Advocacy, or working to transform the causes of poverty and challenging the causes of human injustice, is one of the Society’s Values as defined in The Rule.
In April 2022 the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council released its 2022 Federal Election statement, A Fairer Australia. The statement outlined advocacy priorities and calls for change and included policy papers, source documents and a report card.
Throughout 2023, these advocacy priorities have been updated, covering the areas of:
Let’s Build a Fairer Australia! has been approved by National Council and reflects advice provided by National Council’s Social Justice Advisory Committee and the Vincentian Refugee Network. Both groups comprise Members from the states and territories who, by working in their communities and assisting those in need, are acutely aware of the social justice policy and funding issues that must be addressed if we are to succeed in reducing inequality in Australia. The advocacy priorities outlined in Let’s Build a Fairer Australia! are therefore limited to the social justice policy areas most relevant to, and likely to adversely affect, the lives of those we help.
This is important because Australia is a wealthy country but has a shortage of affordable housing, growing inequality, increasingly insecure work and wages that have not kept up with inflation. Households that rely on income support are struggling to survive. One-in-six children are living in poverty, and great disadvantage persists in a number of mainly regional and remote communities. In the last year, 3.7 million households experienced food insecurity.
Now, more than ever, government policy and fiscal management need to be robust, evidence-based and directed to assisting those in greatest need.
Our service to others, and advocacy on their behalf, is inspired by the words of St Vincent de Paul:
Deal with the most urgent needs…Teach reading and writing, educate with the aim of giving each the means of self-support. Intervene with authorities to reform structures… there is no charity without justice.
The Society has developed a Report Card to assess the extent to which the Australian Government’s policies and actions stack-up against Let’s Build a Fairer Australia!
In developing the Report Card, the Society relies on publicly released policy materials.
|Partially met||Not met|
As a registered charity, an impartial approach has been used to classify policy platforms – one that relies on, and is limited to, publicly available information. The assessment does not second-guess policy positions or fill in the gaps.
Readers should be aware that while every effort has been made to identify and consider all major parties’ policies and to keep this information up to date, readers should also conduct their own research. Readers can access a list of all registered candidates by electorate through the AEC website.