Climate emergency. John Englart Melbourne 2017. flickr cc.

SPC News is going into hibernation.

Peter Whiting.

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. Because of the slender resources available to us, however, we plan to put Social Policy Connections into ‘care and maintenance’ mode, while we look at ways to reinvigorate and redirect. For the time being, we will cease publishing the monthly newsletter, or organising and sponsoring events covering social justice issues. 

The website will continue to be accessible for the next year or so at least, but the June issue of SPC News will be our last for the time being.

Members and readers, you are invited to share your thoughts on how we might redirect our endeavours to broad age groups. To enrich the considerations of the SPC Board, email us at with your thoughts.

130th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, On the condition of the working classes

Saturday 15 May 2021 2:30-4pm.
Free of charge.

Register HERE.
For information, email

Bruce Duncan CSsR will explain why Pope Leo’s social manifesto remains critical today, and its impact in Australia in a time of the gig economy, low or stagnant wages, and inequality.


Seriously ugly – that’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3°C this century

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg & Lesley Hughes

This report acknowledges that limiting global temperatures to 1.5℃ this century is now extremely difficult. Achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050 is the absolute minimum required to avoid the worst climate impacts. We don’t have much time to avert catastrophe. This decade must be transformative, in order to choose a safe future.  


More reasons for optimism on climate change than we’ve seen for decades. Two climate experts explain.

Gabi Mocatta & Rebecca Harris

For the first time, political will and global public opinion seem focused on profound action across many domains. This could mean we’re not bound to the current heating trajectory. But to elude a catastrophic temperature rise of 3-4℃ by 2100, we must make concrete political ambitions, collective change, and personal contributions. Ambitions on cuts will have to be continually ratcheted up this decade, with developed countries making the greatest reductions. Climate laggards – as Australia is increasingly characterised – will need to step up.

Chinese Navy ship in Hawaii. US Navy. flickr cc.

Talking us into a war with China?

Bruce Duncan

Unsettling ‘war talk’ in Australia demands keen scrutiny. And, given our Australian experience of being lied to and manipulated into distant wars, we have every right to challenge any softening of public opinion. Noone could doubt that a major war between China and the USA would have catastrophic consequences for all of us. Australians should be making it clear to elected politicians that war must be avoided, and that they expect renewed diplomatic efforts with China. A necessary first step is surely to take loose ‘war talk’ out of the press, and out of statements by politicians and staffers.

DavidJackmanson Brisbane 2017. flickr cc.

What have our governments done to tackle rates of Indigenous custody?

Jack Waterford

There would be little point in a second royal commission to investigate the hundreds of deaths since the last one. There might, however, be some point in having a short sharp independent audit of what the states and the Commonwealth have actually done to implement commission recommendations. One would have to be sure that mere assertions of compliance were checked rigorously. If we have learned anything in 30 years, it has been about the propensity of ministers and officials to tell barefaced lies. Lies that are killing people.

Surya Prakosa. Unsplash.

PNG, the colony Australia tries to forget

Allan Patience

Australia has to stop wanting to forget what’s really happening in PNG. The fact is that our national interest demands PNG be a central part of Australia’s policy-making on Overseas Development Aid (ODA), foreign affairs, and defence. Two joint government taskforces should be established immediately to plan the stem of disastrous declines in PNG’s health and education sectors.

Dan Himbrechts/AAP.

Vital signs. To fix Australia’s housing affordability crisis, negative gearing must go

Richard Holden

The best way to do this – as I pointed out in a report for the McKell Institute in mid-2015 – is gradually to phase out negative gearing over time, and allow it in future only for new dwellings. Expanding housing supply would also be very helpful. Housing affordability remains a serious problem in Australia. We need to tackle it now, with a multi-pronged approach. If we don’t, we risk the future of young Australians and our financial system at the same time.

Child playing in the Yarra, Brian Yap, flickr cc.

Wonder & enchantment. Seeing beyond the mundane

Len Puglisi

Are there moments we find uplifting, or are city dwellers fated to live where the mundane prevails and the growth ideologies of neoliberal, consumerist capitalism are left to fill our value senses and imaginations? Perhaps finding such moments are the biggest challenge for city and suburban dwellers, but who is not up for such a challenge, with some of the author’s experiences to awaken us?

A Song Worth Singing: Our Melbourne Days, by Anne Doyle

Bruce Duncan

A Song Worth Singing gives an uplifting account of a woman stepping tentatively out of her comfort zone into new situations, and embracing new challenges. Others might be depressed at the harsh realities of many lives, but Doyle is struck by the resilience, courage, and decency of the people she has met, as she finds herself invited into their inner world.

Photo Refugee action protest Melbourne 2013. John Englart. flickr cc.

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