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Indigenous Australia

A call for change in honour of first peoples
“a significant change is required, a change in the law, a change in the constitution and a change in our hearts. All of this is doable too. We have the wealth but we need the will to shift empowerment to Aboriginal people, says Jeff McMullen in his Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture 2015.  

Solidarity on the road to justice
“It is simply amazing how it ... is always the poor who pay to rectify the fiscal shortfall. The money needed to sustain the remote communities into the future is a paltry sum. The social and financial costs caused by uprooting remote peoples from their homes and pushing them into towns, where often basic services are lacking, is overwhelming...”  

Making Peace

Gore or glory: an anniversary and a feast
Besides being a feast of the Church, Transfiguration, August 6, is a terrible anniversary in human history. Seventy years ago, at 8:15 on the morning of August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, writes Fr William Grimm for UCANews.  

Champion for the beauty of beasts
“I no longer think that God’s sentient creatures are simply tools, commodities, things, resources here for us. I think the moral challenge is that it is a moral realisation that creatures have value in themselves,” says Andrew Linzey the director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, dedicated to putting the moral and religious case against animal experimentation.  


A global economy with a conscience - pope
During his July trip to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, some of the poorest countries in Latin America, Pope Francis has voiced the anguish and concerns of millions of people who are struggling to rise out of severe poverty and marginalisation, yet who are “exploited like slaves”.  

Poverty leaves women prey to traffickers in Indonesia
When Lucia Dos Santos went to Malaysia in 2006, leaving her husband and two children behind, the then-14-year-old hoped to return with enough money to support her family. Instead, it was four years later that she was back, blind in both eyes, after being stabbed by her employer over what she says was a minor infraction.  


Emissions target “flimsy”
The combination of policies being deployed by the government will not help them achieve even the weak target announced this week, writes Ben Eltham for New Matilda. Rapid and deep cuts to emissions are the only practical and ethical policy. The non-political Climate Change Authority recommended a 40-60 per cent cut by 2030, based on the available science.  

Encyclical a call for ecological conversion
The encyclical is a prophetic call to the leaders of nations and to all people of good will to act to protect the planetary community of life, writes Denis Edwards for Aurora Magazine.  

See also information about colloquiums on the encyclical below under ‘Use It’

Get hands dirty for ecological justice – Indian bishops
They call on all Christians to “get their hands dirty” in ecological justice action saying that an integral ecology is “made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.  

Second major blow for planned “mega coal mine”
It's been a devastating time for the Indian mining company, with serious questions raised about whether it can go ahead with Australia's biggest ever coal mine. Thom Mitchell reports for New Matilda.  

Bank’s dangerous backtrack in environmental social protections
The World Bank has released new draft safeguard policies that will vastly weaken protections for affected communities and the environment at a time when the bank plans to finance more high-risk projects. The proposed new Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework pointedly contradicts World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s commitment to ensure that the bank’s new rules will not weaken existing mandatory environmental and social protection measures.  

The Political Community

Pacific free trade deal hits the doldrums
Japan has made it clear it thinks New Zealand was the key major stumbling block to a successful conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. Alas, New Zealand proved to be the axle-breaking bump in the road that nobody saw until it was too late to slow down. The talks stalled in Hawaii last month and political commentator Gordon Campbell examines some of the hitches.  

See also Applaud the collapse of the Trans Pacific Partnership

Israel’s failure to address roots of violence
Following the horrifying arson attack that left a small Palestinian child dead last month, Israelis across the political spectrum have been demanding a new, iron-fisted approach to what is being termed “Jewish terrorism.”  

Refugees and Migrants

A regional solution
The Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers of 2012 said 'a regional cooperation and protection framework' should shape policymaking. Support for a regional solution also exists among academics and NGOs such as the Refugee Council of Australia. So what would such a framework look like? And when the time comes, will Australia be prepared to lead the way by increasing resettlement numbers? asks Sam Tyrer for Eureka Street  

Jesuit doco highlights Honduran injustice
A new documentary that explores violence and injustice in Honduras from the perspective of journalists at a Jesuit-run radio station was released late last month, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's murder in neighbouring El Salvador.  

A smarter, more humane approach to crime that saves lives and builds safer communities.
Australia’s First Peoples are dramatically over-represented in prison statistics. ANTaR is campaigning to change this unacceptable situation and to end Aboriginal deaths in custody. Join us!  

Getting to know Catholic Social Teaching
For many years people have said that Catholic Social Teaching is our best kept secret, but I don’t think this is true anymore, writes Sandie Cornish.  

Social Justice & the Churches: Challenges & Responsibilities
Edited by John D'Arcy May
Professor Frank Brennan, Fr Max Vodola, Revd Gerald Rose, Revd Geoff Pound, Revd Raymond Cleary, Dr Mark Zirnsak, Major Jenny Begent, Fr Shenouda Boutros, and Margaret Coffey examine the social traditions of seven churches for today.
This book is available through Social Policy Connections for $25+$5 postage.
To order  

ERC Asylum Seekers and Refugees
An education resource with activities for students, focusing on real people and their stories.
The resource is available to download at no cost. For information call 02 8762 4200 or go to

End gender-based violence
With an estimated up to two million people, mostly women and children, trafficked annually for prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, the United Nations’ UNiTE campaign focusing on ending violence against women and children has called for a focus on this issue on the 25th of every month.  

The Call to Justice in Scripture
How do you experience the Scriptures calling you to live justly? This PowerPoint can be used for personal reflection or as stimulus material for group discussion. Reflecting on The Call to Justice in Scripture  



Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Major International Catholic Social Teaching Documents

Key Principles

Human Dignity
Each person, made in the image and likeness of God, has an inalienable and transcendent human dignity which gives rise to human rights.

The Common Good
We are called to work for conditions which ensure that every person and group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential.

The people or groups most directly affected by a decision or policy should have a key decision making role.

We can only grow and achieve our potential in relationship with others. Solidarity encourages us to commit ourselves to the common good.