18 October 2011


This week in Australia is designated as Anti-Poverty Week which aims to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia and encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

More than one million Australians live in poverty whilst globally more than a billion people are desperately poor.

Micah Challenge is a global campaign of Christians speaking out against poverty and injustice. The challenge is how to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty by 2015.

Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia, Dr John Falzon, has outlined three concrete steps for Government to take towards creating an inclusive Australia:

“Firstly, Real respect for the First Peoples of Australia cannot be reconciled with disempowerment. Compulsory income management, for example, continues to demean and discriminate. Extending this paternalistic policy to non-Aboriginal social security recipients does not remove the stigma. We now have class-discrimination in addition to racial discrimination. In the words of Central Arrernte woman Elaine Peckham: BasicsCards are no substitute for Basic Rights.

“Secondly, we restate our urgent call to free children from immigration detention arrangements and to ensure their access to education. These children are suffering unjustly. This is something the Government acknowledged in 2008.

“Thirdly, we invite political leaders to abandon the tired myth of an undeserving poor. Income Support payments must be lifted to a level of adequacy for all, not just for some. The goal of employment can be achieved through investment in education, training, childcare, transport, health and housing rather than through the denial of the necessities of life.”

We celebrated APW at school with a number of events. One of the best of them was a "Stand Up for the Voiceless" activity, where students gather sponsorship to not speak for 48 hours. This gives them a sense of how powerless the voiceless are.They were really able to articulate that in the debrief.
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