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Social Policy Connections and the Yarra Institute are delighted to welcome the establishment of the new Centre for Research in Religion & Social Policy by the University of Divinity. It has always been our hope that the Melbourne College of Divinity (MCD), now the University of Divinity, would found such a centre to promote engagement by the Colleges with the wide concerns of social and public policy.
Wednesday 30 November 7-7:30pm
The Yarra Theological Union Study Centre
34 Bedford Street Box Hill
Followed 7:30-9pm by an address by
Returning penalty rates to the lowest paid
Josh Cullinan has campaigned for retail and fast food workers for 20 years, including for Bakers Delight, Hungry Jacks, and 7/11 workers. More recently, Josh raised the red flag over the ‘Coles Agreement’, and helped expose massive theft of penalty rates across the retail and fast food sectors. Download a flyer.
At the SPC Forum on 19 October, Peter Mares outlined – with an astonishing grasp of detail and great lucidity – changes in the categories and arrangements of visas to Australia, particularly highlighting the implications of people on temporary visas, who are vulnerable to exploitation in the labour market. Many do not know their rights, and are compelled to work for very low rates of pay.
The total fabric of Pakistan changed with its engagement in the United States’ proxy war against USSR in Afghanistan in the 1980s – a war to vindicate US humiliation in Vietnam.
Scores of members of religious minorities who have the means have migrated to safe countries, while the masses struggle to survive. Discrimination in workplaces, schools, and where they live has forced some to abandon their homes and jobs. They live in hiding to escape being booked under that draconian law. Successive weak and corrupt governments chose to disregard these powerful Islamic militant groups armed with weapons, as well as a host of suicide bombers.
Are armed drone attacks legitimate acts of warfare, or lethal political assassinations, hence murder and illegitimate? There is no easy answer, unless your view tends to one or other extreme. But, for those of us unsure, the middle ground is a moral morass.
The achievements of globalisation, liberalism, and openness are under attack. It is important that liberals and reformers demonstrate that, while the benefits of globalism and openness must continue, globalisation must work for all, and not just enrich the few.
The gathering storm really began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism. The wealthy and privileged were restrained by the threat of working people seizing power in some way. But, with the fall of communism, market fundamentalists and the wealthy now show decreasing restraint in asserting their power and privilege.
If you had been told 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum-seeker-friendly institutional arrangements in the world, you would not have been believed. How is the purposelessness of this cruelty – which is presently rendering the lives of 30,000 refugees or asylum seekers in Australia miserable – to be explained?
Two exceptional advocates for social justice and human wellbeing have recently gone to God. Bill Neville was one of the key leaders in Catholic and ecumenical social movements in Sydney from the 1970s, at the age of 82, in May. And Bernard Carey, academic and administrator, died at only 69, in July. Both were founding members of the ecumenical social justice magazine National Outlook, which in many ways was a precursor of today’s Social Policy Connections.
Guterres campaigned for United Nations intervention in East Timor in 1999, after the former Portuguese colony was virtually destroyed by Indonesian-backed militias when it voted for independence. Yet Guterres will have many critics. The Neoconservative side of the political divide is already out in the high street with guns blazing for Guterres the Socialist. Jennifer Oriel, writing in the Australian on 10 October, declared, “The appointment of Antonio Guterres as Secretary-General of the United Nations poses significant danger to the free world”. Guterres is certainly at odds philosophically with some western governments who seem to orient refugees with jihad. As Guterres has stated, “Let us be perfectly clear: refugees are not terrorists; they are the first victims of terror”.
Serious about social justice?
Consider study at Yarra Theological Union (YTU), or at other colleges within the University of Divinity in Melbourne. Undergraduate to higher degrees. Auditing also possible.
YTU units include :
- Justice & Human Rights
- The History of Catholic Social Thought & Movements
- Equity & Sustainability: Pope Francis & Social Reform
- Major Issues in Contemporary Moral Theology
- Inter-Religious Dialogue
- Social Teaching & Aboriginal Australians
Contact the Dean of Studies Yarra Theological Union 98 Albion Road Box Hill 3128 email@example.com | 03 9890 3771.