Bishop Paul Bird CSsR, Jim Ryan (Parishioner), Anthea Hinchey (Chair), Rachel Smith (Executive Member for Catholic Education Ballarat), Sue Searls (Parishioner), Sr Helen Nolen rsm (Sisters of Mercy), Stacey Atkins (Primary Education and parishioner), Andrew O’Flynn (St Vincent de Paul), Felicity Liston (Parishioner and Youth member), Hannah Scullion (ACU) and Fiona Tonkin (minutes).
Executive Member: Dr Rachel Smith
Phone: 03 5337 7135
Email: Diocesan Social Justice Commission
BELOW IS AN EXPLANATION OF THE ROLE OF THIS COMMISSION
The role of the BDSJC is to advise the Bishop of the Commissions address of social justice issues and spread the Gospel message to the local Church and wider community. The commission collaborates to promote joint action with the Church and other groups in favor of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
BDSJC works to develop a Christian contribution to public debates on social issues especially in areas of local or regional impact. The commission promotes spirituality through liturgy, structures and agencies, giving prominence to right relationships, respect for life and creation, and the promotion of liberation from every form of oppression.
A BALLARAT RESPONSE TO THE
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS
SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT 2021-2022
“CRY OF THE EARTH CRY OF THE POOR”
The Creator of all calls us to practice a new way of living, one that is “good, true and beautiful.” (LS 205)
We commit to take action together because it is “urgent and necessary.” (LS 57)
Ballarat Diocesan Social Justice Commission forum –
Inspired by the latest Social Justice Statement, “Cry of the Earth Cry of the Poor”, the Ballarat Diocesan Social Justice Commission hosted a forum on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 10.00am – 3.00pm. The forum was attended in person and via parish hubs. Key messages from the Statement were selected and the following experts were invited to respond:
- Janet Morris: Acknowledgement of Country and Opening Prayer.
- Bishop Paul Bird: Introduce the Bishops Statement “Cry of the Earth Cry of the Poor”.
- Dr Mark Diesendorf: Listening to and learning from the world – what the science is telling us.
- Dr Sandie Cornish: Listening and drawing wisdom from our own wells – responding to the “Cry of the Earth Cry of the Poor.”
- Vicki Clark: Listening to creation – a call to care for Country.
- Jacqui Remond: Caring for creation – watering the seeds of change.
“We were made for love,” and deeper relationships
will nourish us wherever the Holy Spirit leads. (LS 58)
A report from the Conference was published in the
dicoesan e-News on November 30, 2021:
REPORTS FROM THE BALLARAT DIOCESE SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMISSION MEETINGS CAN BE READ BELOW:
BALLARAT DIOCESAN SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMISSION ANNUAL REPORTS
BALLARAT DIOCESAN SOCIAL JUSTICE
HOW CAN I GET INVOVLED IN SOCIAL JUSTICE IN BALLARAT?
There are so many ways you can get involved in Social Justice in Ballarat. Many groups and organisations want you to be involved and are ready to take your call. Download our flyer below and check out the organisations you can contact.
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMANS
ACRATH Conversation Series
You are invited to attend this online event and find out more about the work of ACRATH – work that is possible because of your support. This month ACRATH is continuing its Conversation Series on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 11.15am with a conversation about ACRATH’s advocacy – strategies, ‘asks’ and successes. Peter O’Neill and Christine Carolan are being interviewed. Click here for the link to the online event.
Click here to read the June 2021 ACRATH Newsletter.
SUPPORT FOR WITNESS K
In the interests of transparency, fair democratic process, justice and accountability, the Ballarat Diocesan Social Justice Commission recently sent letters to the Members of Parliament within our diocese, as well as all Victorian Senators, urging them to support the establishment of a Senate enquiry into the prosecutions of Witness K and his lawyer Mr Bernard Collaery. Witness K, a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer, had revealed information about ASIS illegally bugging the East Timor Cabinet Office in Dili to gain an unfair advantage in negotiations with East Timor over the rich oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap. Witness K and Bernard Collaery are now facing criminal charges in Australia. A full transcript of the letter outlining the Commission’s concerns can be accessed below. You can also read more about the case and sign the online petition which is calling for the Attorney-General of Australia, Christian Porter, to drop the charges.
CLIMATE CHANGE BILL
The Ballarat Diocesan Social Justice Commission, in partnership with Catholic Earthcare, showed significant support for Zali Stegall’s climate change bill, since it was introduced to Parliament in November. BDSJC sent a letter to MHR of the diocese, as well and all Victorian Senators, encouraging advocating for the bill and pointing out that the bill provides a clear, systematic framework for the development of the policy required for meeting the specified emission reduction targets. Last week BDSJC and Catholic Earthcare submitted a subsequent letter of encouragement to the House standing committee. A copy of the letter can be accessed below.
More information on our support of the climate change bill is available by scrolling down.
MENTAL HEALTH WEBINAR
BDSJC hosted a Zoom webinar launching the 2020-2021 Bishop’s Conference Social Justice Statement ‘To Live Life to the Full, Mental Health in Australia Today’. The statement offers information on how we can care for our most vulnerable during the pandemic. It encourages faith communities, governments and each one of us, to make mental health a priority. Bishop Paul Bird introduced the Statement and outlined its contents highlighting the vulnerabilities in Australia. Bishop Paul outlined the challenges faced in seeking help for mental ill health and the human and financial costs involved. He reminded participants of how Jesus suffered psychological distress and offered care and healing to others.
Graeme Davy-Watts (Manager of Centacare, Mildura) talked to participants about the availability of mental health services in Australia today and what solutions-based supports, services and programs are available for parents and families for preventing mental ill health. Graeme shared strategies for maintaining mental health using positive psychology and focusing on personal strengths, connecting with others, being active, continuing to learn, being aware and helping others. The webinar empowered participants to both understand the issues around mental health and to reach out, encourage hope and bring fullness of life to those we love and care for. Participants attended from various areas in regional Victoria.
Download Graeme’s handout here
WATCH THE WEBINAR HERE
MENTAL HEALTH FOR US ALL
The Commission also provides contact information of services to assist with mental health.
SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT 2020-2021
To access the statement and further resources, click here.
AUSTRALIAN RELIGIOUS RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) is a multi faith network committed to action on climate change. Click here for ARRCC.
CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES VICTORIA
The mission of Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) is to assist the Catholic Church in Victoria to fulfil the gospel imperatives to stand with and serve the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised; and work for a just, equitable and compassionate society. Click here to access their website.
This website contains a range of information and resources for information and prayer. Click here to read more.
VICTORIAN-TASMANIA CATHOLIC ANTISLAVERY TASK FORCE
In 2018 BDSJC joined forces with Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Sandhurst, Sale and Hobart, ACRATH, Office of Justice and Peace – Melbourne and ACU to stand against human trafficking and slavery. The name of the group is ‘Vic-Tas Catholic Modern Slavery Taskforce’. One of the group’s current aims to slavery proof our schools and staffrooms by purchasing fair trade products only. Want to get involved? Click here.
WANT TO STOP MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) works tirelessly to inform and empower us to take action against the modern slavery and human trafficking that is occurring right here on home soil. Look at this article if you need more evidence.
You may recall the resources we use that they supply for free, every year, to help us make informed decisions about the products we buy, fair trade and ethically sourced materials in our schools. Every year ACRATH works to raise awareness of forced marriage and human trafficking and this year like many others, ACRATH has had a tough time!
ACRATH’s calendar is not only handy to have because it outlines all of the important dates for the year but it also lists practical ways we can get involved and be a part of the solution. ACRATH’s 2021 calendar is now available. To date ACRATH have sold the calendar for $10.00. However this year they acknowledge that many are directly affected by COVID-19, and are giving the calendars to us for free. would still like for you to receive the 2021 ACRATH calendar. If you wish you can show your support by going to their website and making a donation.
ITS NEVER BEEN EASIER TO GET A CALENDAR – Simply email your name and home or work/school address to Dr Rachel Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be mailed a free calendar. You may wish to order a dozen copies for your workplace – just ask! Please support this important work.
MERCY CONNECT PROJECT
Mercy Works recruits volunteers to support students from a refugee/asylum seeker background in Ballarat schools through their Mercy Connect Project. The project aims to provide mentoring for young people to optimize their literacy development, academic and social learning.
Mercy Connect volunteers work with students during school hours and the volunteer commitment is for approximately three hours per week. Experience working in an educational setting is preferred, but volunteers receive on-going training and support. Obtaining a current Working with Children Check is part of the Application Process.
For more information contact Donna Stewart, ph. 0417 624 330 or email: email@example.com
TEN STEPS TOWARD GENUINE HUMAN ENCOUNTER IN OUR DIGITAL WORLD
Find out how you can take action to ensure your online interactions are genuine and promote the dignity of the human person. Click here.
SUPPORTING REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
“For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas: Justice for refugees and asylum seekers”, the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Statement 2015-16 confronted Australia’s current deterrence-based response and reminds us of the nearly 60 million people who are displaced around the world. This number has increased. By the end of 2017, according to a UNHCR report, there were 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world.
In February 2017, the Pope addressed the Sixth International Forum on Migration and Peace saying it is a “moral imperative” to protect migrant workers “and among these particularly men and women in irregular situations” as well as those “exiled and seeking asylum” or “victims of trafficking.” He stated that “defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.”
Pope Francis says “What is needed is a change of attitude to overcome the indifference”.
A list of links to Australian organisations that work with refugees and asylum seekers:
News updates can be accessed at:
A wonderful app anyone can use to access daily prayer and reflection. You can find out more about it here.
ALL GOD’S CHILDREN
Our article titled ‘All God’s Children’ on pages 14 and 15 of ‘Our Diocesan Community’ (October 2019) seeks to engage community members in support of refugees and those those seeking asylum. Here are a number of contacts you may find helpful:
How to get involved:
Mercy Works: Recruits volunteers to support students from a refugee/asylum seeker background in Ballarat Schools through their Mercy Connect Project. The project aims to provide mentoring for young people to optimize their literacy development, academic and social learning. Contact Donna Stewart on 0417 624 330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
St Vincent de Paul: A lay Catholic organisation that assists people experiencing poverty and inequality and works to shape a more just and compassionate society. Vinnies Conferences can be found throughout the diocese on their website.
Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council: Works in partnership with other community organisations, Cultural Associations and members to actively promote multiculturalism, cultural diversity and the well-being of all migrant communities throughout the region. Further information available from the website.
Ballarat Regional Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASSN): A subcommittee of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council. Its membership comprises representation from BRMC, GADRC, R.A.R. House of Welcome, Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), Ballarat Community Health, Ballarat City Council, ASRC, Uniting Church and the Ballarat Catholic Diocesan Social Justice Commission. Members from this group facilitate fundraising events to raise funds to support the emergency needs of refugee families and much more. The committee also promotes and facilitates events during Refugee Week.
Grandmothers against the Detention of Refugee Children (GADRC): Committed to achieving freedom for all refugee children held by or on behalf of the Australian Government. More information available on their website.
Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR): Grassroot movement striving to return compassion and humanity to Australian’s treatment of asylum seekers. There are a number of GRADC chapters in our diocese. For contact details of a group in your region click here.
House of Welcome, Ballarat: Provides emergency accommodation, advocacy and support for asylum seeker families. Donations of food, toiletries and vouchers can be made. Call 0401175045 for details and a list of donations needed.
ZALI’S CLIMATE CHANGE BILL TO BE PRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT ON NOVEMBER 9
In recent times, many members of our diocese have supported Zali Steggal’s climate change bill. The bill was due to be presented in parliament early in the year but was delayed due to COVID19. I received a letter from Zali informing us that the bill will be presented on November 9. If you have not yet shown your support, there is still time. See links below, provided by Zali.
On Friday October 23rd, supported by MPs Helen Haines and Rebekha Sharkie, we formally signed the notice for the Climate Change Bill to be presented to parliament on Monday November 9th. I am so excited that this day is finally here. I want to thank each and every one of you who stands with me, and who has spoken up to support the Climate Change Bill with your friends and colleagues.
Covid has knocked us for six, but the recovery could be a blessing in disguise if we grasp the opportunity to use government investment to build a green recovery. And with the economic benefits of cheaper energy, more jobs and increased international investment, NOW’s the time to commit to a sustainable future through the Climate Bill and secure a safe and prosperous future.
With just over a week before the Bill comes before parliament, there are still many things you can do to help. If you haven’t already emailed your MP and/or the Prime Minister, do it now. Use this template if you don’t want to write your own.
Thank you for your ongoing messages of support. I will never stop fighting for the introduction of legislation in Australia to address climate change so our families, our country and our economy can prosper.
Zali Steggall OAM MP
Help extend the reach of the campaign and use our campaign materials to get more sign ups. Put up a poster in your car, home or place of work. Or print out a QR code mini-poster and ask your favourite café to put it in their window. A range of artwork is available for download from the website.
ClimateActNow Social Media Takeover
Like or follow #ClimateActNow on your preferred platform to get daily updates as Zali prepares and presents the Bill in parliament. Share our posts and create your own to attract more followers, and download our campaign tiles to use as you profile picture so we can take over social media in the lead up to November 9.
Join the live event in Canberra
The People’s Climate Assembly are organising a “Line the Streets” event between 7.00am – 9.00am on Monday, November 9 to greet parliamentarians as they arrive to hear the Bill, and then at a media launch event with Zali on the lawn. These must be held in a Covid-safe way but if you’re close to Canberra and would like to take part, contact The People’s Climate Assembly for details, and get working on some great banners!
Donate to the Climate Act Now campaign
Donations will help us amplify the noise in the days leading up to November 9, potentially allowing us to purchase TV or press ads to broadcast the message. If you would like to contribute, you can do so through our fundraising page on the Grassrootz platform.
The Climate Act Team