It’s been a busy and productive year for the Australian Greens in the international space.
By Vivienne Glance
I am pleased to be able to share with you a summary of this work and achievements.
Global Issues working Group (GIG) campaigns
Since taking on the role of International Secretary at the November 2017 Conference, I’ve been working with the Global Issues working Group (GIG) on several campaigns and activities. As well as focusing on these, and attempting to build momentum on other global issues, as there were no international Congresses during the past twelve months. You can follow these campaigns and other GIG activity on the Australian Greens Go Global Facebook page.
Earlier in the year GIG and National Council endorsed a range of activities and a budget to support them through 2018-2019 financial year. We are looking to activate GIG ‘on the ground’ through engagement events at a Member Body level and to build links to local culturally diverse communities and with overseas Greens parties.
The campaigns GIG focused on this year have been:
Support the Free West Papua international campaign, particularly around flying the West Papuan flag, the ‘Morning Star’ on December 1st. You can also join in by flying the flag in your offices or workplace, or by posting an image of yourself with the flag as a social media action. ‘Morning Star’ flags can be purchased online or a PDF of the flag can be downloaded from the Free West Papua website.
It was a pleasure to welcome Jason MacLeod, Indonesian human rights lawyer, Veronica Koman, and United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) spokesperson, Jacob Rumbiak to the May conference and to co-host an event with Senators Andrew Bartlett and Richard Di Natale.
United Nations Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons campaign (#TPNW) to support ICAN (International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons) and at the time of writing (September 2018) Australia still has not signed the Treaty. We have been highlighting the increasing number of countries that have ratified this treaty on the Australian Greens Go Global Facebook page, and created a Facebook square to call on Australia to join them.
The Alternatives to GDP group aims to develop a global conversation within the Australian Greens. We hope we can build consensus towards an outcome at the APGF and the Global Greens Congresses in the coming years. An open Alternatives to GDP email list was created and we hope this develops into an effective resource for future discussions on policy.
Past Australian Greens International Resolutions are being reviewed to ensure they are current and relevant. Any recommendations to archive or update resolutions will be taken to National Council or Conference to be endorsed as an administrative matter. If anyone would like to assist us with this review, please contact me.
GIG’s work with Party Room
Claire O’Halloran, adviser in Richard Di Natale’s office, represented Party Room in GIG meetings. Party Room worked with GIG on the issue of democracy and human rights in Cambodia. In particular, Richard put forward a Senate motion, largely drafted by GIG, which saw the ALP adopt the position that the Australian Government should refuse to recognise the results of the upcoming Cambodian election, which was clearly neither free nor fair. This motion subsequently passed the Senate, although was watered down by the Government. Party Room (through Richard), also drafted other motions, speeches, media releases and questions in Senate Estimates regarding concerning developments in Cambodia in consultation with the Cambodian community and met with former Foreign Minister Bishop to raise the Greens’ concerns. Party Room (largely through Richard) was also active on other issues driven by GIG. West Papua remained a focus through attendance at events, speeches, motions, and questions during estimates and on notice. Richard (and members of Party Room) also continued to advocate for Australia to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty.
GIG delegates’ activity
GIG delegate Jenny Mulkearns (QLD) along with Global Greens Ambassador, Christine Milne, assisted on a motion for the Senate, following the Cambodian elections.
Maureen Boyle (WA) connected with Greens members in Japan during a recent trip to find out about their on-going concerns around nuclear power.
Dierk von Behrens (ACT) attended and reported on events in his state relating to global nuclear, peace and security issues.
The Tasmanian GIG Group which includes Kay McFarlane, and Helen and Matthew Ryan-Sykes, have been greatly involved in the West Papuan subcommittee. They have also invited Ronny Kareni from Melbourne Free West Papua Campiagn to speak and organised a Skype link-up with ICAN member Tillman Ruff during the Tasmanian State Conference.
Des Lawrence (SA) has been working hard as the GIG representative on the International Development Committee (IDC) and is involved in some IDC projects as well.
Bethamie Woodstone (NSW) has prepared a proposal for NSW Greens to tithe income to directly assist the APGF and Global Greens, to be considered at their September meeting.
Unfortunately, Grace Elkins (VIC) had to step down, and to date has not yet been replaced, and the Northern Territory is not currently represented on GIG. It would be great if we could have full representation to ensure we are informing and engaging all members of the Australian Greens on international issues and the progress of our global Greens movement.
An event was held in WA in May to Engage with Diaspora communities. Members of the local Sudanese community spoke to Greens WA members about the history, politics and culture of Sudan and the aspirations of the community. Please contact your GIG delegate if you have ideas and suggestions on how we can further build on our engagement activities.
International Secretary engagement
As there are no international Congresses planned for the next two years or so, I’ve been working to develop new GIG campaigns as outlined above, but also to build connections with parties both in our region and further afield.
I’ve been helping Andrew Beaton, Federal Campaign Coordinator, to engage with Overseas Australian Greens voters and supporters. We’ve connected with the Greens Party of Aotearoa and New Zealand (GPANZ), Greens Party of England and Wales (GPEW), the Swedish Greens, and some state-based Greens parties in the USA through the International Secretaries network. One outcome of this has been a ‘Meet-up’ in London, held on 30 August, inviting Greens, including those from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and England, to come together to socialise and help out with each other’s campaigns. These are exciting developments in international cooperation, and I look forward to reporting back as these develop.
Sharing, co-operating and researching
International Secretaries is a network to help inform and share resources with one another. The Australian Greens Anti-Sexual Harassment policy has been shared with several parties, and the Greens Party of England and Wales and Greens Party of Aotearoa and New Zealand have shared reports on campaigns and twinning with other parties.
Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF)
The IDC/APGF study tour takes place from 1-7 December in Brisbane and the Northern Rivers area of NSW. The participants are mainly APGF Council members who will also hold their annual face-to-face Council meeting following the tour (8-9 December) in Brisbane. The APGF Council last met in Liverpool at the Global Greens Conference in April 2017 and meets monthly via Zoom.
The APGF Women’s Network (APGFWN) is nearing completion of a toolkit to help regional Greens parties improve the inclusion and engagement of women and this is currently being finalised. The project has included a mentoring program and webinars and is led by Anita Nautiyal (Uttarakhand Parivartan Party India, UKPP), supported by many Greens women internationally.
GIG recommended to National Council that the Australian Greens support the application of the Greens Party of Solomon Islands (GPSI) to the APGF. GPSI was subsequently accepted as an Associate member.
Thanks to our Australian APGF Councillors, Bob Hale and Rose Read (re-elected to be our APGF Councillors at the May Conference), APGF Member, Giz Watson, and Metiria Turei, Acting APGF Secretariat, along with Claire Waghorn-Lees APGF Secretariat, currently on maternity leave. You’ve all been great to work with.
International Development Committee (IDC)
The Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) over the past year has undertaken in-country program work on 5 specific detailed projects in: India to assist the establishment of the first national Green Party: Indonesia to assist in registration of the first national Green Party; Nepal to assist with green schools and outreach in rural areas and Kathmandu; The Solomon Islands to register and build the party in provinces outside of the capital Honiara; and a project for the Asia Pacific Greens Women’s Network to start up a mentoring program and provide resources such as an online toolkit and webinars (see above).
Three training visits were undertaken in-country in: Bangladesh to assist with campaign planning, Lebanon in the lead up to their first national election in nine years, and in Mongolia to assist to strengthen their capacity. The Australian Greens IDC internship program was organised with the South Australian Greens during their state election for an intern from the Partai Hijau (Green Party) Indonesia to learn first-hand of election strategy and campaign planning.
International cooperation between Asia Pacific and Middle East Green parties is practiced through involvement in the project teams with representatives from other parties in the region as well as the recipient parties and APGF.
Support for the APGF Secretariat increased over the past year with financing a new intake of two interns from Nepal and Lebanon; financial support for an initiative for a fundraising contractor and ongoing liaison and support of the APGF Secretariat.
The projects and training support initiatives are undertaken with funds received from the Australia Political Parties for Democracy Program and implemented by the IDC Coordinator and the committee of nine members.
Many thanks to the International Development Committee members and Michelle Sheather, the IDC Coordinator for all their work this year.
It’s been a very enjoyable year and I’ve really appreciated all the hard work of GIG delegates. We’ve greatly benefited from the knowledge and experience of everyone, including all the International Secretaries globally and Keli Yen, the Global Greens Convenor & Secretary.
I very much hope we can build on GIG’s campaigns and activities, over the next twelve months and further develop the relationships we’re making with the International Secretaries network and overseas parties, as well as contributing more to the work of APGF and IDC.
Please let us know about any actions you’re doing that have an international connection and we’ll see if we can put you in touch with Global Greens parties or individuals who might help you to build on your work.