Monthly Archives: August 2006

Commission Calls for Focus on Marginalised in State Election

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics and all political candidates to place the needs of marginalised people at the centre of concerns during the course of next month’s Queensland State election. The Commission recently discussed what messages it would send to voters and candidates as the September 9 poll approaches.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission was overwhelmingly concerned to ensure that Catholics placed a priority on what the next Queensland Government could do to improve the dignity of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.

“While the Commission does not reject the importance of water and health as issues in this election, it is concerned that none of the political parties will give much priority to the needs of people on the margins unless voters make them a priority,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Commission does not presume to tell Catholics how to vote, but it does want to encourage Catholics to ensure that the values which Jesus embodied are placed at the centre of political concerns in Queensland,” he said.

Among the concerns which Commission members highlighted in their discussion of the State election were reconciliation, Indigenous health and the “stolen wages” issue, mental health, the provision of affordable housing for people on low incomes, and the needs of people with a disability.

“The Commission is greatly concerned that the commitment to reconciliation in Queensland and Australia has diminished in recent years,” Mr Arndt said.

Indigenous Queenslanders are still the most disadvantaged group in our community and we cannot see any change in this state of affairs unless there is a genuine passion on the part of every Queenslander and every political party for true reconciliation in our land,” Mr Arndt said.

“The health standards for Indigenous people continues to be much lower than for the rest of the community and this ought to be a scandal which should not be tolerated for a minute longer,” he said.

“Where is the passionate commitment to end this disgraceful and appalling situation in Queensland or Australia?” he said.

“Many Indigenous Queenslanders continue to be dissatisfied at the Queensland Government’s handling of the ‘stolen wages ’ issue, but neither the Government nor the Opposition seem to have any great desire to offer Indigenous workers just compensation for wages which were never paid to them,” he said.

”The Commission is also greatly concerned that the provision of affordable housing to Queenslanders on low incomes is not a significant priority for most political parties,” he said.

“People with a mental health problem are not having their needs met and the Commission feels that there must be a greater willingness to deal with the needs of this marginalised group of Queenslanders so that they can live with some dignity,” he said.

“And it also appealed for more attention to be given to providing a dignified life for people with a disability including the provision of worthwhile employment opportunities,” he said.

“Jesus came to bring good news for the poor and marginalised and the Commission hopes that Catholics will try to be witnesses to this message in the way they think about the Queensland election,” he said. “We can all try to put greater priority on the needs of the people left out of the election headlines,” he said.

“If a local candidate knocks on our door or is talking to voters in the street or at a railway station, we could ask them what they want to do about the health of our Indigenous sisters and brothers or about the housing needs of people on low incomes,” he said.

“When our political leaders appear on talkback radio, we could try to ring in and ask what they want to do to meet the needs of people with a disability or a mental health problem,” he said.

“And once the State election has been decided, we need to keep reminding our elected representatives that the most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged in our community should have first call on the Government’s help,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. Its views do not necessarily represent those of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

A Tribute to the Life and Ministry of Rev Father Morgan Bourke Howe 1919-2006

The staff and members of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission wish to acknowledge the contribution of Fr Morgan Howe to the promotion of Catholic Social Teaching in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Father Howe was the first Chair of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in the Archdiocese of Brisbane set up in 1985.
Homily for Funeral Mass of Fr Morgan Howe Archbishop John Bathersby

Tributes from friends, colleagues and parishioners

Stolen Wages Petition Delivered to Parliament

A petition calling on the Queensland Premier to undertake serious consultation with Indigenous people on its reparations package was handed to Member for Indooroopilly, Mr Ronan Lee, at Parliament House this week.

Executive Officer of Toowoomba’s Catholic Social Justice Commission, Dr Mark Copland, and Executive Officer of Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Peter Arndt, delivered the petition with over 1700 signatures to Mr Lee and requested that he urge the Premier to listen to the concerns of Indigenous people about the “stolen wages” of their people and respond in justice and compassion. (Full Text)

Commission Welcomes Middle East Ceasefire

Commission Welcomes Middle East Ceasefire
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission today welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in the Lebanon. The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the ceasefire, which comes into effect at 3.00 p.m. Brisbane time today, offers a respite from the tragic violence of the last few weeks for all the people of Lebanon and Israel. (Full Text)
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to support Pope Benedict’s call for action on the current Middle East conflict which respects the rights of the people of Lebanon, Israel and Palestine in a balanced and just way…read more