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Catholics join combined religious call to PM on poverty

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll has joined with other heads of churches and leaders of the Jewish and Islamic faiths in writing to Prime Minister John Howard to urge his support for a national forum on poverty.

The letter, which was also circulated to state premiers and territory chief ministers, calls on the leaders to support a national forum aimed at developing a national strategy for the reduction of poverty, and hopefully the elimination of child poverty, in Australia.

It says if current trends of wealth distribution continue, Australia is in danger of losing its traditional character, based on notions of a fair go and mateship.

"Recent years have seen the emergence of second and third generation unemployment," the leaders say in the letter. "Hundreds and thousands of children in Australia are growing up in poverty, in families that have never known an adult in regular employment.

"We are concerned that Australia urgently needs a national forum, to develop a national strategy to reverse these trends and to focus on management, within Australia, of the adverse effects of global developments on our country."

The letter was signed by Archbishop Carroll, together with the heads of the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church, the Baptist Union, the Jewish community, the Lutheran Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

National Council of Churches of Australia | Text of letter
Faiths seek summit on poverty (The Age 5/10/03)
Churches take up fight against poverty (Courier Mail)
Religious leaders call for poverty forum (SBS)
[US] Statistics on poverty, uninsured challenge longtime church efforts (Catholic News Service)

7 Oct 2003