WITADA’S Weekly Top 10 – 30 May 2015

30 May 201530 May 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s Top 10 we feature Reconciliation Week, marriage equality in Australia, Nigeria and Nebraska!


1. This week is National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) although you could be excused for not realising this given how little press it has received. Just prior to this week, 26 May was Sorry Day. There is some excellent content on these web sites and some suggestions for actions that you might take. A brief look around the net shows little activity marking either of these events although it is interesting to note that the NRL (Australian National Rugby League) has unveiled a plaque acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as part of Reconciliation Week!


2. SBS has a story in their Comment section on the importance of all Australians knowing some Indigenous languages, especially of your local area, given that most non-Indigenous Australians have no idea about Indigenous languages and their diversity.


3. The wonderful result in the Irish vote has lead to an increased call for marriage equality for same sex couples in Australia. The Australian Marriage Equality website has posted an open letter from a range of Australian business leaders who have signed in support of marriage equality. And it seems that even Tony Abbott think it’s a good idea to have a conscience vote on this now. AND even Alan Jones thinks it’s a good idea to legalise! So the future looks bright!! Judith Ireland from the Sydney Morning Herald puts these developments in perspective and answers some questions about timelines and process.


However it is also important to point out again that marriage equality for same sex couples is only one aspect of this complex issue globally. Pop along to have a look at our blog for a deeper view of the global issues around marriage equality.


4. Nigeria has a new president, Muhammadu Buhari and Amnesty International has some ideas about how he might approach his new presidency that seem pretty hard to argue with! They also have some quick look stats about Nigeria that are disturbing – minimum of 4,000 people killed by Boko Haram during 2014; life expectancy for men is 52 years and women is 53 years; and 38,000 people are in prison with no conviction for any offence.


5. The New York Times has featured a story on the violence experienced by women in Tunisia during 60 years of dictatorships in that country. Four years ago a revolution in Tunisia lead to the establishment of its first democracy. Now Tunisia has set up their Truth and Dignity Commission “with the goal of exposing the violations, making reparations and holding the abusers accountable in a search for national reconciliation”. The Commission has been shocked by the number of women who have come forward to report incidents of extreme cruelty, sexual violence and rape.


6. The New York Times has reported that Nebraska has become the first conservative US state in over 40 years to ban the death penalty despite a conservative Republican governor who is a staunch supporter of capital punishment.


7. It has been reported that the leading cause of death of young women aged 15 to 19 years is suicide. Jessica Valenti of The Guardian reports on the suggestion that worldwide sexism is to blame for this statistic and the high incidence of mental health issues in women generally.


8. This week the Great Barrier Reef has been in the news as UNESCO has made new recommendations about the state of the reef. There was suggestion that the reef would be placed on the ‘in danger’ list but this has not occurred. However there are calls to ensure that the State and Federal Governments are still held to account for the state of the reef and its continued protection – see the Greenpeace petition below.


9. There seem to be a great many important petitions this week and we have listed them here for your consideration.
GetUp has a new petition on marriage equality in Australia.
Greenpeace has a petition to UNESCO in support of its continuing eye on the reef.
Oxfam has a petition on climate change calling for the Federal Government to increase its contribution to international climate change.
Recognise has a petition calling for recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian Constitution.
And following on from the story last week about West Papua, AVAAZ has a longstanding petition to the Indonesian President to grant freedom of press in West Papua.


10. In the spirit of reconciliation we share with you our heartfelt hope that we might create a more peaceful and equitable society here in our own country by first making our peace with the Indigenous people of this land. We leave you with this beautiful clip from Gurrumul singing Wiyathul.


Great to have your company this week and look forward to seeing you again next week.