The asylum seeker incidents currently occurring around the country have no doubt caused a great deal of angst for many Australians. This has been made clear to me in a number of personal exchanges over the last couple of days.
“They should be more grateful!” some have said, while others have stated, on an apparent whim, that we should deport many detained asylum seekers for their “criminal activity”. This is, sadly, the apparent position of the political spokespeople for immigration in both major political Parties (see Chris Bowen’s comments and Scott Morrison’s comments).
But there is a deep irony with this kind of position Read the rest of this entry
My time working in a local church taught me that many people in contemporary Australia have little or no respect for leadership.
This is regardless of the quality or personality of such leaders. Church leadership is far too often seen as simply another consumptive item that can be thrown away whenever one has grown tired of it. I saw such attitudes replicated in both my church and many others.
This is not to say that leadership never makes mistakes, nor that it always deserves to retain its position; some leadership is poor and cruel. As I have said however the apparent distaste for leadership in many spheres of contemporary Christianity is seemingly indiscriminate.
Such a trend is not, of course, restricted to the Church in Australia. Christians seem to have inherited such an attitude from the world around them (it wouldn’t be the first time…).
We only need look at our political leaders to observe the way Australians are utterly disrespectful towards their national leadership Keep Reading…
On August 18 2010 Make Poverty History held an electoral forum in the Seat of Cook at which I was privileged to act as Chairperson. Here are the videos:
It looks as though Australia’s newest Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is moving to the Right on the issue of Asylum Seekers.
Nothing is certain at this point, but Ms. Gillard has given a deadline of July 8 for Labor to announce their new asylum seeker policy. In the meantime Gillard has encouraged Australians to express their opinions and vent their fears to open up frank national debate about the issue;
“For people to say they’re anxious about border security doesn’t make them intolerant, it certainly doesn’t make them a racist, it means that they’re expressing a genuine view that they’re anxious about border security.” (Article here) Read the rest of this entry
I have now reached the end of my Micah Challenge Voices For Justice experience for 2010. Yesterday after I blogged I got to use my Unaccompanied Pass a bit more, which equalled nicer food in the staff cafes.
However I did do some constructive stuff…
I went to a panel on Prophetic Engagement with Politics and Society featuring Dave Andrews and Deb Storie. They spoke about how to imaginatively engage the world with the message of God’s justice through prophetic acts. For those who aren’t aware, my PhD is in interface between the prophet and the public sphere, so it was nice to hear the prophetic being spoken about in a way that I resonated with, and not in some esoteric, self-projected sense (as I find is normally the case).
I also went to a workshop on How AusAID Works and Budget Process with Chris Elstoft. Sounds boring but it was enlightening.
At one point I called Dana Vale’s office to try and get a meeting, but was turned away with a staff member saying she was too busy. Oh well…
In the late afternoon I attended a policy forum featuring Bob McMullan, the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance. It was interesting to see the Australian politicians engage with the third-world perspective of Roshan Mendis – I think we have much to learn. After that I went to a TEAR supporters dinner which was a bit of fun.
At midday today My lobby group had a meeting with Scott Morrison, the MP for my electorate of Cook. I think we all felt mixed about the result, as Mr. Morrison was supportive in some ways, but also unwilling to speak beyond his Party, especially in regard to climate change. Despite this I would certainly welcome any future opportunity to dialogue with Mr. Morrison about the MDGs and related issues.
Sadly I am now about to head home (not too sad, I turned 25 today so it should be fun when I get home). I have highly values my time with Micah Challenge Voices For Justice over the last 4 days in Canberra, having engaged in the political process at a deeper level on behalf of the poorest people in the world. I will certainly be back next year, and I hope you are here with me!
Well, I’m sitting down typing this, waiting for the last session of the day to begin. Today has been a great day – thought-provoking, encouraging, challenging…
Arrived in Canberra about lunch time before hitting registration and then the first session with Dave Andrews talking about “The Be-Attitudes: Be The Change You Want To See In The World.” Dave spoke about the Beatitudes as a way of life set forth by Jesus for his followers requiring them to identify with the poor, mourn with them, desire justice, demonstrate integrity and respond non-violently to injustice done against oneself. This was followed soon after by a time of repentance – we must live the kind of lives we tell others to live.
I then sat in on an elective run by Dave Andrews entitled “Facilitating Social Change Through Community Development” where he answered questions about that topic. Dave’s proposed method on how to enact change in the context of systems and institutions went something like;
1. Don’t be conformed, but be committed to transformation (Romans 12).
2. Be smart about it – be as conformed as you can without compromising your commitment to transformation (Romans 13).
3. Look for a sponsor – someone higher up in the system to protect you and create space for you.
4. Find a couple of supporters – people who may be on the same level as you in the system but who will work with you.
5. Have a long term strategy – changing a regime does not change the system, and overthrowing the people on the top will only change the regime.
6. Have a short term strategy – simply moving up the chain of the system doesn’t help, as the people at the top are just as captive to it as anyone. Experiment on the edge – it doesn’t threaten anybody, and if you succeed the system may accept you and you may just transform it.
7. Subvert relationships – Make friends with all people so that no one holds the power.
8. Hold your experiment out on the edge as long as possible – Allow the system to collapse (like all systems eventually do) and this will give you the opportunity to bring your experiement into the institution as it is. This will transform the system.
Dave Andrews is an absolute freak (in the best possible way). His perspective on things is inspiring and challenging, and requires your full attention. I hope to hear much more from him over the next three days.
In other news, my Micah Challenge group has meetings with Sharon Bird (Member for Cunningham) on Monday and Scott Morrison (Member for Cook [my electorate] and Shadow Immigration Minister) on Tuesday. Please pray for us, that our meetings will have a lasting impact and will help make a transformation in Australia and the world, even if only small.