30 November, 2012

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – 2nd December.

“Wihini, aged nine and her brother Sunni, a boy aged seven, lived on Thane train station in Mumbai, India with their parents who were both alcoholics. Wihini and Sunni were regular attendees of the Asha Deep Day Centre, run by Oasis India, where they learnt to read and write and were given the opportunity to play. After attending daily for three months they disappeared. The project staff went to look for them. Wihini and Sunni's father told them how a man had come and offered money for them and that he had sold them for the equivalent of $30. That was the last the father and the staff of Asha Deep Day Centre heard of them. In that area of Mumbai every two to three months children disappeared or were kidnapped and sold into prostitution, forced labour, adoption or child sacrifice”. (Direct quote from www.stopthetraffik.org)

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story. Human trafficking is an atrocious crime against humanity affecting up to 4 million men, women and children internationally. Victims of human trafficking experience severe violent and emotional abuse; are denied education and basic healthcare.

According to Stop The Traffik (www.stopthetraffick.org), human trafficking occurs when an individual is bought or sold against their will; human trafficking involves deception and manipulation into slavery for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced begging, sacrificial worship or removal of human organs, as child brides or into sweat shops, circuses, farm labour and domestic servitude.

The UNODC (http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html) states that all countries are affected by human trafficking, whether as a destination for victims, transit, or country of origin.

What is our response to this injustice?

Our response to human trafficking, and indeed the mistreatment of the vulnerable, needs to be more than an emotional response, a re-tweet or a ‘like’ on Facebook. Our response to human trafficking should be an explicit Christian reaction to the abuse of the marginalised in our world. The Salvation Army acknowledges the worth and value of every human being as being created in the image of God. When people are trafficked, they are not treated with equality, nor is the glory of God within them acknowledged. It is part of our mission as The Salvation Army to rectify this.

On the 17th of February, Salvationists around Australia are uniting to combat human trafficking.

This is a day set apart to acknowledge victims of human trafficking, pray for their freedom and participate in actions that work towards their freedom.

Freedom Sunday is an initiative of Stop the Traffik and their website had has many resources available for this day – Prayer stations, creative responses, worship suggestions, liturgy and more.

Will you join Just Salvos and advocate for victims of human trafficking?

23 November, 2012

Guest Blogger: Marj Rava.

Buy Nothing New

Last year a friend challenged a group of us to buy nothing new. There is a group that encourages conscientious consumption by encouraging individuals to purchase nothing new for the month of October (http://www.buynothingnew.com.au/). The challenge we were given, was to purchase nothing new for an entire year. We were dared to see if we could survive 2012 without purchasing any new items for ourselves. I took on the challenge, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to be challenged about what I have and about the way I spend my money.

Whilst the basic rule was, ‘don’t buy anything new’, you could decide to what level you chose to do engage. Some people included not buying food (living off donations or growing their own food), some couldn’t purchase airfares – essentially, you decided on your rules based around the basic rule of nothing new. I decided that I couldn’t buy any new possessions for myself except for hygiene related stuff (toothbrush, shampoo etc) and also gave myself a limit on gifts. Any gift I would give couldn’t be over $20 (you’d be amazed at how hard it is to buy gifts under $20)! If you wanted to buy anything at all for yourself, it would need to be from a second hand shop/market or off a site such as ebay or gumtree.

At first this seemed pretty easy. I didn’t need anything new and life went on as normal. Then I started to notice little things…I went into a shop one day and thought ‘oh I like that’ and without thinking picked it up to buy. Instantly I’d be crushed by the idea that I couldn’t get that new item, ‘that would go so well with all my other things’, and I’d have to put it back. Slowly, that became normal. I reached a stage of ignoring any new thing I wanted.

The funny thing is I had got so excited about this little adventure that I hadn’t thought properly about what I was doing. For example, I’m not a real shoe person; I tend to like wearing flip flops as much as possible. I had this one pair of shoes I wore on days when flip flops were a pain – generally days that rained. The only problem with these shoes, were that they started to get holes in them last year…pretty decent holes in fact. What happens with shoes that have holes on a rainy day? Your socks get wet! Most days I would come home with soggy feet…and yes this started to get annoying! People started to feel sorry for me and I received a lot of offers for shoe replacements. Another of my rules: no one could buy you new things except for on your birthday. Now don’t get me wrong…I didn’t just stock up on cool, new stuff for my birthday…I actually asked people to give money to charity instead of getting me a gift. However, some people were determined to bless me with something. Some of my friends suggested it was okay for me to receive some things for my birthday, and so my sister bought me a $4.50 pair of shoes from Kmart (yay!). A gift out of ‘need’ rather than want! (And by the way I still use the shoes that have holes…I just used gaffer tape to fix them up)!

Early on in the year my car broke down and I had to get it towed. My car was sent into get repaired and a new fuel pump was put in. Without realising it…I’d purchased something new. I realised I had to be more careful – if I wanted to take this challenge seriously, I’d have to think of every angle. This meant working out what were my rules for things such as car stuff – buying new tyres etc. I decided safety couldn’t be compromised, but perhaps I could ask for a second hand part next time. I must admit I hadn’t been too prepared and some rules had to be developed along the way.

So apart from that slip up, what have been the serious challenges? There was the shoe thing, and also I had holes in some jeans…I can’t wear them anymore…is this a big deal? Not really…I have others! You see what I learned quickly is how much I waste money on things that I want as opposed to the things that I need. Even with gift buying, I was amazed at how in the past I would easily spend lots of money on presents for people without thinking about what I was really buying. When you can only spend $20 on a gift you have to be more creative in your purchases. I’ve loved doing that!

I’ve been seriously challenged about what I have and how I use it. I’ve realised more and more how blessed I am with access to wealth and have learned to use my money more wisely. The challenge of buying nothing new has also moved me to be better with the food I purchase. I don’t need to go out so much for meals and I need to make sure I don’t waste food. I truly believe that so many of us buy because we can, instead of buying because we need. I’ve had some amazing conversations with others in regards to what I’ve been doing this year and hope that all of this has in some way impacted others in how they use resources too. I am truly blessed…and as a blessed person I am in some way responsible for using what I have wisely and using it to help others. Purchasing nothing new this year has reminded me of that.

Marj is the Youth Pastor at TSA Hobart and runs City Youth Salvos, the youth and young adults ministry at the Corps. This involves connecting young people to the ideas of hope, self-worth and a relationship with Jesus through small groups, worship, service projects and socialising. Marj loves playing basketball, going to the movies and making songs up about her mates.

19 November, 2012

Social Inclusion Week.

Social Inclusion Week Saturday 24 November to Sunday 2 December 2012

What does ‘social inclusion’ mean?

The answer to this can be influenced by a previous personal experience – an ‘inclusion’ or ‘exclusion’ moment affecting our feelings and reactions. What did we feel when we were included or welcomed in a meaningful way?

A quick survey recently revealed varied short responses to the meaning of ‘social inclusion’, among them: including people on the fringes, space for everyone, time for everyone, equal opportunity, welcome, no prejudice, no exclusion, unity, participation, kindness, friendliness, hospitality, helpfulness, invitation, being open minded, face-to-face encounter, really listening.

Can we picture a world where these things are the norm? How inclusive is Australia? How do our suburbs, neighbourhoods, streets and households measure up? How do we deal with exclusion prejudice, disadvantage and inequality?

The founder of Social Inclusion Week, Dr Jonathon Welch, has a long-standing passion for social justice and an overarching commitment to the community. His ‘Choir of Hard Knocks’ [now the Choir of Hope and Inspiration] is an example of a light in the community that can achieve transformation.

When we are tempted to be complacent or pessimistic about change, let’s look to positive examples and see the power of the dream – that, in places of inequality & disadvantage, each person who is noticed, supported, included and empowered is part of a community that is changing, and taking steps in a positive direction.

Jonathon says: “Let's work together to make a difference, take a stand to fight loneliness and isolation. Let's put Australia on the map as the country that cares.

We want to touch the lives of even more people, and return to the values of a community that truly cares for each other and takes responsibility for supporting those who need a helping hand. Just a simple smile can make a world of difference in someone's life.”

The 4th annual Social inclusion week has a website with events and suggestions for involvement.

Collaborate, Connect and Celebrate in your part of Australia during Social Inclusion Week 2012! http://www.socialinclusionweek.com.au/

Personal challenge: Develop a habit that takes you beyond this week to all of life -consciously notice and think about the ‘other’, be alert to the ‘other’, reach out and be pro-active toward the ‘other in your relationships and connections.

Marion Weymouth

Territorial Social Justice Secretary

Read on for an in-depth look into social inclusion.

'...by the mid-1980s “social exclusion” had not only made its appearance in European Union documents but had also appeared in academic discourse emanating from the so-called “less-industrialised” world (Rodgers et al. 1995). It has been used even more frequently since the 1990s. The concept of “social exclusion” has become a core concept in the European Union and a foundational policy concept in Tony Blair’s New Labour Government in the UK. It has surfaced briefly (though not persuasively) in Australia in 1999 as an umbrella concept for a large social policy conference, and most recently has appeared in Aotearoa/New Zealand as part of the project of rethinking the direction of social policy. There is, however, no clear record of how the term came into use in English-language policy contexts. My own version of this history, however, and one that is backed up by a number of scholars, suggests that the concept of social exclusion, as a policy term, made its English-language debut in the European Union Poverty Programmes in the 1980s.'

From 'Christians for an ethical society', circa 2008/2009:

Among the innovations of the new Federal Labor Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, was the appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion, Senator Ursula Stephens. The concept is important to our Government and we may expect to hear a lot about it in the next few years but most Australians have never heard the term. What is social inclusion and why is it important to Christians?

The meaning of social inclusion, or overcoming social exclusion, is multifaceted. Its modern use probably began in France in the 1970s when those who slipped through the social security net were called (socially) excluded. Conservative governments took up the term to describe efforts to reduce poverty without having to admit its existence; however, social inclusion is a much richer term than poverty reduction. For example, while poverty is a very widespread cause of inability to participate in society, it may be a symptom of social exclusion rather than the underlying cause which, for example, could be the inability to participate fully in the labour market due to poor English skills. The use of the term ‘social inclusion’ encourages attention on the causes of exclusion and encourages interest in the interaction of the various causes.


An Aussie reference, in a penal context from 2009:


The community can be viewed as a safety net, one which, prevents its members from being harmed in any way.

Ex-offenders are seen as a threat, and therefore they are excluded on purpose from joining the community.

Significant developments in exclusion/inclusion theory have permeated much social thinking in Europe and the

UK over the past 5 years...

A nice definition discussion from the Oz Govt's Institute of Family Studies:

What is social inclusion? What is social exclusion?

In the Australian policy context, social inclusion is conceptualised as four key domains of opportunity—the opportunity to:

..participate in society through employment and access to services;

..connect with family, friends and the local community;

..deal with personal crises (e.g., ill health); and

..be heard (Australian Government, 2010).

Social exclusion, on the other hand, is defined as the “restriction of access to opportunities and [a] limitation of the capabilities required to capitalise on these [opportunities]” (Hayes, Gray, & Edwards, 2008, p. 6). Social exclusion is not the equivalent of poverty (i.e., inadequate economic resources) or deprivation (i.e., an enforced lack of social perceived necessities) (Saunders, Naidoo, Griffiths, & 2007; Hayes et al., 2008). Rather, social exclusion is fundamentally about a lack of connectedness and participation.

Social exclusion is a useful concept because it can enrich our understanding of social disadvantage, highlighting, for example, the way in which the experience of disadvantage may not only involve financially difficulties but also extend to a sense of disconnection from the broader community. Social inclusion, when viewed as a series of opportunities, provides a framework for enhancing participation and connectedness and, as such, can be seen as a goal to work towards; a way of raising the bar and understanding where we want to be and how to get there (Friendly & Lero, 2002).

Although other countries’ understandings of the terms social inclusion and social exclusion may differ from the dominant Australian definition (outlined above), international resources on these topics can provide further insight into the meaning of the concepts...



15 November, 2012

Having Issues with Just Gifts?

Are you having difficulty accessing out Just Gifts website?

Our website is currently under going some maintenance which means there are some bugs in the system. Our friends in IT are working to resolve the issue, until then, please bear with us!

A link to Just Gifts can be found at the top of the website

Or you can clink on the following link and it will take you straight there!


Happy shopping!

02 November, 2012

Climate Change and the Poor

Climate change is a hugely debated topic – It has been seven years since Al Gore’s controversial film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was released, generating claims of conspiracy theories, urgency within governments and conversation among the people. Regardless of personal opinion toward the causes of climate change, our earth is changing and this has severe consequences for individuals and their livelihood.

Developed countries such as Australia have increased capacity to deal with climate change. Developing countries that do not have adequate infrastructure and already deal with high levels of poverty struggle to manage the affects of climate change on agriculture; the availability of food and water; and human development. The United Nations Development Fund states that, “Unless people have basic access to water, sanitation, food and energy, to institutions that work, and a say in the decisions that affect their lives, then they will not be able to cope with a changing climate”. (UNDP, 2012).

A report released by The International Social Justice Commission outlines how Corps in different territories of The Salvation Army are affected by changing environments and climate. A Call For Justice

What can we do?

1. Educate ourselves regarding the effects of climate change.

2. Continue to advocate for the marginalised.

3. Keep a global perspective - remember how we live in Australia affects the lives of individuals elsewhere.

4. If you are specifically passionate about environmental issues there are many ways to get involved. TEAR and Uniting Church Australia have environmental campaigns we recommend you get involved in

30 October, 2012

A View of the "Dark Side"

Barry Gittins, a writer, researcher and a real ‘handyman’ with the pen, has commented on the visit of a prominent leader & theologian who visited Melbourne recently. Read his Blog then check out some questions for follow up – or make up your own for a group discussion!

View Dr Burke's full articles here:
Frederick Coutts Lecture 2012.pdf
The Dark Side of Leadership Australia.doc

A View of the "Dark Side"

Salvationist and academic Dr Don Burke* spoke at The Salvation Army’s Australia Southern territorial headquarters in Melbourne on 2 August on ‘Joseph and the Dark Side of Leadership’. The discussion and subsequent private discussions with cabinet members were largely based on his reflections on the Genesis accounts of Joseph, the Jewish patriarch who rose to hold executive power in Egypt (second only to Pharoah).

Stating that people’s levels of surprise and the sense of betrayal at the failures of leaders reveal ‘our childish desire for flawless heroes and leaders who don’t do bad things’, Dr Burke acknowledged that ‘leaders great and small often succumb to the temptations offered by power’.

In an era of increasing medical and psychological understanding of how human beings interact, how brain chemistry functions, and how even altruism can actually be a selfish pursuit (as strange as that sounds), Dr Burke said we need a mature expectation of leaders in society. However, he suggested that disillusionment with fallen leaders – and in particular church leaders, who display the ‘foibles of the frocked’ – can function as a wake-up call for positive engagement with issues of: accountability and transparency; self-knowledge and humility; and a cognisance that power can and is abused.

‘It’s not good enough to simply parrot pious platitudes about servant leadership and “being like Jesus”,’ he said.

Dr Burke called on his audience to recognise the creative tension ‘between the implicit good [of creation] and the fallen state of the world’, suggesting the answer to the cognitive dissonance is found in the quality of grace. ‘Even our most difficult decisions are covered in some way by God’s grace,’ he said.
‘The illusion is that “pure leadership” is possible. We must lead with humility and recognise the limitations of our virtue, while possessing the confidence that ‘grace is available to us to forgive our sin and mitigate its impact on victims’.
In leadership, or the exercise of power, Dr Burke suggested that the reality of collateral damage was inevitable. People can and do get hurt by conscious choices of leaders. Hierarchical structures, he acknowledged, also have the potential to do harm inadvertently, but said that the same potential is present in all organisational structures.

As well as calling for leaders to pursue humility and reflective self-knowledge, Dr Burke said one of the solutions is to have a series of checks and balances available to the leader, which takes desire, time and diligence. If leaders do not consider the impact of their choices then they, whether they are acting in a familial, political, religious or business setting, they run dangerously close to adhering to the Machiavellian maxim that ‘the ends justify the means’.

Questioned about the place of holiness in the mix of human dynamics, Dr Burke said there could be a danger of people cloaking themselves with a ‘holiness ‘ mantle that justified their actions. ‘Holiness doesn’t prevent us from making mistakes or hurting people,’ he said.

Pointing our Old and New Testament examples of human fallibility and the abuse of power, such as St Paul telling detractors among the Galatians to ‘go castrate themselves’, Dr Burke said that ‘except for Jesus, even the best of people have had that ambiguity’ when it came to the human tasks of exercising leadership roles and using power.

Dr Burke PhD is president of Booth University College in Winnipeg, Canada. He espouses, through faculty and students, the following needs: ‘To think deeply in a world that reduces complex issues to trite slogans; to believe intensely in a world that longs for something in which to believe; to become agents of hope in a world too often filled with despair; to promote social justice in a world where too many live in poverty or on the periphery of society; and to proclaim mercy in a world that too often is driven by a desire for revenge.’
To Ponder / Discuss:

• What do we / you ‘expect’ from leaders? (Church, community, politicians etc).
• How may the phrase ‘servant leadership’ become a pious platitude?
• In what way is ‘pure leadership’ an illusion?
• Whether a leader or not, how do we deal with the issues of accountability, self-knowledge, humility, understanding of power abuse in our own lives?

19 October, 2012

Children's Week 2012

The 4th week in October is Children’s Week! This is a week set aside to celebrate the right of children to enjoy their childhood. Children’s week encourages kids to express their skills, talents and abilities.

However, not all children live in environments that support and protect their rights. Many are abused; forced into childhood labour, sexual trafficking and early marriages. Millions of children miss out on education, health care, nutritious meals - their childhood. Poverty affects a child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development. Additionally, according to UNICEF, 22 000 children die each day due to the consequences of poverty.

In Australia 10.9 per cent of children live in relative poverty (2012) . Children are negatively affected by family violence, substance abuse, mental health concerns, lack of education and lack of healthy eating. “A picture of Australia’s children” (2005), a report released by The Australian government indicated that the health and wellbeing of children is adversely affected by the socioeconomic environments they are raised in.

In Isaiah 1:17 we see a message to the people of Israel that can be applied to our living today.
“Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend the widows and orphans and help those in need”. Isaiah 1:17 (CEV)
God values the lives of all individuals. He values the lives of the marginalised and vulnerable that societies often ignore. When living in circumstances of poverty, children are often the most vulnerable and at risk. As adults, we have a responsibility to foster safe environments for children to learn and grow. The world children inherit should be a world that we ourselves would like to live in – are we building for ourselves or for future generations?

Join Just Salvos in praying for children who are in difficult and vulnerable circumstances. These can be children of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, indigenous children (who are over represented in the justice system and health & wellbeing scale) and children affected by family violence.

What can you do?

1. You can make a difference in the life of a child by providing sponsorship. For more information visit The Salvation Army’s Child Sponsorship Department. http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/get-involved/sponsor-a-child/

2. Get informed. For more statistics and information regarding children and poverty have a look at the follow article: Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. 20 Sep. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.
Understand the rights of Children. Attached is a poster explaining the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in child friendly language. http://www.childrensweek.org.au/UN%20poster%20Jan%202008.pdf

3. Mentor a Child. KIDS HOPE AUS is an early intervention mentoring program operational in primary schools across Australia. KIDS HOPE AUS mentors help to develop social and emotional resilience in mentored children, thereby enhancing their ability to learn. For more information visit, http://www.youthmentoring.org.au/program_details.php?pgDetails=Mzg2

12 October, 2012

Anti-Poverty Week

Next week, 14th – 20th of October is Anti-Poverty Week. The Salvation Army is committed to eradicating poverty in all its forms. According to the United Nations (UN) poverty is,

‘a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to; not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation’ .

The Salvation Army in Australia is specifically concentrating on the problem of debt with the theme, ‘Debt Doesn’t Discriminate’. Debt contributes in multiple ways to people’s experiences of poverty. The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) reports that almost 2.2 million Australians – 11.1% of the population – live in poverty. That percentage has increased from 7.6% of the population in 1994, and 9.9% of impoverished Australians in 2004. We all experience knowledge of this poverty in some way – whether it be our friends, relatives, ourselves or marginalised people.

How can we all use this week to increase awareness and accountability of a problem which strikes at the very root of our society? We recognise that each individual has worth and dignity as being created in the image of God and we cannot be indifferent to each others’ needs. We are called to act. We all know the consequence of poverty and the resulting injustice in our communities and across the nation; let us work hard together toward eliminating poverty and restoring justice.

Additionally, The Salvation is present in 126 countries and committed to eradicating poverty globally. In partnership with other organisations we work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and halving extreme poverty by 2015.

For further information have a look at the following links, resources and additional reading:

• The International Social Justice Commission has released a paper that discusses poverty and a social justice perspective: http://www1.salvationarmy.org/IHQ/www_ihq_isjc.nsf/vw-news-34/B88D3F164E8D7A5180257A45003C881F?opendocument
• The Salvation Army Mission Resource Department has released resources pertaining to National Poverty Week, including a fact sheet: http://www.sarmy.org.au/en/Resources/MeetingResources/other-events/poverty-justice/2012-Debt-Doesnt-Discriminate/

• Additional information regarding The Salvation Army’s involvement in National Poverty Week including information on an event organised by The Social Programme Department Tuesday 16th October: http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/News-and-Media/Antipoverty-week/

• For information on policy, politics and the Millennium Development Goals see Micah Challenge. Further information about an event observing International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the 17th October is also available: www.finish2015.com.au

07 September, 2012

Social Justice Sunday - Sept 30, 2012

Peace in the Marketplace so all may live in dignity

Our current world economic situation is the subject of many books, lengthy media commentary and diverse expert opinions posing many questions. “Are w
e prospering, are we doomed, is the demand for our mineral resources going to last, how much of Australia’s natural landscape and ecology can be sacrificed to support our economic growth?” Is the concept of economic growth out dated as it is severely altering the natural world? How do we grapple with the unintended consequences?

These are the big questions of our times. Check out the NCCA resources for the upcoming Social Justice Sunday on September 30, 2012


31 August, 2012

Overdose Awareness Day Today!

31st August
At least one Australian dies every day as a result of opioid overdose, without counting deaths due to alcohol or other drugs. This day commemorates those who died as a result of drug overdose and the grief felt by their families and friends.
Read more about OAD | Losing Shane, featured in Warcry | overdoseday.com

29 August, 2012

Go Back To Where You Came

As most of you will be aware, the second series of SBS's Go Back To Where You Came From airs tonight. Amnesty International and the Refugee Council have been working with SBS to make sure that the show has as much impact as possible. 

As part of this, we've created a simple outline of the SBS' social media plans to help organisations help their members and supporters engage in the discussion in the most effective way. Like last year we know the show will generate a lot of online discussion and interest - so there are lots of opportunities to be involved on social media and on the SBS website. Please find an outline attached. 

Also available is the Go Back school pack http://www.sbs.com.au/goback/schools (please let me know if you would like a hard copy) and the opportunity to attend/host a Go back live screening http://www.sbs.com.au/goback/events

16 August, 2012

Join us to celebrate this year’s United Nations World Humanitarian Day

Join us to celebrate this year’s United Nations World Humanitarian Day with a public forum to discuss Australia’s contribution to humanitarian efforts worldwide and pay tribute to Australian aid workers. The forum is held in partnership with AusAID, UNHCR, Oxfam Australia, Australian Red Cross, RedR and Humanitarian Crisis Hub.

Please extend this invitation to your colleagues, friends and networks.
World Humanitarian Day is a celebration of people helping people. It encourages us to reflect on our own lives and what more we as individuals, communities and governments can do to help those enduring conflict, disaster and hardship.
Guest speakers include:
• Peter Baxter, Director-General, AusAID
• Richard Towle, Regional Representative, UNHCR, Regional Office for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific
• Meg Quartermaine, Humanitarian Operations Manager, Oxfam Australia
• Bob Handby, Water and Sanitation Manager, Australian Red Cross
• Alan McLean, CEO, RedR Australia

• Beth Eggleston, Humanitarian Advocacy Coordinator, Oxfam Australia
Date: Wednesday 22 August
 5.30pm to 7.30pm
 BMW Edge, Federation Square Melbourne
Free event. RSVP Essential. 

07 August, 2012

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

9 August 2012

2012 Theme: "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices"

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (9 August) was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 – 2004).
In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”
The focus of this year’s International Day is"Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices".
The theme aims to highlight the importance of indigenous media in challenging stereotypes, forging indigenous peoples' identities, communicating with the outside world, and influencing the social and political agenda.
A special event at UN Headquarters in New York on 9 August will feature speakers and videos of indigenous media organizations, with a live webcast. On Twitter, use #UNIndigenousDay for regular updates and for sending questions to panel members in the days leading up to and during the event.

12 July, 2012

Nelson Mandela Day 2012

This year on 18 July — Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday — the UN is joining a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

09 July, 2012

Walk Together - looking back!

On June 23, 2012 at 1pm, 400 West Australians took part in the inaugural Walk Together event which was coordinated by JUSTSalvos WA (The Social Justice Department of TSA in WA) with the assistance of many other faith and community groups

The Walk Together began at The Esplanade in Fremantle with some speeches by prominent social justice advocates and a minutes silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives at sea, having fled persecution to seek the great Australian dream of freedom and hope. The Walk wound its way through Fremantle with African drummers, some Salvo brass, and lots of clapping, dancing and celebration, then ended at the Welcome Fiesta- a small festival celebrating the diverse cultures that make up the Australian experience.

Walk Together W.A was a celebration of all that diversity adds to our society, culture
and community as we recognised that we have all walked different paths to become part of the combined Australian journey.
It gave everyone in the community—long-term Australians, Indigenous Australians, refugees, migrants, international students and all other Australian citizens—the chance to welcome the latest arrivals to our community and to demonstrate our support for its beautiful multicultural reality.

While only 10 Salvo’s were able to make it, many hundreds from the Anglican, Uniting and Catholic Churches were able to represent people of faith who believe in Australia as a land of hope, inclusion and welcome. Other groups to get on board included the Greens, Tear Australia and Amnesty International

The event was covered by 10, 9 and ABC News and “Perth Now” who all highlighted the positive and celebratory tone of the event.

Through the event itself and the subsequent media coverage we hope that this
initiative promoted the positive impacts of living in a diverse society.
We also hope that new arrivals to WA will know that there were 400 West Australians who came together for the event who want to help them thrive here and enjoy the freedom and peace they have come here for.
Walk Together also took place in 10 capital cities and several regional cities around the nation and was a very successful day, with over 10,000 people in attendance across the nation.

30 June, 2012

They Dared to Challenge

The theme for NAIDOC Week in 2012 is “They Dared to Challenge.” In its strictest application this is referring to those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who established the Tent Embassy. However, the theme has much wider applicability and that is what should be focussed on. Jesus Christ stands as our role model in challenging the inappropriate structures, prejudices, falsely established religious teaching and domineering power structures of his day. He dared to challenge. William Booth also dared to challenge the inappropriate structures of his day that oppressed people and caused them to be marginalised. It is in this spirit that some outstanding Aboriginal Salvationists have dared to challenge by standing for Christ and serving him in The Salvation Army.

Sermon Outline
Theological Reflection
Children's Activities
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NAIDOC week this week!!

As I'm sure many of you are aware, NAIDOC Week is coming up very soon!  NAIDOC Week is always the first week in July.  This year, the dates are Monday, July 2 - Sunday, July 8. NAIDOC is the preferred week of celebration / observance in the Aboriginal Calendar. What is not so well know is the Christian origins of NAIDOC.

The final day of NAIDOC is always a Sunday, to honour the request of local, legendary Aboriginal Christian leader, William Cooper, who worked alongside other local Aboriginal Christians, early last century, here in Melbourne, to establish a 'Day of Observance' of the First People of the land or 'Aboriginal Sunday'.

So, what is now known as 'NAIDOC Week' was first and foremost a plea by William Cooper, to the churches of the nation, to observe 'Aboriginal Sunday' - just one day in the year of prayerful awareness of Aboriginal people and their God-given place and future in this land.

From1940 to 1954 'Aboriginal Sunday' was observed in churches throughout Australia, on the Sunday before Australia Day. (Initially called a 'National Day of Mourning' in recognition of the suffering and dispossession of their people

since colonisation.

From1955 onwards, the day was changed to the first Sunday in July and was called 'National Aborigines Day' - which became a secular event.

1957 'NADOC' (the National Aboriginal Day Observance Committee) was formed to organise the day.
1989  'NADOC' was changed to
'NAIDOC' (the National Aboriginal & Islander Day of Observance Committee) to include Torres Strait Islanders.
To honour the faith of these godly Aboriginal men - William Cooper, Pastor Sir Douglas Nichols, William Ferguson and many others who led the struggle for the survival and dignity of their people last century - I believe it is most appropriate to respond to their plea.  I cannot think of anything more honouring to God, for the churches in Australia, than to reverse 242 years of superiority towards Aboriginal people by responding to this request, made by their Christian leaders in a time of spiritual revival amongst their people in this region.

Many Christian people throughout Australia, both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal, have an assurance that it is God's will and desire to move sovereignly in Australia through spiritual revival amongst Aboriginal people which will impact the churches and the nation.  Having personally witnessed the transforming power of God's Spirit during an Australia-wide spiritual revival that quietly impacted Aboriginal Australia from north to south and west to east in the late 1970's and early 1980's, I earnestly pray for a return of those days.  The need is urgent.  We all know a great cleansing needs to take place across our nation.  Who would have thought that Aboriginal Australians would take the lead? Who would have dreamed that the last could be first?  Most assuredly, Jesus!!  

For those of us who haven't already planned / suggested a 'Day of Observance'/ 'Aboriginal Sunday' in our churches during NAIDOC, the good news is that the month of July is widely recognised as NAIDOC Month! One suggestion might be to watch the movie 'A Fair Go for a Dark Race' (First Australians SBS series) which brings alive the story of Cummeragunga and the power of unity in Christ when Aboriginal and NonAboriginal people stood together to see God's will done and His Kingdom come.  Other worthwhile options could be to invite a local Aboriginal Christian leader to speak or to have a fundraising meal / collection in support of their work in this city / region. The ECCIYN (East Coast Christian Indigenous Youth Network) Annual Camp is also coming up in October so now is the time for sponsoring local Aboriginal Youth to attend this wonderful camp which attracts and inspires ! Aboriginal young people from all over Australia.

Many thanks for your prayerful support for our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in ministry today and for your honouring of those who bravely led the struggle in the past.

21 June, 2012

How's your Refugee Week going?

How's your Refugee Week going? Don't forget this coming Saturday's 'Walk Together' events around the country!

Who will you walk with? Check out this invite from our friends at 'Welcome to Australia':
At 1pm on June 23, the Saturday of Refugee Week, we're inviting everyone who is a part of the Australian community to 'Walk Together' in recognition that although we've all arrived here via different pathways we share a common Australian journey. 
We're Aboriginal Australians, we're refugees, we're skilled migrants, we're long-term Australians, we're international students, we're asylum seekers... we're people. It's time to Walk Together into a future where diversity is celebrated, fear is replaced with welcome and where everyone belongs.
It's time to walk together.

Click here to find a Walk Together in your city.

05 June, 2012

World Refugee Day Rally & March

If you are in Melbourne and you can't make it to the Welcome to Australia 'Walk Together' on June the 23rd come along to the World Refugee Day Rally and March a week earlier.
The Refugee Advocacy Network is calling on all groups and individuals who support refugee rights to come together and rally for World Refugee Day—and send a clear message to the government that it's time to end mandatory detention, whatever its duration.

When: Sunday 17 June at 12 noon.
Where: State Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne CBD.

Bring your banners, signs and messages.
Following the speeches, there will be a mass march to join the EMERGE Festival at Fitzroy Town Hall.
The ASRC is a proud part of the Refugee Advocacy Network.

Who will you Walk Together with?

Who will you walk with? Check out this invite from our friends at 'Welcome to Australia':
At 1pm on June 23, the Saturday of Refugee Week, we're inviting everyone who is a part of the Australian community to 'Walk Together' in recognition that although we've all arrived here via different pathways we share a common Australian journey. 
We're Aboriginal Australians, we're refugees, we're skilled migrants, we're long-term Australians, we're international students, we're asylum seekers... we're people. It's time to Walk Together into a future where diversity is celebrated, fear is replaced with welcome and where everyone belongs.
It's time to walk together.

Click here to find a Walk Together in your city.

30 May, 2012

A vigil for Ranjini

Today marks two weeks since a young mother and her sons were taken from their home and placed in detention - indefinitely.

Ranjini was verified as a genuine refugee and set about starting a new life with her new husband in Melbourne. She and her husband recently discovered they're expecting their first child together. But 2 weeks ago ASIO revised her security finding and now she and her young sons join around 50 other refugees (including 6 children) held without knowing the reasons for their detention, without independent review and without an opportunity for appeal.

30,000 Australians signed the petition to our Attorney-General and Immigration Minister because we believe in principles of justice and that no one should be treated this way in our country. Next week, we'll deliver the petition to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon's office in Maribyrnong at dusk by the light of hundreds of candles - a vigil for Ranjini and her family and all others locked up indefinitely without appeal.

Will you join us?


What: Candlelight vigil for refugees with no right of appeal
When: 5.00pm, Thursday 31 May
Where: Outside Nicola Roxon's office, 337 Gordon Street Maribrynong (see map here)
RSVP: http://www.getup.org.au/vigilforjustice

If you haven't been to an event like this before, here's what it'll be like.

As the sun sets, we'll stand together holding lit candles and sharing a moment of silence for the refugees who are being held indefinitely without appeal or trial. There's something incredibly powerful about being surrounded by like-minded neighbours and familiar local faces, and knowing that for all our differences, we have this in common - the belief that indefinite detention without appeal is not justice.

Five years ago, when David Hicks was held overseas - indefinitely, without charge, trial or appeal - we came together as a community and held candelight vigils outside the offices of the Foreign Minister to stand up for justice. Now, when justice is absent here in Australia, let's do the same.

Click here to RSVP.

All are welcome - young and old, in company or alone. We'll provide the candles - all you need to bring is yourself (and perhaps a warm coat!). For every hand that can hold a candle, the message to the Attorney-General and Federal Government will be brighter, stronger and more meaningful.

Hope to see you there,
Justine, for the GetUp team.

PS - This year a Parliamentary Committee made 31 recommendations to reform immigration detention - one of them being that ASIO decisions should be subject to appeal and review. The Government has been slow to act on this but this week the Greens announced they will be introducing legislation and prominent human rights lawyer David Manne is challenging indefinite detention in the High Court. It's time for the Attorney-General and Federal Government to right the wrong. Come and show your support.

16 May, 2012

JUSTSalvos Live 11 Ep 09 - Tim Costello on Indigenous Issues

National Reconciliation Week - Let's Talk Recognition

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort
Check out Gen and Chris's interview with Tim Costello about practical reconciliation and justice for Indigenous Australians.

While you're at it, head on over to the National Reconciliation Week website and find out some more ways you can get involved in practical reconciliation in your local area.

It's time to Walk Together!

Check out the following invitation to Walk Together from our friends at 'Welcome to Australia'

It's with great pleasure that we welcome Ozi Batla, MC with great Aussie hip-hop outfits The Herd and Astronomy Class, to the team of Welcome to Australia ambassadors. He joins the growing chorus of prominent and less-prominent Australians who are calling for a change in our response to asylum seekers, refugees and other new arrivals. We believe the conversation is shifting. More than 900 people have now registered with the Community Placement Network, making their spare rooms available to asylum seekers, and while we saw a range of ugly political and personal responses to this act of generosity, it seemed that this was drowned out by those celebrating the opportunity to direct their compassion towards concrete acts of welcome.  

The momentum towards a public statement of community solidarity on the Saturday of Refugee Week is gaining momentum.Walk Together is being planned in at least 10 cities around Australia - in Brisbane on Friday June 8 in partnership with the Refugee Lantern Parade, and in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Newcastle, Perth, Hobart, Darwin, Toowoomba and Rockhampton with a few other locations in exploratory phase. We'd love you and your community group, workplace, social circle, family and friends to be there as together we demonstrate the kind of Australia that is possible. Where we see each other as equals - Aboriginal Australians, asylum seekers, refugees, migrants old and new, international students - with equal rights to freedom, hope and belonging. An Australia where the politics of fear and division is unpopular and where people are no longer pitted against each other for the sake of political gain. To truly make Australia the successful, inclusive nation that it can be, we can't walk into our future divided. It's time to see the humanity in all people, and work together to secure a better future for all. 

It's time to Walk Together.  

There's more information being added to the event page as locations and routes are locked in for each city. Please invite your friends and get the message out there! A different future is possible than the one build by xenophobia and prejudice. Let's model that together on Saturday 23 June across our nation.  

Brad Chilcott