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Over the last week the Australian Council of Social Service has released a major report into poverty in Australia. Some key ideas that stand out for me are –

  • 2.99 million people in Australia live below the poverty line
  • More than 731 300 children under the age of 15 live below the poverty line in Australia
  • Between 2012 and 2014, poverty rates increased for:
    • Children in lone parent families
    • Young people receiving Youth Allowance
    • People receiving Parent Payment

Tap Here for the full report.

All of this during an unprecedented 25 year period of continuous economic growth for our country.

These statistics have rumbled around in the back of my mind over the last few days and they keep disturbing me. I keep thinking of Bob Hawke’s famous statement that ‘no Australian child would need to live in poverty by 1990’. How wrong he was. How far from the mark we are as a community.

Where does this leave us as a nation and as a community? What do we as an Edmund Rice community have to say about this? I hope that we are all moved by this reality.

Edmund Rice education is education for liberation, not just for our young men here at St Patrick’s but so that they, in their turn, can go into the world to liberate others. In this sense I hope that our community can see our work on the Paddy’s Van, our work welcoming refugees and advocating for their rights, etc as being transformational and about practicing a way of life that is aware of and concerned for all people in need.

We are a community of great heart and hope and we should be proud of that, but we have great power to create change in our community and we can do more. When we state our motto – “Fight the good fight”, the fight we are talking about is the fight of Jesus to bring about a better world, to transform reality and to liberate people from injustice. The ‘Fight’ is here for us. Are we ready to take up the call?

This weekend all around Australia thousands of Australians are putting their beliefs about refugees and asylum seekers into action by joining “Walk Together”. Tap Here for details about the Brisbane event.

Mr Tim Kenny - Dean of Identity