2015 Forum Series: “Equity and the Human Family”

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12 February 2015: “Free and equal! Towards a more humane society”, Reverend Dr Thorwald Lorenzen

  • Copy of address
  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Bishop George Browning
    • Dr Lorenzen’s address:
    • Comment on the Speech: Bishop George Browning
    • Question 1: If you had the opportunity, what one thing would you say to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition?
    • Question 2: International Charter for Compassion.
    • Question 3: The “our” in “Our Father” refers to all human beings whatever their religion.
    • Question 4: How should one decide which of the many worthy issues one should give attention to?
    • Question 5: Should one respect people of contrary views? Are our superior?
    • Question 6: Amplification of tension between the values of freedom and equality and impact of fear and hate.
    • Question 7: Identifying the victim and relationship of competition to the values of freedom and equality.
    • Question 8: Church and support for women.
    • Question 9: How can we effect change in Society? Revising the paradigm of government.
    • Question 10: What question would you put to political leaders regarding Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders?
      • Questions of Bishop Browning on your background: What impact does you memory of World War II in Hamburg have on you?
    • Question 11: What is you attitude to authority?  What do you believe now more fervently than you used to?  Who are your heroes?
    • Closing Comments: Bishop George Browning

21 April 2015: “The war on drugs: noble cause or tragic debacle?”, Dr Ken Crispin QC

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Dr Thorwald Lorenzen
    • Dr Crispin’s address
    • Question 1: How can the transformation in community attitudes towards homosexuality inform a possible change of community attitudes on drugs?
    • Question 2: Avoiding commercialization of marijuana supply in Washington State.
    • Question 3: Prohibition justifiable as an aspiration. Australia compared to Sweden
    • Question 4: Extent that the criminal law still applies in Portugal. Unreality of expectation that imprisonment leads to rehabilitation?
    • Question 5: High cost of imprisonment as a response to drug use.
    • Question 6: Different models of regulation of drugs in context of legalization: methamphetamine/ice.
    • Question 7: Prohibition deters children from drug use
    • Closing Remarks & Thanks to Speaker: Bishop George Browning

21 May 2015: “Budget Equity?”, Paul Bongiorno

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Bishop George Browning
    • Dr Bongiorno’s address
    • Question 1: Impact of budget and Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)on Pharmaceuticals. Extent that Investor State Dispute Settlement under the TPP may undermine sovereignty. Defence spending.
    • Question 2: Extent Australia is mimicking America.
    • Question 3: Why do so many people vote against their own best interest?
    • Question 4: How did the government get its first budget so badly wrong?
    • Question 5: Disconnect between Christian values of political leadership and delivery of programs to promote Christian social justice values. How can we strengthen the discourse to encourage delivery on social justice outcomes?
    • Question 6: Privatisation of government functions
    • Question 7: Why is so much attention paid to the aged and so little to the young?
    • Question 8: Should we argue for Christian compassion or the economic benefits of compassion?
    • Question 9: Australian Taxation level compared to other prosperous countries and how to promote electoral support for higher taxation.
    • Closing Remarks: Bishop George Browning
    • Thanks to Speaker: Bishop Stephen Pickard

27 August 2015: “Fortress Australia – myth or reality?”, Rev Tim Costello (Annual dinner forum)

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Thorwald Lorenzen
    • Rev Costello’s address
    • Question 1: Politicians should be reminded that the ends can never justify the means.
    • Question 2: Is a pathology of insecurity and deep and complex links with the U.S. and Britain a factor in Australia’s attitude to the outside world?
    • Question 3: How can we alleviate the factors that cause people to leave their country? What support should we give to the UNHCR?
    • Vote of thanks: Bishop George Browning

20 October 2015: Climate Change, Steve Hatfield Dodds

No materials available from this forum

11 November 2015: For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas: Justice for refugees and asylum seekers. Joint forum with the Catholic Social Justice Commission. Speakers: Jon Stanhope, Sr Jane Keogh and Felix Macharidza

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Genevieve Jacobs
    • Jon Stanhope’s address
    • Sister Jane Keogh’s address
    • Felix Machiridza’s address
    • Question 1: Jon Stanhope on why governments of both persuasions insist on secrecy
    • Question 2: Sr. Keogh on why the plight of asylum seekers doesn’t resonate more strongly in the community
    • Question 3: Machiridza on the extent that meeting people face to face can break down barriers
    • Question 4: Bishop Browning on how Australia contributes to the flow of refugees
    • Question 5: Cassidy on the extent is it legitimate for the church to have a voice in refugee matters
    • Question 6: Keogh on the connection between unresolved reconciliation issues with indigenous Australians and our attitude to refugees
    • Question 7: The relevance of the National Child Protection Framework to refugee children in detention
    • Question 8: How is it possible to change the refugee policies of the Labor and Liberal Parties?
    • Question 9: Browning: See whether elimination of punitive element and just turning back the boats will still maintain deterrance
    • Question 10:  Cassidy & Browning: Are measures of oppression beyond what is required to deter boats?
    • Question 11: Keogh: The Government has admitted that mandatory detetention does not deter refugees
    • Question 12: Machiridza: Whether Australia has a reputation in Africa as a cruel country; Red Cross instructed refer to refugees as detainees
    • Question 13: Stanhope & Browning: Changing policy by embarrassing politicians and the electorate
    • Final Remarks: Genevieve Jacobs

2014 Forum Series: “Responsible Citizenship”

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26 February 2014: “Overturning Tables, Knocking off Heads of State, and Other Ways of being Responsible Christian Citizens”, Professor James Haire

  • Audio recordings:
    • Welcome and Introduction: Bishop George Browning, Chairman of CES
    • Professor Haire’s address
    • Question 1: You say that Christianity is fundamentally internationalist? To what extent do you consider that national citizenship undermines international citizen particularly having regard to the huge concentration of wealth?
    • Question 2: Please comment on the rivalry between churches for example in the provision of welfare services and education.
    • Question 3: The corruption of public debate and the fiction of free market as a requisite for economic growth.
    • Question 4: To what extent has Government funding of service delivery suppressed the prophetic voice of the Church?
    • Question 5: The Church leadership is articulate and mostly effective when it comes to securing funding from Government but not on issues where there is no prospect of financial gain?
    • Question 6: How does Christian subversion play out for people in positions of power in the community?
    • Question 7: How can the radicalism inherent in all of us be released?
    • Conclusion: Bishop George Browning

17 March 2014: “Ceding sovereignty in investment treaties: government of the people by foreign corporations”, Professor Thomas Faunce

  • Audio recordings:
    • Welcome: Bishop George Browning, Chairman of CES
    • Introduction: Professor Hilary Charlesworth
    • Professor Faunce’s address
    • Question 1: Is it correct to say that Nanotechnology is “created for a reason”?
    • Question 2: How could Artificial Photosynthesis ever be able to have an impact on corporations the business of which is unrelated to photosynthesis?
    • Question 3: How can grey Nomads be brought to embrace contemplation that you say is vital?
    • Question 4: Are you for real? Summary of main points of the Transpacific Partnership Agreement
    • Question 5: How are you planning to secure funding for artificial photosynthesis?
    • Conclusion: Professor Hilary Charlesworth
    • Conclusion: Bishop George Browning

13 May 2014: “Blinded by vision – overseas aid as shared learning”, Paul Porteous

4 July 2014: “The Common Good: A question of style”, Professor Will Storrar (Annual dinner forum)

  • Audio recordings:
    • Welcome and grace before dinner:  Bishop George Browning
    • Thanks to those who organised the evening: Bishop George Browning (with comments about the importance of public theology and strengthening the voice of public morality and ethics in the world)
    • Introduction of Professor Will Storrar: Rt Rev’d Prof. Stephen Pickard
    • Intro Question 1: Invitation to Prof. Storrar to say something of his background
    • Intro Question 2: Why is your centre at Princeton called “Centre of Theological Inquiry” rather than “Centre for Theological Inquiry”?
    • Prof Storrar’s address
    • Question 1: On what role Prof. Storrar sees for non-Christians and other traditions in the revival of the apostolic approach to the common good that he advocated?
    • Question 2: Whether the Apocalyptic and Apostolic approaches to the common lead to the same end
    • Question 3: How is it possible to reach a consensus on the common goods in diverse or multicultural societies such as Australia?
    • Question 4: To what extent are the organized churches more a problem than a help in the question promoting the common good?
    • Question 5: The significance of the recent decision of the Presbyterian Church in Detroit to divest itself of companies in business in the Occupied Territories.
    • Question 6: Will Scotland be able to contribute more to the world as an independent country than as a part of the United Kingdom?
    • Comments: Bishop George Browning (particularly about the debate on sexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference)
    • Address of thanks: Prof. Ingrid Moses

30th September 2014: “Unemployment, causes, consequences & cures”, Bob Gregory & Kasy Chambers

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: Bishop George Browning
    • Bob Gregory’s address
    • Kasy Chamers’ address
    • Question 1: How is it possible to gain leverage over political leaders professing to be Christians but who pursue policies of inequality and unfairness contrary to Christian values?
    • Question 2: Request for comments on the difficult position of landlords faced with land tax comparable to the rent received and the financial costs of bad tenants
    • Question 3: Absence of research evidence supporting opinions and assumptions underlying the recommendations of the Commission for Audit and decisions outlined in the Commonwealth budget paper
    • Question 4: Overwork and under work and the concept of sustainable employment
    • Question 5: Can the private sector can be relied upon to provide affordable housing and the importance of education to address unemployment?
    • Closing Comments: Bishop George Browning

15 October 2014: “Striving for the best in our sporting nation: can sport be a force for social justice?”, Joe Roff and Sally Shipard

  • Audio recordings (unfortunately, due to technical problems, only the first part of this forum was recorded):

2013 Forum Series: “Political and economic conventional wisdom: As immoral as it is unintelligent”

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14 February 2013: “Making Faith Real in Today’s World”, Professor Brian Howe

18 April 2013: “Ethics and Refugees: a deplorably impoverished and cynical discourse”, Professor William Maley

30 May 2013: “Child Protection; Getting it Right”, Mary Ivec

13 August 2013: “Being a Christian in a Secular Society especially as a senior government advisor“, Ted Evans

  • Audio recordings:
    • Introduction: John Nevile, Chairman of CES
    • Copy of address: Ted Evans
    • Question 1: You mentioned that you became a Christian later on in life. In Treasury and Westpac how did you find operating as a Christian and how was it different from before you became a Christian?
    • Question 2: Australia’s net indebtedness to the outside world. The moral issue is that our generation is passing on indebtedness to our children and grandchildren. Is that not something that we as Christians and members of the community should not be very concerned about? Why does Treasury never seem to have any concern about Australia’s current account deficits and our net international debt position?
    • Question 3: What difference does it make to a public policy officer being a Christian? Did you ever feel there was a conflict between what you had to advise and your belief?
    • Question 4: Was there a conflict in Christian leadership when you’re on the board of Westpac bank which are commonly thought of to be solely driven by the profit motive in terms of Christian obligation towards the poor and disadvantaged?
    • Question 5: Adequacy of Australia’s overseas aid efforts?
    • Question 6: How well has the media served us in explaining complex issues?
    • Question 7: Adequacy of business efforts to put more resources into the non-profit area (Business philanthropy)
    • Question 8: How can we get the balance right between self interest and social interest?
    • Question 9: On the issues that arise for government such as middle class welfare where is the voice and influence of the church and how can we make it better?
    • Vote of thanks 

27 November 2013: “The Good Life: a community affair”, Hugh Mackay

  • Audio recordings:
    • Welcome: John Nevile, Chairman of CES
    • Introduction: Right Rev’d Stephen Pickard
    • Copy of address: Hugh Mackay
    • Question 1: Optimism: I want to ask you about optimism. The state of things today with threats like climate change. Are we living in a perpetual state of optimism? Do you see a crashing correction happening as a result of our lifestyle and population growth being unsustainable?
    • Question 2: Can you explain the tension in politics between the qualities like self-control, responsibility and community appropriated by the conservative side of politics while on the other hand promoting untrammelled individualism in the economic sphere?
    • Question 3: How can one inculcate in children the values of the good life when these values are so much in competition with the values of the society in which they are growing up?
    • Question 4: How can one sustain community and meaning in community?
    • Question 5: Can you reflect on the pressure on parents now: whether they are strict enough or too firm?
    • Question 6: Does the current rise in alcohol fuelled violence and sledging in cricket reflect something deeper that is going on in society?
    • Question 7: Do you think that the inclusion of “the pursuit of happiness” in the United States Constitution provides us some understanding of how the United States behaves in the world?
    • Question 8: To what extend to you consider that the churches and religion in general have contributed to and played off the Utopian complex and the pursuit of happiness?
    • Vote of thanks

2012 Forum Series: “Where Lies Happiness? Recovering Community”

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8 March 2012: “Where lies Happiness? The Christian Understanding of Contentment and Community”, Reverend Professor James Haire

19 April 2012: “FREEDOM to lead a life we have reason to VALUE: the social causes of HEALTH & WELLBEING”, Professor Sharon Friel

 13 September 2012: “How Fair is a Fair Go in Australia? The Impact of Tax and Welfare”, Professor Peter Whiteford

28 November 2012: Vulnerable Families: Nurturing a Sense of Wellbeing for both Children and Adults


2011 Forum Series:”Good Stewardship – Protecting our Future”

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17 February 2011:  “Known Knowns:  A Basket of Summer Fruit”, Bishop George Browning

The Lord said to Amos: “What do you see? And I said: A basket of summer fruit.” Amos 8:2

11 June 2011:  Australian Religious Perspectives on Climate Change, Bishop George Browning

A multi-faith delegation came to Canberra in early June 2011 to lobby federal politicians on behalf of the many people of faith who believe urgent action is needed to curb climate change.  As part of the Canberra visit, a public forum entitled “Australian Religious Perspectives on Climate Change” was also held on 11th June. Bishop George Browning, former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn, presented a paper offering a religious perspective on climate change and the policy responses needed.  Responses to the paper were presented by Mark Dreyfus (Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change), Greg Hunt (Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water) and Dr Janette Lindesay (Associate Professor at the Australian National University and climate scientist).

24 March 2011: “Nuclear Power – Bequeathing yet more problems to future generations?”, Dr Sue Wareham

12 May 2011: “Populating the future – Hurtling towards a precipice, hoping for a miracle?  Controlling our population – a moral obligation”, Geoff Buckmaster, Mark O’Connor

8 September 2011: “Water community and food”, Dr John Williams of the Wentworth Group

13 October 2011:”Climate Change “Denial” Twisting Language?”, Dr Haydn Washington, co-author with John Cook of “Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand”

25 November 2011: “Sustainable Cities”, Professor Peter Newman, Director of The Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Other 2011 forums:

29 March 2011:  “Stakeholding: Towards a Christian Theology of Radical Inclusivity” NATSIEC, Dr Anthony Reddie

This forum was co-sponsored by ACCC and CES

2010 Forum Series: Poverty and Affluence

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17 March 2010:  “The Theological Perspectives of Poverty and Affluence”, Frank Brennan and Erica Mathieson

14 April 2010: “Climbing out of Recession on the Backs of the Unemployed?”, John Nevile and Sue Jordan

12 May 2010:  “Escaping Oppression Seeking Asylum and Refuge”, Kerry Murphy and Paul Power

19 August 2010: “Is Taxation Immoral?”, Terry Dwyer

29 September 2010:  “Poor Fellow My Country: Lamenting our Poverty of Spirit”, Graeme Mundine