of its provisions.


For every $1 in aid to developing countries, several dollars slip out through tax dodging. Money which should be spent building hospitals and schools.

Tax revenue enables governments to provide essential services such as health and education as well as infrastructure such as roads and transport.  Tax evasion deprives everyday people of these vital services.  In developing countries this can mean the difference between life and death.

Illegal, trade-related tax evasion alone will be responsible for some 5.6 million deaths of young children in the developing world between 2000 and 2015.  That is almost 1,000 a day.

Money that is lost to the developing world in unpaid taxes would be enough to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals several times over.  These goals aim to halve world poverty by 2015, a target which could be easily achieved if tax systems favoured the poor instead of the rich.

As much as US$255 billion is lost every year to governments around the world because of the no or low taxation of funds in offshore centres. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tax Justice Network Australia  is a growing network of individuals and organisations calling for fairer tax systems. It is the Australian arm of the Tax Justice Network.

The Tax Justice Network Australia is asking the Australian Government to:
Stop Tax Dodging by introducing laws that would:
- Provide automatic exchange of information between tax authorities about money flowing across borders;
- Greater disclosure by companies of how much profit they make and how much tax they pay in each country they operate in; and
- Tougher rules on disclosing the ultimate owners of companies and trusts so banks know who they are dealing with and can ensure that the money has not been illegally sourced.

Make Mining Companies Accountable by introducing laws into Australia that would require mining, oil and gas companies to have to report on a country by country basis.

Stop Tax Dodging within Multinational Companies -  by tightening up Australia’s tax laws and international tax rules so that developing countries are not cheated out of their fair share of tax revenue.

Ban Bribery by making it illegal for companies operating in Australia to pay bribes in any form anywhere in the world.

Introduce Whistleblower Protection laws to protect and reward whistleblowers in private businesses for exposing tax evasion and tax avoidance.

24 October 2013


Uzbekistan is the sixth largest global producer of cotton, however cotton from Uzbekistan is produced using forced labour and child labour.

The Justice and international Mission of the Uniting Church has been conducting a campaign urging retailers in Australia to publicly commit to take steps to ensure they are not selling products made with Uzbekistan cotton.

The large David Jones retail chain has been the target of a letter-writing and email campaign for several months with little apparent effect. However the strategy of asking supporters to place the following post 'Dear David Jones, it’s time to cotton on. I need you to publicly commit to making sure David Jones products don’t use Uzbekistani cotton – cotton that is produced using child and forced labour. Thank you.' on the David Jones Facebook page  has prompted a response. A further indication of the effectiveness of advocacy.

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