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Subsidiarity – empowering people to take responsibility.

Peter Whiting

We are experiencing around the world a number of unrelated large-scale protest movements, which seem broadly to have in common only that they are each demanding greater political freedom and social equality.

The nature of each of these protests highlights that the country leaders in each case are committed to a model of strong centralist government and its associated exercise of power. Those protesting on the streets, on the other hand, are seeking empowerment and social equity.

None of the groups is calling for increased ‘subsidiarity’, but surely that is what is implied by their calls for change. If social justice and accountability are to be the outcomes, then increased exercise of subsidiarity in government is required.

Catholic Social Ministry Conference

Delivering Catholic Social Teaching through community services & public advocacy

23 November 2019 9:30am to 5:30pm
Thomas Carr Centre 278 Victoria Parade East Melbourne

Conference chair Patrice Scales

Speakers 9:30am :

  • Bruce Duncan Social Policy Connections : Cardijn’s vision of Catholic Social Ministry & his importance today.
  • Greg Crafter chair National Catholic Education Commission : Lay formation through education & service.
  • Robyn Miller CEO MacKillop Family Services : The role of Catholic organisations in protecting & supporting the poor & vulnerable.
  • Christine Carolan National Executive Officer Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans ACRATH : Social needs beyond traditional areas of health & social services.

Afternoon sessions 1:45-3:45 Parish Social Ministry.

Discussion 4-5:30pm, chaired by Patrice Scales : The priorities & promotion of Catholic Social Ministry.

  • Denis Fitzgerald recent Executive Director Catholic Social Services VIC : Current & potential parish initiatives in social ministry.
  • Elizabeth McFarlane National President of YCW : Engaging with people outside the parishes, especially by the YCW.
  • Sarah Moffatt Plenary Council Executive Committee member : The potential for the Plenary Council to promote Parish Social Ministry.

Mr Morrison, please do not abandon innocent Aussie children in Syria

Bruce Duncan

Some 65 Australian women and children are stuck in a dangerous no-man’s-land, the Al-Hol detention camp in Syria, which contains up to 70,000 women and child detainees, families of IS militants and displaced civilians. The Australian government has refused requests from the Kurdish authorities guarding the camp and from governments of Turkey and the USA, as well as from international groups, for all countries to take back their nationals, if need be, for trial. The UK, Belgium, France, and Germany have been attempting to do so in the recent ceasefire with Turkey.

The Morrison government has argued that it is too dangerous to risk the lives of other Australians by extracting these wives and children of ISIS militants. But Kurdish authorities have repeatedly offered to take the evacuees to the border towns or an embassy in Erbil, or elsewhere. All that is needed is a request from the Australian government. Meanwhile, journalists have been flooding the camp in the recent ceasefire period. How unsafe is that?

SPC 14th Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 11 December 2019 7pm
34 Bedford Street Box Hill
The AGM will be followed at 7:30 by an address by Bruce Duncan CSsR

Pope Francis’s advocacy on inequality & the climate emergency.
Is it proper? Is it enough?

Our Climate Crisis

Jeremy Smith

The Armidale Express stated on its front page of 24 October ‘There was wild cheering in the council chamber, and every councillor took a bow, as Armidale Regional Council declared a climate emergency’. The motion called on the community to adapt to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The need for urgent action at all levels of government was noted.

So my local community, like some others, is finally waking up to the fact that this drought is not just another drought, albeit the worst ever. After this drought there will soon be another, and another, probably yet worse. The climate has changed, and continues to change.

Ken Wyatt’s proposed ‘voice to government’ marks another failure to hear Indigenous voices

Eddie Synot

Many will feel a sense of déjà vu when reading the minister for Indigenous Australians’ announcement of a co-design process for a ‘voice to government’. This is yet another process in the long journey of Indigenous people to set things right and for our voices to be heard.

Ken Wyatt’s announcement states Indigenous people will have “the opportunity to have their say on the development of an Indigenous voice to government”.

This is new and worrying. This ‘voice to government’ is to be legislated and separate to the question of symbolic constitutional recognition.

Mirrors & flags: the situation in West Papua

Susan Connelly

As the widespread violence continues in West Papua in the last quarter of 2019, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister has called on both sides to exercise ‘absolute restraint’. Both sides. The use of this innocuous-sounding phrase is itself a deeply fraudulent act. It continues all Australian governments’ consistent support of Indonesia by painting as some form of equal contest atrocities on the part of heavily-armed Indonesian army and police against civilians with sticks and knives.

Has Australia noted, even diplomatically, that Indonesia has installed General Wiranto to administer security in Papua? The same Wiranto indicted in 2003 for crimes against humanity for his role as security guardian in East Timor? Does this outrage even raise an eyebrow in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade?

Five charts on what a Newstart recipient really looks like

Owain Emslie

First, Newstart recipients are a lot older than you might think. Half are over 45. Partly, this is because unemployed people aged 24 or less are likely to be receiving Youth Allowance.

But, even if we include unemployed Youth Allowance recipients in the figure, an outsized 45% of all unemployment benefit recipients are over 45. One quarter are over 55.

Women on Newstart are still older than this: 51% of female job-seekers are over 40, compared to 42% of male job-seekers.

Climate change poses a ‘direct threat’ to Australia’s national security. It must be a political priority

Chris Barrie

It is evident from Australia’s increasingly severe droughts and record-breaking heatwaves that time is running out to take action on climate change.

Yet, despite persistent calls from eminent scientists to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels, a call to action has gone unanswered by our political leaders.

And, here in Australia, we aren’t just facing an environmental threat. There are significant implications for our national security and defence capabilities with which we haven’t fully reckoned either.

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