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Landmark social justice statement revisted after ten years

A new document being launched today by the Australian Social Justice Council assesses whether the gap between rich and poor has widened since Common Wealth for the Common Good was released in 1992.

The original document was launched on national television by Cardinal Edward Clancy and later debated at length in both Houses of Parliament.

The new booklet, titled A Fair Australia? Common Wealth for the Common Good: Ten Years On, revisits the Bishops' conclusions and recommendations, in the light of social, political and economic developments during the past decade.

The eight commentators responding to the question include Robert Fitzgerald, Fr Bruce Duncan, Thomas Keneally, Julian Disney, Lowitja O'Donoghue, John Phillips, Veronica Brady and John Warhurst.

The overall conclusion, summarised by NSW Community and Disability Services Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald, is that social exclusion resulting from income and wealth inequality is still "a growing issue of concern".

According to sociologist Father Bruce Duncan, poverty has become "entrenched" in sections of the community. He examines critically the challenges to estimates made by the Smith Family and others of the number of people living in poverty.

Bishops' Committee for Justice, Development, Ecology and Peace/Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Common Wealth for the Common Good - Theological Reflection - Ten Years Down the Track and What's Different? (Social Action Office, Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, Queensland

7 Mar 2003