David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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Rosa and Dave's News + Views: Oct-Dec 05: Jul-Sep 05; Apr-Jun 05; Jan-Mar 05

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2004: Jul-Sep 2004; Apr-Jun 2004; Jan-Mar 2004

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2003; Jul-Sep 2003; Apr-Jun 2003; Jan-Mar 2003

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Did Cr. Risstrom Deliver on His Promises for 2001-2004?; 1999-2001?

Victorian Local Government Elections 2008: 2005: 2004




Rosa The Policy Watchdog


Rosa, the Greens' Melbourne City Council policy watchdog keeps a watching brief on ideas, issues and policies. If there are issues you think need to be discussed, please contact either Rosa at rosa@davidrisstrom.org or me at: david@davidrisstrom.org. I will endeavour to respond as soon as humanly, or otherwise, possible. I will e-mail you, and if appropriate, post a response on this website. Rosa last updated this site on 1 August 2003.

1 APRIL 2003


My propensity to open my muzzle more often than banks close their branches has meant Rosa's Rave has had to move to new pages each three months. This page provides my news and views from January 1 to March 31 2003. Current news and views are available by clicking here: NEWS AND VIEWS 2003 IN THE GUISE OF ROSA'S RAVE 2003: Rosa.

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27 MARCH 203


Yarra Cr. Greg Barber is Australia's first [and best] Green Mayor!

Congratulations to Greg and the Yarra Council for supporting Greg's candidacy. Greg has been committed to serving the community for many years. With Greg's hard working and earnest nature, the Yarra community will be served very well by his tenacity, financial and management expertise and willingness to get on with the job. It is great to see real competition for leadership return to local government producing such a strong result.

The following statement was released by Yarra Council following the meeting that confirmed the election of Mayor Barber.

MacKillop Ward Councillor, Greg Barber was elected as Mayor of Yarra City Council at the annual Ceremonial Meeting of Council last night.

About 200 people attended the ceremony at Richmond Town Hall, to pay tribute to outgoing Mayor, Sue Corby and congratulate Cr. Barber.

Cr. Barber was first elected to Yarra City Council in March 2002 and was previously Yarra’s Finance and Resources Committee Chair.

In his first speech as Mayor, Cr. Barber spoke of the importance of local government in leading the community.

“Half the world’s population now live in cities and with that proportion set to grow, we have to get cities right,” he said. “These days government is a bad word. But the case for government has never been stronger. All the things government is responsible for, like protecting the environment, reducing inequality and making the ‘public good’ investments on which the rest of the economy depends, are in decline.

“The leadership and innovation on turning this around is not coming from state and federal governments. It is coming from local government.” Cr. Barber said the accountability of local government was greater by comparison than other levels of government. “Local leaders can’t avoid their people, they can’t avoid their problems, so they must find solutions,” he said. “We are coming together as one community with much more in common than dividing us. This Council is a mixed Council of Labor, Green and independent but residents can be confident the decisions we make are the best possible, because we work as a team.

“The issues this Council grapples with are common to all cities and humanity, so there is nothing parochial about thinking about your city first. We are citizens of Yarra and we are citizens of the world.” Cr. Barber presented outgoing Mayor, Cr. Corby with a gift to thank her for her work over the last two years. Chief Executive Officer, Lydia Wilson also thanked Cr. Corby, publicly acknowledging her contribution to the City of Yarra. “Sue has shown a unilateral commitment to Yarra and its residents. Over the last two years she has dedicated many hours to the community,” Ms Wilson said. “I look forward to working with the new Mayor and the other Councillors, in the spirit of partnership, and to our collective achievements.”

Active Yarra community member, Jeff Walker was joined by other residents who spontaneously came forward to address the gathering and thank Cr. Corby for her hard work and dedication. Among those to speak were fellow Councillors Jenny Farrar, Jackie Fristacky, Li Lai and Gurm Sekhon and community representatives from local tenant associations, Atherton Gardens Resident Association, Abbotsford Convent, Italian Senior Citizens of Richmond Hill, and the Collingwood Information and Drop-in Centre. Councillors were also elected to Yarra’s Planning and Community Development Committee and Finance and Resources Committee as part of the ceremonial meeting.

Councillor Jackie Fristacky will chair the Finance and Resources Committee, which includes Councillors Jenny Farrar, Li Lai, Sue Corby and Mayor, Greg Barber.

Councillor Judy Morton will chair the Planning and Community Development Committee, which includes Councillors Gurm Sekhon, Kay Meadows, Deborah Di Natale and Mayor, Greg Barber.

All Councillors are members of the Internal Development Approval Committee.



I have reproduced extracts from a 27 March 2003 press release below by Green Senator Bob Brown on the Coalition and and ALP [Alternative Liberal Party] opposition to a Senate inquiry into the legality of war and methods for ensuring parliamentary approval before Australians are sent to war, and their opposition to Greens support for an independent, viable and free Palestine.

Government & ALP Defeat Inquiry into Legality of War and Parliamentary Approval for War.

Support for Independent Palestine Defeated in Senate

The ALP has sided with the Government to thwart a Senate inquiry into the legality of war and methods for ensuring parliamentary approval before Australians are sent to war, Greens Senator Bob Brown said.

The Opposition also sided with the Government to vote down Greens support for an independent, viable and free Palestine.

"Mr Crean has said this war is illegal. It is a momentous claim. The ALP should have backed the other opposition parties to really put the pressure on the Prime Minister over this illegal war," Senator Brown said.

"A Senate inquiry over the parliamentary break would have been an ideal mechanism to test these issues for the nation.

Senate inquiry proposal

That the following matters be referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee:
a) the likely implications on international law of this action
b) what constitutional changes are necessary to ensure parliamentary consent for such deployments of ADF personnel
c) what other mechanisms could be used to require parliamentary consent for deployment of Australian Defence Force personnel to hostilities overseas, such as changes to the Defence Act, as contained in the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval for Australian Involvement in Overseas conflict) amendment Bill 2003 or the various other Defence Amendment Bills introduced by Democrat Senators since 1985
d) whether such legislative or constitutional changes are desirable

Palestine Motion

"That the Senate supports the establishment of a free, viable and independent state of Palestine."

"The Greens support a peaceful resolution to the Palestine Israel conflict and oppose attempts to resolve the conflict through violence on both sides. Key to any long term solution, though, is an independent, free and viable Palestine," Senator Brown said.

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23 MARCH 2003


Our Community is organising a conference on 'Communities in Control. I took this information from LeftLink: A new initiative has been announced to look at issues to do with developing safer, stronger, and more viable communities - but, most importantly, about communities being in control of decision-making. To spearhead the discussion, to explore the growing evidence that a community "in control" is a decisive factor in improving community well-being and social and public health outcomes, and to further the development of communities in control, a world first conference is being held in Melbourne, 7-8 April 2003. Highly recommended! For further information, go to: http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/control/control_main.jsp:



David will be away for an ICLEI Executive Committee meeting, and to give a presentation green purchasing to an international conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the interests of preserving my nails, I may not have the chance to update this site until his return next week. It's a dogs life!: Rosa.

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22 MARCH 2003


A swing of 4% to the Greens in the NSW election is only the beginning. For results go to the Election 2003 Virtual Tally Room and for commentary you can try The Public Record. Green rock!: Rosa.

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21 MARCH 2003


Thousands of Victorians marched down Swanston St. Melbourne, yesterday to show our government and our people their opposition to the war on Iraq. The march from the State library to Federation Square was a light of hope in the darkest day of Australia's modern history. John Howard has confirmed his position as the worst Prime Minister Australia has had. Our Governments supplication to an aggressive United States administration has put world peace at jeopardy, has divided our country and placed Australia, Australians and many others at grave risk.

A further peace rally set for midday today (Friday) is also expected to be well attended.

Reading Marian Wilkinson's and David Marr's book Dark Victory, the scholarly and well researched history of the Howard Government's campaign against the boat people, known best by the catalytic events unfolding around the rescue of Iraqi and other refugees by the Norwegian Wilhelmsen boat The Tampa. The recommended retail price of the Allen & Unwin book is $24.95, and is well worth reading. A blurb from the back cover has resonance for events unfolding in Iraq:

They put lives at risk. They twisted the law. They drew the military into the heart of an election campaign. They muzzled the press. They misused intelligence services,defied the United nations, antagonised Indonesia and bribed poverty stricken pacific states. They closed Australia to refugees - and won a mighty election victory.



You can chose to add your name to an international citizen's declaration at MoveOn.org. Click on the title to go to the sign up page. The text of the declaration is:

A Citizen's Declaration

As a US-led invasion of Iraq begins, we, the undersigned citizens of many countries, reaffirm our commitment to addressing international conflicts through the rule of law and the United Nations.

By joining together across countries and continents, we have emerged as a new force for peace. As we grieve for the victims of this war, we pledge to redouble our efforts to put an end to the Bush Administration's doctrine of pre-emptive attack and the reckless use of military power.

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20 MARCH 2003


The pre-emptive attack on Iraq has begun.

Brian Walters, Senior Counsel, has formed the view that the action of the Australian government in joining in this war constitutes the commission of a crime. With his permission, I have posted his argument below, and made it available as a word document by clicking on: The Decision of the Australian Government to Join in an Attack on Iraq.

A second article arguing the illegality of this war , 'Tearing Up The Rules' is available as a PDF download (315 kb) The report is attributed as authored by Roger Normand, Sandesh Sivarakumaran, Jacob Park, Sarah Leah Whitson, Sarah Zaidi, Ayliz Baskin, and Hadi Ghaemi, under the auspices of the Emergency Campaign on Iraq: Tel: 718.237.9145, ext. 21 or jpark@cesr.org.,The Center for Economic and Social Rights, Emergency Campaign on Iraq, 162 Montague Street • Brooklyn NY 11201


At the end of the Second World War, the victorious powers conducted war crimes trials at Nuremberg. They key defendants were charged with a number of offences, but the first charge involved conspiracy to commit crimes against peace

in that the defendants planned, prepared, initiated, and waged wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances.

Those convicted, including Hermann Goering and Joachim von Ribbentrop, were sentenced to death.

It follows that the debate as to the lawfulness of the prosecution of this war is not a matter of mere political significance. There may be legal consequences, and they may be of great seriousness for the individuals involved, including very lengthy terms of imprisonment (up to 30 years).

The decision of the present Australian federal administration, some 18 months ago, to take steps to prevent the asylum seekers on the Norwegian vessel, the Tampa, from landing in Australia and having recourse to the courts and the refugee system here, revealed a shocking disregard for the rule of law. Examples include the attempts by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to persuade their opposite numbers in Norway to require the vessel to leave Australian waters – without regard to the fact that the Norwegian government had no legal power to do so. It went on to misleading the Australian courts as to the conditions that the asylum seekers would be held on board the naval vessel onto which they were taken. It continued by making arrangements with both Nauru and Papua Niu Gini which were in breach of the laws of those countries – already struggling to uphold the rule of law. It reached its nadir by the proclamation of large areas of northern Australia to be, effectively, "outlaw lands" to which the normal rule of law does not relate.

More recently, following the US action in Afghanistan, two Australian citizens were detained by US authorities. Neither was armed at the time they were detained. Both are held, along with others, in Guantanamo Bay, without the protection of prisoner of war status (contrary to the Geneva Convention) and without being charged with any offence and without recourse to the courts. In other words, they are being held in extra-curial concentration camps. If this were to occur in Australia, it would constitute a serious crime. Morally, it is a crime. No word of protest has come from the present Australian government in relation to the treatment of Australian citizens in this way. Again, the rule of law is disregarded.

The decision to join in the US led attack on Iraq is a further example of disregard of the rule of law.

The legal advice released by the Australian government is dated mid March 2003 – over two months after Australian forces left for the Gulf. The advice is not from the Solicitor-General, the law officer who normally provides independent advice to the government.

The Government’s legal advice is founded on the following arguments:

· The failure by Iraq to give up its weapons of mass destruction immediately is a material breach of resolution 1441 September 2002.

· The material breach of Res. 1441, terminates the ceasefire in Res 687

· An end to the ceasefire "reactivates" Resolution 678 of November 1990 authorizing the use of "all necessary means to uphold and implement res. 660(1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security".

The first thing to note about this advice is that it does not go so far as to justify regime change. Resolution 678 (1990) authorised the use of force to ensure Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. It had nothing to do with changing the government of Iraq, or with weapons of mass destruction.

At the conclusion of hostilities, via another resolution (resolution 687 of 1991) the Security Council required Iraq to submit to a weapons inspections regime and to destroy its chemical and biological weapons and to respect Kuwait's international boundaries.

But the legal opinion to the government is quite untenable. The resolutions in relation to weapons of mass destruction, including resolution 1441, do not authorise the use of force. So much is clear from the terms of resolution 1441. It is confirmed by the express statements of some of the Security Council members at the time. It is further confirmed by the attempts of the US and the UK to have a further resolution which authorise the use of force passed by the Security Council – only abandoned when it was clear that the Council would not authorise force.

An alternative justification for the war, although not relied on in the government’s advice, might be self defence. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter provides that:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.

The crucial words are "if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations". The operation of this justification for war depends on Iraq attacking the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia. There has been no such attack.

Some have tried to extend the doctrine of self defence to "pre-emptive self defence". This kind of argument has a long history. When German troops marched into Belgium in 1914, it was said that this was justified in order to defend Germany from an anticipated attack by France. When German forces invaded Poland in 1939, an incident was manufactured at the border involving prisoners dressed in Polish uniforms, and it was said that the invasion was necessary to pre-empt attack by Poland.

It is precisely because of the dangerous nature of the pre-emptive self defence doctrine that the United Nations charter does not recognise pre-emptive self-defence as a legitimate basis for war. For pre-emptive self defence is, by its nature, a doctrine which is dangerously open-ended and does not allow for objective assessment of the preconditions.

There is no determinative case law on the subject, but the practice of sovereign states since the implementation of the UN Charter supports the view that anticipatory self-defence is not recognised. When the US used a naval blockade to prevent missiles going to Cuba, the legal justification was not that the US early warning system would not be able to deal with the missiles in time, but that the deployment of the missiles in this way violated regional security arrangements. In 1981, Israel sent aircraft to bomb a nuclear reactor under construction in Iraq. There was no immediate threat to Israel, the plant being under construction. The UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel for its action.

Even if anticipatory self defence could be justified, it would still be a requirement that armed attack be necessary and proportional to the anticipated threat. No facts have come to light, by way of either intelligence presented to the UN by Colin Powell, by the dossier provided by the United Kingdom, or by the reports of the UN weapons inspectors, which demonstrate that as a matter of fact war is necessary or proportionate to any anticipated self defence risk.

There have also been some arguments directed to the "humanitarian" nature of the proposed war. Intervention on humanitarian grounds was the basis of the intervention by NATO forces in Kosovo. However, warfare on humanitarian grounds is not lawful under the UN Charter. Such a situation is only lawful if a UN Security Council resolution authorises the use of armed force. There are good reasons for the requirement. When Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia, he justified his conduct on the grounds that Czechoslovakia was oppressing ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland. He used similar arguments in relation to Germans in Danzig when he invaded Poland. Such arguments are used again and again in the rhetoric of war, and there is often some truth in them. Letting individual states go to war unilaterally on such a ground is not appropriate, because so much can be justified in this way. Accordingly, the UN may authorise this collectively, but an individual state may not unilaterally go to war on this ground.

Why is this war being fought? The US has, for some time, argued that it is in order to disarm Iraq from weapons of mass destruction. This was linked to terrorism in an attempt to justify a self defence argument for the war. However, it is now clear from the ultimatum delivered to Iraq that the war is primarily about regime change – the requirement was that Saddam Hussein leave Iraq, not that all weapons of mass destruction be delivered up. There have been further statements that this is a war of "liberation".

The US and its allies are on shifting ground in terms of the public justification for the war. This in itself suggests that no single justification can be made good. It is a war of aggression.

After the Second World War, criticism was made of the Nuremberg trials that they constituted "victor’s justice". However, that situation has now been changed. The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide. Moreover, on 27 June 2002, the Commonwealth enacted the International Criminal Court Act 2002 and the International Criminal Court (Consequential Amendment) Act 2002 in order to facilitate the implementation of that court. These statutes incorporate war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide into Australian domestic law.

The crime of aggression is recognised under the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court. The jurisdiction for this crime will not vest until 1 July 2009, in order to permit further clarification of the definition of the crime and the conditions under which the jurisdiction may be exercised. This probably amounts to a mere procedural delay. In other words, an act of aggression committed now may be prosecuted in the ICC once the jurisdiction vests. The present leaders of the Australian government accordingly run the risk of prosecution for the crime of aggression at a future time – whatever the outcome of the war.

Further, if reports that the attacking forces propose to adopt "bomb and stun" tactics to coerce the civilian population to surrender are true, then those responsible for such tactics would commit war crimes and crimes against humanity whatever the legal justification for the war. Such crimes may be prosecuted forthwith. Such tactics are plainly proscribed and criminal. Proof of such charges will depend on the evidence available. However, public statements already made suggest an intention to commit war crimes as part of the prosecution of this attack on Iraq.

For sixty years the world has worked to develop a system of international law which involves collective decision-making before going to war. The system is not perfect, but is a great improvement on all that has gone before. Before the first US bombs have dropped on Iraq, Turkey is in the process of moving into the Kurdish section of Iraq. Turkey said, echoing the words of the US, that it could not leave the question of its self-defence to the UN.

If the US, with the help of the UK and Australia, discards the international rule book, this is precisely the kind of international pattern they can expect to develop.

The action of the Australian government in joining in this illegal war is a grave act which will have serious and irretrievable consequences. In my opinion, it constitutes the commission of a crime.

Brian Walters SC 20 March 2003

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19 MARCH 2003


The Victorian Greens have established a website page to keep you informed of Alternatives to the War On Iraq. Click on the title for the page. On that page you will find the Vic Greens Global Issues Working Group has posted 'Alternatives to a War on Iraq'. Click on the title to download the word document directly.

During the War On Iraq, I will try to maintain an up-to-date list of information and peace sites related to the War: Go to David's Useful Sites for Promoting Peace During a War on Iraq

Be prepared to meet in front of the Victorian State Library, Swanston St at Lonsdale St, at 5 pm on the day that major bombing campaign begins in Iraq. [Bombing has been going on intermittently since 1991].


Salvaging Peace:

1. We urge that no effort be spared for a peaceful resolution of the current situation in Iraq.

2. We call on all Members States of the United Nations Security Council to oppose or veto any resolution that could be interpreted as endorsing war.

3. We recognise that the UNMOVIC weapons inspectors have yet to find evidence that Iraq presently poses an imminent threat to international security, and therefore, that the use of military force against Iraq cannot be justified and will contravene international law.

4. We recognise that the UNMOVIC weapons inspectors have yet to find evidence that Iraq is producing or possesses chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and therefore that the use of military force against Iraq cannot be justified and will contravene international law.

5. We urge that should Iraq be found to be producing or to possess weapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC be resourced to continue to pursue peaceful disarmament.

6. We call on the UN Security Council to allocate enough time and resources for diplomatic and other means, including the UNMOVIC weapons inspectors, to bring about the peaceful resolution of this crisis.

7. We urge that if the United Nations Security Council remains divided over war on Iraq, and a pre-emptive military attack is imminent or under way, Member States of the United Nations convene an emergency sitting of the General Assembly to condemn such military intervention, and to order belligerent states to cease-fire and to withdraw.

8. We call on all governments to refuse military and logistical support for war on Iraq.

9. We call on the UN Security Council to involve representatives of Iraqi civil society organisations, including ethnic and women’s groups, in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Addressing Humanitarian Crime in Iraq:

10. We strongly urge the governments of all states to give their full support to the implementation and upholding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

11. We urge that all states fully support the International Criminal Court and resource it to effectively perform the role of a legitimate, independent, and impartial world humanitarian court.

12. We urge the UN to establish an International Tribunal to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq prior to the 2002 mandate of the International Criminal Court.

13. We recognise that economic sanctions have inflicted widespread suffering on the people of Iraq, without benefit for the stability of the Middle East and call for an immediate end to such sanctions.

14. We support humanitarian and development assistance for Iraq, including reconstruction of the civilian infrastructure.

15. We urge that the human rights of the Kurds, the Shia, and of other ethnic and religious groups in Iraq, including the right to self-determination, be fully addressed in any peace negotiations or settlements.

Addressing International Aggression:

16. We condemn any pre-emptive strike launched against the government and peoples of Iraq.

17. We recognise and reject the concept of a US-led ‘War on Terror’ as largely propaganda that obscures the pursuit of US global economic and strategic objectives.

18. We strongly condemn aggression by any state under the banner of a ‘War on Terror’.

19. We call on all countries, including the US to sign, ratify, and implement all outstanding international human rights and disarmament agreements, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

20. We condemn as provocative and potentially belligerent the US Missile Defence Shield program.

21. We caution the US that the use of military arms that indiscriminately kill and maim civilians, including landmines, cluster bombs and weapons of mass destruction, cannot be justified under any circumstances.

22. We condemn the history of arms sales to Iraq, including supply of production materials for weapons of mass destruction.

Addressing the Issue of Oil:

23. We support the central role of the United Nations and its Courts as arbiters of natural resource ownership and related sovereignty issues.

24. We call for a comprehensive reduction in consumption of fossil fuels as an energy source.

25. We urge Australia and the US to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol.

26. We urge the establishment of an International Environment Court and/or Environmental Council at the UN to implement the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources as alternatives to excessive reliance on fossil fuels, and to bring about a reduction of energy usage through increased efficiencies and conservation.

Maintaining a Compassionate Domestic Policy and Avoiding Vilification:

27. We condemn the racial profiling and vilification of Arab, Muslim and other communities within Australia, and affirm our support for the ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity within Australia.

28. We strongly urge the compassionate and humane treatment of asylum seekers arriving in Australia and overseas.

29. We affirm that it is the right of any citizen to oppose the war with every non-violent means at their disposal, including civil disobedience, and we reject the vilification of such opposition.

Rethinking Australian Policy:

30. We urge the Australian Government to recall Australian troops and military resources from the Middle East, unless used for nominated peacekeeping roles as sanctioned by the UN and authorised by the Australian Parliament.

31. We call for a Senate Inquiry into any Australian involvement in a war on Iraq, and for a Referendum on whether Australia should be involved in any pre-emptive war.

32. We reject and condemn the use of US military bases in Australia for US intelligence gathering with the purpose of waging pre-emptive war on Iraq or on any other country.

33. We urge the Australian Government to pursue a non-nuclear independent, non-aligned, foreign and defence policy.

34. We counsel against Australian support for, and involvement in, a provocative, potentially belligerent and dangerously destabilising US Missile Defence Shield program.

35. We strongly caution Australian government and military personnel that they will be in breach of, and liable before, international law, if they participate in any pre-emptive strike.

36. We encourage government and military personnel to conscientiously object to any order that contravenes international law.

37. We remind Australian government and military personnel that it is their duty under international law to refuse participation in war crimes.

38. We call for the establishment of Peace Research Centres in Australian universities, and for peace education in the Australian school and university curricula.


Democratising Global Governance:

1. We call for extensive reform of the World Trade Organisation, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, to ensure they become democratic and reflective of the economic, social, and environmental needs of the peoples of the world.

2. We affirm our commitment to the United Nations in its central role in the maintenance of international peace and security.

3. We affirm our commitment to the UN Charter and its principle of the sovereignty of all Member States and we support efforts made to strengthen the United Nations to uphold this Charter. However, we also recognise a strong need for structural reform of the UN, to ensure that it becomes truly independent, inclusive and democratic.

4. We call on the General Assembly to address the issue of the structural reform of the United Nations, through a standing UN Reform Commission. Proposals for consideration include: i. Reforming the UN Security Council, such as by phasing out of the veto powers of its Permanent Members and regular review of the permanent membership; ii. Expanding the representation of Non-permanent members on the UN Security Council. iii. Restructuring the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly; iv. Establishing a directly elected People’s Assembly to operate as a ‘house of review’, carefully monitoring the decisions and deliberations of other UN bodies; v. Creating a Consultative Assembly composed of representatives from transnational firms, trade unions, professional associations and a broad range of other educational, scientific, cultural, religious, and public-interest organisations; and, vi. Creating (or transforming the Security Council into), an International Council for Conflict Resolution.

5. We urge all Member States of the United Nations to commit to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that calls for more women at every level of governance, and for gender issues to be taken into account in all aspects of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and post-conflict reconstruction, and that women are included in all peace negotiations.

Addressing Global Social Injustice and Poverty:

6. We recognise that extreme poverty, inequality, injustice, and deprivations of the basic essentials of life provide the breeding grounds for terrorism and hatred of the West. We will work towards global social justice.

7. We call for the release of the Third World from the overwhelming burden of debt to the West, and measures for the prevention of the re-accumulation of such debt.

8. We call for an increase in Australian overseas aid up to 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, as recommended by the UN.

9. We call for Australian overseas aid programs to be targeted towards the elimination of poverty as the primary objective, and not to be subordinated to economic and strategic interests in Australia and elsewhere.

Preventing Future Wars and Terrorism:

10. We call for the establishment of a multilateral International Crisis Prevention and Response Centre, supported where possible by Regional Crisis Centres, to address terrorism and other conflict. This includes capacity for a rapid response peacekeeping force

11. We call for worldwide elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and urge the UN to expand programs to secure and safely destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction stockpiles in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

12. We call on all states to avoid a renewed arms race by limiting arms production and trade, and by taking steps towards the freezing, reduction and elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons production capabilities.

13. We condemn the US Missile Defence Shield program as provocative, potentially belligerent and dangerously destabilising.

14. We urge the development of international legal codes on the accountability of political and military leaders regarding human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, and that these be upheld consistently in all countries and contexts.

15. We urge all Member States of the United Nations to commit to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 681 that calls for a nuclear-free Middle East, as well as to all other UN Security Council Resolutions that pertain to arms control and the resolution of aggression and territoriality in the Middle East region.

16. We urge for a redoubling of all diplomatic efforts to bring about a just and peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for comprehensive regional disarmament.

17. We support efforts made for the reconstruction of the Palestinian civilian infrastructure.

18. We urge the promotion of further steps for the strengthening of capacities for international conflict prevention and non-violent conflict resolution.

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18 MARCH 2003


Australia has been committed to a war on Iraq. The decision is a mistake.

An alliance does not require blind compliance to be honoured. ANZUS does not apply to Iraq.

The Prime Minister's announcement that Australia is going to war following a phone call from George Bush and prior to debating it in Parliament, was more akin to a deputy sheriff than a person elected by and for the people.

Australia is one of only three countries in the world committing troops.

Weapon inspections were making gains.

No evidence of a link between Iraq and September 11 has been demonstrated.

No evidence of a link between Iraq and the Bali Bombing has been demonstrated.

The contrast between the willingness to invade Iraq and the US's reticent position on North Korea is telling.

Being silent about having financed, armed and supported Saddam Hussein in the past makes the US' stance seem hollow. When a person is so willing to develop, distribute, sell and use weapons, their intent doesn't look peaceful.

Perhaps modern civilisation hasn't progressed as far as I had thought.



How about a trade agreement made on your own terms? Adbusters invite you to join 'Boycott Brand America.' Visit the website by clicking on the title, and make your own decision. Below is some of the material from the site.

Are You Ready to Take on a Lone-Gun Superpower?

The world struggles to fight global warming, and its biggest polluter thumbs its nose. The world calls for an international criminal court, and “the global supercop” rejects it out of hand. Now the world wants a firm but peaceful solution in Iraq, and America is beating the drums of war. It's the new global arrogance. The White House is right. The rest of us are wrong. And like it or not, the world gets a war.

How do we - from Tokyo and Bombay to London and Los Angeles - take a stand against Rogue Nation USA? Here's an idea: we hit the superpower with a boycott the whole world can see, and that American power can really feel. For most of us, the clear symbols of American culture gone wrong are the corporate logos that make up Brand America. So we empty the McDonald's, the Niketowns and Hollywood cinemas. We clear out Disneyland. We turn off Fox, CNN and MTV. We shut down Esso and Texaco, Gap and Starbucks.

When you make the Boycott Brand America pledge, you make a public statement. You also add your e-mail address to our secure list, so we can build the boycott into an international outcry on par with the peace marches. Watch for days of action on oil, fast food, sweatshop labor, the media - the intensity will build with every week of the war.

We face a historic turning point - and a need for new mass actions. Don’t doubt that we can turn the tide; the peace movement is already 10 million strong and growing. That’s enough consumer clout to make the Brand America Boycott a challenge heard round the world.

Ready for action? From personal choice to public protest, you can build the Brand America Boycott with the power of your own imagination. Whatever you choose to do, let us know (tell Sadie), and watch this site for updates, jams, photos and reports. Take on the global bullies and celebrate your freedom from commercial culture.

And remember: Empires fall!!

The Pledge [Got to Boycott Brand America to sign or to find out more]

Because I am one of the millions of people against the war And because the American government has made it clear that it won't listen to world opinion

And because the symbols of American power are its corporations and their brands,

I hereby pledge to boycott Brand America, from the moment the war begins and to the best of my ability until the empire learns to listen.

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17 MARCH 2003


Janet Rice and Colleen Hartland will be sworn in as members of Maribynong Council at the Maribynong Town Hall, at the corner of Napier and Hyde Streets Footscray, at a ceremony commencing 7 pm. All the people of Maribynong will be welcome to attend. Go Green Girls, Go!

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16 MARCH 2003


Support for the Victorian Greens remains strong, as yesterday's local government elections prove. Janet Rice, Greens candidate for Saltwater ward in Maribynong City Council achieved 44.6% of the votes cast on Saturday, making her a certainty to represent the people of Maribynong. Colleen Hartland, Greens candidate for Sheoak ward in Maribynong also looks likely to be elected. With many results yet to be returned, the Greens policy of upfront and honest commitment to their views has been endorsed with approximately 10% of the electors yesterday making the Greens their first choice. Results are available on the Victorian Electoral Commission website.

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15 MARCH 2003


Local Government elections are being held in a number of Councils today. Many Councils used postal voting that concluded yesterday, but some Councils have attendance voting that requires you to vote before 6 pm this evening. Details of candidates standing in this election can be found on the Greens website at 2003 Local Government Elections. With over 30 candidates standing statewide, it is likely that Greens local government representation will continue to grow from strength to strength.



A wonderful insight into humanity is given by this short work 'On A Small Bridge To Iraq'. It is available as a PDF download (771 kb) by clicking on the underlined title, or you can go to the Japanese website at http://www.impala.jp/iraq/main.html for a 2 Mb download. Thanks to Peter Christoff for passing this on: Rosa.

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14 MARCH 2003


David had the privilege to speak at a Peace Rally today at Melbourne's Federation Square. I have provided the text below and attached it as a word download: Peaceful Alternatives To A War On Iraq

Peaceful Alternatives To A War On Iraq. Federation Square, 14 March 2003

I acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation. For the Boonerwrung, Woiworung, Taungurong, Djajawurrung and the Wathaurung which make up the Kulin Nation. I thank them for sharing this land and I thank all of you for being here and standing up for justice.
John Howard’s attempts to provide a moral justification for this war are totally unconvincing. A pre-emptive unilateral invasion of Iraq is wrong.
*It is an unjustified attack on the innocent in Iraq.
*It is an unjustified attack on the United Nations
* It is an unjustified attack on the real security this planet so desperately needs.
No one believes Bush, Blair or Howard. The people here today know real security comes from
*Security of food supply for the worlds starving.
*Security of housing and sanitation for the world’s poorest.
* Security that force is not the principle that determines right and wrong.
Security will definitely not come from the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’.
The Australian Government’s willingness to enter a coalition of the willing, a coalition of the wilfully blind, fails to further any of those things that the world desperately needs.
Rather than investing in world stability, they are committing Australia to war.
This is not Australia’s war. This is an oil war. This is one of many resource wars that will dominate this century if we continue to squander the world’s resources. Oil, water, land, and human potential.
The Australian Greens absolutely oppose the deployment of Australia’s defence personnel, its men and women, to the theatre of war in Iraq and call on the Prime Minister to reverse that decision and bring those men and women home.
The Australian Greens condemn the Prime Minister for making that decision without reference to the Australian Parliament, without the backing of the Australian people and without a call, request or authorisation from the United Nations.
Some may say that whatever the mistakes of the past, Australia needs to act to stop Saddam Hussein. There is no doubt Hussein is a reprehensible leader, and that many innocent people in Iraq pay the price for his government’s avarice.
That is a fair argument, but the international history of selective military and political intervention and the Australian Government’s history of misleading the public during the children overboard affair and the Tampa affair where the very people fleeing the Iraqi regime were treated with a presumption of criminality, suggest the Australia Government’s judgement and motives do not deserve our trust.
This crisis has been catalysed by an Al Qaueda attack on the United States of America. No link between that attack and Iraq has been established.
Australia was further immersed in this crisis by a terrorist attack in Indonesia. No link between that attack and Iraq has been established.
Australia’s involvement in the coalition of the wilfully blind will isolate us from the ideals I understood we represented, and in doing so, place Australians and the value we hold in peril.
The price of our silence may be the lives of 10,000s of thousands of innocent civilians and belief that might and terror replace the United Nations as the most effective forum for resolving conflict.
We must give peace a chance. We must allow the weapons inspectors to complete their task.
Our actions must be to act in the interests of the planet. We must view an invasion on Iraq as if the lives of the 100,00 Iraqi children expected to die were our own.
The alternative of the war mongering we are seeing now, is both frightening and sickening. Iraq now. North Korea, Iran? Syria? When and where does it stop?
The decision to commit Australia to war is wrong. It will threaten our security, not secure it.
Waging war on Iraq will make us more alert. More alarmed. But,
* That is not a world moving closer to freedom.
* That is not a world in pursuit of justice.
That is a world in which real security is being jeopardised by our leaders who are placing wrongheaded national interests ahead of the common good.
The world deserves better. Better leadership. Leadership provided by the commonsense of the people.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
The actions of our government convince me of this.
Regime change begins at home.

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13 MARCH 2003


John Howard's speech today provided no new evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein, Iraq and the recent increase in world terrorism. The justifications for a war on Iraq, let alone a war without United Nations support, have simply not materialised.

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12 MARCH 2003


Incredibly, Melbourne City Council's Finance, Corporate Services and Governance Committee voted 5 to 2 against supporting the Victorian Local Governance Association's 'Statement on Communities and Peace' (FOR: Moved Cr. Redwood and Seconded Cr. Risstrom - AGAINST: Crs. Chamberlin, Goonan, Kitching, Ng and Riley) This puts the majority of Council supporting the position of the Australian and American Governments. [I am the VLGA delegate for the Melbourne City Council]

The full text of the VLGA Statement on Communities and Peace rejected by a majority of MCC Councillors is:

"Local governments lead and inform their local communities on issues affecting them, and will advocate and represent community interests to other spheres of government and in wider forums. Local governments will provide a strong an united voice at state/territory and national levels for the common concerns and aspirations of local communities." (Declaration on the Role of Local Governments adopted 1997 ALGA General Assembly of Australian Local Governments)

Local governments also play vital role in reducing the fracturing within our society and in building harmonious communities where all people can feel welcome, not only those of the 'dominant culture'. The VLGA urges local governments to celebrate their cultural diversity and build sustainable communities.

The VLGA is a passionate advocate for local governments increasing their capacity to strengthen and support local communities.

The VLGA writes to the Prime Minister the Opposition leader and leaders of the federal parties expressing our opposition to the commitment of Australian troops to any military action in Iraq without the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council.

We urge the government to seek to ensure all possible diplomatic initiatives are exhausted by the United Nations before agreeing to any Australian involvement in a military solution to the Iraqi crisis.

We urge the Howard Government and our Federal Members of parliament to actively support United Nations diplomatic efforts to support and encourage democracy and respect for human rights in Iraq and all nations.

The VLGA urges all Victorian local government to consider these statements on behalf of their communities.

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11 MARCH 2003


The Hansard record of speeches opposing Australia's involvement in a War on Iraq by Greens Senators Bob Brown on 4 Feb 2003 and Kerry Nettle on 5 Feb 2003 are a beacon of humanity in a midst of utilitarian pragmatism. Both are available as word downloads by clicking on the underlined text. I have taken two extracts out below.

Senator Kerry Nettle: … In making a decision to send Australian troops over to be involved in a war in Iraq, Prime Minister Howard is putting US economic interests ahead of the lives of Australian men and women in our defence forces and ahead of the lives of Iraqi civilians. …

Senator Bob Brown: … The Prime Minister has done the wrong thing by our defence personnel and he has done the wrong thing by this nation. Instead of sending out kits or requests for people to get kits to protect themselves from the threat, the fear and the potential of terror, this Prime Minister should reduce the fear and the threat of terrorism in this country by bringing our defence personnel home. This is not Australia’s war, Prime Minister Howard. This is not Australia’s war and Australians do not want you to prosecute this war for them. The best thing the Prime Minister can do to get the good wishes of Australia and to lessen the feelings of threat, terror, helplessness and anger in the Australian community is bring the 2,000 Australians home. …

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9 MARCH 2003


The United States Greens have released a short animation on war amongst a wonderful world: 2/15/03 Worldwide Protect Against the War In Iraq (3.4 Mb mpeg). People wanting peace are not alone.

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8 MARCH 2003


Philip Sutton, director of the company Green Innovations, has devoted a significant proportion of his life to creating solutions for a sustainable future. Philip administers the Greenleap webserver, which provides a mediated web notice board for environment issues. Phil forwarded me his most recent paper 'Innovating to a sustainable economy, in 30 years or less.' The paper is available in various formats including word and PDF by clicking on the underlined title and making your choice. An extract of the introduction by Phil Sutton is below.

Innovating to a sustainable economy, in 30 years or less.

It is increasingly widely recognised that the economic development model that is currently dominant is creating serious environmental problems and that very significant changes to the model are needed if the problems are to be prevented (Raskin et al., 2002.). There is also awareness that corrective action is urgently required. But, while awareness is growing, the number of places where environmentally-desirable development models are being applied systematically is still very small. So something more needs to be done than we are doing already.

This paper provides an introduction to a set of strategies that could be used to drive the implementation of a desirable development model so that a truly ecologically-sustainable economy can be created on a fast timeline. The purpose of the paper is not just to provide a wish list of desirable actions. Instead it sets out to summarise a new paradigm for approaching the whole issue of creating an ecologically-sustainable economy in a timely manner. The intention is for the paper to be as brief as possible while still presenting the proposed new paradigm in an understandable form.



The United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards 2003 are seeking nominations. The Awards aim to recognise businesses, community groups, individuals, local governments, students and the media whose work serves to protect, manage or restore the environment.

The Major Award Categories include: Excellence in Water Management - Best company, community or individual that has demonstrated excellence in the conservation, recycling and use of water, in either rural or urban regions; Triple Bottom Line Award – for the best environmental, social and commercial best practice program for business; Business Enterprise Awards Category - for the best specific environmental initiative; and the environmental best practice program; Community / Individual Awards Category - for the best community based environmental project or initiative; and the special award for outstanding service to the environment; Local Government Awards Category - for excellence in overall environmental management; best specific environmental initiative; Education / School Award Category - for the best school based project exploring environmental themes or issues; Media Awards for Environmental Reporting - for the best print submission; the best radio segment; and the best television segment, which has been published, broadcast or telecast in Australia.

Nominations are open to all members of the community but close 5 pm, Tuesday 13th May 2003. Winners will be announced at an Award Presentation Dinner on June 6th. The complete guidelines, entry criteria and nomination form can be found at the UNAA website www.unaavictoria.com.au or telephone (03) 9482 3655, fax (03) 9482 5118, e-mail UNAA.VIC@bigpond.com

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7 MARCH 2003


FROM CR. RISSTROM: Falun Dafa were unsuccessful in their application for an injunction to allow them to participate in Monday's Moomba Parade. A vote of 6 to 3 taken in Council on 27 February to ban Falun Dafa confirmed an earlier decision to exclude Falun Dafa on the basis of their political associations. My reasons for voting against the ban are detailed below under the heading at 28 February 2003.

I was subpoenaed to give evidence, but was ultimately not called and left the Court prior to the final determination today. From what I have been told, the Tribunal had little difficulty in determining that Melbourne City Council based their decision to exclude Falun Dafa from the Moomba Parade on the basis of their political nature, beliefs or activities, but that the Anti Discrimination laws did not apply because the voluntary nature of Falun Dafa's activities did not place it in a position of being denied a service by the Council. Injunction proceedings require a high standard to be applied on the likelihood of issues being decided in the applicant's [Falun Dafa] favour at trial, which I understand, when applied to these legal issue, led the Tribunal to reject Falun Dafa's injunction application. I also believe the Tribunal made comments that in no way were encouraging to the approach the City of Melbourne took in excluding Falun Dafa from this year's Moomba Parade.

I am disappointed by the decision of the Tribunal. I had hoped the Tribunal's finding would allow Falun Dafa to participate in Moomba.

I continue to strongly oppose Melbourne City Council's banning of Falun Dafa from Moomba. It provides Melbourne City Council little to be proud of.

With a war on Iraq increasingly threatened, and the inevitable security fears and xenophobia encroach upon our confidence in ourselves, the majority decision of Melbourne City Council to ban Falun Dafa is at odds with the need for truth, compassion and forbearance: the very things Falun Dafa profess to stand for.

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6 MARCH 2003


Invasion checklist

This cartoon is not new, but says so much so simply: Rosa

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5 MARCH 2003


Melbourne City Council made a historic decision last night to give effect to its August resolution for Indigenous Reconciliation. Concrete action to implementing the unanimously supported resolution of the 6 August 2002 Melbourne City Council Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee was approved on 4 March 2003 of the same committee. Details on progress towards reconciliation is detailed on this site at: Achieve Indigenous Reconciliation. A summary of the report and its recommendation is shown below. The full report is available for download [296k PDF file] by clicking here: Report on the Progress of Reconciliation and Indigenous Interests at the City of Melbourne.

Details of other Green achievements working towards reconciliation and respect for indigenous cultural can be seen by clicking on these topics:

Acknowledgement of Indigenous Heritage,

Reaffirm Council's Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians.

Employ Indigenous Talents in the Organisation; and,

Sustain the Indigenous Arts Grants Program.

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2 MARCH 2003


The Victorian Greens formally launched a campaign that many local government candidates had begun many years ago. For many of the Green candidates for local government elections this month, standing as a Green at this election is a natural continuation of their community involvement. With over 30 candidates standing statewide, it is very likely that Greens local government representation will continue to grow from strength to strength. Details of candidates standing in this election can be found on the Greens website at 2003 Local Government Elections.

Greens 2003 Local Government Campaign Launch

Greens 2003 Local Government Campaign Launch

Left to right: Rosa the Policy Watchdog (Melbourne), Cr. Greg Barber (Yarra), Tony Hastings (Yarra Ranges), Stuart Kingsford (Glen Eira), Cr. Gurm Sekhon (Yarra), Cr. Jenny Farrar (Yarra), Mick Kir (Whitehorse), Cr. David Risstrom (Melbourne), Chris Mardon (Glen Eira), Janet Rice (Maribynong), Sylvie Leber (Maribynong), Colleen Hartland (Maribynong), Andrew Ellis (Maribynong), Michele Finey (Maribynong), Deborah Kottek (Monash) and daughter.

PS: Yours truly and the white shoe brigade young one are 'considering our positions' and deny all rumours we are standing for Council: Rosa

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1 MARCH 2003


The Australia Institute is hosting another excellent paper titled 'Sunshine, Containment, War: Options on Korea' by Gavan McCormack, research professor of East Asian History at the Australian National University. This second paper, and Gavan McCormick's previous piece published in January, 'Putting Pressure on Rogues' is available as a PDF by clicking on the 'What's New' button on the Australia Institute Website. Here are some introductory paragraph from Gavan's second piece.

Sunshine, Containment, War: Options on Korea.

1. “Sunshine” The recent outpourings of analysis and comment on the “Korean problem” around the world are characterised by righteous indignation and denunciation. They tend to be shaped, consciously or unconsciously, by an “imperial” frame of reference, insisting that Pyongyang submit to the will of the “international community” when what is really meant is the will of Washington. To the extent that one adopts an alternative, Korean frame, and a Seoul-centered approach, the problem begins to look different. Nobody understands North Korea better, is in the present climate more positive and encouraging about dealing with it, and has more to lose from getting it wrong, than the government and people of South Korea.

Years of “sunshine” and multiple layers of contact and negotiation have begun to thaw and open tracks across the long-frozen “Demilitarized” line that divides North and South. The challenge for Seoul now is to build a buffer of protection and a bridge of communication linking Pyongyang to the world, while guaranteeing that international obligations are met and ensuring that Pyongyang’s legitimate security concerns are fulfilled; it is nothing less than internationalising“Sunshine.” In the world empire currently under construction, however, “sunshine” is not only not a priority but it smacks of appeasement, its exponents have to be restrained.

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28 FEBRUARY 2003


FROM CR. RISSTROM: I strongly oppose the decision taken by Melbourne City Council last night to ban the involvement of Falun Dafa in the 2003 Melbourne Moomba Parade. To exclude them from participating in the Moomba Parade is discriminatory and wrong on political, ethical and legal grounds.

A majority of Melbourne City Councillors have sought to silence political freedom in a way that, fortunately, is rarely effective. By confirming the exclusion of Falun Dafa from the 2003 Moomba Parade in a decision in the Council meeting of 27 February 2003, a majority of 6 to 3 on Council have attempted to suffocate the rights of public participation of Falun Dafa members that are analogous to the claims Falun Dafa or like groups maintain concerning the suppression of those freedoms in China.

For Melbourne City Councillors to limit community involvement on the sole basis that a group may have a political affiliation is a dangerous precedent to promote. It involves us as politicians picking favourites among our community, rather than promoting engagement, tolerance and diversity.

Ethically, it is wrong to exclude a group that was invited to join the parade earlier this year, and then to withdraw that invitation over concerns that the group is political, and not a community group. Countless other Councils and a Federal Government body have recognised Falun Dafa as a community group. It is also wrong to characterise Moomba as being for families and to assume that means community groups such as Falun Dafa are unable to contribute to such a celebration.

In my opinion, legally, the decision discriminates against Falun Dafa on the basis of their presumed political beliefs and activities. To exclude a community organisation from engaging in, or gaining from, an activity provided by the Council on the basis that they express a political view has many characteristics of an act of discrimination on the basis of political belief alone. If true, I believe anti-discrimination law makes that decision illegal.

As I was quoted in the Melbourne Times on 26 February, "If they (the Falun Dafa) are organised and they have got something to contribute to Moomba they should be allowed. They have been recognised as a community group by countless other local governments and the Federal Government.

It appears likely that this issues will be pursued in a legal forum, from which a clearer view may emerge.

In my opinion, the question to be pursued is not whether this decision is popular. It is whether it is right.

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27 FEBRUARY 2003


My father, Eric Risstrom, a person many of you will know as either the leader of the Taxpayer's Association of Australia, or as a long standing Councillor for the Cities of Camberwell and Boroondara, is unwell. The City of Boroondara hosted a farewell for Eric last night, and it was great to see so many good people attend.

In a life characterised by brilliance and an obsession with work, Eric's contributions have focussed on the common good in a way that is less common than it could be.

As a Boroondara Councillor for the majority of his adult life, having been first elected in 1963, I recall having to wait up until after 11 pm every second Monday to see my father, who worked almost every other waking hour of his time.

As many of you who are older will know, much of Eric's life as 'The Taxpayer's Champion' for the Australian Taxpayer's Association, was spent pursuing, promoting and explaining his belief in a fair and equitable tax system.

Eric is unwell, and decided last December to stand down from Boroondara Council. I know that Joyce, my mother, and others around him, hope that now Eric can reflect on his achievements and his contributions and realise that, at a great personal cost to himself and those around him, he has achieved a great deal for a great many people. And that in a world where the common good needs a greater light shone upon it, is a great achievement.

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26 FEBRUARY 2003


The State Government's announcement that it will table legislation that formally recognises local government in the Victorian Government. As a Melbourne City Councillor having been the brunt of a sacking and to be later told by members of the Government that I was one of the good ones and that it wasn't personal, the entrenchment of the independence of local governance is a welcome and overdue development.

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24 FEBRUARY 2003


The Victorian Greens are proud participants in good local government. This Sunday at 12 noon at Footscray Railway Station we will be launching our new crop of potential Green Councillors, giving strength to the adage 'Thinking Globally, Acting Locally'. I look forward to gaining more and more colleagues in the local government sphere this election and in years to come.

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24 FEBRUARY 2003


Following on from my writing below on 11 February 'Dark side of the Maine Valley' specially convened meeting of the Melbourne City Council Planning Committee sent a very clear that they are unhappy with the way the C37 planning amendment at Buncle Street North Melbourne. The site is in the area that was formerly in the City of Melbourne, but reallocated to the City of Moonee Valley by the Kennett Government. The Council will be represented at a panel hearing on Wednesday, putting a number of issues before them including the height and bulk of the building, lack of consultation, dominance by roadways and use of street level parking.

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23 FEBRUARY 2003


David had the good fortune to help launch a collection of indigenous art called 'Grassroots' at Bunjilaka at the Melbourne Museum. The work by Lyn Thorpe, an indigenous woman who teaches at Northcote Secondary School has melded photography with electronic processes to create beautifully composed art. All that being said, with the greatest of humility, I was grateful to be told by David that I feature in a work called Gundjitmara Man, where Richard Franklin shared the honour of my company while David was at Songlines at Trades Hall last year. Given my significant elevation, anyone sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to David Risstrom, c/o Melbourne Town Hall Swanston St, Melbourne Victoria 3001, will receive an authentic paw print from yours truly: Rosa

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22 FEBRUARY 2003


The Sustainable Living Fair is on this weekend at Federation Square and is well worth visiting. The Sustainable Living Fair is one of the highlights of Sustainability Month in February 2003. More details can be found by clicking on this Sustainability Month hotlink, visiting http://www.sustainabilitymonth.org or downloading this Sustainability month PDF. Having helped to bring the Fair to Melbourne [See Bringing the Sustainable Living Fair to Melbourne at Dave's 100 Green Achievements] it is great to see the Fair grow from strength the strength every year.

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21 FEBRUARY 2003


Mike Hill, former Executive Director of the Victorian Local Governance Association, was farewelled last night at St. Kilda Town Hall. The large number of good people were probably the best indicator of the influence Mike has had on our society during his period at the VLGA. I'm sure Mike will continue to be involved in useful activities. On behalf of the people of Victoria and the Victorian Greens, I want to thank Mike for the contributions he has made, and will make, to the common good.

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19 FEBRUARY 2003


As a Melbourne City Councillor, a director of the municipal purchasing company MAPS Ltd. and as an executive and management committee member of ICLEI International, I have been able to initiate a Green Purchasing Pilot Project.

In conjunction with ICLEI and MAPS, 10 Australian Councils are participating in the pilot including Brisbane City Council and Maroochy Shire Council in Queensland; Adelaide, Marion, Onkaparinga, Burnside and West Torrens City Councils in South Australia, Hornsby City Council in New South Wales and , Whittlesea and Melbourne City Councils in Victoria. More formal statements will be released once the Pilot is officially launched, but more information is available on my 100 Green Achievements site Green Purchasing Across Australia, and at the ICLEI Australia/New Zealand web page Green Purchasing Pilot Project.

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18 FEBRUARY 2003


I have taken this article by Ruth Russell off a LeftLink newsletter. It is by Ruth Russell, one of the incredibly brave Australians going to Iraq to act as a human shield as a means of deterrent against an attack on Iraq.

Going As A Human Shield To Iraq By Ruth Russell

Why am I going? I am going because this war is morally wrong. I am ashamed that Australians are being involved in this war and by going, I am saying "Not in my name". War is not the way a civilised society behaves. There is a way to solve international conflict diplomatically through the United Nations but we need the goodwill of our prime minister to find peaceful solutions instead of excuses for war.

As Australians, we were made aware of the tragic consequences of one bomb in Bali recently. Now our government is considering being a party to dropping countless bombs all over Iraq with unimaginable, horrendous deaths, maiming and destruction . Is this what Australians want? The Australian people are shouting out loudly NO but to date are being ignored. Australia will not gain long term security from participating in this war.

What do I hope to achieve ? The idea of a human shield operates on two levels. One is the symbolic action of saying that a war on Iraq is wrong and being prepared to put my life on the line because I believe this. The other level is the practical one of being with the Iraqi people to say not all Australians agree with this war. In Iraq, I hope to be with children in schools as I want to raise the issue that another UN Resolution that Australia is signatory to is to "protect children from the horrors of armed conflict". Why is Australia doing nothing to protect Iraqi children?

What has lead me to take this action ? I am a member of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Australian Democrats as well as a local Councillor. I want to live in a civil society. I think you have to speak out when something is wrong - stand up and be counted. If you don't, then you are complicit by your silence. Australians are being silenced through fear at the moment and this has to stop.

Details of my trip to Iraq: I leave Adelaide on Wednesday, 19th Feb at 6.:30 pm, flying to Amman, Jordan to meet with other 'human shield' volunteers. We will then travel by bus to Baghdad. I have to be totally self-sufficient and pay all my own expenses. It is anticipated that we will be staying with families, in schools or hospitals or camping near military targets.

What can you do? I am asking Australians to consider the ethics and morality of war and stand-up and speak out that 'War is not the way a civilised society behaves"Contact Details for updates

If you would like to know more about my progress this can be arranged through: aussieshield@aarli.com.au Ruth Russell Adelaide 13/2/2003.

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16 FEBRUARY 2003


Robert Theobold, a great thinker and humanist who is no longer with us wrote a short article some years back called 'The Healing Century', which predicted and encouraged a more productive and co-operative 21st century. I hope he is right.

Just imagine if only a fraction of the resources we devote to military conflict provided food, shelter, medicine and education for those less fortunate than us. What a world it could be.



20 years ago today, I was in the city and came out to see the smoke. A friend and I made a decision to go to my mothers house between Cockatoo and Emerald to help with the fires. I still haven't come to terms with the 3 days that followed, during which much more happened than I want to recall. Being in Cockatoo on the night of Ash Wednesday was one of the most terrifying events I have experienced. The uncertainty and terror were overwhelming. But the risk of bushfire is, in some small way, a choice many of us make when we live amongst our beautiful Australian bush. We are nearly always foolishly optimistic that what is likely to happen to us, never will. That is part of the good nature of Australians.

I can't imagine what it might be like to be a person amidst a firestorm ignited by a military attack. To think it is possible that people in bombers created mayhem by design. To be unable to predict if a bomb would engulf your home before you could be aware.

To wield violence without caution is to risk that its ill-discipline will engulf us. It is unlikely the planet and its inhabitants can afford to waste so much that is good about human life and the creativity it is capable of. I am not a religious person. I am a person who believes good people do good where they can and choose. To the political leaders of America, England and Australia and the military who serve us, please do not begin a war from which we will inevitably lose: David

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15 FEBRUARY 2003


David and I joined more than a hundred thousand people and dogs in one of the best rallies I have ever seen. To walk down Swanston St. with so many diverse people was an absolute joy. The speeches were great, the music was great, some of the banners and cartoons were hilarious and everyone was well behaved and in good spirits. Thank you Melbourne, for showing how many of you are prepared to stand up for what you believe in. There are peaceful alternatives to a war on Iraq, and Australia should resist the temptation to impose war as a means of facilitating peace.

Details of other peace marches around the world can be found at the website: United for Peace & Justice.

Peter Garrett, President of the ACF spoke for many at Federation Square. A copy of his speech 'The Likely War in Iraq' as available in word format (Kb) and is reproduced below


THE LIKELY WAR IN IRAQ - Federation Square - 14 February 2003

If human history attests to any one thing, it is that war is the most horrible of human endeavours. And as history's page turns (to choose an expression we are all familiar with), as wars have become more numerous and fatal, as our understanding of the risks and the costs of war have become greater, with more and more innocents drawn into the hell of war so to the task of working towards peace, of using non military means to resolve conflict, has become more urgent.

In recent times these costs and risks, when associated with nuclear weapons, as may be the case in Iraq, were considered so high that alternatives to war were demanded. As we have come together tonight, people came together in the 80’s and 60’s and accelerated the process of ridding the world of these weapons. That process should continue.

At all times but especially since WW 2 we've made: Treaties, embargoes, diplomatic initiatives, international co-operation of all kinds including the formation of a United Nations. These things have been established as a guide to resolving problematic relations between nations and deserve to be supported and continued.

Where there is a truly reprehensible leader-and we should not forget that Saddam Hussein is clearly that- or a state bent on pursuing evil, then, in order to rebuff them, a justification for war might be made. But in this case war is the absolute last resort, to be considered, soberly, on the grounds that the evil it opposes and defeats is measurably greater than the evil, in terms of suffering and loss, it causes.

For any leader to commit their nation to war, to commit young lives to be risked and lost, the case for war must be put to the people and proved beyond all reasonable doubt and all possible avenues to avoid war must be pursued.

But as we gather here this evening, the case for unilateral invasion of Iraq has not been made. The reasons offered have not convinced us, and worst of all despite the presence of weapons inspectors and need for UN resolutions, it is clear that our government, at the behest of another government, had already made up its mind long ago. The ships and planes have gone; without consultation, without enough information, without the opportunity for the UN processes to reach their full conclusion, without considering other options for dealing with the problem the Iraq leader poses.

One country, having overwhelming power has decided to strike first, to rearrange the international rulebook and our PM has gone along. Despite the laughable charade offered by the government that we are not really committed. No less an authority than President Bush has confirmed that Australia is part of this thing called the coalition of the 'willing' and that Australia will be engaged in Iraq, with or without the UN.

So this is how it looks. Regardless of any other actions that may be taken. Against a terribly ruled, inept and weak, albeit dangerous power, on the other side of the world, we Australians are in a coalition of the willing.

Now the question is willing to do what?

Willing to rain down from the sky, by remote control, tonnes and tonnes of bombs on the innocent; children, women, non combatants, as the dictator hides deep below the ground safe from harm.

Willing to consider using nuclear weapons to finish the job quickly although the PM assured us in January that this would not be the case.

Willing to have a great wave of refugees issue forth in their tens of thousands as homes and fields are laid to waste.

Willing, as bombs rain down, and targets are missed, to risk the Middle east, already unstable and prone to violence, in a war it did not seek.

Willing to ignore the fact that the norms of international law which prohibit pre-emptively attacking and taking over another country, no matter how bad, have been broken.

Willing to ignore that President Bush now calls for international co-operation while thumbing his nose at international treaties, refusing the International Court of Justice jurisdiction, refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, to participate in the ABM and other anti-weapons treaties which have been the subject of painstaking behind the scenes effort by NGOs and other countries for the past two decades.

Willing to ignore that this is an issue primarily about American strategic doctrine and we have not had any debate about that. To ignore that Iraq was a US ally less than 20 years ago, that American and western European countries amongst others have armed and supplied Saddam's regime:

Willing to forget that the last Gulf War saw oilfields set alight, half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, hundreds of miles of coastline polluted.

Willing to pretend that these impacts on the environment won't be greatly increased if Iraq's far larger oil fields are targeted or sabotaged in a war that does not finish as quickly as planned.

Willing to forget that in the last middle-eastern conflict, tens of thousands were killed and injured. To ignore the likely effects on young Australian serving personnel. The Washington Post reported recently that nearly a third of US servicemen and woman still suffer from chemical, biological and depleted uranium related illnesses. Today's newspapers carry the report that post traumatic stress disorder and depression is common amongst those Australians who served in the Gulf and that people should be adequately prepared-they haven't been.

Willing to ignore that this proposed war would be much worse. That up to a half a million Iraqis could be injured or displaced, exposed to famine, disease, without shelter and that most of these would be civilians.

Willing to ignore that the UN Security Council is split, that significant nations and blocs of nations including the EU are cautioning against the rush to war and seeking alternatives. Willing to suspend any thought on what kind of world would emerge from a conflict like this and what effect our participation would have on our future

At the end of the day our government is willing to simply follow and hope that the media cascade that results will persuade us to fall into line. Now we can and must do better.

We are not obliged to lead the killing when containment of Saddam is within the means of the world community if the will of nations is there.

We are not obliged to launch into war if all the alternatives haven't been exhausted. We need to support investment not in arms, but in democratisation and poverty alleviation in the region and in well equipped international institutions of conflict resolution. If we or our ally the US were serious about terrorism then we would develop a rigorous program to help address and ferrett out the causes not the symptoms of extreme behaviour or terrorism.

Let's be clear, this war little to do with terrorism, and nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. It has little to do with rescuing Iraqis who do suffer terribly under a tyrant. It has nothing to do with Australia, other than playing a bit part for the Bush administration in the belief that this is the responsible action of a loyal ally. It is not. It is possible to have a constructive relationship with any country including the US without exceeding to its every foreign policy initiative especially when the risks are so great and the justification so paltry. But, if we join the US and together go it alone, without fully exploring the options for peace, without UN mandate or support, it will reflect upon us poorly for years to come and it will cause countless suffering in the here and now.

We can do better. As we walked here tonight our leaders can walk the extra mile for peace.

We can and must do better. We can apply our minds to buttressing disarmament. We can be a voice for peaceful settlement. Instead, courtesy of the Prime Minister we face the possibility of engaging in an illegal war in which Australia was the first country to put its hand up. And where our leader tells George Bush that he speaks for us. Well he doesn't speak for me on going to war. And I dare say he doesn't speak for you. Do we support Mr Howard’s rush to war in Iraq?

It’s one thing for the PM to proclaim at election time that "We will decide you does and doesn't come into this country." Another to simply parrot the formula offered by the US administration.

We can and will do better. With literally millions of people who are marching in the coming days all over the world this gathering is a wake up call for the PM and his government. The children of Iraq and the environment of the Gulf can't march in Australia Mr Howard, but we can and we will.

We can think through right and wrong for ourselves and now we want you to do better. We will be active we will be full of hope and we will value leaders who pursue peace and peaceful means to the utmost for we believe that our capacity to do good outweighs that for doing bad, and in a highly critical time. That capacity is needed more than ever.

Above all we will commit ourselves and our country to a better, peaceful path and we call upon you the Prime Minister and your government to heed our call.

Peter Garrett - President of ACF - 14th Feb 2002

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14 FEBRUARY 2003


Acting Prime Minster John Anderson's answers in Parliament to questions about what the Australian Government understood by the euphemism 'coalition of the willing' leave me no more relaxed and comfortable as to the integrity of the Australia commitment to peace.

The Children Overboard affair has left many people doubting whether our Government can appropriately balance ethics with political opportunity. The fact that our government and the United States government has very little commitment to conserving fossil fuels, leaves us with very dirty hands indeed. [See my comments on this page from 27 January 2003 and below]

The impending war on Iraq is likely to be only the first of the major resource wars this century, not the lat. Energy, water and arable land are increasingly scarce resources in an increasingly crowded and despoiled planet. The failure of our governments to deal evenly with different despotic regimes, their slothful progress on resource security and their apparent willingness to risk the consequences of validating pre-emptive military attack on a massive scale, all tend towards people being increasingly and justifiably alarmed.



David and I will see you at the Rally today, 5 pm, in Swanston Street outside the State Library. A march will then move on down to Federation Square for more speeches, sanity and music. Senators Bob Brown and Natasha Stott-Despoja and Peter Garrett and others will help a silent majority celebrate their preference for peace.




David caught me in a moment of weakness, getting me to paw the Valentine message above to his partner Carolynne. I'll let this one go through to the keeper. We all know who the real top dog is! Woof: Rosa.

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13 FEBRUARY 2003


Jim Berg's farewell from the Koorie Heritage Trust was a great opportunity to meet a lot of good people having done a lot of good for a lot of people. Hosted in Swanston Hall in the Melbourne Town Hall. It was an absolute joy. I find aboriginal people have a great capacity for telling it how it is, with a minimum of crap. David really enjoyed himself, and thanks all involved and responsible.

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12 FEBRUARY 2003


David participated in a useful forum today on affordable housing which brought a wide variety of opinions together on how to increase the proportion of affordable housing in Australia. With an emphasis on financing mechanisms, the outcomes of the meeting will be developed and used as a mechanism for advancing government policies and civil activity in the area. When materials are developed, I will post a copy on this site. [Me, I have a feeling my destiny will always lie in the doghouse: Rosa]


The proposed meeting for yesterday [Feb 11 2003] with Moonee Valley Council was unexpectedly cancelled that morning. My questions in the Melbourne City Council Finance and Corporate Services Committee as to why the meeting did not go ahead, and why it appears a letter on this issue was only sent from the Lord Mayor's office only 48 hours ago remain unanswered. Given directions hearings for a panel hearing have been known about for a number of weeks, it appears speed hasn't been of the essence.

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11 FEBRUARY 2003


The backroom dealings about which municipality you might live in bubble to the surface today in the Melbourne City Council Finance Committee where the issue of Moonee Valley's decision to pass a conditional sale of land within the boundaries of Buncle, Melrose and Sutton Streets North Melbourne. I was going to attend a meeting in December 2002 at Moonee Valley to represent the interests of residents. On a call being made to the Mayor's office, I was told that no decisions would be taken and there was not an urgent need to attend. That was not true. The decision for conditional sale was taken, and with the Council in caretaker mode due to the upcoming election, residents and other interested parties are thus denied the opportunity to negotiate with the existing elected Councillors.

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David Bridie and others have been instrumental in organising the Morning Star Concert For West Papua for Feb 28 2003. The picture and description below is from The Morning Star website:

Morning Star Concern For West Papua

On 28 February at the Melbourne Concert Hall, some of Australia's most talented and best known musicians and comedians will join forces to support the people of West Papua.

Acts include Alex Lloyd, Paul Mac, Not Drowning, Waving & the musicians of PNG featuring Telek, the Bangarra Dance Theatre, Lisa Gerrard (Academy Award winning composer), Andrew Denton, Dave O'Neil. The concert will also include a performance by Black Paradise from West Papua playing traditional Papuan music and string band music.

For three decades, West Papuans have endured an illegal and often brutal occupation by Indonesia's military forces. The plight of the West Papuan people is similar to that of the East Timorese, who voted for independence in 1999.

As West Papuan leader John Rumbiak said recently, unless the world takes a stand against Indonesia as happened in the case of East Timor the future of the West Papuan people is bleak. "I appeal to all Australians. What you are dealing with here is the fate of all West Papuan people. Maybe we're going to be finished some day soon. This is what's going on now. Are you going to wait until it is too late?", Rumbiak said.

The concert is part of a broader campaign to raise awareness about the plight of the West Papuan people. A book and CD will also be published to coincide with the concert. A photo-essay featuring work by Ben Bohane, Liz Thompson and Jim Elmslie dealing with the cultural, political and historical aspects of the West Papuan story will also be published in the lead-up to the concert (you can view some of the stunning photographs that will feature in the book, throughout the site). The CD will feature remix soundscapes by Australian artists.

Rosa's Rating: I'll see you there. [I'll be the one wearing a black and gold coat, with minimal accessories: Rosa]

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The Herald Sun on 6 February ran a column by Andrew Bolt on page 19 called 'Park plan is eco-racism'. I've reproduced the article here for your edification:

Not content with pushing policies that turn our forests into ashes, the Greens plan to destroy city parks, too.

David Risstrom, the Greens councillor on Melbourne City Council, is working to have the city's famous European parks, like Treasury Gardens, replaced with native species.

Such eco-racism seems at odds with the Greens' open-border policies on illegal immigrants, but Risstrom's excuse is that European plants - and the grass - are too thirsty to keep going.

That's the Greens for you. First they fight against dams and then they raze our gardens when we run out of water.

Well, here's a simple reason the gardens should stay as they are. Because they are pretty and we adore them.

David would like to thank the Herald-Sun for their judicious decision to extend the comics page to include page 19.

The Age editorial, reproduced below, takes a more considered view, making some valid observations about the importance of people's sense of place, and the debate that the release of Growing Green has facilitated.

Changing parks and our sense of place: The Age editorial, February 7 2003

Given that trees may take decades to mature and live for centuries, Melbourne's public gardens are a legacy from our predecessors. Similarly, future generations will thank us for wise choices in our plantings. Melbourne City Council has adopted a 50-year plan to use more native plants in a way that would transform the city's gardens and street plantings. In time, the cost of tending European-style gardens in a city with increasing demands on limited water resources is likely to force the issue. The environmental value of native plants is cited as another benefit, but Cr. David Risstrom's call to "start work on making Melbourne Australian" (is the city not Australian?) is a reminder that there are other debates to be had. Melbourne's gardens may hark back to another place and time, but they are a defining feature. Hastily remaking some gardens - Treasury Gardens is slated to become wholly indigenous - would change the city's character in a way that many people could not easily accept. This is not simply a matter of aesthetic tastes. Anyone who strolls through a city park on a sunny day will see how many people value a green lawn under shady trees. And as part of our Victorian heritage, parks such as the Fitzroy Gardens clearly merit preservation along with the finest buildings of that era. Yet we accept that architecture changes, and so should horticulture.

The city has in many ways changed more than its great gardens since these were established in the mid-1800s. As a result, our idea of a public garden is based on the 19th-century sensibilities that led in the first place to the importation of plants, animals and attitudes from another continent. What we tend to see as appropriate is an old horticultural vision that imitated mother England's grand estate gardens, which both drew from and influenced English landscape art. When European artists first came to Australia, they struggled to appreciate the landscape and vegetation; to modern eyes, their depictions are bizarrely Europeanised. Today, few of us have any difficulty accepting the beauty of the landscape and Australian artistic renderings of it, but this transformation of attitudes took place over generations. It is to the council's credit that it is looking ahead to managing the transformation of the city's green areas in a gradual and, one hopes, consultative manner. The creation of natural green spaces such as the popular Studley and Yarra Bend parks can help persuade the public, but this will not happen overnight or by "education" if this turns out to be a euphemism for bureaucratic edicts. The difficulties are illustrated by the debate over replacing the ageing poplars of Peel Street, North Melbourne - and what of the city's elm avenues, which rank among the world's finest remaining examples? Only a balanced and patient approach, over many years if need be, will win public.

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David continues to oppose a war on Iraq and believe we need to do more than endorse the Australian Government's position. David has forwarded this e-mail to all Councillors in response to a request by the Council to sign a letter to the Iraqi Embassy in Canberra:

Councillors and Staff,

I have been invited to sign a letter to Iraq's Australian Embassy arising from the alternative resolution to my defeated motion 'Peaceful Alternatives to a War on Iraq'.

This resolution came after the rejection of a stronger resolution moved by me titled 'Peaceful Alternatives to a War on Iraq' on 19 December 2002. My resolution, with an invitation to amend it if needed to ensure its passage, was defeated 3 votes to 6. Both resolutions are detailed below.

As you would be aware, I will not endorse the second resolution at a time our Government has distinguished itself by being among only three countries in the world providing support to a non-United Nations endorsed pre-emptive strike.

I will also not sign a letter, produced some six weeks after the resolution, that reflects a weakened resolution I did not support. Is there a reason for this delay?

In my view peace is not likely to be achieved by supporting "the Australian Government’s efforts to enforce the United Nations resolutions on Iraq as the best way to ensure that peace is maintained."

I have been amidst war and seen the effects of war in Nicaragua, East Timor and Peru. I won't endorse actions other than those that strenuously oppose the possibility of killing an inestimable number of innocent people in a pre-emptive strike.

Our decision not to take an independent moral stand, as citizens and on behalf of our citizens, to pursue all possible steps to avoid the death and injury of countless people is deeply worrying.

Yours sincerely,

Cr. David Risstrom


Resolution moved by Cr. Risstrom on 19 December 2003:

We, the Councillors of the City of Melbourne, call upon the Australian Government not to involve Australia in a war against Iraq.

We believe peaceful alternatives to a war on Iraq should be pursued for many reasons, including the following:

There is no clear evidence that Iraq poses an immediate threat to Australia or any of our allies.

There is no established link between Iraq and the shameful attacks of September 11, 2001.

Democracy in Iraq cannot be enforced by war. Australia must play a part in diplomatic and peaceful solutions to this conflict, and should help the Iraqi people move towards democracy.

There is no need for Australia to support or be involved in this conflict.

We, as elected representatives of our community oppose

* An attack on Iraq;

* Australian involvement in war on Iraq; and,

* Pre-emptive strikes by any nation against another.

We, as Councillors in this city of great multicultural diversity and tolerance, ask the Australian Government and our people to put the interests of peace and the world community above those of the United States.


This subsequent resolution, which prior to my strenuous objection included a sentiment to endorse the actions of the United States and Australia, was adopted 7 votes to 2 with Clrs. Risstrom and Nicholson opposing:

We, the Councillors of the City of Melbourne,

* note the United Nations Chapter 7 investigation and the resolutions of the Security Council;

* fully support the United Nations and the Australian Government’s efforts to enforce the United Nations resolutions on Iraq as the best way to ensure that peace is maintained; and,

* urge the Iraq Government to co-operate completely with the United Nations’ weapons inspectors and comply with all United Nations’ resolutions to ensure conflict is avoided.

Further information on the debate and David's reaction are detailed below under the entries for 19 and 20 December 2002.

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The Melbourne City Council Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee tonight endorsed Growing Green, the 50 year plan for environmental sustainability in our parks and open spaces.

The administration failed to list the Indigenous Reconciliation report, requiring me to move it forward by way of an item of urgent business. With the Council having unanimously adopted the process in August 2002, the delays are unacceptable Expect results in the near future.

Finally, after listening to much of the debate in Federal Parliament, I am appalled by the majority of our leadership and want to say the following to Greens Senator Bob Brown: "Thank you Bob for being what you are."

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The media response to the release of the final Growing Green report has created healthy media interest. Royce Millar's article 'Bid to Make Gardens More Australian' in The Age on 4 February 2003, has created interest from 3LO, 3AW and 3AK. With more people becoming involved in the future of our open spaces and the more we think and act on how to secure our natural heritage, the healthier your parks and the communities that enjoy them will be.

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As a Green Councillor on Melbourne City Council, David initiated this forward looking plan for the City of Melbourne's Parks and Gardens nearly two years ago. The plan is called 'Growing Green'. The plan is for a 50 year timeline for Melbourne's Parks and Gardens, though could also extend to influencing private land owners.

As Chairperson of the Growing Green Perspectives group, it has been great to see so many people involved in thinking long term about how Melbourne can reduce its impact on the environment towards contributing to environmental sustainability through biodiversity and a reduced ecological footprint. My description of Growing Green being a success is when it becomes normal again to hear native birds singing on the way to work. More information on Growing Green is available by clicking here: Growing Green.


On August 7 2003 David's resolution to further reconciliation in Melbourne was passed unanimously by the Melbourne City Council Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee. An update was due in to be presented to the February Environment Committee, but for some reason has not been put on the agenda by management. I have placed it on the agenda as an item of urgent business, with the aim of moving reconciliation into action at Melbourne. Further information is available at: Indigenous Reconciliation.

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28 JANUARY 2003


Radio reports today that the United States administration has considered the use of nuclear weapons as part of a pre-emptive strike on Iraq is one of the most dangerous developments in the destabilisation of world peace since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre. There may only be a few more potent catalysts for radical and destructive retribution than the implicit message from the United States that a pre-emptive nuclear strike is being considered.

Some may take the view in these dangerous diplomatic games that the bigger the gun drawn, the more likely ones opponent is to comply. That may be true, especially in circumstances where violence is the currency of exchange. But given the modern history of extremist terrorist action, and the limited ability of nations states to prohibit rogue actions by their citizens, the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons will do little to assist more moderate voices in Iraq and elsewhere that the aim of this war is to liberate the oppressed citizens of Iraq.

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27 JANUARY 2003


David has been listening to US Public News Network Radio while gardening again. [Perhaps its the remnant organophosphate pesticides that brings on these thoughts.] He also gets to spend time talking to me, rather than that silly computer screen he has become friends with. The only trouble with radio is that it is hard to see world leaders do the secret handshake thing. The one that involves saying one thing to the public then committing them to the opposite: 'Read my lips - No new taxes'; 'No child shall live in poverty by … '; 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'; 'Children have been thrown overboard'; 'We don't want these sort of people in Australia'. You know the sort of thing. You read it on glossy paper each time there is an election. It is called lying. Georing knew the score, as I am reminded in this quote I stole off Friday's Quote of the Week from 'All the News That Fits' delivered by e-mail: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Nazi leader Hermann Goering.

The position the Coalition Government has taken on our behalf is better described as wilful blindness, than a coalition of the willing. Can we imagine how we might view the move towards a non-UN pre-emptive military strike if a country such as Israel, India or Pakistan were the target? Perhaps, as many East Timorese felt for more than two decades: lonely, frightened and expedient. The injustice of realpolitik is sickening.

The supplication of Deputy Sheriff Howard is embarrassing. If it weren't likely to make us complicit in the death of so many people, the damage might only have extended to our international standing. As I believe Australia has already pre-committed us to war [see 23 Jan below], many innocent people face losing much more.

Finishing Micheal Moore's book 'Stupid White Men' yesterday was timely. I'm white. A man. And sometimes stupid. But, boy, reading about the going's down in the United States is always a great reminder of how 'complex' the world is. How 'colourful' American politics can appear. Something a United States pre-emptive strike may not allow many Iraqi children to appreciate if they become collateral damage in a war to deal with a terrible dictator, while securing the unintended benefit of reasserting more control over world oil supply and the ability to continue squandering it by driving huge inefficient cars [aka trucks].

Reflecting on yesterday's rave 'Australia/Invasion Day: If It Doesn't Make Sense, Sing', US foreign policy is a vocalists goldmine.

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26 JANUARY 2003


Tonight's Songlines Music Festival at Trades Hall was a great antidote against thinking too much. As I was able to say at the opening, I am sure things might have turned out differently a couple of hundred years ago if Songlines had been going when Captain Cook landed on Aussie shores. Had he been able to doff his wig and hit the dance floor with the Brolga Boys, Kutcha Edwards or any of the other great indigenous talent this country shares, the outcome for indigenous people and those coming since would have been less stained with regret. So whether for you it is Australia Day or January 26 is Invasion Day, if it doesn't make sense, sing.

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23 JANUARY 2003


It seems George Bush forgot Australian audiences get CNN. Sometime following John Howard's telephone discussion with President Bush, George has thanked Australia for the commitment Australia's leadership has made to a war on Iraq. That is the same commitment Mr Howard appears to be denying. Confused? - Maybe. Surprised? - You shouldn't be. This isn't the first time the threat of war has been used as a justification for telling a few porkies before dropping a few bombs.

Comments made today by George W. Bush that Australia is already committed to conflict confirms my belief that the Australian Government has promised to engage in a war against Iraq. Unfortunately for my sense of security and for my long diminished confidence in Australia's federal leadership, I am now in a position where having seen this government mislead the public before, I no longer trust their word in matters as important as these.

The unbelievable claims of ignorance by senior levels of the government concerning the children overboard affair were such a blatant example of wilful blindness that I disbelieve them. I am also unable to believe pronouncements by the Government that they have not already committed us to war. Do they think we are mugs? Do they really think we have all forgotten the Gulf of Tonkin incident during the Vietnam War? Former Australian Brigadier-General Gration hasn't, as his recent newspaper piece reminded those with either failing or selective memories.

Incredibly alarming, is that the picture emerging is of the United States and its military allies such as Australia being willing to short circuit United Nations processes at a cost of potentially 100,000s of lives and casualties. Furthermore, if it is true that Australia has already committed our troops, as I understand it, this is the first time the Government has committed troops in this fashion without Parliamentary debate and sanction.

This, when the USA [and in close parallel Australia] and their love affair with big petrol squandering cars is feeding a habitual dependence on cheap fossil fuel, and is destabilising the world's security and environment as a consequence.

Domestically, a big test will be whether Labour's opposition to declaring War on Iraq will be based on principle or polling. The better bet is principle will be sidelined to polling and political prospects, as the unethical gamble during the Tampa Crisis uncovered. The Australian Democrats have held strong, much to their credit.

Let us hope that Bob Brown's calls to have Federal Parliament returned early are successful and allow for the proposed public debate to occur. In the meantime, as Jo Camilleri highlights, poor decisions in our immediate future have a real potential to compromise our long term future. Older and more cynical politicians may be prepared to gamble our future [as they have shown they are very capable of with their head-in-sand approach to climate change and the destruction it is bringing] but I am not. Australian's need to consider their position carefully and become involved in peaceful solutions wherever they can. After having my motion 'Peaceful Alternatives to a war on Iraq' lost 3:6 in December at Melbourne City Council I will see if there is any prospect of the resolution getting up given confirmation of the increasingly unilateral action by the US and its allies.

This analytical piece, Australia and the Impending War on Iraq by Jo Camillieri is worth reading. How to respond constructively is a difficult and worthwhile challenge: David



January 27 may not be ‘D-Day’ but the next two months will be decisive. At issue is not just the future of Iraq, or even peace in the Middle East. Decisions made in the next several weeks will greatly affect the prospects for global security for years to come. That is why all countries, regardless of their size, location or geopolitical circumstance, have a great deal at stake. Australia, perhaps more so than most.

Australia is in a highly anomalous situation. Almost from the outset the Howard government made it known that it was ready to participate in a US-led assault on Iraq even in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution clearly authorising such action. In its enthusiastic embrace of Washington’s call to arms Australia has joined a highly exclusive club. So exclusive that it is hard to find anyone else – other than Britain – who belongs to it. It does not include Canada or New Zealand, or virtually any government in Western Europe (Spain is only a partial exception), the Middle East, Northeast or Southeast Asia.

Why has the Australia government chosen to isolate itself so completely from the rest of the world? Even in Britain, where the Blair government continues to assert the right to take military action without a clear Security Council mandate, the tide of public opinion has swung decisively against such a course. Unease has since spread widely through the British Labour Party, and is now strikingly evident in the ranks of the Cabinet itself.

The reason for such a universally negative response to the proposed invasion of Iraq is not hard to discover. Governments, political, religious and even military leaders, writers, scholars and journalists in most parts of the world remain singularly unimpressed by the case for war. The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have spoken on the matter on several occasions, each time with increasing firmness and anxiety about the likely consequences of unauthorised military intervention.

In Australia, the case against war with Iraq has been put by the leaders of all Christian churches, but perhaps most clearly and cogently by General Peter Gration, Chief of the Australian Defence Force during the Gulf War. The main argument for war – the need to disarm Saddam Hussein – is rapidly losing whatever credibility it may have once had. After several weeks of intensive investigations the UN inspection team (UNMOVIC) is far from reaching any alarming conclusions.

Neither the preliminary assessments offered by Hans Blix, UNMOVIC’s Executive Chairman, nor UNMOVIC’s daily inspection reports offer any credence to the British government’s September 24 intelligence report (the ‘Blair dossier’). Most of the sites named in the dossier have already been inspected by UNMOVIC, with no apparent evidence that they house weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Two items have been unearthed in recent days – 11 disused chemical warheads said to date back to the Iran-Iraq war and documents found in the home of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, probably linked to Iraq’s previous uranium enrichment programme. Neither discovery provides the ammunition needed to build a case for ‘material breach’ of Security Council resolutions. In all probability, the previous UN inspection team (UNSCOM) effectively dismantled Saddam Hussein’s limited nuclear infrastructure, and little has since been done to bring it back to life. It is possible that Iraq still has a limited chemical and biological capability, and that it is sufficiently small, dispersed and camouflaged to evade quick detection. But as General Gration has pointed out, we need to keep in mind that biological weapons have a short shelf life, that tactical use of both chemical and biological weapons is extremely difficult, and that Iraq lacks the means for their strategic delivery. Moreover, Iraq has a fiercely secular government, and the likelihood of co-operation with al Qaeda or other Islamic fundamentalist organisations is remote.

Why, then, should Iraq be singled out when a number of governments have a far more advanced nuclear arsenal (e.g. Pakistan, India and Israel), and all of them with the capacity and in given circumstances the will to use it? Several other governments – not just North Korea – may already be building the infrastructure needed to embark on the same path over the next three to five years. One can only infer that US policy is governed by other imperatives.

The so-called humanitarian argument is, if anything, flimsier. Saddam Hussein’s regime is certainly not a pleasant one. It has regularly used force and intimidation both against neighbours and against elements of its own population. It has an appalling human rights record. But many regimes over the last twenty or more years have had comparable or worse records. One need only mention Pol Pot, Pinochet, Idi Amin, Mobutu, Suharto, or a host of other tyrants in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. US governments have not as a rule proposed invasion in defence of human rights, not even in the case of the Rwandan genocide that saw 800,000 people butchered in the space of twelve weeks. And, just as well. Global intervention would be a recipe for global anarchy.

One can only infer that US policy on Iraq is governed by other imperatives. The planned military thrust into Iraq, regardless of the rhetoric with which it is cloaked, is seen by the vast majority of Arabs and by the Muslim world more generally as an attempt by the United States (to a lesser extent Britain) to establish strategic control of the entire Middle East, unimpeded access to cheap Middle Eastern oil, and a demonstrable capacity to remove from office any government likely to defy US preferences and priorities. For Bush and his advisers two other considerations may be pertinent: the need to complete the unfinished business of the Gulf War, and more importantly a desire to assume for the United States the role of global policeman in defiance not merely or even primarily of the UN, but of Western Europe which, for all its weaknesses, is emerging as America’s principal economic rival and political critic.

The President’s advisers may have also judged that given its parlous economic and military condition Iraq will be in no position to offer effective or prolonged resistance to the US advance. The United States can therefore confront Saddam in the confident expectation that it will achieve a quick victory and sustain few losses on the battlefield. Such a dramatic imposition of US will could be used to intimidate other existing or would-be rogue states, and apply additional pressure on recalcitrant friends and allies to accept the wisdom of Washington’s grand design.

The question remains: Why should an Australian government associate itself with this approach? Why should it choose to send 1550 Australian military personnel, including elite SAS troops and a squadron of fighter jets, well before UN inspectors have completed their work? Why should it act in a manner that is so out of step with regional sentiment either among political elites or the wider public?

Two main reasons suggest themselves. First, the Australian prime minister and one assumes a good many, though by no means all, other members of Cabinet share the view that Iraq, even more starkly than Afghanistan, presents Australia with an opportunity to demonstrate its reliability as an ally of the United States. That so few other allies are prepared to offer comparable backing for Washington’s rhetoric and actions merely serves to highlight the uniqueness of Australia’s position. What many observers see as lack of judgement, the Howard government sees as integral to the policy it has consistently pursued since it assumed office in 1996.

Close alignment with the United States is no new development. It is but a variation on an old theme. Doing as the ‘great and powerful friend’ asks and committing forces far from our shores, even when the conflict poses no direct threat to Australia’s security, is merely the premium attached to this insurance policy. The rights and wrongs of the conflict and the implications of military action whether for peace in the Middle East or for global security are in a sense tangential. The policy of ‘forward defence’ – in this case the despatch of military forces to the Gulf and possible military participation in the invasion of Iraq – is judged first and foremost in terms of its likely impact on the Australian–US alliance. Anything that cements the military and diplomatic relationship is seen as a positive achievement. The rhetoric of the ‘deputy sheriff’ doctrine may have been abandoned but not its substance.

There is, of course, more to the government’s thinking than grand strategy. Domestic political considerations are crucial. An assessment has presumably been made that the Australian public, especially in the aftermath of September 11 and Bali, would support a strong military response. When a degree of public unease is detected, the tone of public pronouncements is suitably modulated, but the content remains essentially unchanged. The political strategy rests on two main assumptions: first that once Australian forces are committed public opinion will swiftly fall into line with government policy; and secondly – and perhaps more importantly – that the Labor opposition has no clear alternative to present, and that the government’s forceful response will merely expose Labor’s paralysis and internal divisions.

The Howard approach, it must be conceded, has been greatly assisted by the dearth of informed public discussion, and by the relative failure of other parties – not just the ALP – to offer a coherent analysis of the situation. Even the Greens and the Democrats, though they have unequivocally opposed the government’s bellicose utterances and actions, have yet to articulate a clear set of principles that should govern Australia’s handling of the complex issues posed by so-called ‘rogue’ behaviour on the one hand and US hegemonic ambitions on the other.

Three important principles need to be given much greater attention than has thus far been the case. First, the issue of weapons of mass destruction is a critical one, and Australia needs to confront it using all the leverage and insight at its disposal. One thing, however, is clear: the issue cannot be handled selectively or intermittently to suit the latest twists and turns of US official thinking. It requires a concerted approach which covers three groups of countries: those that are nuclear threshold states (Iraq is just one of several in this category); those which have recently acquired nuclear weapons or which have yet to declare their acquisition (India, Pakistan, Israel); and the five major nuclear powers, which are also the Permanent Five on the Security Council. Weapons of mass destruction will always pose a serious threat to global security until such time as all three groups of states agree to renounce them as an instrument of policy.

Second, in developing and executing policies based on mutual obligation, the international community must proceed in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the international rule of law. The United Nations as presently constituted has an important role to play. On the other hand, the United Nations generally and the Security Council in particular may need to be reformed in order that the rule of law may be more effectively and legitimately applied. Both in the short and longer term it is therefore essential that crucial international decisions reflect the widest possible participation in decision-making processes. One power, whatever its economic or military clout or pretensions to leadership, cannot decide for the rest of the world. Military intervention determined by the will of one great power merely sets the precedent for unilateral intervention by another – the United States today, China, Russia, Europe or even Japan tomorrow.

Third, a country like Australia, when responding to security challenges of the kind posed by Iraq, has everything to gain from acting in concert with other small and middle powers. At the very least, Australian governments must make it their business to consult with Asian and Pacific neighbours. In the case of Iraq, there is much to be said for a consultative process that brought Australia and New Zealand together with the ASEAN countries. Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries with large Muslim populations, are particularly well placed to take part in a dialogue on a comprehensive peace process in the Middle East. In time, such consultation might usefully contribute to a larger Europe-Asia initiative. Our place in the emerging Asian regional architecture would be far more secure than it is now if we made it our practice to consult and collaborate – not just in areas of narrowly defined self-interest (e.g. Preventing asylum seekers from reaching our shores) but on issues of regional and global security.

In responding to the prospect of war in Iraq and for that matter to September 11 and Bali, Australia has been poorly served by its political leaders. But this is not cause for despair. In the end, it is for civil society to awaken to its responsibilities, to engage with the issues, and to make the political process far more transparent and more accountable. Though ominous clouds are rapidly gathering over Iraq, it may not be too late for Australia to play a more constructive role.

Joseph Camilleri is Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University and President of Pax Christi. .

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22 JANUARY 2003


The following resolution was adopted unanimously on January 17, 2003 by the Australian Education Union Federal Conference meeting in Adelaide. [This message was taken from LeftLink: Rosa]

The AEU Resolves:

1 That as an attack on Iraq will cause widespread death and destruction, increase insecurity and poverty in the world and threaten a wider conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere, including the South-East Asian region, the AEU is opposed to war against Iraq. Attacking Iraq to achieve "regime-change" is not only illegal but is likely to be counterproductive and lead to the strengthening of the repressive apparatus of Iraqi government. Joining an attack simply because the US wants Australian support is inadequate justification and has led to tragedy in the past.

2 Recourse to war is never justified before all non-violent solutions have been pursued. History is replete with examples of politicians committing other people's children to certain death, trauma and injury in war. The process of UN inspections and deliberations should not be pressured by US bullying of Security Council members into premature decisions. Neither should an Australian decision be pre-empted by a manipulated crisis created by the presence of huge US and British forces in the Gulf.

3 In view of US, British and Australian attempts to pre-empt UN processes, the Australian vessels currently enforcing the blockade on Iraq should be withdrawn immediately so as avoid any implication that Australian forces are in any way involved in a manipulated pre-emptive strike. A similar position should apply to Australian elements serving in US and British units. The blockade continues to inflict misery on innocent people in Iraq, and so should be lifted immediately. Further the bombing within the "no-fly" zones must cease.

4 The Australian parliament must have the opportunity to consult and debate the question of any military commitment prior to any decision. At that time those opposed to a military commitment by Australia will have the opportunity to assess any facts which the government or any other parties bring forward and to put their views before the community and the parliament.

5 That Education International be advised of the views of the AEU on the threat of war in the Middle East and be asked for its support in a campaign to achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

6 The AEU commends those Australian political parties and individuals who have unequivocally opposed an attack on Iraq including the Greens and Democrats and many ALP figures including Carmen Lawrence and Laurie Brereton.

7 The AEU endorses the call of the ACTU for the rights of all to work and live in an environment free of harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, religion or culture and to work to increase the understanding of the international situation amongst its members.

8 The AEU will participate in and work to build the widest coalition of anti-war forces ever seen in Australian society such that the rush to war in Iraq by the Coalition Government will be rejected overwhelmingly by the Australian community and will mark the Coalition forever as unfit to govern Australia and lead to its removal at the next Federal election.

9 If the Howard Government commits Australia to an unjustified war, the AEU urges the people of Australia not to support or co-operate with the war effort in any way.

The following 13 points were endorsed by the AEU Federal Executive and provided to delegates at the AEU Federal Conference as background to making the above decision.

The Howard Government Threatens Our Security


1 It is a primary duty of government to create peace and security for citizens in domestic and international relations.

2 The terrorist attacks of October 12 2002 in Bali and September 11 2001 on the US can only be condemned and have profound implications for ordinary citizens to a peaceful existence in all countries. Contrary to the Fukuyama prophesy of unending Western moral and economic dominance following the Cold War, the West faces growing criticism of and resistance to global inequality and exploitation which provides a basis for the growth of military conflict and terrorism, unjustifiable as it may be.

3 Australia's security interests are not best achieved by servile responses to US policies when Australia's relations with our region are the worst they have ever been and face a rising tide of hostility in some large neighbouring nations and severe internal crises in others. Australia's security is best achieved by building strong regional alliances through mutual development programs and independent defence and mutual security arrangements which are not tied to the US military apparatus given its current aggressive posture.

4 Instead of acting to understand and address these issues, the Howard government has used the Bali tragedy to promote militarism and xenophobia rather than social and international security. The Bush, Blair and Howard governments have reacted in a superficial and reckless manner to terrorism by seeking to scapegoat nations like Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba and Iraq and to pursue aggressive US geo-political ambitions, notably the oil reserves of Iraq. In so doing they have created greater insecurity and the potential for increased risks to their own citizens.

5 The means of addressing global conflicts should lie primarily through the agency of the United Nations and there should be an emphasis on achieving peaceful resolution through a range of means including sanctions and the separation of warring parties through peacekeeping forces. These should be applied consistently to all countries where conflict and breaches of conventions exist, not just to those where the West's self interest is involved.

6 International Law and UN Conventions provide a means whereby military action can be taken by states where and a real and present danger exists to their security or where their borders have been violated. No such danger has been demonstrated by any nation in relation to Iraq. The removal of weapons of mass destruction cannot be achieved on the basis of rich countries having them and poor countries not a comprehensive multilateral disarmament plan is required under the auspices of the UN.

7 The Iraqi government headed by Saddam Hussein is a militarised authoritarian regime which has a shocking record of abuses of human rights including the execution of trade union leaders and political opponents. Despite the profound repugnance of the regime in Iraq to those concerned with human and labour rights, there has been no link even alleged with the terrorist attacks on the West and no proof found of the existence of a threat to other states in the Middle East or anywhere else, despite an intensive UN inspection regime being allowed to search the country.

8 Israel under the Sharon Government is guilty of persistent defiance of UN resolutions, state-sponsored terrorism and the admitted existence of unmonitored weapons of mass destruction. This behaviour has not led to any question of "regime-change" in that country from the Bush, Blair or Howard governments, raising questions as to the real motives of these governments in advocating military action against Iraq. The British Government has even admitted that war against Iraq is required in part to secure its oil and gas requirements.

9 Meetings have been reported between the Bush and Howard governments to have secured commitments about the forces Australia would commit to war on Iraq regardless of UN processes. If this is so, these decisions are illegal in international law and fail any test of democratic process given that adequate time has been available to submit the question to parliament. The timing of war has reportedly been set on the basis of military exigencies and domestic US politics. Such timing would attempt to pre-empt the Australian parliament in order to lock the ALP Opposition into supporting a commitment once announced.

10 Commentators such as the Pentagon Papers' publisher Daniel Ellsberg have suggested on the basis of military leaks that a "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" replica is being prepared whereby it is alleged that US troops are under attack or at risk from Iraqi missiles and WMDs to justify rapid unilateral action without UN mandate. Such a scenario could not be concocted without the military build up currently underway in the Gulf.

11 Any attack on Iraq will cost the lives of thousands of Iraqi citizens including innocent children and will divert scarce resources in both Iraq and the attacking countries from dealing with the true sources of terrorism and war through addressing social security and services such as health and education.

12 Leading military figures and veterans' organisations in Australia have opposed a commitment of Australian forces to Iraq including General Gration who headed the Gulf War contingent, Major-General Stretton, the Returned Services League and Vietnam Veteran's Associations as well as conservative political figures such as Malcolm Fraser.

13 The US and Britain stand condemned for hypocrisy when it is known that they were leading suppliers of weapons to Iraq in the 1980s for use against Iran. US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld, a leading Bush Administration hawk, personally met Saddam Hussein in 1983 to negotiate loans for the purchase of US weapons including supplies of anthrax and bubonic plague from US chemical firms, when at that time Rumsfeld was a pharmaceutical company executive.

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19 JANUARY 2003


This message was passed on by my sister: Kerry Armstrong is one of many organising a Rally by Women Against the War this Monday 20 January 12 noon on the steps of Parliament House. They call for women to join them in a show of faith that "we can act to stop the war against Iraq". To attract media attention women are asked to wear their bra outside their clothes! or just come along and swell the crowd as a show of faith that we can and will stop this war.

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17 JANUARY 2003


The Australia Institute is hosting another excellent paper title 'Putting Pressure on Rogues' by Gavan McCormack. It is available as a PDF by clicking on the 'What's New' button on the Australia Institute Website. The Australia Institute supports a lot of good research and critical analysis and is well worth supporting. Membership details are on the site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Putting Pressure on Rogues

North Korea is a member of President Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ and is demonised in the world’s press. But there is a history to North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that must be understood before we call that country a ‘rogue state’. Even Australia has become involved, dispatching a three-man mission to Pyongyang. This paper by Gavan McCormack causes us to question the objectives of the Australian Government in sending a three-man mission to Pyongyang. Gavan McCormack is research professor of East Asian History at the Australian National University. He is co-author of Korea since 1850 (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1993).



The Victorian Peace network is helping to organise a Rally for Peace, 5 pm Friday 14 February at the State Library, Swanston St., City. More information is at the Victorian Peace Network website: www.vicpeace.org. How about putting it in your diary now?

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16 JANUARY 2003


This note was posted on LeftLink: Several businesses in Apollo Bay on Victoria's Great Ocean Road have agreed to close down for one hour on Saturday 18 January in support of the town's first anti-war march. We are walking from the market to the Agricultural Show at 12 noon. Police are organising traffic on the Great Ocean Road. This is a community march for everybody, with speeches, skateboarders, banners, drums and whistles so everybody can have their say. Organiser, Yvonne Francis says it is amazing what people can do when they get organised. We took 20 years, but we stopped logging in the rainforests of the Otways. Noon is a very busy hour for Apollo Bay shops and closing up is a fine commitment to make for peace. I do not want to see people bombed in my name, this is the least we can do. In every opinion page we read how people do not want to go to war, but Australians will have to speak up loudly if they want to make a difference.

More information 0418401480 03 52376468 Yvonne Francis - Senate candidate Nuclear Disarmament Party, 5 Montrose Avenue Apollo Bay after Saturday: 16/104 Henderson Road Queanbeyan 02 62976274

From Rosa: As I was recently reminded in an article on the upcoming Gulf War, Antonio Gramsci, a Marxist imprisoned by the Italian fascists in 1926, was attributed as once saying, "what comes to pass does so not so much because a few people want it to happen, as because the mass of citizens abdicate their responsibility and let things be."



An UnAmerican UnAustralia sent me this top secret file. Being alert, but not alarmed, I thought it best be hidden away on this page, so none of the baddies find it. The New World Order Atlas is titled: The world according to the United States of America. Please be aware that if you look at this picture, you will be required to ring Australia's wonderful new security hotline and dob yourself in for thinking downright UnAmerican thoughts. What is that number again? I must ring Steve.

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14 JANUARY 2003



David's 100 Green Achievement page is already housing 123 projects on it and is growing.

In the interests of avoiding the wrath of Alan Fels [or perhaps Mr. Samuels in the future?] for misleading and deceptive conduct, David has developed a second platform for his and your good ideas: David's 100 More Green Achievements!

David's 100 More Green Achievements is a repository for good ideas that David will pursue once his 100 Green Achievements are consolidated. Please contribute your ideas by going A Mailbox for your Ideas on 100 More Green Achievements. Your contributions are sent by e-mail, which he will then transcribe onto a webpage. Your ideas will be listed on 'Your Good Green Ideas' in reverse chronological order from when I receive them

I will then develop them into a separate page as part of 'David's 100 More Green Achievements'. I will endeavour to attribute ideas where they are authored and the idea is new. If your name appears on this page or site, and you would like it removed, please e-mail me at; PleaseRemoveMe@davidrisstrom.org.

Collectively, our ideas will contribute to a further 100 Green Achievements, or better still, why not implement them where you have the opportunity.



Melbourne City Council unanimously moved to further aboriginal reconciliation in the City of Melbourne, accepting a motion I moved to commence a 12 month discussion on how best to do so [See my entries below for 7 August 2002]. Today in a very productive meeting initiated by Reconciliation Victoria, an agreement was proposed to partner with Reconciliation Victoria to set a timetable and vision for stimulating the discussion and bringing about results. The agreement between Melbourne City Council and Reconciliation Victoria will be put forward at the 4 February MCC Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee. I'll provide updates on this page as they evolve.



The launch of Catalyst, a project of young artists working in a joint project sponsored by the City of Melbourne, Jesuit Social Services and VicHealth was great fun. I attended while David took photos, and scored quite a few compliments from those there. Go to Living Laneways to see some of David's photos. More photos are coming courtesy of artists there.

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13 JANUARY 2003


Yesterday I wrote about David's interaction with the Melbourne City Council's new information filtering system. With a little more prodding, it appears the system has more filtering capacity than a baleen whale in a swirl of krill.

David sent a copy of a web page article from 2001 by Sarah Peart about two anti-Nike activists being pinged with a $500 on the spot fine for peacefully handing out leaflets without a permit. His email from the Town Hall to his home met with a message that said 'You have sent an e-mail that has been flagged as possibly containing inappropriate images or text.' On further investigation, it appears the e-mail was intercepted because it contained the word 'war'. Machines being machines, the fact that the word 'war' was used in the clauses 'anti-war' and 'against the Vietnam War' didn't seem to matter.

The irony continues, in that David's motion last December for 'Peaceful Alternatives to a War on Iraq' [which was lost 6:3 - see my entries below for 19 and 20 December 2002] would never have made it from my home to the Town Hall and anything said about it would not have got out again from the Town Hall's filters!

On a similar note, when David was going through customs in Zimbabwe last year, customs officials asked him if they could check any books he had to see if they that contained anything that was banned. Despite being surprised by the request, David had the good sense to refuse on principle. Next time someone asks him, I expect he will have grown a little more used to an increasingly paranoid and conservative world. I also expect he will still refuse, but be a little less surprised.

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12 JANUARY 2003


Melbourne City Council has appeared to produce the most ironic doubling-up of censorship I have experienced since that old scoundrel Goebbles was up to his old tricks during WWII.

The Council is intending to use a new software filtering system to screen outgoing and incoming e-mail someone deems as being unacceptable on the basis of a range of grounds including harassment.

As soon as I saw the notification about the filtering system, I sought clarification from the MCC Governance Department as to exactly what criteria would be applied to deem a communication from within or directed towards our democratic organisation to be unacceptable. I didn't receive a reply, but being a Friday afternoon I decided the issue could wait until Monday.

Following a successful local government training day, I decided to return to the Deputy Lord Mayor's office to do more work on Sunday afternoon. A Google search brought up an old Green Left Weekly story on my stand against two individuals being issued fine notices by council officers under police instruction on 1 May 2001. Although it took three Council meetings, and meetings with very senior police, Council executives, Leigh Hubbard and others to changes Melbourne City Council's by-laws to allow leaflets of a political nature to be distributed without requiring council permits and approval, the changes were finally made. About one year later I think.

Even though those of us bleeding hearts who believe in old fashioned principles such as freedom of speech and the need to maintain democracy know that each victory awaits the next clumsy, and sometimes well-meaning, suppression of ideas, I'd expect you would be surprised by the following.

When I forwarded the GreenLeft article "Anti-sweatshop activists vow to defy crackdown" the following e-mail message came on my computer:

To promote a harassment free workplace and in compliance with the City of Melbourne Internet and E-mail Policy, a new e-mail filter with expanded capabilities has been introduced.

You have sent an e-mail that has been flagged as possibly containing inappropriate images or text. E-mails flagged will continue to be released until 9 February 2003, to allow staff time to adjust to the new filter.

Details of the e-mail are as follows:

Sent to: risstrom@labyrinth.net.au

Subject: Anti-sweatshop activists vow to defy crackdown.html

** This is a preliminary warning email notification only ***

If you have any questions or require further information, please forward this e-mail to hradministrator@melbourne.vic.gov.au stating your question.

Beyond 10 February 2003, all e-mails flagged will be withheld for 21 days and then destroyed.

E-mails will be released if requested and deemed to be work related.

If anyone can tell me what it is about this e-mail that justifies in any way it being deemed 'possibly containing inappropriate images or text' please contact me at: Rosa@davidrisstrom.org. I'll pass it onto David.

Luckily for David, the Governor of Illinois, USA, has allowed for the commuting of sentences of over 300 inmates awaiting execution on death row. As long as David doesn't say anything to offend anyone, he'll live another day and we can all go an and live happily ever after. Not.

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10 JANUARY 2003


A rally organised by the Refugee Action Collective of Victoria in support of the refugees in detention across Australia will be on tomorrow, Saturday 11 January, 1 pm, meet at State Library, on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston Streets in the City. See you there.

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9 JANUARY 2003


On 23 July 2002 I posted a note on this site about the State Government finding it hard to kick old habits. Having set up an Interdepartmental Committee to carve up Melbourne's electoral boundaries amongst mates, rather than using the established procedure under the Victorian Local Government Act, that old fashioned idea of following the proper process seemed to go out the door again. Sniffing around the corridors, it seems the hounds are baying again [the other hounds that is].

The crux of the issue is twofold: 1/ The Liberal government took Docklands off the City of Melbourne, and despite promises to return it to local government, the ALP Government has reneged to date; and, 2/ Neighbouring councils are in discussion with the State Government about which bits of Melbourne City Council they would like to call their own.

The Local Government Act, like State and Federal arrangements, involves considering 'community of interest' if electoral boundaries need to be re-established due to population changes, etc. The Local Government Act probably doesn't envisage a group of Labour politicians getting together and working out what works for them.

It was only following the friendly invitation to join the 'Carve-Up Melbourne' Committee when David got the City of Melbourne to remind the State Government that the Electoral Act applied, and that inviting us to negotiate something prior to putting it into legislation wasn't good enough, did we start to hear a different tune.

Oh! No!, We were never going to exclude the community. We failed to mention anything about asking our communities, and suggested a committee and perhaps some legislation to follow, but no, we didn't mean it that way. Like the State Government was going to consider the 'Way Forward' report of Joan Kirner, Alan Hunt and Tim Costello, when The State Government announced about one hour after the report's release, that they, a Labour Government, were going to psuedo-sack the Council despite no suggestion that anything required under the Local Government Act was evident.

Both are probably good examples of ALP commitment to working with Local Government as an important sphere of government, or whatever it was that passed as a promise prior to the 1999 and 2001 State elections. Maybe the policy should be clarified. We will work with Local Government if it does what we want.

Anyone having seen the City of Melbourne Bill 2001, which proposed a requirement that City of Melbourne policy conform with State Government policy would realise this might have more to do with disposition than

It seems that with all the warmongering going on with going all the way with G. W. B., the attacks on refugee rights, and democracy at a local level again under threat, it might be time for a smart developer to lodge a planning application for a 'Museum of Democracy' To which Council to apply, might require some clarification from the Interdepartmental Committee!

This all brings back an adage from an old story David tells of being in Guatemala, when an army patrol came though town, apparently after having killed a large number of obstinate peasants who hadn't wanted to relinquish their land. In the communal shower in David's hotel, with two live wires dangling below the shower rose, a kind traveller had written on the wall, "If this weren't so dangerous, it would be funny." Too true.

Me, I'm a strong believer in dogocracy, but that's another story.

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8 JANUARY 2003


Reading 'The Age' yesterday I was dumbstruck by an article on the Detroit Motor Show. It still seems as if some people are untroubled by their desire to drive huge gas guzzling cars, while apparently making no connection to wars over resources and greater despoliation of natural areas as petroleum exploration looks for new fields to exploit.

Toby Hagon, The Age's Motoring Editor, wrote about the Detroit Motor Show in the 7 January 2003 edition, making some pretty interesting observations. The article is well worth reading about the contrast between demand for fuel efficient and gas guzzling cars in the US of A. Toby Hagon reports that amongst other releases:

  • Cadillac unveiled the 'Sixteen' concept car, having a 13.6 litre 745 kW V16 engine and equally behemoth body to match;
  • General Motors released the 427, with a 7 litre v10 engine
  • Ford is continue the release of its F-Series trucks.

My personal view is that at a time when the world is facing a war that many, including myself, is influenced by the availability of oil resources from the Middle East, the release of these cars highlights an incredible hypocrisy. Put most simply, at a time when fossil fuel resources are limited and the damage caused by their extraction and combustion is increasingly clear, maintaining waste as a status symbol belies an immaturity the planet is unable to afford. I am interested in your views on this. Please e-mail me at Rosa@davidrisstrom.org.

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7 JANUARY 2003


Growing Green is coming along nicely, with some very good ideas percolating into the open. I can't divulge much. These new Terrorist laws may mean that anyone reasonably suspected of having ideas can be detained for an indeterminate time without fresh water or meatybites. Being German might be a bit of a risk too.

My human friends are funny. They always seem to need to create 'the other'. The Cold War. Terrorists. Iraq. Now North Korea.

Me, I chase cats because I was designed that way: Rosa.

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5 JANUARY 2003


Blame it on my German heritage if you want, but listening to 'All Things Considered' on USA's NPR [National Public Radio] today while David unmercifully ended the life on some friendly weeds in our garden, I was reminded that it was good old Uncle Sam who helped give strength to Saddam Hussien when it suited their national interests. After the lessons of my home country. I am left wondering again, 'What is it that we can do as citizens, or as bystanders, to stop innocent people dying?

In truth I don't know, but I know David's attempt to get the Council to support his resolution for Peaceful Alternatives to A War on Iraq' was defeated 6:3, with only Crs. Risstrom, Redwood and Chamberlin supporting the motion. I must work out how to get more of my canine friends to stand for Council! [I heard the ALP used to be able to get them on the electoral, but that was probably before pawprints and Deoggieribosenucleic acid [DNA] marking].

Maybe the best thing to do is to keep optimistic and to see things for what they are. A good laugh occasionally helps me. Without trying to be unkind to our American friends, click on this: 'Bush or Chimp' It is a little reminder that we are all human, and that humans have relatives too.

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4 JANUARY 2003


Life as the Acting Deputy Lord Mayor is surprisingly unchanged, but next week hots up a bit as more people roll out of their holidays and back into work. David is reading the final draft of Growing Green, so I will get back to you about what I know.

The Sustainable Living Fair is one of the highlights of Sustainability Month in February 2003. More details can be found by clicking on this Sustainability Month hotlink, visiting http://www.sustainabilitymonth.org or downloading this Sustainability month PDF.

The Fair itself is at Federation Square on 21, 22 and 23 February 2003. Having helped to bring the Fair to Melbourne [See Bringing the Sustainable Living Fair to Melbourne at Dave's 100 Green Achievements] it is great to see the Fair grow from strength the strength every year.

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3 JANUARY 2003


One of Dave's 100 Green Achievements is to create a Virtual Mailbox. You can visit it and have your two bobs worth (GST inclusive) at Your Good Green Ideas For 100 More Green Achievements. Good ideas for the upcoming March 2003 Local Government Elections would be greatly appreciated.

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2 JANUARY 2003


Rosa, the Policy Watchdog is back from filing stories over the net while doing her Christmas job at the North Pole and is drooling at the muzzle with the chance to drive policy at MCC (See picture above for Rosa in the Policy Driving Seat. With lots of work going on to develop David's 100 Green Achievements Rosa reckons we are in for a Very Green and Good 2003.

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1 JANUARY 2003


David is Acting Deputy Lord Mayor from today until 13 January. Call in and see him sometime, electronically or otherwise.

I am trying to get a promise for a Cafe Canine for all us 'four legs good, two legs tolerable' folk who want to join the cafe latte set. Check out the details of Cafe Canine at Dave's 100 Green Achievements.

David made it home without a bomb scare threatening to turn Federation Square into Federation Fragments. David's head was less fortunate. You would have thought with a head that big there was room for movement when one hits the cordial. Next time, he's staying at home and I'm going.




As I've been working my pads to the bone, I've put 2002's Current Affairs on another page. For my 2002 policy analysis from me, please go to Rosa's Rave.




Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.