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Catholic solutions to public policy problems: ACU launches PM Glynn Institute think tank

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Dr Michael Casey, the inaugural director of the PM Glynn Institute, a public policy think tank established by the Australian Catholic University.
Dr Michael Casey, the inaugural director of the PM Glynn Institute, a public policy think tank established by the Australian Catholic University.

The rehousing of Syrian refugees in Melbourne, the role of conscience in medicine, and the problems facing human rights in Australia: a new public policy think tank at the Australian Catholic University has hit the ground running, launching on 13 October.

The PM Glynn Institute, named after one of the framers of the Australian Constitution – a Catholic – has been established to provide the Catholic community with a standing capacity to analyse public policy issues of concern not only to the Church and its ministries but to the wider Australian community.

More than 70 people attended the launch at ACU’s North Sydney Campus.

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ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven officially launched the Institute and the Institute’s director Dr Michael Casey provided an outline of its work, before a panel discussed the theme ‘Fear and Anger, Hope and Confidence: Reframing our shared Landscapes’.

In launching the Institute, Prof Craven said the PM Glynn Institute was established to support the work that the Church and its services provide to the Australian community into the long term.

“There are particular challenges that we face, but many of them are part of the larger challenges facing the Australian community as a whole,” Prof Craven said.

“Patrick McMahon Glynn, one of the drafters of the Australian Constitution, lived in a very different time. Yet he is an excellent inspiration for this work. A prolific writer, a painstaking researcher, immensely learned, fearless, urbane; a Catholic, and very much his own man, the future of his country being his main focus.”

Dr Casey said the PM Glynn Institute had been established to contribute to deeper thinking about over-the-horizon issues, and how these might play out in the future.

“It is a task directed to supporting the contribution that the Catholic community and its various services and organisations make to our country, especially through education and healthcare. Just as importantly, it will also address questions and concerns which are important to Australians and Australia as a whole. In a number of areas, important issues facing the Church are a sub-set of important issues facing government and society.”

The PM Glynn Institute will develop well-supported, practical and achievable proposals to address them.

The institute’s work will be centred on three major work streams tackling democracy and religion, human rights, and the sources of hope and confidence in Australia.

ACU says the aim is to provide an evidence-based survey of the political and sociological landscape, and the opportunities and challenges for the years ahead.

Participants in the panel discussion included ACU director of the Centre for Health and Social Research, Prof Sandra Jones, former head of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Commission and the NSW Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, and University of Notre Dame Australia, bioethics professor, Prof Margaret Somerville, as well as Prof Craven and Dr Casey.

Julien O’Connell, Pro-Chancellor of ACU and Chair of the PM Glynn Institute Advisory Board, moderated the panel.

More information on the work of the Institute is available at pmglynn.acu.edu.au

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