To say Antony McMullen, newly appointed director of Creative Ministries Network (CMN), is passionate about justice in the workplace would be something of an understatement. As a social justice officer with the synod’s Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit, his work often covered areas such as workplace reform for those in some of society’s most undervalued occupations, such as cleaners.
“Work takes up such a large part of our lives and sometimes things can go terribly wrong,” Mr McMullen said.
“It’s not always a matter of pointing the finger; that’s what excites me about the restorative justice approach of CMN. We can see when relationships break down that focussing on people’s faults and solely dealing with things through formal systems may not always be the best way forward; although sometimes it is unavoidable.”
Mr McMullen said he will draw heavily on lessons learnt during his five years with the JIM unit, particularly when he was tasked with examining the criminal justice system.
“I was inspired by the example of the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa post-apartheid and, closer to home, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood. The Centre assists offenders through taking a holistic approach to crime that takes into account the needs of both victim and offender as well as the local community. Applying these kinds of principles in new ways to the world of work is something I wholeheartedly support and am very excited about.”
CMN is also involved in other areas of social justice, such as supporting veterans and providing a local creative arts program for Indigenous Australian women.
Internationally, CMN is in solidarity with Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India in Sri Lanka, and supports peacemaking for the troubled region.
Mr McMullen is also excited at the role faith plays within the ethos of CMN. This was illustrated by the support offered by CMN to the United Voice union when advocating on behalf of shopping centre cleaners.
“The report on the situation of cleaners (that CMN undertook with the United Voice union) was a very strong piece of grounded research,” Mr McMullen said.
“CMN clearly articulated where we are coming from in that report citing ecumenical Christian sources as guiding principles, while also mentioning positions of the other two great Abrahamic religions (Jewish and Islamic), in relation to work and social justice.”