Public policy challenges for churches

The churches in Australia have long been involved in debates about public policy, and have offered a range of social services. In recent decades governments have provided more of the funding for many church agencies, and these arrangements have worked reasonably well. 

However, church groups have very clear values that they wish to sustain in their works, and sometimes feel compromised if government decisions are perceived to undermine these values. Past examples of such tensions include job placement contracts and treatment of asylum seekers. At times, church agencies have declined to accept government contracts and funding because of serious clashes in policy.

As governments come and go, so do their personnel and policies, not just in areas of service delivery, but in wider national and economic areas. New faith-based organisations of Muslims and others, and the multi-religious complexion of Australian society, are changing the articulation of social values. At the same time, Australia is becoming more secular in its public philosophy and rhetoric.

The Melbourne conference in July on “The Churches and Public Policy” will assess how well the churches are responding to the new context in shaping public policies and how they can contribute more robustly.

The Churches & Public Policy

Summation: Dr John Falzon
CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society
with Kasy Chambers, Anglicare
Denis Fitzgerald, CSSV
Major Brad Halse, Salvation Army
Tony Nicholson, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Marilyn Webster, Good Shepherd Youth & Family Services
Mark Zirnsak, Justice Unit UCA
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.

‘Nobody cares about girls like you’

Human trafficking takes many forms: forced and bonded labour; trafficking in women, children and babies; domestic slavery and forced prostitution of adults and children; forced marriage and the sale of wives; and child labour. Globalisation has helped make trafficking one of the world’s fastest growing industries; nearly every country is a source, a transit or destination, including Australia. Victims often go willingly because traffickers deceive them about the work promised or about their final destination.

At the recent SPC forum on human trafficking Professor Jennifer Burn, Director of The Anti-Slavery Project, Michaela Guthridge, Justice Development Manager at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and ACRATH’s Program Coordinator, Christine Carolan provided insight into this disturbing issue.

Those in attendance were informed how a trafficker once told a trafficked woman: “Nobody cares about girls like you.” Please click HERE to help prove him wrong.

Volunteers for TV productions

Do you have skills in producing programs for TV, perhaps in scripting or visual and sound editing?

SPC is intending to produce a number of programs and documentaries for community TV channels, especially Ch 31, making use also of our public forums and speakers on key social issues. If you have relevant skills and would like to help make such programs, we would be keen to talk with you. Please contact us at SPC.

Changes at SPC

Audra heads to greener pastures

Our Executive Officer, Audra Kunciunas, is leaving Social Policy Connections to live in regional Victoria.  It is a move Audra has been considering for some time and while it means exciting new experiences for her, the Board and members of SPC are sorry to see her go. Audra has been very active in representing our organisation and its aims within the social justice community. Her happy and efficient manner has won her many friends. We greatly appreciate all that she has achieved for us over the past year.

Welcome to Susy Herlihy

SPC is delighted to introduce our new Coordinator, Susy Herlihy.  She comes highly recommended, with extensive experience in administration and organisation. She has worked in all five continents and in 13 countries. Her professional roles have been very diverse – ranging through executive coaching, career counselling, developing engineering capability, project management, human resources, advertising, and linguistics.


Australia, aid and global development Presented by Marc Purcell

Entry by donation. Tea and Coffee available afterwords. 

Tuesday 16 August, 7.30pm

Study Centre, Yarra Theological Union, 

98 Albion Rd., Box Hill.

Best entry via 34 Bedford St.



Click HERE for directions. Contact SPC: 0457 146 808,;


Social Policy Connections featured video

Slavery: the importance of victim centred terminology

Click HERE if the video does not display properly

Click HERE to view more SPC videos

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