Oxfam Summer: World Music & Queenscliff

Campaigning for change article written on the 07 Dec 2010

Photo: OxfamAUS

Oxfam Australia’s 2010 Summer Campaigners recently hit two awesome music events this month: the Australian World Music Exhibition (AWME) and the Queenscliff Music Festival.

At the AWME, we spread the word about how indigenous Australians still on average die 17 years before non-indigenous Australians, and about how collaboration with indigenous leaders and more attention from our government is crucial to addressing this situation. We talked about how several indigenous communities still lack sufficient access to education, employment and health services, and how (contrary to our idea of an abundant Australia) this disparity is still happening right here, right now.

From whizzing between crowds and talking to groups of visitors simultaneously during busy times at the exhibition, to having longer conversations with a few visitors during the quieter moments, the AWME visitors were hugely supportive of our campaign. Many had their own first-hand experiences about Closing the Gap, and it was great for us to hear about what they’ve gone through.

At Queenscliff, we were situated outside the music festival, but we had a giant sign set up on the roof of our campaigning stall to make sure that everyone uphill could see us even from far away.

Visitors to the festival came to get pictures of themselves holding up speech bubbles urging further action on climate change, and signed Oxfam Australia’s 130,000-strong petition for countries to get a price on carbon emissions, work towards more binding emission goals, and provide more support for the Pacific neighbouring communities susceptible to the effects of climate change.

We took this opportunity to spread the word about how rising sea levels and more frequent natural disasters have forced families in the Pacific Islands to relocate from their homes, and about how these forced migrations and adaptations to our changing climate often robs such families of their jobs and traditional ways of life.

Many of the festival visitors were rushing to or from the concert, but our luminescent green stall, photo activities and enthusiasm definitely helped attract visitors from around the event. Oxfam Australia’s stalls at future music events this summer will definitely be worth visiting, so make sure you check them out!