The following letter was received from Rosemary Morrow with regards to her thoughts on the selection process for Australia Day honors with regards to permaculture ethics.
“I am going public about my strong concerns about the Australia Day awards selection and process.
It seems to me that the process of selection is blind to the impact of endorsing individuals who make divisive public commentary on particular groups in our community. Statements made by a recipient about LGBTI people are shaming, condemning, and deeply homophobic. The impact of these words on so many individuals, families and communities is deeply offensive and hurtful. We are struggling in Australia to build peace and cohesion. We say we are righting the wrongs against Indigenous people and other marginalized groups. But here is another assault on another valued section of our society.
Public honors give voice to the opinions of recipients. Surely these voices must support and uphold values of inclusion, respect and appreciation of diversity. And recognised achievements need to be tied to values of peacemaking and conciliation for a whole and united, multicultural society. Awards need to express values of equality and freedom from discrimination for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. These fundamental human rights have to be our bottom line. I am disturbed by the current process, and selection committee making awards to people who are not in line with these basic principles, both as a Permaculturist and Quaker. The hurt to LGBTI people and their families has gone on too long.
Nominated by the permaculture community, I have been awarded an Australia Day medal for service to Permaculture. Permaculture, with its ethic of Care of People, supports and practices full acceptance and appreciation of all people contributing to a more sustainable, peaceful and just world. Permaculture appreciates difference as enriching society and cultures. Divisions based on gender, age, literacy, race are repugnant.
It is vital that Awardee’s achievements never be separated from their values of cohesion and the
move towards a kinder and more generous Australia. And in fact, any comments which marginalise and attempt to isolate individuals and groups must be completely refuted. Rather than rejecting the award in a field which permaculturists worked hard to establish, I am offering to work with the selection committee and its processes to amend the criteria, so that achievements of nominated people and groups, are allied with an inclusive, supportive and valuing environment for all Australians.”
Rosemary Morrow OAM.
Katoomba, New South Wales
29 January 2021