Tackling greed and poverty

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The Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit of the Commission for Mission is inviting Uniting Church members to explore social justice issues at two upcoming conventions held in Melbourne and Tasmania.

In Melbourne, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry on 5 October, presentations and workshops will cover the increasing threat corporations pose upon human rights.

“Such greed stands in opposition to the vision for community in the Gospels,” Dr Mark Zirnsak, director of the JIM unit said.

“In our experience, an alarming number of corporations lobby governments to water down our basic human rights. They threaten consumer protection measures and marketing restrictions in industries such as gambling, alcohol and finance to low income people.

“Research has shown greed drives inequality in societies, which in turn drives overconsumption, posing one of the greatest threats to our environment,” said Dr Zirnsak.

“Our Convention will explore how this is happening in Australia and what other countries have done to rein in corporate greed and the threat it poses to the Gospel vision for community.”

The keynote speaker at the Convention will be Dr Richard Denniss, the executive director of The Australia Institute. He is an economist with a particular interest in the role of regulation. He was the co-author of the best-selling Affluenza (with Dr Clive Hamilton).

A panel made up of Professor Brian Howe (former deputy prime minister), Jane Martin (policy manager for Alcohol and Obesity at the Cancer Council Victoria) and Ged Kearney (president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)) will speak of their encounters with the corporate world. Speakers will also discuss successes in reining in corporate excess.

Workshops on offer include:

  • Tax Us If You Can
  • Putting Public Health First – Breaking the Grip of the Alcohol Industry
  • Planet Before Profits
  • Slavery Free Guarantee on imported goods
  • Risky Business – Tackling the hold of the gambling industry over governments
  • Blind Faith in Privatisation
  • Jobs You Can Count On – The problem of insecure work in Australia

The Tasmania JIM Convention, held on 19 October in Somerset on the north-west coast, will be working around the theme ‘Ending extreme poverty is achievable in our lifetime’.

Keynote speaker Ben Thurley, political engagement co-ordinator for Micah Challenge Australia, will discuss his experiences working for social justice issues.

Mr Thurley has been involved in advocacy and campaigning on justice issues most of his adult life. He worked as advocacy advisor for TEAR Australia and co-convenor of the Make Poverty History campaign.

For more information and registration forms contact the JIM Unit on (03) 9251 5265 or jim@victas.uca.org.au.

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