As pre-polling opens for the 2019 Australian election and the leaders face off in their first debate, we encourage Uniting Church members to think deeply about their vote.
Our pre-election vision statement Our Vision for a Just Australia invites us to think beyond ourselves to the big concerns for our country today.
Prepared by those working for justice in our Church, the statement expresses our hope for an Inclusive and Equal Society where all are equal and free to exercise our rights equally.
In particular, we seek to create a society where women and children are safe in their own homes and communities.
There continues to be high rates of Domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia, with around 1 in 4 women having experienced violence by an intimate partner since the age of 15.
DFV is the leading cause of illness, disability and premature death among women aged 25 to 44.
A recent report by Mission Australia titled Out of the Shadows highlights DFV as the largest driver of homelessness for women and children.
According to the report, DFV is the most common driver for people to seek support from Specialist Homelessness Services, and this number has increased an average of 9% every year from 2012-13 to 2017-18.
The report also shows that Indigenous women are more likely to experience family violence, and women from refugee and migrant backgrounds face additional barriers when seeking help.
In launching the report, Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said that in order to end homelessness we must work at preventing DFV.
“As a society, we need to be doing more to reinforce gender equality and normalise respectful relationships to reduce instances of domestic and family violence across Australia,” he said.
Our UCA vision statement calls for a comprehensive approach to preventing gender-based violence. This includes challenging the social norms and practices that underpin it.
This Sunday a number of Uniting Churches in South Australia organised “Break the Silence Sunday” services to open a conversation about sexual violence.
Within the context of worship, congregations were invited to explore how the voice of survivors may be heard, honoured, and their pain acknowledged.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Explore the Questions in the Our Vision for a Just Australia with your local candidates or in small groups.
QUESTIONS for your candidates or for small groups:
- What is your commitment to the equality of women across our community and what actions will you take to promote this?
- How will you tackle the high rates of domestic and family violence, both in terms of prevention and supporting people who are affected?
- What initiatives are already happening or could happen in your local community that could promote awareness of domestic and family violence and offer support for people impacted by this violence?
Consider having a Break the Silence Sunday in your congregation. A resource guide has been created with prayers, liturgies, sermon starters, music suggestions and more.
Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer has offered prayers and support to the people of Sri Lanka in the wake of the recent Easter Sunday bombings.
“These were horrendous terror attacks against Christians at worship on Easter Sunday and against innocent people sharing time with friends and families,” said Dr Palmer.
Uniting Church leaders have joined the Armenian community at a special ecumenical service and luncheon in Sydney.
The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia Sunday Worship and Praise Service was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney in Willoughby on Sunday 31 March.
In her first Easter message as Church President, Dr Deidre Palmer speaks about the constant inspiration she and other UCA members draw from those living lives of love and justice in the way of Jesus.
“In the face of world events like the horrendous attack in Christchurch, where words and acts of hatred and violence have threatened the harmony and peace of our communities, Christ comes to us with a call to love our neighbours, live in peace and work for a reconciled human community.
As we mark Easter, the hope of the resurrection reminds us of our vision of a world reconciled, where all people and all creation can flourish.
Uniting Church members joined thousands marching in parks and streets across Australia for the annual Palm Sunday rallies.
People from all walks of life came together to show their concern and send a message that Australia must do better for refugees and people seeking asylum.
The 14th Indonesian National Conference took place at St Andrew’s Gardiner Uniting Church, Melbourne from Friday to Sunday 7 July,
The Conference titled ‘Blessed to Bless’, was attended by up to 60 Indonesian leaders from Darwin, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
As Australians approach a Federal election on 18 May, we continue to encourage Uniting Church members to explore different parts of our recently released statement Our Vision for a Just Australia.
In our statement we express our Christ-centred hope for Australia to be A Welcoming, Compassionate and Diverse Nation and to respond humanely to those seeking safety and refuge on our shores.
This Palm Sunday Uniting Church members will join thousands of others across Australia calling for fair, compassionate and just policies for refugees and asylum seekers.
The 2019 Palm Sunday events will take place on Sunday 14 April in capital cities and regional towns organised by a number of faith and advocacy groups and community organisations.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has encouraged Uniting Church members to join the rallies to take a stand for justice.
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer, has welcomed today’s announcement of a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
“For too long, people with disabilities have been subject to discrimination and abuse,” said Dr Palmer.