By Nigel Tapp
To say we are living in a confusing political climate would be something of an understatement. As events in Canberra take on the drama of a Shakespearean play, it would be easy to disengage from the political process. But it is at times like these that people must ensure their voice is heard.
UnitingJustice – the Church’s justice policy and advocacy arm – launched its Federal election resource in Canberra last month.
Uniting Justice national director Rev Elenie Poulos described the resource – A Just Society: Your Faith, Your Voice, Your Vote – as an expression of Christian faith and hope, focussing on the good of all people and the planet.
Ms Poulos said she hoped the resource would lead to a country which was built on compassion and generosity where all people were treated with dignity and respect.
“Now is the time to remind our political leaders that we care about these things,” she said.
A Just Society includes a range of issues papers and hot issues briefs on topics as diverse as asylum seekers, aged care, climate change and human rights.
There is also an election toolkit to assist members to become actively involved in the local community and with local candidates.
A Just Society says justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders requires policies which empower Indigenous communities to address disadvantage without the imposition of top-down solutions by outside welfare and government bodies.
Recognition of the First Peoples in the Constitution is seen as a priority. Significant changes to the Stronger Futures legislation, introduced by the Howard Government and continued under Labor, are also sought.
A Just Society advocates for an end to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers and the development and implementation of policies which encourage an increased investment in the renewables industry and better energy efficiency.
It also calls for policies which enable rural communities to meet the challenges of unpredictable economic circumstances and climate change.
Universal access to aged services based on need and an emphasis on a restorative approach to care, which promotes wellness and independence, are central themes in the aged care policy.
The 2013 election resources can be found online at www.unitingjustice.org.au/election2013