Pathway to Social Justice a 'way forward' for Australia
Disaster doesn’t discriminate – opportunity shouldn’t either
The Salvation Army has released its contribution to the growing conversation about how Australia can use the opportunities presented by the year 2020 to reshape its society.
The document, titled “A Pathway to Social Justice”, identifies some of the “pressing issues” that The Salvation Army says Australia needs to confront. It also provides practical steps the nation, communities and individuals can take to make a difference in positively transforming Australia.
The Salvation Army’s Head of Mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Lyn Edge said the report’s premise is that Australia is a country where everyone should have the chance to thrive and not just survive. “What that means is that Australia should be a country where every person’s needs are met, every person is welcome and included and every person can have hope for the future.”
The report then goes on to detail what can be done on a national, community and individual level to ensure these benchmarks can be met.
Working together to transform Australia
The Salvation Army’s General Manager of Policy and Advocacy, Jennifer Kirkaldy, put together the report. She encouraged everyone connected to The Salvation Army in some way to put into action one or more of the suggestions in the report. Doing so means we would be well on our way to reshaping Australia.
“[The Salvation Army] says in our vision statement that we want to transform Australia, one life at a time, with the love of Jesus,” she said. “We intuitively know what that means but now we are starting to outline what a transformed Australia could look like.
“Where we want to get to is an Australia where people have their basic needs met, everyone is included, everyone has equal opportunity, and everyone can have hope for the future.”
She said the first thing people could do on their journey towards this outcome is to stop and think about the systems and processes that are in place in different areas of their lives. “It’s really easy to just walk through life and focus on the things that are right in front of you and not think holistically.
“In the discrimination space for example, just because this system works for me, is it the right system? Are we excluding people just because we haven’t thought about it?”
Small steps on the pathway to justice
Many of the actions in the report are less about taking on extra commitments or making huge life changes, but more about attitude and being mindful. Within the homelessness space, the report urges people to show dignity and respect to people who find themselves homeless: “If you pass someone who is experiencing homelessness, acknowledge them and say hello.”
Within the family violence space, the report encourages people to believe anyone who reveals to them – either explicitly or through subtle hints – that they are experiencing family violence. And also, to “be careful how we speak about family violence and call out people and organisations that use language that minimises or seeks to excuse violence against women.”
All Australians connected to The Salvation Army are being encouraged to download a copy of the report and read it, taking time to think about how they can take steps on the pathway to a more just society.