2010 AGM

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Report by Peter Whiting SPC President.

Welcome to this the 2ndAGM we have convened at the YTU site. There is a lot to report for the period under review.

Our speaker series has continued, and items of diverse but very relevant subject matter were covered. Just some of the lectures relevant to the social justice agenda of SPC were:

  • Moral Reflections on the Iraq War, with Professor Brian Johnstone CSsR
  • GFC: The opportunity for Transformation,with Profesor John Langmore
  • New Hope in Africa: The Role of the Churches, with Rev Andre Karamaga
  • Australia–China Relationship, Thomas Bartlett and Paul Rule

Another initiative of SPC was associated with the then-coming (now complete) Federal and Victorian State elections. We convened a most profitable meeting with SPC members from which we were able to discern four areas of particular interest to members:

  • Immigration and refugee policy
  • Climate change response
  • Overseas aid provided byAustralia
  • Indigenous welfare policy

SPC Members were invited to approach their local politicians and engage them in discussion concerning their policies in their areas, and short position papers were provided to aid in this exercise. Feedback has been somewhat limited, but those reporting indicated that the exercise was worthwhile.

These four areas of interest have shaped our approach, and we expect them to be relevant areas of focus for us into 20111 and beyond. The forum following tonight’s AGM with the Hon Alastair Nicholson is a case in point.

We continue to expand the reach of our lectures and publications, with our website now offering access to these through podcasts available on YouTube and Facebook. We are very encouraged by the numbers accessing these presentations, and I express my thanks to Matthew Howard for his work in this area.

At the end of the period, we achieved a cherished aim of appointing a CEO to further the work of SPC. Audra has, since her appointment, been working to develop the ‘connections’ aspects of Social  Policy Connections, and we see some of that fruit this evening in the members who are offering themselves to join our Board.

I just cannot finalise my report for 2009-10 without acknowledging the contributions generously made by the volunteers behind SPC. There is a number variously involved in our administration efforts or in writing papers and policy positions for us. I won’t name any here specifically, lest I offend by omission, but I can say with confidence that their work is much valued and appreciated. I also wish to acknowledge the work of outgoing Board members. Paul Rule has been a consistent contributor since the beginning of SPC, and whilst we will miss him on the Board, he remains keen to assist where he can in producing papers for publication. Mark Walsh and Judy Benson, while not so long-serving have brought to the Board considerable expertise and a keen sense of where we should focus our efforts. My thanks to each of you for your generous support of the SPC endeavour.

We move into 2010-11 keen to make a difference. As the audited financial reports for June 2010 indicate, we are in a sound but still lean financial state. Without increased financial support, our capabilities will be necessarily limited. Our business model relies on membership fees and donations for our continuing operation. Given the modest membership fee level, the fundraising component is most important. We are engaged in discussions to try to secure ongoing funding from donors, but are always open to increased help in this area. All this notwithstanding, SPC’s endeavours will continue strongly into 2011, and we meet this weekend to set out our agenda for the new year.

I thank you for your support of SPC, and trust that not only SPC but our members as well will find the new year rewarding.

Peter Whiting
SPC President
1 December 2010


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