She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Jo Vallentine is a Quaker, peace activist, and social justice advocate who made history in 1984 when she was elected to the Australian Senate as the world’s first single-issue peace politician. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades at grassroots, national, and international levels, via People for Nuclear Disarmament, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia, the Alternatives to Violence Project, the Greens (WA), and Abolition 2000 (UN) to put these issues onto the political agenda. She has two daughters. (1000peacewomen).
She says: “We did the lovely elm dance about gratitude, sending healing energy to a place or to people to cut through the violence. In no time the atmosphere shifted, the hostile energy just evaporated”.
Jo Vallentine – Australia
Look at The Perth Social Forum – 18-20 March 2005 (texts and photos).
Josephine Vallentine (b. May 30, 1946) is a peace activist and a former Australian Senator for Western Australia. Vallentine entered the Senate on July 1, 1985 after she had been elected as a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party but she sat as an independent and then as a member of the Greens Western Australia from 1 July 1990. She resigned on January 31, 1992 and after a brief respite, has been active in community issues ever since. Jo Vallentine grew up in Western Australia’s conservative Wheatbelt, around Beverley. As a young woman she travelled to the United States and was moved to hear and meet Robert Kennedy. In an interview in 2001 for a history of the WA peace movement she offered the following summary of the establishment of her political career: “The Quakers influenced me I suppose from the Vietnam Moratorium days because I was a teacher then, in 1967-69, when the marches were getting going in Perth, and I can remember being a bit nervous because in those days if you were seen in a protest you might have lost your job on Monday when you went to work … (full text).
And she says: What we’re hearing here now is that they’re very keen on uranium mining, very keen for it to go ahead, because of spot prices going up, and we?ve got lots of uranium and there’s a world out there that’s hungry. Agenda number one item I got from Martin Ferguson this morning was that he wants to change Labor Party policy at the next national conference, that’s his agenda, that’s also the agenda of this conference ? change Labor Party policy. They know they’ve got to do that, or all of this is just whistling in the dark, really. They?re going out there exploring and getting ready in deposits and grabbing money off their, from the investors in the stock market hand over fist, but all will come to nothing unless they have the political change that they want … (full text).
She says also: “In 1978 I was pregnant with my first child, and that had been a huge decision – whether to go ahead with this amazing possibility of parenting or not. I had been with my partner for five years and we were still sort of debating whether there was to be issue or no issue, as it were. You know, we had travelled and seen pollution and poverty, and thought ‘oh, god – the last thing the world really needs is more people’. Anyway it was a bit of a leap of faith but the decision was made by me to then campaign for peace and social justice in one way or another, and nuclear stuff was pretty well top of the list. Anyway, here I am pregnant and standing at that kitchen sink doing the dishes with my belly bumping into the sink, and I heard Charlie Court on the radio (who was the then Premier of Western Australia) say, ‘Western Australia will be the first State in Australia to have a nuclear power station! And I was just so mindful of this bulging belly bumping up against the kitchen sink, and I thought no way!’ Later we were sitting in the lounge room and someone said, we have got to have a slogan for my campaign what should it be? And one of my friends came up with ‘Take Heart – Vote Vallentine’. So it was all green and white, and really it was a bit smultz when you think about it – but it worked! It was something positive, and people didn’t want to feel burdened with the thought that we were all about to be blown up, rather that we could do something about it, that we could stand up and be counted and if enough people everywhere did that, then maybe we wouldn’t be blown up. So I suppose it worked to the extent that we haven’t been blown up yet! And there are less nuclear weapons now than there were, but it is still pretty dangerous”. (full text).
Senator Jo Vallentine was elected in December 1984 under the banner of the Nuclear Disarmament Party. The Valentine Peace Group formed when the Nuclear Disarmament Party collapsed and was composed of friends and supporters of Senator Jo Vallentine. Its main focus was peace and opposition to the whole nuclear cycle. It was opposed to becoming a traditional political party … (full text).
I am proud too, that our family farm, Redlands, was the childhood home of two of Australia’s female senators?just a decade or so and a political policy or two apart. As for me, a farm girl, country and city educated, I realised whilst studying law at the University of Western Australia in the mid-eighties that I had a deep desire and ability to make a community difference. A catalyst for that realisation was my aunt Jo Vallentine, my mum’s sister. In 1985, the year I graduated in law, my aunt Jo Vallentine began her time in this place as an Independent senator for Western Australia. I share my Auntie Jo’s passion for community causes, and I am fiercely proud of her lifelong commitment to those causes before, during and after politics. It is a small matter that our solutions for those causes can be rather far apart on the political spectrum! It was those people and many others who built those communities and set the values which I and most Australians hold dear … (full text).
And she says: “In choosing a path of domination of the world through exploitation of the planet and its people, the United States Government has set itself, and all of us, on a dreadful pathway, which we see being played out on a daily basis. Whether it’s the “war against terrorism” being waged by the world’s worst terrorist nation, or its refusal to sign the Kyoto protocols to limit global warming by the greedist energy-guzzling nation on the face of the earth, or its plans to develop new, easier to use nuclear weapons, by the country which has more nuclear weapons and more sphisticated delivery systems than any other nation on earth, the U.S. Government sets iself apart from the global community. It shows contempt for the United Nations (imperfect as that organisation may be, it’s an ATTEMPT at global co-operation), and acts in contravention of numerous international treaties, some of which it has reluctantly signed, others which it has actively undermined, because U.S. interests are not served by being monitored by any other state” … (full text of her speech to the Palm Sunday march, April 17, 2002).
Transcript of a debate between Alan Greenspan and Naomi Klein on the Iraq War, Bush’s Tax Cuts, Economic Populism, Crony Capitalism and More, or listen to its video: 50.25 min, Sept. 24, 2007;
Jo Vallentine: out of the Senate, still into politics;
National green party: on a dangerous path;
Jo Vallentine: out of the Senate, still into politics.