14 November 2013.

Report by Peter Whiting
SPC President.

Welcome to this our eighth AGM. Over the last year, SPC has focused on presenting topics of current interest to members and the wider community seeking to be informed on social justice issues. Our approach is to leverage the impact of speaker presentations by making the content available in print on our website and as podcasts available via social media. This has proven an effective strategy allowing us to access a wide audience at a cost which a small organisation such as ours can cover. In 2013 up till mid-November, we experienced over 1,400,000 pages opened on our website by nearly 65,000 unique visitors, showing that our impact continues to increase.

Individuals and like-minded organisations who presented during 2013 included :

  • In March, Bishop Vincent Long launched Fr Bruce Duncan’s book Social justice : fuller life in a fairer world. This book has been prepared as a resource for schools. It is highly readable, and copies are available tonight for those interested.
  • Bishop Emeritus Pat Power addressed us in April sharing his experience under the title What I have learned about churches & publc policy.
  • May, Ged Kearney (ACTU President) and Professor Brian Howe considered the changes in the workplace under the topic The future of work
  • During August, we again addressed the very topical issue of asylum seekers with Caz Coleman and Misha Coleman who considered, What now for asylum seekers?
  • The theme of poverty was addressed in two events :
    –     In September, Denis Fitzgerald spoke on Reducing Poverty in Australia
    –     In October, again collaborating with the St Vincent de Paul Society and others, SPC jointly convened a conference for Anti-Poverty Week.
  • And, of course, this evening we will shortly be hearing from Professor Brian Costar on the topic of Electoral Reform & Social Justice.

We would be pleased to receive feedback from our members, including suggested topics and speakers. Indeed, members with expertise in matters within SPC’s scope are invited to write pieces for publication on the website. Do make contact, and we can set this in train.

At this time of year, it is appropriate to offer our thanks to a number of individuals. Through his endeavours, Matthew Howard keeps our website and social media presence up and operational. Enabling us to maintain both our web presence as well as our involvement in bringing these important topics to you, we are most grateful for the financial support of our members and supporters. A special mention of the Redemptorists is warranted for their continuing generous support. Our administration has been again ably managed by Susy Herlihy.

As with any small organisation such as ours, there is much done by volunteers. I would like publicly to acknowledge not only the great contribution they make to our endeavour but also the generous nature with which they do so. In keeping with that remark, I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues on the Committee.

Finally, but not least in consideration, a vote of thanks to our members who have so consistently supported SPC’s efforts in 2013, through your financial support and your presence at our functions. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated by those who work within SPC.

We are currently working on our program direction for 2014, and will communicate this in an upcoming newsletter.

Thank you for attending the AGM.

Peter Whiting
SPC President

Read the Minutes of SPC’s 8th Annual AGM.


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