Author and social commentator John Menadue AO launched the Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2013–2014 Social Justice Statement on Wednesday 11th September. The respondent was Helen Forde, Acting CEO of Caritas Australia. The launch took place at 11.00 am on Wednesday 11th September at the Australian Catholic University’s Leone Ryan Auditorium, 40 Edward Street, North Sydney.
The title of the Statement is Lazarus at Our Gate: A critical moment in the fight against world poverty. The Statement calls on the Australian Government to stand in solidarity with our neighbours around the world by renewing the commitment to address global poverty.
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, said, “Australia has a new government. Australia has taken a seat on the United Nations Security Council. And next year, Australia will host the G-20 economic summit in Brisbane. Our nation has a historic opportunity to be a force for peace and generosity in the global response to poverty.
“As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, this is the time for a recommitment to eradicating extreme poverty. Australia is a rich country whose economy is healthy by comparison with most others in the world. The Government’s proposal to cut $4.5 billion from the forward estimates for the foreign aid program represents a serious departure from Australia’s commitment to lift aid funding from 0.3 to 0.5% of Gross National Income.
“What are we to say to those in extreme poverty who lie like Lazarus at our gate?” Bishop Saunders asked.
In the Statement, Lazarus at Our Gate, the Catholic Bishops call on Australia to demonstrate the leadership it lays claim to by making a generous commitment to the aid budget and to keep its promise by living up to that commitment.
Social Justice Sunday is celebrated on 29 September 2013. The Statement and associated resources can be downloaded at: www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au from 11 September.
For more information, contact:
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council: 0418 260 155
Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, Bishops Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development: (08) 8632 0550
John Ferguson, Executive Officer, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council: (02) 8306 3499