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Asylum seekers: time for a fresh start

by Bruce Duncan

The High Court has torpedoed the Gillard Government’s attempt to swap asylum seekers with Malaysia, and may well end prospects of processing others offshore in PNG or Nauru. Yet in the heightened politicisation of the debate it is hard to be optimistic that good sense will prevail.

Despite the pleas of the churches and community groups to end mandatory detention, offshore or onshore, on humanitarian grounds, some politicians and shrill opponents of asylum seekers can readily stir up fears in the community, including political parties.

Why do a few thousand men, women and children arriving in boats frighten so many? People who come by air and claim asylum are allowed to move straight into the community and have work rights. No one is concerned about them. In recent decades, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees have settled in Australia, to our country’s lasting benefit. And most of our forebears sought refuge and a better life here. Please click HERE to read the full article.

Sufficient for the Day: towards a sustainable culture

Sufficient for the Day: towards a sustainable cultureThe Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy
invites you to the launch of Geoff Lacey’s
Sufficient for the Day:
towards a sustainable culture
Guest speaker:
Dr Paul Mees
Thursday 15 September,
6.00 for 6.30 pm
at Dymocks,
234 Collins Street, Melbourne
Enquiries: Yarra Institute,
(03) 9899 4777; 0409 897 971;


Australia’s overseas aid improving

by Bill Frilay

Marc PurcellAustralia is significantly lifting the quantity of its overseas aid, as well as improving the quality of that aid, and putting in place ways to ensure that aid efforts are working well, according to Mr Marc Purcell. Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).

Speaking at an SPC public forum in Melbourne on 16 August, Marc said that these changes were an Australian contribution to meet the Millennium Development Goals and a response to new challenges to aid efforts, arising from voices demanding that Australia restrict its aid to groups within this country, and also to the changes in why, how and where aid is needed. Please click HERE to read Bill Frilay’s full report on Marc’s address. Click HERE for a podcast of the talk. Please click HERE for a video clip of his address.

Social Justice Sunday 2011

Social Justice Sunday 2011Melbourne launch Building Bridges, not Walls:Prisons and the Justice System
with Fr Joe Caddy,
CEO CatholicCare, Melbourne
Respondent – Sr Mary O’Shannassy SGS
Thursday 15 September, 11.30 for 12 noon
Cathedral Room, Cardinal Knox Centre,
383 Albert St., East Melbourne
RSVP, or 9926 5710 by 12 September
For further resources contact
See also I was in Prison and you visited Me by the National Council of Churches in Australia at

Bishop Joe Grech memorial lecture

“One Human Family Across Borders”

with the Federal Immigration Minister,

the Hon. Chris Bowen &  Bishop Christopher Prowse of Sale

facilitated by SBS presenter, Anton Enus

at Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy

Thursday 8 September 7 – 9pm.

The event will be available as a live webcast at and on

Organised by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Churches & Public Policy Conference

The Churches and Public PolicyMore than 65 people attended the SPC conference on “The Churches and Public Policy” in Abbotsford on 19 July to hear Mr Robert Fitzgerald’s address on the role of the churches in public policy. Robert was speaking as a private citizen, and not as a member of the Productivity Commission.

Robert pointed to reasons for optimism. Firstly, faith-based organisations are by nature optimistic, drawing as they do from the gospel message. Secondly, Australia has achieved much in respect of social policy, and church organisations have been at the centre of this.  Thirdly, we have the wit and the wisdom to continue to strive for a better world.  How to do this is the challenge. Please click HERE to read more.

Social Policy Connections featured video

Changing Demographics and International Aid

Click HERE if the video does not display properly

Click HERE to view more SPC videos

Marc Purcell

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