What’s coming up
Fairtrade Fortnight: 2-15 August
Use this fortnight to learn about economic injustice and the disempowerment of farmers and workers in developing countries. Take a stand and switch to Fairtrade products – it is easy to find coffee, tea and chocolate at your local supermarket – just look for the Fairtrade mark. These products are delicious and inexpensive. There are resources for workplaces, schools etc. Can your church community make the switch and contribute to fairness and justice in trade?
Multicultural Queensland Month – August
Queensland is a multicultural success story and the month of August presents an opportunity to showcase and celebrate our unique diversity and its benefits. People from across the state join together to perform, share, taste, listen, learn and acknowledge that, while we may come from different cultures, we all love living in Queensland. Resources are available on the government website.
The Uniting Church is, of course, a multicultural church. Take the opportunity to celebrate our diversity this during August, in worship and fellowship. The theme for the month is “We all belong”. What could be more appropriate?
Week in review
Our vision for a Just Australia
The National Assembly and UnitingJustice have released a renewed version of this very important document, expressing our Uniting Church vision for a just Australia and why our Christian faith calls us to work towards its fulfilment. It is deliberately broad in scope. You may connect with the vision as a whole or choose to focus on one or two issues.
Calls for crackdown on tax haven
Oxfam, the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania and the Tax Justice Network Australia have released a new report Buried Treasure: the wealth Australian mining companies hide around the world. These companies and avoiding their fair share of taxed in some of the poorest countries on earth – tax revenue that is urgently needed for public services like schools and hospitals. Read the report.
Karina Krasinski and Armen Gakavian recently launched Neighbourhood Matters as a husband and wife team to offer the church training and equipping in the area of a neighbourhood ministry, particularly with an urban focus. ABC programme Compass featured their story recently in an episode called “Love Your Neighbour”. Well worth the 30 minutes watching time.
Housing and mental health
Australia carries an enormous and increasing mental health burden. At the same time, housing disadvantage is on the rise in Australia. The latest research indicates the trends are related. Housing disadvantage is harmful for mental health and the effects stay with you well after your housing situation might have improved.
The Path of Compassion
Cate Blanchett is one of the finest actors of her generation. She was born is Australia and mother of four children. She also dedicated herself to refugees and stateless people as goodwill ambassador for UNHCR. In this Awake at Night podcast (transcript also available), she reflects on her experiences and her quest to try and encourage compassion in children, particularly in boys. Fascinating!
The devastating impact of problem gambling
Families grappling with gambling addiction say it needs to be treated as a public health issue, with more training for doctors to identify those at risk. A Victorian MP, whose husband had a gambling addiction and related mental health issues is calling for GPs and other health professionals to receive training on treatment options and ways to identify those at risk.
“I don’t eat regularly at all”: Trying to get by on Newstart
It is well established that Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments are inadequate to cover basic costs. As such people go to great lengths to keep a roof over their head when trying to get by on an allowance. 84 per cent said they skip meals to save money. The rate is well under the poverty line. ACOSS surveyed 489 people receiving these allowances. These are their findings.
Call to action
It’s time to #RaiseTheRate
Raising the rate of Newstart will mean people can focus on their futures rather than being totally consumed with the financial crisis they’re facing. Raising the Newstart rate will make the system stronger and give people looking for paid work the best chance to get through tough times and find suitable employment. Join with ACOSS and send a message to our leaders that it’s time to Raise The Rate and get Newstart working. Add your name to the petition here.
Fix Australia’s broken asylum process
Last week advocates and others from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) spent a week in Canberra briefing MPs and press gallery journalists. They delivered little origamis “freedom birds” made by school kids to MPs symbolising freedom and safe homes for people seeking asylum. We are invited to participate in demonstrating a community groundswell with creative and inspiring actions. Let’s flood the office of the Prime Minister with beautiful symbols of life and home, symbols that he cannot ignore and must act on now.
Make your event accessible
If you are organising an event, or even your regular worship service, why not take the extra steps to make the gathering as accessible as possible. It is important point to note that approximately 4 in 5 disabilities are non-visible, which means you will not necessarily be able to see the person has a disability. Prioritising accessibility is about recognising the fundamental human rights of persons with disability and putting your social justice values into practice. This article has a comprehensive list of things to think about for your event.