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Social justice update – July 2012

Social justice update – July 2012

New homelessness statistics released
An estimated 98,742 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies in Australia between October and December last year with domestic and family violence the most common reason people sought assistance. Of those seeking help 18% of clients were aged under 10 and just under half of all clients (48%) were aged under 25. These latest statistics released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) follow a similar pattern to reports from previous quarters. What made the release of AIHW’s report on July 4 significant? Anecdotally there had already been whispers that the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pledge to halve homelessness by 2020 was not on track to be delivered and now the data confirmed it. On the morning the AIHW report was released the Federal Minister for Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor told the AM Program “the report underlies the scale of the challenge and we’ve got quite a long way to go”. Listen to the full interview ABC AM Radio. On the same day Dr John Falzon was quoted in The Australian newspaper as saying “These figures confirm that we do, as a nation, need to put even more resources into this problem”. Click here to read the full article or the AIHW report titled Specialist Homelessness Data. The ABS will release the homeless statistics from the 2011 Census on November 12 this year. For the ABS Census release schedule go to Census 2011.

NAIDOC Week celebrations
The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia joined with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in marking NAIDOC Week 2012 held from July 1 to 8. NAIDOC Week was originally named after the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The theme for 2012 was ‘the spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on’. National President Tony Thornton issued a media release in which the Society saluted the historical efforts of Australia’s First Peoples in striving for a stronger future for all Australians, built on justice and mutual respect. “We need to be a nation of hope,” Mr Thornton said. “This is why we must never be afraid to speak out against injustice.” NAIDOC Week 2012

Update on gambling reforms
The Society is a member of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, which last released a statement on May 22 in acknowledgement of a decision by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie to support the Government’s gambling reform measures. The Society believes that the draft legislation currently under consideration is a sufficient first step, but should not be regarded as a substitute for further reform. gamblingreform.org

The Record Winter 2012 out now
Reimaging Home Visitation was the title of the feature article in the winter issue of The Record. As expected the article by Robert Fitzgerald AM fuelled a great deal of discussion among members about the pros and cons of home visits carried out by Conference members around the country. The National Council office has already received one letter to the editor in response to Mr Fitzgerald’s article and would encourage more members, especially those with strongly held views of their own, to write a letter in response to this article or on any topic of their choosing for publication in the spring issue of The Record. The deadline for the spring issue is August 30. The editor would like to thank those all the poets who made submissions to the publication and let them know if their poem wasn’t published in the winter issue it will be published in spring. In case you missed it, here is a link to The Record Winter 2012

Newsletter available in PDF format
This Social justice update can now be read in PDF format and easily printed out. To read or download this e-newsletter in PDF format click here . Previous issues of the e-newsletter are also available on this website.

Upcoming events

• Homeless Persons Week August 6 to 12 Homelessness Australia
• Dental advocacy forum ‘Why has dental health been getting the brush off?’ August 15 National Rural Health Alliance

Behind the scenes…
The keys of certain computer keyboards in the National Council office have been worn down considerably in recent weeks with those behind the computer busy preparing a series of Government submissions on social justice issues – all of which were due over the space of a couple of weeks. All submissions are made available to the public online following the due date. For the terms of reference and further information about an individual enquiry click on the links below and you will be directed to the relevant Parliament of Australia website. The following list details the topic of each enquiry and the dates submissions must be received:

• The Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) draft legislation on July 20.
• A submission on proposed changes to the sole parents allowance on July 23-25.
• Comment sought on a refugee pilot program by July 27.
• A submission on the Exposure Draft Bill for the definition of homelessness due on August 2.
• A submission on the inadequacy of support payments due on August 3.

Reflective tweets
@VinniesAust “Good on The Canberra Times for reprinting this Guardian yarn on the UK’s ‘big society’ system recently. Cracking read http://bit.ly/OlSJEO

About Vinnies

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation working towards a more just and compassionate society.

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