24 September 2004


In 2000, the world community endorsed the United Nations Millennium Declaration - a statement of commitment to a fairer, safer, world. From that Declaration emerged the MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are an ambitious but achievable set of hard targets which aim to guide the world in a coordinated and concerted effort to halve global poverty by 2015.

Australia has committed to contribute to achieving the MDGs. Unfortunately, to date our Government has failed to give effect to that commitment. Australian aid falls far short of our fair share of what is required to achieve the Goals, and no new aid has been pledged. Nor are the MDGs used in any meaningful way in the development and evaluation of Australia’s policies and activities on aid, debt, trade, environment, and foreign affairs.

In short we are not doing our fair share.

For more information visit the website of the Australian Council for International Development

If you would like to write a letter to a candidate in the election on this issue the World Vision website has some suggestions for how to go about it.


Sunday 26th Sep is Social Justice Sunday.

In their annual Social Justice Sunday statement the Catholic bishops of Australia re-affirmed, despite the fear and violence that continues to afflict our world, that peace is both possible and a duty for each of us to promote. The words of John Paull II are quoted
“In the end, peace is not essentially about structures but about people … [and the] innumerable gestures of peace made by men and women throughout history who have kept hope and have not given in to discouragement. Gestures of peace spring from the lives of people who foster peace first of all in their own hearts … Gestures of peace create a tradition and a culture of peace”

The full text of the bishop’s statement Peace Be With You – Cultivating a Culture of Peace can be found at the ACSJC website.


"The health of our democracy, communities and citizenship depend on goodwill, integrity and honesty … sadly the practice of 'managing' information by putting a 'spin' on it has become all pervasive" according to a statement released recently by Catholic Social Services in Melbourne. As a result when people cannot be sure they are hearing the truth or the whole story they become cynical, apathetic and disengaged from the political process which weakens our democracy. "In public life we need to demand a return to truth and to affirm the value of moral principles.." the statement went on to say.

The statement "Truth and Trust in Politics" is part of a discussion document prepared for the forthcoming federal election. It is available for viewing and download at the Catholic Social Services Melbourne website.


Andrew Gurrisi from St Bernard's College, Essendon has provided the following information about the recently completed Just Cycle event in aid of the Bahay Tuluyan Foundation for the protection and empowerment of abused and exploited street children in the Philippines. The following is an edited version of the talk Andrew gave at a recent school assembly prior to the ride.

"There are about 100,000 children living on the streets in Manila and about 1.5 million total homeless people in the Philippines. This means that there are many young children who cannot afford to go to school or to rent or buy a home As a result children lack their basic needs. The people can't afford a one-bedroom home so they live wherever they can, which sometimes means living in a rubbish dump with children sleeping on rubbish. Children also collect cans to feed and clothe their families.

This is why we do the Bahay Taluyan Just Cycle bike ride - to help provide the bare necessities to some young children. The event is a five-day riding tour from the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne, advocating children’s rights and increasing global awareness of related issues. Two teenagers from the Philippines will be joining the ride and speaking to schools around the state. This year we have 23 students participating. This group, along with representatives from Bahay Tuluyan, will complete the final leg of the ride from Parade College Bundoora to St. Bernards."


Catholics for Australian Reconciliation (CFAR) is a recently formed network of people in Melbourne which aims to place the issue of Reconciliation back on the national political agenda. Its members were called together by the Melbourne Commission for Justice, Development and Peace and the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry.

CFAR has joined with a range of church and welfare groups calling for aboriginal people to continue to be given primary responsibility for decisions affecting their health, wellbeing, education and living standards. The statement signed by about thirty groups also points out that the recent government decision to disband rather than reform the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) means that progress towards reconciliation in this country has reached a critical point with the current election.

A key agency supporting the statement is the Brotherhood of St Laurence who have also developed a policy analysis of the major parties on a range of social issues Advance Australia Fairly

9 September 2004


In the Australian federal election on Oct 9th the Australian Catholic bishops have appealed for voters to look beyond their own interests and consider the common good.

In a recent statement Bishop Manning of Parramatta expanded on this theme and reminded Catholic voters that Jesus was especially concerned for the welfare of the poorest and most marginalized in our world. Readers of this bulletin would be aware that this was also the motivation for Edmund Rice.

Bishop Manning went on to ask voters to consider "which candidate or party will best serve the needs of the poor?".

Many of the moral issues he raised have been featured in this bulletin previously. Some selected quotations from Bishop Manning are given below and are followed by a web address where readers can find more information or suggested actions to participate in the current election campaign.

"At the heart of the modern Australian nation is the unfinished business between indigenous and non-indigenous people. A lot of sincere effort has been put into reconciliation over the years, but the process has stalled. Which candidates or parties have the best strategies to take the reconciliation agenda forward?"

"Some of the most basic human rights, such as access to adequate health care, decent, affordable housing and education, are beyond the reach of many families..."
No More Povery

"How we treat people seeking asylum on our shores is a measure of our humanity and justice as a nation."
The Justice Project

"The world is so interdependent that we need to think of the whole planet when we are voting. As a rich nation, is Australia doing enough to promote integral human development for the poorest of the earth? Are we good global citizens, upholding international humanitarian law? Are we responsible stewards of the planet itself?"
Jubilee Australia
Amnesty International
The Earth Charter


In 2003 the United Nations Development Program rated East Timor as the poorest country in Asia and among the 20 poorest nations worldwide.

It has minimal industry and commerce and more than 80 per cent of the population survive on subsistence agriculture and farming.

With a current annual budget of only $120 million, the East Timorese Government sees increased revenue from oil and gas reserves as a basis for economic independence and development.

Yet under the current arrangements for the development of these reserves, the Australian Government will receive proportionally far more revenue than East Timor.

The four Australian Provinces of the Christian Brothers are joint supporters of a new website Save East Timor which aims to raise awareness of the issue amongst the general public and to ask the Australian government to adopt a more generous stance towards east Timor. The site includes an online letter which can be automatically emailed to your local member.

I also have a supply of bumper stickers which have been produced to support the campaign. Please contact me if you would like any.


Polmin is a national membership organisation committed to bringing about systemic change in Australian society through the influencing of public policy for the common good in accordance with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
It is funded in part by the Christian Brothers.
The Polmin website has been recently updated to coincide with the release of its Election Strategy for the current campaign.


Later this month Rosina Gannon (Melbourne Vic), Simon Harwood (Ballarat Vic) and Naomi Martin (Perth WA) will leave Australia to work at Edmund Rice Secondary School in Arusha Tanzania.
They will join Alex Petersen (Forster, NSW) who has been in Tanzania since the start of the year.
The Edmund Rice Volunteer Scheme (ANZERVS) aims to contribute to the building of a more just world by offering an opportunity for people who are inspired by the example of Edmund Rice and energized by the values of the gospel to be with the poor and marginalized of our world and to be agents of change for the liberation of people from oppression and poverty.

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