Fresh start for Catholic lobby

After a six-month hiatus, the Catholics lobby group PolMin - the Australian Political Ministry Network - has relaunched this week with a new coordinator and a move of its base from Sydney to Melbourne.

PolMin was founded in 2001 as an incorporated organisation, independent of the Church but with the support of individuals and groups within the Church including religious congregations. Its focus has been to lobby for policy reform rather than a more broadly-based advocacy.

The new coordinator is Regina Lane, who took up the position this week at the new base in the Treacy Centre at Parkville in Melbourne. The Treacy Centre, the location of the former Christian Brothers' training college, also houses Provincial offices for the Brother in Victoria and Tasmania.

Ms Lane, who has an academic background in International Development and Media and Communications, leaves the position of Social Justice Officer at the Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace to take up the PolMin position.

"PolMin provides a wonderful opportunity for an independent voice to be heard in the policy making process," she said. "I look forward to working with its members to advancing the organisation. I also encourage others to join PolMin and make a contribution to ensuring social policy works for the common good.

A PolMin statement at the time of the relaunch said that the need for scrutiny and lobbying for just policy is highlighted by this week's news of an Australian citizen detained in an Australian detention centre and then deported from Australia. It argued that the need for a full public and independent inquiry into mandatory detention is clear.

"The suffering of asylum seekers has been allowed to go on too long," said PolMin. "That Australians have been wrongfully detained and now deported serves to highlight, yet again, the inherent flaws in this inhumane, damaging and costly system."

"To respect the dignity and self worth of every person, we must work to ensure that human rights are upheld. If human rights are to work for Australians, they must also be upheld for people who come to our shores seeking asylum.

"In our governments failing to do this, we have seen the tragic consequences."

In her role as PolMin Coordinator, Ms Lane will be engaged in the activities of organising, lobbying and educating to achieve PolMin's goal of influencing public policy for the common good. She is keen to hear from existing and potential new members. The contact details are in the statement (linked below).

PolMin (Australian Political Ministry Network) has a new Coordinator and a new office (Australian Political Ministry Network 2/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
PolMin (Australian Poltical Ministry Network Ltd)
Network Lobby
Change policy on asylum seekers: new lobby group (Catholic Weekly 26/8/01)

Catholics lobby says Guantanamo report shows Govt denying democratic freedoms (CathNews 20/9/04)
Catholics lobby urges more strategic approach to security issues (CathNews 18/8/04)

Ekklesia profiled by London newspaper (Ekklesia 3/5/05)

4 May 2005