Monthly Archives: July 2010

Christians Urged to Engage in Election with the Eyes of Faith

Monday 26 July 2010

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Christians to get involved in the current Federal election with their faith as their guide.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that it was important for Christians to promote values which are at the heart of Christian faith.

“We hope that Christians will actively engage their local candidates in discussions about the values which shape their views on important social issues from taxation to foreign aid,” Mr Arndt said.

“Values such as the inalienable dignity of every human being, the common good and putting the welfare of the weakest and the most vulnerable first are values that Christians can encourage politicians from every party to embrace in every policy they adopt,” he said.

“We have a calling to be witnesses and agents of justice and peace and we can do that by getting involved in the election and, just as importantly, after the election,” he said.

“The Church should not be telling Christians how to vote, but the Church can be a voice for people who do not have power or influence,” he said.

“While we won’t tell Christians how to vote, we will try to give them opportunities to hear representatives of major parties and to ask them questions on important issues,” he said.

The Commission has sent parishes a guide to help them organize meetings so that local candidates’ views on important issues can be heard and discussed.  Prayers focused on the elections have also been distributed.

In addition, the Commission is working with representatives from the Anglican and Uniting Churches to organize two forums at which Senators and Senate candidates from the ALP, LNP, Greens and Family First will speak and be questioned on a range of election issues.

The first forum will focus on Mental health, refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy  and climate change.  It will be held on Wednesday 4 August at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Broadwater Road Uniting Church, 481 Broadwater Road, Mansfield.

The second forum will be held on Monday 9 August at St Paul’s Uniting Church, corner of Mimimine Street and Webster Road, Stafford at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m.  Its focus will be taxation, poverty, housing and homelessness.

In both forums, a series of questions will be addressed to the party representatives by a panel representing the three churches followed by a period of questioning from the floor.  All are welcome to these forums.

The Commission also hopes that a meeting at which a thorough examination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy can take place will be arranged with the collaboration of Indigenous Christians.

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 Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Commission Urges Catholics to Hold Politicians to Account on Indigenous Policy

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse (Also known as the “Little Children are Sacred” report.) Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission today urged Catholics to hold politicians of all parties to account during the forthcoming Federal election for their policies concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Commission issued this call with the full support of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisors.

The Commission has called for particular attention to be given to the Federal Government’s continuing use and extension of income management measures in the Northern Territory.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many Aboriginal people in the Territory, in particular, and around Australia are unhappy with the impact of income management on individual Aborigines.

“Income management means quarantining half of a person’s Centrelink payment for food and other basics and is applied to all Centrelink beneficiaries irrespective of how they manage their money,” Mr Arndt said.

“Whether you feed and clothe your children or spend your money on alcohol and gambling, you get the same treatment,” he said.

“Having a ‘one size fits all’ measure applied to all Centrelink beneficiaries in the Territory shows no respect for people’s dignity,” he said.

“Having to use a special card to buy your groceries is also humiliating,” he said.

“I am sure the Minister, Jenny Macklin, has heard some positive comments from Aboriginal people in the Territory, but she seems to be ignoring the many stories of people getting into serious difficulty as a result of this measure,” he said.

“We are also concerned that income management is not improving the situation,” he said.

“A number of reports are even suggesting that things are not improving and may be going backwards in some cases,” he said.

“We strongly support the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders, when he recently urged our political leaders to develop supportive and empowering initiatives to address problems for Aboriginal communities in the Territory,” he said.

“Decades of paternalistic action which does not include Aboriginal people in the process of developing initiatives have failed and wasted a lot of money,” he said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities need to participate in efforts to address the problems they face,” he said.

“We urge Catholics to ask their local candidates who support the current policies for clear evidence that things are getting better,” he said.

“We also urge Catholics to encourage their local candidates to back initiatives which support and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he said.

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

This media release is issued with the approval of the Commission under the provisions of its Mandate which enable it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in this media release do not necessarily represent those of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

NATSICC Assembly 2009

NATSICC Assembly 2009

Today is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council provided liturgy resources.

As web editor of this site, I would like to invite you to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday 2010 with images and reflections I have prepared from some of my documentary work among Indigenous people.