As we near the end of 2018, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to the ACF community! It’s been a huge year, and together we’ve had some incredible wins. We've spoken out for our land, water and wildlife and held decision makers accountable across the country.

Here are four amazing highlights:

1. Labor promised to champion new nature laws

We’ve just had a significant win in our nature campaign! Labor has committed to championing a new Environment Act and federal Environment Protection Agency. Woo hoo!

Labor's announcement – great news for fluffy numbats!

Thanks so much to the ACF community for helping make this happen – for writing submissions, emailing key Labor decision makers, signing petitions, donating time and money, tweeting, rallying and lodging missing creature reports.

This is a big step, but our work’s not yet done. Our opponents in the mining industry are already pushing back, and next year we’ll need to significantly ramp up our campaign. We will need to pressure all sides of politics to protect the places and animals we love. And if Labor are elected, we’ll need to hold them to account to make sure they deliver laws that actually protect nature.

And we’ll push them off the fence on Adani, too. Speaking of which…

2. We're taking the government to court over Adani 

This year, the Stop Adani movement rose up to stop Adani again, and again, and again.

Together, we’ve stopped the money: 35 of the biggest banks in the world refused to finance the mine, Downer cancelled its $2 billion construction deal and Aurizon withdrew its rail line plans. We stopped the federal government from giving Adani $1 billion of public money – and now they have to self-fund.

We turned up the heat on our elected representatives. In November, the ACF community ran our biggest ever phone jam, with key decision makers receiving relentless #StopAdani calls. ACF legends jammed their office phones with calls – a call every two minutes for two whole weeks!

A month later, we showed up in the tens of thousands to demand our elected representatives stop this dangerous mine. We flooded the streets of capital cities and regional centres across the country – right behind the young people and school kids who led the way.

School kids led the way in huge rallies across Australia

The kids reported that Bill Shorten’s office cut off their message about stopping climate damage and told them to go to school. And Prime Minister Morrison suggested the kids are out of their depth. But they beg to differ.

Our community stood behind the kids, with more than 20,000 people signing a petition to demand Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten #MeetTheKids and hear first hand what they think about the biggest expansion of coal mining on planet Earth.

But Adani are still itching to dig and burn that coal, so we’re taking the federal government to court over Adani's water-guzzling pipeline.

Thanks so much to the thousands of people who chipped in to fund this critical court case.

Stay tuned – there’s a directions hearing on 23 January when we’ll find out when we’ll be in court!

3. We stood up for our right to speak out

Australians expect advocacy organisations like ACF to speak up on the issues they care about.

That’s why it’s such an important win that we managed to fix a proposed law that would have had a chilling effect on advocacy in Australia. The foreign donations bill (or the Electoral Funding & Disclosure Reform Bill) would have more or less shut down some civil society organisations – including well known charities.

So we brought together a diverse and powerful alliance of groups, ran lobby days, media briefings, political meeting and events. And people like you swamped the Parliamentary Inquiry with submissions, wrote emails and made phone calls to key decision makers.

Eventually, we negotiated the law’s wording with decision makers, line by line – to get foreign donations out of Australian politics without damaging our democracy. Thank you!

4. We're making the next election the climate election

Our huge, people-powered campaign to make the next election the climate election is growing all across Australia. Over 700 volunteers covering every state and territory have jumped on board to build our movement of climate voters, showing the parties that if they want our votes, they must act to stop Adani, end coal and switch to 100% clean energy.

Since we started in May, together we’ve had over 118,000 conversations – and this is just the beginning! Before the 2019 federal election, it’s up to all of us to make stopping climate damage a huge, vote-winning issue.

A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered to have conversations in person or on the phone so far in the campaign. We look forward to working with the ACF community in 2019 as the campaign heats up!

Volunteer doorknockers in the Chisholm electorate – one of the key places we're focusing our election efforts. Photo: Annette Ruzicka, MAPGroup

Our community has also made it possible to elevate crucial voices into the national debate – like farmers, firefighters and kids. They funded a hard-hitting drought ad aired on Channel 9 during the NRL grand final, to demand our elected representatives step up and lead. 

And that's just the start. Over the next few months, together we’ll spread our message far and wide with huge billboards, digital ads and yard signs in key places. Together, we will make the next election the climate election.

Thanks for an incredible year! 

Paul Sinclair

Campaigns Director at the Australian Conservation Foundation.