Australian members met together to discuss the widening disparities between the rich and the poor and how to address this in daily work and in global solidarity.
On September 29th, 2011 UCPSAR joined with SCRA and MHPN to host a "STAND UP against Poverty" event in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Fijiian members also celebrated the event with a University STAND UP organized by Prof. Kamal Kishore. The eight MDG goals include:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
Participants discussed the effects of poverty and increasing disparities between the rich and the poor at local, national and international levels. Much discussion centred around the limited service access available for those in lower SES areas and the workload and health corporatisation issues faced by practitioners who work with disadvantaged populations. At a global level poverty and the increasing disparity between the wealthy and the bottom billion of the world's poor was highlighted as a community issue which must be addressed for the "human community" to sustain itself. The Millennium declaration states, "We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected." The increasing vulnerability of women and children was raised as a local issue and a global issue. A short discussion of the MDGs highlighted that health programs are cut back because of financial difficulties created by the "wealth generation for the few" policies of the nineties and early 2000s. Globally lifesaving programs for women and children are being de-funded. If contraception was provided to the more than 215 million women who currently want but lack access to it an additional 53 million unintended pregnancies would be averted each year; an additional 90,000 women's lives would be saved; and nearly 600,000 newborn deaths would be averted - no small issue in a global population that has now reached 7 billion. Participants reflected on the increased community solidarity needed by activists who are to address these issues at all levels.
The Stand Up activity was registered as a Professional Development activity to assist practitioners in maintaining their obligations as psychologists under the new national regulations administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Psychology Board of Australia. These bodies have legal and regulatory powers over all health practitioners and health service provision within Australia. Psychologists must complete 30 hours of approved and recorded Professional Development activities on an annual basis to maintain their registration. UCPSAR, SCRA and MHPN will continue to offer PD activities on a regular basis. Regional members who would like to propose or organize a Community Psychology PD activity are encouraged to contact their State representative.