Peter Whiting Editorial.
The months of lockdown due to the pandemic have seemingly ended in Australia, although their effects linger on for many. Friends report variously a general sense of lethargy, reluctance to resume pre-Covid activities, and a general aimlessness and unwillingness to set an agenda for the coming months. This may well see a winter in Melbourne spent indoors by the fire.
It seems that post-lockdown blues can affect organisations, as well as people. At Social Policy Connections, we have been noting some of that malaise. Member contact has fallen, reader feedback has declined, and Board numbers have decreased. This has caused the Board to discuss our response.
We remain convinced that there is a need for strong voices addressing social justice issues from a Christian perspective independently of political party or church politics. This is particularly the case, we believe, in seeking to inform and advocate among young people. So, we have been exploring how we might improve our appeal to that cohort. Suggestions include focusing on the tertiary sector to attract volunteers and supporters among students and staff.
Members will be aware that we would normally be sending out membership renewal requests at this time of year. The Board has decided that we will not do so this year. Instead, we plan to put the organisation into ‘care and maintenance’ mode, while we look at ways to reinvigorate and redirect.
This will mean that, for the time being, we will cease publishing our monthly SPC News, or organising and sponsoring events covering social justice issues. Members and readers, you are invited to share your thoughts on how we might redirect our endeavours to the breadth of age groups. Enrich the considerations of the Board by emailing us with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of Social Policy Connections have been loyal and supportive, and we thank you for your involvement. The Board has not reached this decision lightly, or without considering its impact on our supporters. It is just that the need for change is clear.
June’s SPC News will be the last of this series, as we sound out other possibilities and groups for ideas on directions. As usual, this May issue of the SPC News offers insightful comment on important social issues.
In Talking us into a war with China?, Bruce Duncan urges us to challenge loose talk about a possible war with China over Taiwan, especially after the lies we were told embroiling us in the Iraq war.
Climate change remains a critical issue. In their article, Seriously ugly – that’s how Australia will look if the world heats up by 3°C this century, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Lesly Hughes address the damage to Australia which will be caused if we fail to curb greenhouse emissions. Yet there is still hope. In their article, More reasons for optimism on climate change than we’ve seen in decades: 2 climate experts explain, Gabi Mocatta and Rebecca Harris report on growing optimism that developed economies will act.
The media is full of commentary about the high cost of housing in Australia in regional areas as well as in capital cities. Richard Holden makes his view clear about the need for policy change in Vital signs: to fix Australia’s housing affordability crisis, negative gearing must go.
Allan Patience laments the state of health and education in PNG, and insists that Australia needs to increase its assistance. His article, PNG: the colony Australia tries to forget, is sharply critical of Australia’s past and current approaches.
Jack Waterford asks a burning question with his article What have our governments done to tackle the rates of indigenous custody?.
You will also find an invitation to a webinar on Saturday 15 May at 2:30-4pm Commemorating 130 years of Catholic social teaching, with Fr Bruce Duncan speaking on the significance of the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII’s On the Condition of the Working Classes (Rerum Novarum). Bruce will explain why the encyclical is still strikingly relevant in the age of the gig economy, its impact in Australia, and why England’s Cardinal Manning became such a hero for working people. The webinar is sponsored by Yarra Theological Union, the Australian Cardijn Institute, and Social Policy Connections. Please register HERE for this free webinar.
Photo Climate emergency. John Englart Melbourne 2017. flickr cc.