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POSITION VACANT: ACSJC EDITING & RESEARCH OFFICER
Do you have experience in editing and writing, with a passion for social justice? We are seeking an Editing and Research Officer for a key role in this national office, which is based in Sydney. The Editing and Research Officer is responsible for editing publications and coordinating their production, as well as assisting in the research, education and advocacy activities of the Office. You will have high level editing skills and expertise in English expression and grammar, a commitment to the Church’s teachings and efforts for social justice, and a keen interest in social issues in Australia and abroad. You will have experience in Microsoft Windows operating systems, high-level skills in Microsoft Word, skills and experience in desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign, and preferably skills and experience with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You will liaise with authors, graphic designers, image suppliers and printers, and more broadly with social justice networks. To be considered for this role, applications should address the Knowledge, Skills and Experience as listed in the position description available here and here. Applications close on Sunday 16 December, 5.00 pm. Interviews are expected to be held in mid-January 2019. Enquiries: 0447 238 432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

POSITION VACANT: EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMISSION, TOOWOOMBA
The Diocese of Toowoomba is seeking an Executive Officer to work in partnership with the Social Justice Commission in implementing the key objectives of the Commission: promoting a spirituality of justice; researching and analysing local issues of injustice; building links with those marginalised through injustice; providing leadership in action for justice; and, educating the faith community for action. The Executive Officer needs to have experience and expertise in issues impacting on: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Refugees, Migrants and Asylum seekers; and the earth: our common home. Experience and expertise in other social justice areas are welcome. An understanding of Christian faith that does justice is essential. The detailed Executive Officer Package is available from the Diocesan Finance Office, cnr Union Lane and Annand Street, Toowoomba Q 4350 or by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone on (07) 4632 7589. Applications for the position will close on Monday 17 December, 5.00 pm.

WORLD DAY OF PEACE – 1 JANUARY 2019
The Holy See Press Office has announced that the theme of the 52nd World Day of Peace is: ‘Good politics is at the service of peace’. The Press Office says, ‘Every citizen bears political responsibility, and in particular those who have received the mandate to protect and govern. This mission consists of safeguarding the law and encouraging dialogue between figures of society, among generations and among cultures. There is no peace without mutual trust. And trust has as a first condition respect for the given word. Political commitment – which is one of the highest expressions of charity – involves concern for the future of life and the planet, the youngest and smallest, and their thirst for fulfilment’. For further information, visit here. To access the Pope’s message when it becomes available, visit here.

2018 POSITIVE PEACE REPORT
Issued by the Institute for Economics & Peace, the Positive Peace 2018 report contains new research on the link between the economic performance of countries and levels of Positive Peace. Findings show that countries improving their overall Positive Peace Index score also grew their economies by an additional two percentage points, on average, compared to countries that deteriorated. The report includes an updated ranking of 163 countries according to their relative levels of Positive Peace. Peace and development practitioners will find a new ‘Theory of Change’ framework included as a useful tool for creating and monitoring Positive Peace programs in the field. The report can be accessed here.

FR GERRY: PRAYING FOR PEOPLE KILLED IN THE GENOCIDE IN IRAQ & SYRIA
Fr Gerard Hefferan, of St Joseph and St Anthony Parish Bracken Ridge, speaks of a recent visit to Iraq: ‘I visited and prayed at two desecrated church graves in the Nineveh Plains. One Sister told me of their pain as they searched for the bones of their Sisters in their convent grave. ISIS had dug up graves and scattered bones nearby. These were traditional cemeteries where burials had taken place reverently over many years. Yet there is another type of grave – genocide mass graves where people were executed and their bodies dumped. There are so many unnamed mass graves from the Genocide by ISIS. The UN has issued a report about the mass graves discovered and some of which are being excavated. I still remember those people who shared their pain with me. I have written a prayer for those whose bodies are in the mass graves identified in UN report, and for their families.’ Read and pray Fr Gerry’s prayer here.

WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – NOVEMBER 2018
Observing the second World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis delivered his homily focusing on the cry of the poor. He said, ‘It is the stifled cry of the unborn, of starving children, of young people more used to the explosion of bombs than happy shouts of the playground. It is the cry of the elderly, cast off and abandoned to themselves. It is the cry of all those who face the storms of life without the presence of a friend. It is the cry of all those forced to flee their homes and native land for an uncertain future. ... Injustice is the perverse root of poverty. The cry of the poor daily grows louder but is heard less and less. Every day that cry gets louder, but every day heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich’. View the Holy Father’s homily here. The Pope’s message for the World Day of the Poor can be accessed here.

GETHSEMANE COMMUNITY – CHRISTMAS PROJECT
Gethsemane Community Inc. is a community house based in Sydney for a small number of men and women with mental illness and/or intellectual disability, who have been homeless or in insecure housing. It offers the safety, security and the permanence of a home to assist people to develop living skills and become independent. At Christmas, Gethsemane Community organises a major project to provide personalised gifts for 875 people with disability in boarding houses, group homes, aged care and supported in the community. It also provides 400 hampers of toiletries, basic and festive food and a gift pack to clients of the mental health and drugs health teams in the Inner West of Sydney. And 70 people come for Christmas lunch. Please consider making a donation or offering other support to Sr Myree Harris rsj and her small team at Gethsemane by visiting here.

AUSTRALIA RESPONDS TO POPE’S WORLD DAY OF THE POOR
Parishes throughout Australia have answered Pope Francis’ call to mark World Day of the Poor by hosting community events to support those in need. Special lunches have been held in capital cities like Sydney and Brisbane, and many parishes and communities around the nation have made donations to Church organisations dedicated to assisting the poor and marginalised. To find out more, visit here.

ACOSS & UNSW REPORT: ‘POVERTY IN AUSTRALIA 2018’
Australia currently lacks a poverty reduction plan. It lacks an agreed definition of poverty, or regular monitoring and reporting by governments. This report by the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of New South Wales seeks to ensure that the Australian community understands the prevalence of poverty in Australia. Despite Australia's three decades of economic growth and being ranked as the second wealthiest country in the world, poverty rates have remained entrenched. There are more than 3 million people living below the poverty line, including 739,000 children. Most of those affected are living in deep poverty, on average a disturbing $135 per week below the poverty line. Those experiencing poverty at the highest rates are those relying on Government allowances – Youth Allowance (64%) and Newstart (55%). To access the report, visit here.

CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES: ADDRESSING INTERGENERATIONAL DISADVANTAGE
Intergenerational welfare dependency cannot be addressed without first fixing factors affecting entrenched disadvantage. That’s the message of key Catholic agencies to a Select Committee into Intergenerational Welfare Dependence. CSSA’s CEO Fr Frank Brennan said, ‘While we recognise that work is an inherent part of the human condition, we also hold firm that the value and dignity of individuals must not be defined solely by their ability to participate in paid employment. Our social safety net must therefore be able to support those unable to work to live a dignified life.’ CSSA deputy CEO Joe Zabar said, ‘While services are critical to addressing intergenerational disadvantage, so too is the welfare payment system. ... We know from our joint published research that low-income households, in particular those on welfare payments, do not receive sufficient income to live a frugal but dignified life. When the level of Newstart is so low that it becomes a barrier to employment, addressing that must be part of the solution.’ To find out more visit here.

Save the date: CSSA Conference 19 and 20 February 2019
The Catholic Social Services Australia national conference, hosted by St Agnes’ Parish at Port Macquarie, will explore and showcase how the Church’s various ministries and structures can together address the unmet needs of the local community though collaboration and integration. The conference will include an opportunity to examine the political context, the social situation and the economic reality for the Church’s mission in serving our communities. The Program will also include the inaugural Father Leo Donnelly Oration. For more information, please contact Kate Harkins at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ANGLICARE AUSTRALIA: STATE OF THE FAMILY REPORT 2018
The State of the Family Report is entitled, ‘The Real Story: What Australians think about poverty and how we shape the debate’. This is Anglicare Australia’s 18th report. The report features a literature review on poverty in Australia, the results of a nationally representative survey of attitudes and a language analysis drawn from the Anglicare Australia Network. Also included are stories or ‘portraits’ where people
who use services describe, in their own words, their experiences of poverty. The report can be accessed here.

AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: ‘GO HOME ON TIME DAY’ REPORT
The 10th annual ‘Go Home On Time Day’ report by The Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work estimates that Australian employees will work 3.2 billion hours of unpaid overtime for their employers this year, worth an estimated $106 billion in foregone wages. A national survey undertaken as part of the report has shown that the average Australian worker now puts in six hours of unpaid overtime per week, which equates to working an extra two months for free every year. That’s an increase from 5.1 hours on average in last year’s survey. To find out more and access the report, visit here.

MERCY FOUNDATION REPORT: INCREASING HOUSING SECURITY FOR OLDER WOMEN

The Mercy Foundation, in collaboration with a number of universities and advocacy organisations, has issued a publication titled ‘Retiring Into Poverty: A national plan for increasing housing security for older women’. The report outlines the issues facing older women living in housing insecurity or homelessness and identifies needed changes to policies and programs. For more information and to download a copy of the report visit
here.

RESEARCH: THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL COSTS OF WOMEN SLEEPING ROUGH IN AUSTRALIA’S CITIES
The Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia and the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness have produced research, ‘The Women’s Word on the Street’, based on interviews with 853 women sleeping rough. Women sleeping rough experience elevated rates of physical and mental health conditions, substance abuse issues, domestic violence and interactions with the justice system relative to both the general population and women experiencing other forms of homelessness (such as couch surfing or supported accommodation). The findings provide evidence for an urgent comprehensive public health, housing, justice and social support response. Access the research here.

CAMPAIGN: EVERBODY’S HOME
From people wanting to buy their very first house, to others struggling to just find a safe roof over their heads, it’s clear that the housing system isn’t working for everyone – with overinflated house prices, growing competition for rentals, lack of affordance housing and record levels of homelessness. The Everybody’s Home campaign calls for: support for first home buyers, a national housing strategy, better rental arrangements, relief for renters in chronic need and a plan to end homelessness by 2030. To find out more visit here.

NATIONAL CONGRESS CALLS GOVERMENT TO ACCOUNT FOR REDIRECTED FUNDS
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has criticised the Minister of Indigenous Affairs for allocating Indigenous Advancement Strategy funds to industry groups to oppose land rights claims. They have had long standing concerns that funds allocated by the federal parliament specifically to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are often siphoned off by administrative authorities and do not reach their target and this proves that our concerns need to be addressed. The Congress has called for a full internal review by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. To find out more visit here.

PEAK BODIES CALL FOR PARTNERSHIP ON CLOSING THE GAP
Indigenous health and representative bodies have signed an open letter calling for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to properly partner with them on Closing the Gap. The policy and its targets to end disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians is being updated, and the 13 bodies say they haven’t been properly involved in the process. The group is concerned the next COAG meeting will sign off on new targets which haven't been made public. It says this is ‘way short of being partners and transparent’. Read the NITV article by Brooke Fryer here. Access the open letter here.

REPORT: ‘UNTIL WHEN? THE FORGOTTEN MEN OF MANUS ISLAND’
The misery of indefinite detention on Manus Island is pushing increasing numbers of refugees and people seeking asylum to suicide attempts and self-harm, a new report by the Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International has found. The report paints a stark picture of a traumatised refugee population which has been hit hard by Australia’s recent healthcare and counselling service cuts, as well as continued threats to their safety. ‘The worsening health and safety crisis on Manus Island demonstrates that Australia’s offshore processing system has failed. Three people have already committed suicide, driven to despair by years in an open-air prison, and in the last two months at least five others have attempted to end their lives, including one man who swallowed razor blades and nail clippers,’ says Claire Mallinson, National Director of Amnesty International Australia. The report can be accessed here.

RALLY: KIDS OFF NAURU – 27 NOVEMBER
More than 250 #KidsOffNauru supporters from around Australia rallied outside Parliament House in Canberra. Only 40% of Australians knew that children were detained on Nauru when the campaign launched in August, but a recent poll published in the Sunday Telegraph said awareness has now risen to 80%. Independent MP for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps delivered to the PM and Opposition Leader the petition containing the names of more than 170,000 concerned Australians as well as over 420 organisations. She was joined by other cross benchers, including: Andrew Wilke, Tim Storer, Rebekha Sharkie, Derryn Hinch, Greens Senator Nick McKim and ALP Senator Lisa Singh. Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes said at the rally he was ‘ashamed the government has allowed this to happen, and I’m ashamed of myself, because the government represents us ... we have to stand up and demand that this be changed.’ The campaign is calling on concerned Australians to continue calling their local MPS to get them to do more to get the #KidsOffNauru now! Find out more here.

GLOBAL ‘NEXTGEN’ INDEX
The NextGen Index is an initiative of the Global Campaign to End Child Detention. The Index is a comparative tool that ranks States on their progress in ending child immigration detention. The Index uses a standard scoring framework to assess the key factors that ensure national migration management systems are sensitive to the needs of children and, importantly, avoid child detention. It analyses the strengths and weaknesses of current systems in protecting and respecting the rights and best interests of the child at all times, regardless of their migration status. Scorecards are accompanied by tailored recommendations. To find out more visit here.

CARITAS STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT
Caritas Australia has joined with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas Papua New Guinea, Caritas Samoa and Caritas Tonga to publish the latest State of the Environment Report for Oceania. The annual report bears witness to the stark reality that millions of people in small islands states are suffering the impacts of climate change, though they did very little to contribute to it. It highlights the actions required from the Australian Government and others to respond to climate change. The Report can be downloaded here.

 

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