Australian citizens go to the polls to elect a federal government on 21 May. The 17 million people eligible to vote will be electing both a local member to sit in the House of Representatives for the next three years; and a number of senators, to sit in the Senate for the next six years.
To assist voters in considering how they might vote, the Uniting Church has prepared a resource that identifies a number of issues, in seven key areas, that should inform the way that we vote, if we take seriously how the Gospel. calls us to live.
The seven areas are drawn Our Vision for a Just Australia, a 40-page document expressing the Uniting Church vision for a just Australia and why our Christian faith calls us to work towards its fulfilment. It can be read in full at https://uniting.church/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Our-Vision-For-a-Just-Australia_July2021.pdf
The Assembly has prepared a shorter 8-page document as a Federal Election Resource, in which key matters in each of the seven areas are identified. That document is found at https://uniting.church/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Federal-Election-Resources-2022_11-April.pdf
The second area reflects the vision of the Uniting Church for living sustainably and responsibly as an integral part of the global environment. The Renewal of the Whole Creation is a vision and a commitment that was articulated in the Uniting Church’s Basis of Union, adopted in 1977, and which has continued to inform policies and practices over the ensuing decades.
The church seeks the flourishing of the whole of God’s Creation and all its creatures, in which “we act to renew the earth from the damage done and stand in solidarity with people most impacted by human-induced climate change”. To achieve this, government, churches, businesses and the wider community need to work together for a sustainable future.
The UCA resource acknowledges the current Government commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but notes that “we need to do more, and sooner. Global temperatures are rising as human activity continues to pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Australia faces significant climate change impacts: rising sea levels, extreme heat and flooding, longer droughts and bushfire seasons and the loss of coral reef. Our neighbours in the Pacific and elsewhere are suffering the impacts of climate change, to their lands and waters, their livelihoods, their culture and identity.”
The key issues to inform our voting in this regard are what each candidate or their party says about:
• Setting more ambitious targets for 2030 – committing to a 45-50% carbon reduction as a minimum but working towards a target closer to 70%.
• A strong renewables target – which embraces the potential for Australia as a global leader.
• Just transitions for impacted communities currently dependent on fossil fuels.
• Australia must play a significant role in our region and globally in addressing the causes and
impacts of climate change, responding to the call from Pacific countries, including the Pacific Conference of Churches, for our country to act more decisively to reduce carbon emissions.
For the UCA national climate action plan, see https://uniting.church/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Assembly-National-Climate-Action-Plan.pdf
For the full series of seven posts, see: