Part of the mission of the St Vincent de Paul Society is to ‘go where the need is’. Staying true to our mission means no work of charity is foreign to us and no person in need is alien to us. This means that the range of social justice work we do isn’t fixed. Rather, it changes according to current needs.
Vinnies has contributed to the public debate on various topics, including but not limited to:
- Domestic violence: We abhor violence against anyone, in any situation, and view violence in the home as a crime. In a 2015 submission to a Domestic Violence in Australia inquiry, Vinnies outlined our belief that we as a society need to understand why domestic violence occurs in the first place, in order for true equality between women and men to be achieved.
- Regulatory reform in the charity sector: A large contingent of the community sector has repeatedly called for the establishment of a regulatory framework for charities. The former federal government established the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in December 2011. Vinnies campaigned with like-minded charities to urge the new Coalition government to retain the ACNC into the future, including a recent submission on the options paper for the ACNC’s replacement.
- Justice reinvestment: Vinnies is committed to reforming the criminal justice system from a punitive emphasis, to an emphasis on social justice reinvestment. While real rates of crime have fallen, rates of incarceration have risen, suggesting that inappropriate imprisonment, with its catastrophic effects on victims, is on the increase. In 2014 Vinnies became involved in the ground-breaking Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke, NSW.
- Racial vilification: We are strongly opposed to changes to our racial discrimination legislation known as the 18C proposals in April 2014. Vinnies was also one of 120 organisations to co-sign a letter urging the Federal Government to abandon racial vilification changes. On August 5, 2014 the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced that proposed changes would be withdrawn. Had they been approved the 18C proposals would have: “sent a dangerously regressive signal regarding the devaluing of multiculturalism, respect and diversity at a time when both the First Peoples and the most recently arrived asylum seekers face structural and historical injustice.”
- Overseas aid: Vinnies supports a range of development activities overseas, reflecting our commitment to supporting human dignity not just in Australia, but wherever help is needed. We wrote a blog post on our concerns about current cuts to overseas aid.
- Submission on Domestic violence and children June 1 2015
- Racial Discrimination Act amendments withdrawn August 5 2014
- Submission to Domestic Violence Inquiry July 29 2014
- Submission to the Inquiry into the Repeal of the ACNC May 8 2014
- Submission on the Value of a Justice Reinvestment April 1 2013
- Submission on charging fees for silent number services March 26 2013
- Submission on the Constitutional Recognition Bill 2012 January 15 2013
- Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices September 14 2012
- Submission on Stronger Futures in Northern Territory January 16 2012