The beginning of a new year and decade has been marked by the loss of lives, homes and livelihoods. We extend our sincerest condolences to everyone affected and affirm our commitment to positive change.
The selflessness of so many people has been heartening. Everyday Australians demonstrate their true colours in a crisis – warmth, empathy and a hand of friendship. And many of the newest arrivals to our shores – refugees and people seeking asylum – have been overwhelmingly generous in their response.
There have been numerous acts of kindness, many we’ll never learn of, but the recent $150,000 donation from the Hazara community in Victoria is just one beautiful example.
Such an act is not a surprise to us or our supporters. People who have faced so much hardship are often the most resilient and frequently the most giving and compassionate.
As our nation grapples with the increasing impact of climate change, we will need to continue to extend a practical hand of welcome.
In addition to our existing work and initiatives, there are several activities Welcoming Australia is undertaking to ensure we improve:
- We are about to launch our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).RAPs are primarily about addressing continuing acts of injustice against First Peoples, and becoming better allies, as First Nations strive for self-determination. Our RAP is underpinned by the Uluru Statement from the Heart and we look forward to sharing it in the near future. We’d also invite you to participate in Survival Day events on 26 January.
- We are continuing to develop an ethical procurement policy. While we remain a relatively small charity, we are mindful that where (and how) we expend our budget can have a positive (or negative) impact. Our policy considers social, cultural and environmental effects – ensuring ‘we put our money where our mouth is’.
- Revising our travel and carbon footprint policy. Australia is a vast continent, and through initiatives such as Welcoming Cities, we are now working with communities that are representative of 25 per cent of the population. While travel is necessary we try to minimise and choose the most sustainable option. We also actively offset our carbon footprint.
- Maintaining a commitment to community and future focussed banking and superannuation. Where our money (and your generous donations) reside is vital to us and we support ethical and climate-friendly banking and superannuation providers.
The real test of character is what you do when no-one is looking. And the Australian character has been subject to increasing scrutiny. We can, and we need, to do better.
As we strive to play our part, thank you for playing yours. Join us in 2020 to help us build our movement; cultivating an Australia where all people have the opportunity to belong and to thrive.