Social Justice Trends_May 2021


Office for Social Justice (OSJ)

Dear Friend

In Laudato Si’ week, the importance of social, cultural and economic inclusion is threaded throughout the May edition of Social Justice Trends.

The Laudato Si’ Journey Continues

As the Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year draws to a close, the next stage of the journey begins. Registrations for a Seven-Year Journey towards seven Laudato Si’ Goals will open at the end of the Season of Creation when the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will launch its online Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The Platform will offer practical guidance on actions in line with the Laudato Si’ Goals, a supportive community of practice and milestones for our journey together. Now ‘footsteps’ towards each of these Goals are being identified and once finalised will provide a global pathway towards a sustainable Church.

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Responses to the Federal Budget

While Catholic Health Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission welcomed government initiatives and new spending, Caritas Australia and the Refugee Council of Australia expressed disappointment with the 2021-2022 Budget. $17.7 billion was allocated to implementing 126 of the 148 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care while onshore detention of asylum seekers and compliance costs ballooned to $1.26 billion. Injections of cash to support regional actions to suppress COVID-19 in the Pacific were welcomed, however little additional funding was added to combat growing global poverty.

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Bishops Back Calls for Indigenous Voice to Parliament

The Catholic Bishops have backed the call for a National Voice for the First Peoples. They say it should involve as many First People as possible including faith-based groups like the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC). The Bishops back NATSICC’s call for the process to yield a tangible improvement in the lives of Australia’s First Peoples. The submission was co-signed by chairs of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.

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Indigenous Voice in Vatican Climate Talks

The voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics will be heard at Vatican talks in October. Focused on climate change ahead of the COP26 global climate talks, Mr John Lochowiak the Chair of NATSICC, will attend the Vatican conference led by the Holy See on October 4. Mr Lochowiak will be joined by delegates around the world both in person and online. Sharing the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Mr Lochowiak has stressed the importance of connecting with the land, living in harmony and caring for the earth.

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Stella Maris Backs Neptune Declaration

A new declaration calling for seafarers to be considered essential workers is gaining support internationally. Catholic agency Stella Maris Australia supports this declaration; the Catholic agency provides spiritual and practical support to seafarers, while also engaging in international advocacy on their behalf. The agency also supports approaches to the Australian Government regarding the rights and wellbeing of seafarers. The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change calls for better practices in facilitating changes of crew, and for early access for seafarers to COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Video Showcases Migrants and Refugees

“Home isn’t where you were born, home is where all your attempts to escape cease,” Kane – student and refugee. Four stories of overcoming at times insurmountable challenges have been told first hand by Kane, Idrissa, Len and Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen. All share their own personal stories as aslyum seekers, refugees and migrants in Australia in this new video resource freely available online. Ready to use for Refugee Week or Migrant and Refugee Sunday, this Catholic resource by the Diocese of Parramatta gets behind the headlines to the personal stories in “My Journey, Our Journey.”

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Charities’ free speech at risk

Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) has joined with faith-based charities to speak out against proposed changes to the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s governance standards. Proposed changes would expand Standard 3 so that charities may face “the constant threat” of the government revoking their charitable status. Dr Ursula Stephans, chief executive officer of CSSA said, “We believe that the proposal as drafted will leaves us in the position of having to monitor and ‘punish’ staff, volunteers, and those of our members, or face the constant threat of our charitable status removed.”

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Stolen Generation Survivors Speak

Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, a partner of Caritas Australia, has created two video resources where survivors of the Stolen Generation share what Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week mean to them. It shows a diversity of opinions and provides a moving first-hand account of the importance of these events and the role of non-Indigenous Australians in truth-telling across the country. KBHAC also run a mobile education unit which can attend schools and communities where Uncles and their families tell their own story and the story of their brothers and families.

Read more…



Events approaching include:
Sowers of Hope: 21 May, 5:30pm AEST
– Sorry Day: 26 May
– Reconciliation Week: 27 May – 3 June
– Multicultural Australia: Luminous Lantern Parade, Brisbane: 4 June
– Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday: 3 July
– Refugees Alternative Conference: 6 – 7 July



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Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv (Chair), Bishop Paul Bird CSsR, Bishop Terence Brady, Bishop Max Davis, Bishop Karol Kulczycki SDS, Bishop Bosco Puthur, Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bishop Donald Sproxton.


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The Office for Social Justice facilitates this newsletter in good faith. Its aim is to promote adult faith formation, awareness and action in relation to social, economic and ecological justice issues. Factual information is presumed free of error. If this is found to be incorrect please contact the OSJ for purposes of rectification. The reference to news items and the provision of links to other websites is solely for the user’s convenience. The OSJ assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, these items or websites, their content, or their sponsoring organisations.


Social Justice Trends is a publication of the Office for Social Justice and is distributed monthly. Our aim is to provide news of interest to you. If you have suggestions or feedback about Social Justice Trends please don’t hesitate to get back to me.


Sandie Cornish
Social Justice Officer
Office for Social Justice

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