Melbourne, Australia: Australia Burma Network (ABN), which has been actively involved in lobbying for Burma issues since last year’s Saffron Revolution, changed its name to Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria) at the meeting held on November 29, 2008.
An effort to change the name from Australia Burma Network (ABN) to Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria) took nearly 5 months, according to one ABN member. The first effort for changing its name from ABN to Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria) was made last July, 2008 after various organizations working on Burma such as Burma Campaign Sydney, Democracy for Burma Action Group of Western Australia, Burmese Solidarity Group of Queensland, Canberra Network, Burma Action Group of South Australia, Burma Campaign Australia (Burma Office) and Australia Burma Network met in Sydney, decided to work together and used the name ‘Burma Campaign Australia’ for national coordination and lobbying to shape the Australian government foreign policy towards Burma.
But at the meeting last July, the representatives from different organizations and individuals did not want to yet change the name, Australia Burma Network (ABN). Nonetheless, Melbourne Burma community members and supporters agreed not to use the name ABN publicly in the media and on key events. The participants of the last’s July meeting unanimously agreed to represent the Burma Campaign Australia on key events and in the media. “We need a national body that enables networks active on Burma across Australia to speak with a unified and so more influential voice,” said Georgia at the meeting held on November 29, 08.
“In mid-2007, Burma community members, supporters of Burma issues, representatives of aid agencies, academics, church networks and individuals met and decided to establish Australia Burma Network (ABN). Before ABN was founded and fully operational, different Burmese ethnic nationalities organizations, Burma community members and individuals in Melbourne had been single-handedly working on their own ways on Burma issues. ABN brings them together,” said one former steering committee member of ABN.
“Australia Burma Network aims to bring organizations and individuals active on Burma to work together in effort to find ways to support a peaceful transition to democracy in Burma. ABN also aims to build solidarity between Australian people and the people of Burma in Australia,” one steering committee member of Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria) told Chinland Guardian.
“However, there has been dissatisfaction voiced from some non-Victorian Burma Campaign activists that the name Australia Burma Network (ABN) continues to be used as they fairly believe it creates confusion, being seen as a second national network on Burma issues,” said Jessica of Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria.
“There is a perceived need to operate nationally in a coordinated way and if we can build a strong Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria), it can help build a more formal and effective Burma Campaign Australia,” added she.
“Actively lobbying under the banner of Burma Campaign Australia (BCA) will enable us to influence more effectively Australian foreign policy and potentially coordinate campaign activities and strategy across Australia. It will also mean that the Burmese Embassy in Australia will know that we are working together across Australia,” said one participant at the meeting on his proposal to change ABN name.
Chinland Guardian was also told that the new steering committee of Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria) was elected at the meeting held on November 29, 2008 and that the new steering committee is comprised of supporters for Burma issues, and Burman and ethnic nationalities from Burma will lead the Burma Campaign Australia (Victoria).
Lian Ding Hmung
02 December, 2008