Taking the Australian Government to Court
Communities around the world are standing up and seeking climate justice through the courts
by Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul
5 July 2023
We are Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul, proud First Nations leaders from Guda Maluyligal in the Torres Strait and we’re taking the Australian government to court for failing to prevent climate change.
Our people have lived in the Torres Strait for thousands of years. Our land is central to our culture and the knowledge of how to live in harmony with it has been handed down from generation to generation. But if the government doesn’t change course, this place we call home is going to be underwater. We will lose everything: our language, our culture, our identity, everything – making us Australia’s first climate change refugees.
Like us, communities around the world are standing up and seeking climate justice through the courts. Our battle is not just about the Torres Strait Islands; it resonates with communities around the world.
Right now, we are on the Rainbow Warrior, making our way from Cairns to Vanuatu in solidarity with the Pasifika community who are leading a global legal campaign bringing climate change to the world’s highest court – the International Court of Justice.
If their legal case is successful, it could help to protect the human rights of people across the world who are most affected by climate change, and strengthen the consequences for big polluters who are recklessly harming our planet.
Will you stand with us in solidarity with our Pasifika neighbours and urge Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong make a strong case for climate action at the world’s highest court?
We believe that unity is our greatest strength. By joining forces with our brothers and sisters from Vanuatu and others on the frontlines of the climate crisis, we can amplify our voices and increase the pressure on the Australian Government. Together, we are an unbreakable force, demanding action and accountability.
In Kalaw Kawaw Ya, the language spoken on our islands of Boigu and Saibai, mura kalmel sipa means ‘together we stand’. For us, that is the message of this voyage. Together our communities will speak truth to power in the face of climate devastation. Together we will fight for communities and our futures in Australian and International courts.
A victory in our case in the Australian Federal Court could trigger transformative climate action across Australia, benefiting all Australians and setting an example for the entire world.
Our fight for climate justice stems from our deep connection to our culture, land, and people. In the spirit of Eddie Mabo’s land rights struggle, we carry on the legacy of our ancestors. We are cultural people – our islands were our mother’s and father’s lands. We will never be removed from them. We were born there and we will die there.
We are proud to lead the charge for climate justice, not only for ourselves but for all First Nations Peoples and communities worldwide.
We urge you to join us. Together, we can protect our homes, cultures, and future generations. Let’s ensure that climate action becomes a matter of law, not just politics.
Mura Kalmel Sipa, Together we stand – Torres Strait and Pacific Islands
Wadhuam (Maternal Uncle) Pabai Pabai and Wadhuam (Maternal Uncle) Paul Kabai
To get involved the Australian Climate Case or share how you’re being affected by climate change, go to our website takeaction.australianclimatecase.org.au