Decisions needed on climate change

Editorial by Bill Frilay

Australia is facing key decisions about how to tackle climate change.  This is a very difficult issue.  Ross Garnaut called it “a diabolical policy problem” in its complexity.  Yes, difficult, but very important. 

Why should SPC take up an interest in climate change?  Is not this an environmental issue rather than a social one?  It is both.  The World Council of Churches listed the following ethical, social and environmental issues in a document prepared for the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun last December, stressing:

  • concern for present and future generations;
  • stewardship of the planet;
  • equity and the effect on the poorest nations. The impact of climate change could be greatest on the poorest nations which are least equipped to address this problem caused primarily by the developed nations;
  • the need for developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change.

In Australia we need to consider the impact of changes on our economy and on lower-income people in particular. There are therefore good reasons for organisations such as SPC to take a keen interest in this debate. Photo: Storm Crypt, flickr CC Read More

SPC Forum on Human Trafficking

Presented by Michaela Guthridge

(Good Shepherd Mission & Justice Unit),

Prof. Jennifer Burn (Anti-Slavery Project) and Christine Carolan (ACRATH)

This forum will look at the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes exploitation and forced labour.

Thursday 30 June, 7.30 pm

Contact SPC: 0432 991 085,; Entry by donation. Tea/coffee afterwards.Study Centre, Yarra Theological Union,98 Albion Rd.,Box Hill.Best entry via 34 Bedford St.Click HERE for directions 


The Churches & Public Policy

An ecumenical conference on the role of faith-based organisations in developing better social policies.

Keynote speaker: Robert Fitzgerald AM

Summation: Dr John Falzon

CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society

Thursday 19 July, 9.14 am – 4 pm

at the Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne 

For directions please click HERE

Contact SPC: 0432 991 085,;

Register by 12 July. Registration forms are on the SPC website.

Launch of national directory of church refugee and asylum seeker services

the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social PolicyThis National Directory of Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Services of the Australian Churches was written by Dr Kirsty Sangster for the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, with the aid of a grant from the Melbourne College of Divinity. The project was supervised by Dr Rowan Ireland and Dr Bruce Duncan, and the layout was prepared by Ms Audra Kunciunas.

Instead of printing a hard copy of the directory, which would date very quickly, we are offering this directory online so that we can keep it updated with any changes. You can print off a hard copy in A-5 format for your own use by going to our website.

Help us keep this directory up to date by informing us of changes to the programs or details of the various Church agencies. For information on the Yarra Institute and other research projects, see

Please click HERE to download a PDF of the National Directory of Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Services of the Australian Churches.

Australia investing in nuclear weapons

Ican In May 2011, the Future Fund announced that it had divested from 10 companies involved in the production of cluster munitions and land mines. But nuclear weapons companies have not yet been excluded from its investment portfolio.

This violates its own policy not to invest in companies whose economic activity is illegal in Australia. Commonwealth law expressly prohibits the manufacture of nuclear weapons, as well as facilitating or assisting in the manufacture of such weapons.

Supporting the industry that produces these instruments of terror is grossly unethical, and should be a cause for great concern. The Future Fund is undermining efforts to achieve the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

For more information about Australia’s investments in nuclear weapons, see ICAN’s briefing paper at

ICAN’s campaign manager, Tim Wright, is urging people to put pressure on the Future Fund to divest from these immoral weapons by writing to the editor of a newspaper or to the chair of the Future Fund, Mr David Murray at:

UN Human Rights Commissioner on NT Intervention and mandatory detention

The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, visited Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory in May and appealed to the Gillard Government for a review of the federal intervention into Aboriginal affairs. She was handed a petition organised by the group, “Concerned Australians” and signed by 6500 Australians, calling for an end to the intervention. 

In Darwin Ms Pillay said that Aborigines need to be genuinely consulted and involved in decision-making about their communities.  She met Prime Minister Gillard and advisers in Canberra on 25 May, and also raised concerns about Australia’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refugees.

To listen to an interview with Navi Pillay on the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association station go to . See also

Social Policy Connections featured video

How can the churches address a wider audience?

Click HERE if the video does not display properly

Click HERE to view more SPC videos

Cas Coleman

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