Geelong Library Meeting 25th May

Hi Everyone, climate action supporters and networkers

In May, our very concerned climate group ADAC started punching a little above its weight.
It was our great privilege to be involved in the global launch of Mr Robert (Bob) Hinkley’s brilliant idea, “The Code for Corporate Citizenship”.

ADAC offered to support a meeting, booked a space in the Geelong Library, and joined with another smaller dynamic climate group, Centre for Climate Safety, the podcast team behind The Sustainable Hour, and the larger very successful Geelong Sustainability.

Bob and Annie came all the way from Berry about one hour south of Sydney. The small team – Mik Aidt, Vicki Perrett and myself (Robert Patterson) – were joined by Bob as we all zoomed and organised over four weeks to invite the residents of Geelong to come to the event.

On the evening of the 25th of May, Bob Hinkley addressed the meeting and answered some very strong questions on Corporate Law from people in the field, from Deakin Uni.

Hinkley’s address has left us all with 11 words none of us will ever forget. These 11 words, “but not at the expense of severe harm to the environment” will reverberate for many months to come.

Climate groups and the larger grassroots community must take up the challenge to stand behind the message, calling on the Federal Government to implement the Code in Section 181 of the Corporate Act (2001). This Code may well change the narrative with climate groups and with our parliamentarians.

The link to hear, see and read more about Bob’s idea of the Code is

Remaining questions

Many, if not all, can see the merit of Bob’s Code. We, the climate concerned, were left with a number of things to think about:

  • Why are these words not already in the Corporation Act (2001)?
  • How long will it take for the Federal Parliament to introduce the Code into the Act (2001)?
  • What will happen to those companies who don’t comply?
  • Will there be push-back from many companies and industry lobby groups?

After the meeting, one of the attendees shared the following reflection:

Thanks for the invite to last Thursday’s talk at the library.

Bob Hinkley sounds like the right person to be spearheading some global change.

His solution is simple; but as we know the issue is complex.

Human nature is both angelic & narcissistic, and if history is anything to go by, every good intention faces a barrage of indifference & rationalisation.

I can see how committed you currently are to the issues.

All the best”

These significant words encourage the realisation that if we don’t act immediately on where we are now, so much will be lost. The Code is a must for humanity. Our governments need to listen and engage.

As stated by the U.N. Secretary General: ‘We are now on the edge of an abyss’.

Considering the dire consequences and high costs humanity now faces because of the climate breakdown, along with the realisation how little effect the global climate activism so far have had on changing any of this – Bob’s clarification that there is a flaw in the Corporation Act (2001) that all company directors follow, is the most disturbing finding of them all.

Currently this flaw allows a few companies – less than 1% of companies – to cause severe damage to the environment with no consequences whatsoever. These companies started producing fossil fuels over 100 years ago. It all worked well. We had the energy to drive the Industrial Revolution. Forty years ago these very companies clearly established – with their own research – that their products, fossil fuels, were starting to affect the atmosphere and heat the planet.

While the Code is not in itself a total solution, it brings large focus to a flaw that must be eliminated. If fixed, we will start things moving in a very positive direction. If our government so chooses, the 1% of companies that are causing severe damage to the environment will be asked to phase out of their severely damaging products, over the next 10 years.

Bob has now left Geelong but can Geelong hang on to and promote the Code with our Geelong Local Members of Federal Parliament?

Bob, I am sure, will proceed further in approaching the people who work for us in Parliament, in climate science and the climate experts in our community.

We, the three Geelong climate groups – GS, C4CS and ADAC – wish him all the very best for if his best efforts fail, we lose another great opportunity, as was lost with the failure of Australia’s full support for Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill 2020, in 2021.

At the Library meeting calls to action were discussed. Also the action of many people now mailing Letitions (March, April and May) to their local parliamentary member.

A show of hands highlighted that a large number of people understand and are already mailing monthly Letitions. Fantastic to see. The first Local Parliamentarian meeting has been gained as a result in July 2023.

The Committee at ADAC, with membership from Cairns to Perth and down to Opossum Bay in Tassie, are involved and participating in this very new Letition system. As many now know, a Letition is a cross between a petition and a letter. Letitions can work in parallel with Open Letters, petitions, submissions and letters. Letitions deliver a strong ongoing monthly message from people in the electorate. Letitions outlive a one-off petition and a one-off open letter, as they are repeatedly sent by many community individuals.

Through Letitions people are uniting in asking for meetings/forums with their Local Members of Federal Parliament. Many of our representatives in Canberra need to understand that we the grassroots community, the climate action movements, want our parliamentarians to look us straight in the eye and tell us the truth about the severe danger humanity is in – as we keep heating up our planet. When will CO2 levels start to reduce? When will the last Australian coal mine be closed?