SPC News May 2017. Who defines Australian values?

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Simply Australia – Sydney Harbour Bridge. Hai Linh Truing. flickr cc.

Who defines Australian values?

Peter Whiting

I’m all for our political system ‘standing up for Australian values’, if those values are widely held in our community, and moreover that these values themselves are designed as a comprehensive system for an inclusive, welcoming, and caring society.

But Im not impressed with the invocation of ‘Australian values’ for narrow and exclusionary motives. We will almost certainly hear our Treasurer in this coming week invoke references to addressing serious social and economic issues. I just hope I don’t hear a jingoistic reference to selective ‘Australian values’, whatever they may be!

SPC Forum

Dr Race Mathews

in conversation with

Professor Paul Smyth

on Dr Mathews’ book

Of Labour & Liberty: Distributism in  Victoria 1891-1966

Tuesday 16 May 7:30-9pm

YTU Study Centre 34 Bedford Street Box Hill

Donations welcome. Refreshments afterwards. Download the flyer.

Of Labour & Liberty questions whether political democracy can survive indefinitely in the absence of economic democracy, of labour hiring capital, rather than capital labour. It highlights the potential of the social teachings of the Catholic Church and its largely forgotten Distributist political philosophy.

Dan Himbrechts/AAP.

Which housing issues should
the budget tackle? 

Richard Tomlinson in The Conversation

“The failure to resolve housing issues, besides being thoroughly unfair, harms Australia’s productivity as well”, writes Prof Richard Tomlinson in his review of many articles published in The Conversation. He insists the housing crisis is not a problem of supply, but of perverse policies subsidising home owners and investors at the expense of the less affluent and the poor through negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions. “Fiscal policies that benefit home owners significantly distort the economy, inflate housing prices, and create risks that permeate from households to the national economy.”

Indifference. salomonrbc. flickr cc.

Refugee camps &
concentration camps

Klaus Neumann

Did Pope Francis ‘mis-speak’ when he referred to many refugee camps being “of concentration type, because of the people left there”? Andrew Bolt, in the Australian Herald Sun, called the Pope a “fool if he cannot tell the difference between a Nazi concentration camp and a refugee camp”. Klaus Neumann examines the history and uses of the term ‘concentration camp’. He points to a similarity between Nazi camps and refugee camps like Nauru and Manus Island, in that many people simply cover their eyes and ears, and pretend not to know what is happening or take any responsibility.

War. rstrawser. flickr cc.

It’s becoming easier than
ever to go to war

John Menadue

We used to think the gravest decision any government could make was to take its country to war. Not any more. Going to war for us has now become almost commonplace. We commit to war after war – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan – but we are unwilling to contemplate the disaster each of those wars has brought, not only to Australians, but also to millions of other people. But, rather than face up to our mistakes, we hide behind the valour of service personnel who have made sacrifices.

World Day for Social Justice. Ricky’s Refuge. flickr cc.

Pope Francis delivered the hard talk about the economy that Davos didn’t

Lawrence Chong

“Pope Francis will find a rising consensus in the business world about how it is no longer just about caring for victims in the economy, but also about how to prevent additional victims. The Economy of Communion Network was founded by Chiara Lubich in 1991 to encourage businesses to put aside a portion of their profits for the poor.

“Our Economy of Communion network has made some contribution to alleviating poverty in different parts of the world. But we have realised that this is not enough. It is increasingly important to shape mindsets and create business models or ecosystems which can help to lift people out of the cycle of poverty.”

Reclaiming the co-operative tradition in Catholic & Labour streams: Of Labour & Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966 by Race Mathews

Reviewed by Bruce Duncan

As one of Australia’s most eminent Labor figures and historians, Race Mathews has offered a fresh interpretation of the Australian labour movement over the last 125 years, examining the development and impact of Catholic social ideas and movements.

Though not a Catholic, Race Mathews’s new book, Of Labour & Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966, probes unfolding Catholic critiques of capitalism, and proposals to develop an economy with widespread ownership and participation by workers in the management of their industries and workplaces. As a leading member and former president of the Fabian Society, Mathews also examines the often neglected overlap in streams of Catholic and socialist thought.

Race Mathews.

Race Mathews & Barry Jones in conversation
Of Labour & Liberty

Hosted by Social Policy Connections

3 May 6-8pm
Readings Bookshop 701 Glenferrie Road Hawthorn

Purchase tickets.

Race Mathews and Barry Jones will discuss Race’s new book, On Labour & Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1890-1966. It details the Catholic advocacy of distributist ideas and co-operatives, and examines interaction between socialist and Catholic ideals and ideas for increased equality, worker participation, and social reform.

SPC Video Selection

Why the only future worth building includes everyone

Pope Francis TED Talk April 2017

Pope Francis, in this searing TED Talk, appealed to people of all faiths and of none to help transform our world into a home for everyone with equality, solidarity, and tenderness. “Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the ‘other’ is not a statistic or a number”, he says. “We all need each other.”


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