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AEU ACT Supports Global Day of Divestment

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Glenn speaks at Australian launch

AEU ACT Branch Secretary, Glenn Fowler's remarks at the the launch of Global Divestment Day.

It is an honour to speak to you today upon the Australian Launch of Global Divestment Day.

As Secretary of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union, I speak to you on behalf of three-and-a-half thousand educators in this city and in Jervis Bay.


As educators who devote our professional lives to guiding, fostering and inspiring the next generation, we believe we have a deep stake in the issue of climate change and in the global campaign to combat it. Our daily mission is to impart to young people the skills, knowledge and wisdom to live a meaningful and prosperous life. As we all know too well, the consequences of unmitigated global warming threaten to shatter that mission unless, together, we take continued and concerted action.

As educators, we cannot ignore the profound act of inter-generational injustice that will be perpetrated on the young people in our care, if profit, parochialism or apathy prevents meaningful and proportionate action being taken now.

As a profession devoted to the development and propagation of critical thought we abhor the anti-scientism that pervades climate denialism and the do-nothing policies of the Abbott Government.


As people whose job it is to sew the seeds of empathy and awaken burgeoning social awareness, we stand in admiration of the thoughtful, committed citizens – so many of them young people – who are standing up and making a difference: whether they’re leading the rapidly growing Divestment movement; activists blocking the Port of Newcastle or occupying the Minerals Council; or the GAIA student group at Hawker College introducing new environmentally-friendly practices to their school.

As unionists, we support the Divestment Movement because we share its goal. But, as importantly, we share a profound belief in its means, in using people power to change our world for the better. While the Abbott Government attempts to stifle even the most moderate action on climate change and unfailingly works on behalf of fossil fuel interests, this movement represents a collective assertion of our right to participate meaningfully in forging our shared destiny.

For all these reasons, AEU ACT Branch Council – the body of representatives from nearly 100 ACT public schools and CIT that governs our union – passed the following resolution at its meeting on October 25.

"Branch Council commends the work of the Pacific Warriors in drawing attention to the effects of the actions of successive Australian governments in promoting and facilitating the export of coal, a major contributor to rising sea-levels through global warming. Branch Council also commends the decision taken by the ANU to divest its financial holdings in coal production and export despite the hostile campaign run against that decision by the Coalition Government, right wing media and coal industry lobbyists.  

Branch Council calls upon the leaders of all major political parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly to divest any financial holdings in BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Peabody Energy, Glencore, Exxon Mobil, the largest-polluting companies in which the ACT government has direct investments."

The ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union looks forward to “breaking up with fossil fuels” on the Global Day of Divestment in February. Equally, we look forward to deepening solidarity with all those who share our profound concern about the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change but are determined to make a difference.

 
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