Voting for the common good guide launched

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Volunteers with Maronites on Mission provide hot dinners to people in Martin Place, Sydney, during the city’s 2021 COVID lockdown. The pandemic has reignited a desire to serve the common good, says Sr Jan Barnett rsj one of the publishers of the Common Good Voting Kit. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

As the Federal election approaches, the Sydney Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Office and Josephite Justice Network have published a ‘Common Good Voting Kit’ to inform Catholics about some of the issues facing Australian civil society in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The kit draws on Catholic Social Teaching and aims to “counter retail politics”, addressing “historic low levels in trust in many institutions, but especially political parties” by “returning to teaching that prioritises the vulnerable, that speaks truth to power, that recognises we are all made in the image and likeness of our God”.

Issues like aged care, asylum seekers, ecology, climate change, homelessness and wealth inequality are addressed from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching and recent Papal documents, and each issue is followed by proposed legislative and policy changes.

Sr Jan Barnett rsj, who co-ordinates the Josephite Justice Network, said that while the pandemic had an “appropriate focus on the individual” we need to return to a more community-focused outlook on politics.

“Catholic Social Teaching is calling us to reflect on what is for the common good,” Sr Jan said.

“I think COVID has reminded us that that there’s a real need in terms of the fact that we are interconnected with each other, we are interrelated, we need to come back to that. People are yearning for a sense of community, for something that emphasises once again that we are one community and need to be thinking of the common good.”

Much of the impetus for the kit came from the 2021 “150 Days for Refugees” campaign, which brought together a coalition of Catholic social justice organisations to put refugee and asylum seeker issues back on the agenda.

The kit has been endorsed by Bishop Vincent Long, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.

Representatives of the Presentation Sisters, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of the Good Samaritan and Brigidines have also given their endorsements, alongside other organisations.

The kit can be obtained from the Justice and Peace Office at justiceandpeace.org.au or by emailing [email protected]