Forthcoming CES events:

2017 Forum Series: "Seeking our Moral Compass"

"Defiant earth: the fate of humans in the Anthropocene"
Clive Hamilton, Wednesday 3 May, 2017

Speaker: Clive Hamilton
Chair: Bishop George Browning
When: 7:30pm Wednesday 3 May, 2017
Where: Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture,
Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton

Why Ethics Fail in the Anthropocene

Clive Hamilton will discuss his new book Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene, asking why all ethics fail in the new epoch.

The new geological epoch brought on by human neglect and rapaciousness, the Anthropocene, represents a profound rupture in the history of the Earth and in the history of humankind. Humans have become powerful enough to shift the arc of Earth, and in response the Earth has woken from its slumber and become more dangerous and more uncontrollable.

All ethical ideas fail in the face of the Anthropocene. Our accustomed ways of understanding what humans are and how we relate to the Earth belong to the previous epoch, the Holocene when Earth slumbered.

Conventional human-only ethical theories and precepts are too weak to explain the monumental human act of geological disruption. Even environmental ethics are based on a redundant idea of a passive Earth, and deflate humans at a time we have never been more powerful. And Pope Francis's image of nature as "the sister who cries out to us" clashes with the new scientific image of an "angry" Earth bent on revenge.

We must rethink humans and the Earth, but where do we start?

Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. He is the author of a number of influential books, including Growth Fetish, Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth of climate change and Earthmasters: Playing God with the climate. He has held visiting academic positions at the University of Oxford, Yale University and Sciences Po in Paris.

poster (A4, 117kB) (A5x2, 117kB)

CES News:

Statement by Bishop George Browning on the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia

The CES Chairman, Bishop George Browning, has written this article: Australia's foreign policy failing Palestinians

New CES Facebook Group

CES has established a Facebook group to encourage discussion of current social justice issues. If you are on our mailing list then you are eligible to join.

If you already use Facebook, just search for "Christians for an Ethical Society" in the "Search Facebook" box in the blue ribbon at the top of your home page. On the group's front page you will need to click on the "Join" button and then wait a day or so for our group administrator to admit you to the group. Guidelines on making posts and comments in the group are posted in the group - please read them before you post anything or make a comment.

If you don't already use Facebook, you will first have to join Facebook. It's very simple - all you will need is your email address and a password which you have to think up and remember. You do not need to provide any of the personal details requested.

As members of the group you will get reminders of our forums and get access to discussion and up-to-date information on topics that concern us. We also hope that your use of the group will allow CES to be known by a wider audience, particularly amongst the younger generations.

If you do not wish to become a member of the CES group, you will still be able to view posts but will not be notified of new posts as they occur.

We look forward to seeing you in our CES Facebook group.

Change in postal address

Our post office box address at Hughes is not longer in use. Our new postal address is

Christians for an Ethical Society
C/- Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture,
George Browning House
15 Blackall Street (cnr King's Avenue)

Who are we?

We are an ecumenical, mainstream organization, established in 2008.  We aim to strengthen social justice and ethical structures in Australia;  to promote social justice as a core Christian value;  and to further public education on ethics, current social justice issues and the Christian perspective on them. 
More information about us, our constitution, membership form

Please read the Message from the Chair: Bishop George Browning or Bishop Browning's blog

News of CES 2016 Annual General Meeting

The 2016 AGM was held on Monday 29 August 2016.

Thorwald Lorenzen is to continue as president for another year. The new Executive comprises Bishop George Browning (Chair), David Hunter (Vice-Chair), Jeremy Dawson (Treasurer), Robyn Coghlan (Secretary). Other committee members are: Bill Bush, Ingrid Moses, Werner Padarin, Clive Rodger, Stephen Pickard and Cath Blunt.

John Nevile has retired from the committee, but will continue to represent CES at the NSW Ecumenical Council. A motion of thanks for his years on the committee concluded "His presence on the committee will be greatly missed, whilst his continuing counsel will be welcome and sought".

The AGM minutes contain the Annual Report by the Chair, Bishop George Browning.

2017 Forum Series: "Seeking our Moral Compass"

We are planning forums for 2017 under the theme "Seeking our Moral Compass" The first forum of the year was on 16 February 2017 at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Father Peter L'Estrange introduced the year's theme and outlined the need for a moral compass to deliver a fair and harmonious world in the 21st century.
Here are the audio recordings of his address

Andrew Leigh spoke to our following forum on Wed 19 April on "The Politics of Love". Here is a copy of Dr Leigh's address

Future forums:

Clive Hamilton will speak to a forum on 3 May. His title will be the title of his new book Defiant earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene

Our annual dinner forum will be on Thursday 17 August, when Kristina Keneally will speak on "Wisdom in an uncertain world".

2016 Forum Series: "Common wealth, common good"

We are planning forums for 2016 under the theme "Common wealth, common good"

The first forum of the year was on 24 February 2016 at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Bishop George Browning gave a theological framework for the theme "Common wealth, common good" around environmental issues arising from his Ph.D thesis. This thesis was published by Ecobook on 24 February and there was a book launch following his address at the forum. Here is a copy of his address.
Here are the audio recordings of his address

For the second forum, on 20 April 2016, Rt Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard spoke on "Religion, Violence and the Peaceable Kingdom". Here is a copy of his address.

Dr Brendan Long of the ACCC addressed our third forum on 25 May 2016, on the topic A Christian Vision for Tax Reform in Australia
Here are the audio recordings of his address

Our annual dinner forum at the Bella Vista Restaurant in Belconnen on 21 July was a great success with a full house and much conversation. Frank Brennan's talk on What makes for Common Good was well received and reflected in Ingrid Moses' vote of thanks.
Here are the audio recordings of his address

Our fifth forum was addressed by Helen Szoke, Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia, on 21 September, on the topic: Strategy, not charity: why we need effective aid now.
Here are the audio recordings of her address

Our sixth forum was a joint forum with the Catholic Social Justice Commission, on their Social Justice Statement, on Wed 19 October.
Here are the audio recordings of the addresses

Our last forum for the year was be addressed by by Graeme Garrett and Jan Morgan, on 8 November, who addressed the topic: Does Beauty say Adieu? The Call of Beauty in a Disfigured World.
Here are the audio recordings of the evening.

2015 Forum Series: "Equity and the Human Family"

Our new President, the Reverend Dr Thorwald Lorenzen, introduced the theme at the first forum on Thursday 12 February. Under the title, "Free and equal! Towards a more humane society" he suggested what Christians may offer to shape a more humane society. Here is a copy of his address
Here are the audio recordings of his address

For our second forum we had Dr Ken Crispin discuss drug law reform.
Here are the audio recordings of his address

For our third forum we had Paul Bongiorno discussing the role of the media in Australian society, with reference to the federal budget.
Here are the audio recordings of his address

Our next event was our winter dinner forum, on Thursday 27 August, which was a sell-out. Tim Costello spoke on "Fortress Australia - myth or reality?" (photo on the right)
Here are the audio recordings of his address

For the last (purely) CES forum of the year we had Steve Hatfield Dodds, discussing climate change, on Tuesday 20 October.

Finally, we held a forum held jointly with the Catholic Social Justice Commission, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 11th November 2015.
Speaking on the Catholic Bishops' 2015-16 Social Justice Statement: For Those Who've Come Across the Seas: Justice for refugees and asylum seekers were Jon Stanhope, Sr Jane Keogh and Felix Macharidza (a refugee from Zimbabwe) with Genevieve Jacobs moderating.
Here are the audio recordings of the addresses

See here for details of these forums and of previous years' forums.

Our forums seek to encourage discussion from the floor.
A $5 donation is suggested to cover forum costs. Supper is provided after each forum.

Further material related to recent forums

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change climate mega-petition

ARRCC is inviting supporters to work with other people of faith in their own electorates to gather signatures, on paper, for a 150-electorate mega-petition. More information here

A solution to our refugee crisis

Our dinner forum speakers this year, Frank Brennan, and last year, Tim Costello, with Robert Manne and John Menadue, have written this piece on a possible solution to Australia's refugee policy dilemma.

Vatican conference on just war theory, April 2016

Landmark Vatican conference rejects just war theory, asks for encyclical on nonviolence
appeal issued by participants in the conference

Climate change policy

Steve Hatfield Dodds has an article in the Conversation, which covers the issues he addressed at the forum on 20 October.

Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy

The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD) seeks to improve the democratic process by To do this CAPaD will bring together individuals and civil society groups from across the Canberra region. Similar bodies have been developed, or are forming around the world and in Australia, such as the Sydney Alliance

Letter to the Treasurer, September 2015

Our Chair and Past President, Bishop George Browning, has written to the Scott Morrison, the new Federal Treasurer.

Drug law reform

Following Dr Ken Crispin's address to our forum on 21 April 2015 we take this opportunity to introduce Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, an organisation based in the ACT. Its newsletters contain some interesting reading.

Here is a useful website addressing drug and alcohol abuse: Lifting the Lid


Malcolm Fraser, who was Prime Minister (Liberal Party) from 1975 to 1983, has issued a press release on the HRC Enquiry into children in detention (sourced from Refugee Action Committee, 12 Feb 2015)
Here is a link to the AHRC report in question: The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention (2014)

Australia 21 has several publications on refugee policy, including Refugees and asylum seekers: Finding a better way and Beyond the boats: building an asylum and refugee policy for the long term

Here is author and outspoken Refugee Rights supporter Tim Winton giving a speech at the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees 2015

Federal Budget, May 2014

Our Chair and Past President, Bishop George Browning, has written to the Prime Minister about the Federal budget of May 2014.

Re-establishing the Power of the People

Speakers:   Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas, Karolina Szukalska and Rev'd Steve Clarke
This forum was held on Thursday 11 October 2012, but is topical at present due to the proposals to establish a "Canberra Alliance" along the lines of the Sydney Alliance, and we now have audio files for the separate addresses, see here.

Recent Newsletters

2017 March | February | January |

2016 November | October (2) | October | September | July (2) | July | June (2) | June | May (2) | May | April | March | February | January |

2015 November | October | September (2) | September | August (3) | August (2) | August | July | May (2) | May | April (2) | April | February | January (including message from the Chair: Bishop George Browning) |

Non-CES Events and Items of Interest

For more information about some of these events, and also some past events and relevant links, see here.

Churches working together on refugee advocacy
lessons learnt from the last 4 years - policy and practice!
Thursday 2 March 2017

Misha Coleman has been the Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) since its establishment in 2012 and will share her insights and respond to questions on the highlights and lessons learnt during her time with the ACRT

This event will be on Thursday 2 March 2017, 7:30-9:30pm, at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall St Barton, ACT. It is organized by the Faith Based Working Group of the Refugee Action Committee (RAC) Canberra.

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

ARRCC is a multi-faith, member-based organisation of people from around Australia who are committed to taking action on climate change.

For Such a Time As This, Saturday 18 June 2016

The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn's Commission for Women, together with the Anglican and Uniting Churches will host an Ecumenical Response to Domestic Violence, For Such a Time As This, on Saturday 18 June, 10am to 4pm, at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Barton.

Domestic violence experts will examine the nature of violence and look for practical solutions.

BYO lunch, beverages provided. A donation would be appreciated to cover costs.

Inquiries to Margaret 0417 418 838 or

Justice for Palestine - Is it Possible? Friday 6 May, 2016

Topic: Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine (AJPP) invite you to a dinner to hear Melissa Parke MP, ALP member for Fremantle, speak on Justice for Palestine - Is it Possible?

When: Friday 6 May at 7 pm

Where: Canberra Labor Club, 51 Chandler St, Belconnen

Cost is $35 per person - The evening will include a three course dinner (with bar service) with special dietary needs met if requested

Bookings are essential, with payment in advance (by 1 May) to AJPP's account (BSB 805-022; Account 03424708 in Beyond Bank). Add your name as a reference.

Please email to advise your payment and any dietary needs.

Further details | Flyer

For further information Kathryn Kelly on 0417 269 984, or Kevin Bray on 0406 376 878.

Spin & Secrecy - Refugees & the Media, Tuesday 16 February, 2016

6:30pm Tuesday 16 February, Manning Clark Lecture Theatre, ANU

This free public forum aims to shed light on how the culture of spin and secrecy surrounding the very politicised issue of Australia's refugee policy has impacted on the ability of journalists to provide accurate and impartial information. The forum is organised by the Refugee Action Committee Further details here

This Changes Everything, Tuesday, 10 November and Monday, 16 November

What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we'll ever get to build a better world? Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

This movie is promoted by Conservation Council ACT Region & Canberra People's Climate March

showings Tuesday, 10 November and Monday, 16 November

People's Climate March on Sunday, 29 November

Join in the People's Climate March on Sunday, 29 November. It is a family-friendly event that will start at Federation Mall (Parliament House lawns) at 12 noon and end with a festival that will focus on celebrating what we as a community have already achieved, hope for the future, and next steps people can take.

The Drug Law Wars: Twenty years of families fighting at the front

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform would be pleased if you would join them at a BOOK LAUNCH to commemorate FFDLR's twenty years on Wednesday 18th November, 2015 12.30pm in the Reception Room at the Legislative Assembly Civic Square, Canberra City.
The book will be launched by Senator Katy Gallagher
Refreshments provided
RSVP: for catering purposes by 11th November to Marion on 02 61697678 or

The Religious Short Film Prize

Bringing the religious spirit alive through film

Film and religion belong together. The reason is simple; they both explore, in different ways, what it means to be a human being in the universe.

The Religious Short Film Prize is an opportunity for film-makers to explore the religious quest through a powerful contemporary medium. Religious themes are as varied as human beings are in the world.

The Religious Short Film Prize falls under the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture's (ACC&C) pillar dedicated to the Arts, Sciences and Culture.

Further information

The Australian Peacewomen Awards

5:30-9pm, Thursday 28 May 2015, University House, ANU

The inaugural Australian Peacewomen Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate Australia's contribution to the peace process and will recognise the talents and dedication of Australian women whose activities have promoted peace at the local, national and/or international levels. This year's award recipients include Helen Caldicott, Anne Gallagher, Helen Durham and Kirstie Parker.

More information about the PeaceWomen Awards

The Women's Power to Stop War Conference

9:00am-6:00pm, Friday 29 May 2015

The Women's Power to Stop War Conference will discuss the who, what, where, how, why of Women's Power to Stop War, with keynote speakers, panel discussion, a mini debate "Government Diplomacy vs NGO Advocacy – who is the best peace-builder?", and conversations with subject matter experts on WILPF's three program areas, disarmament, human rights and gender, peace and security.

More information about the Women's POwer to Stop War Conference

St Thomas More Forum: Australia's Social Contract, Tuesday 14 April 2015

Presented by Chris Richardson, Director of Deloitte Access Economics

Place: Holy Faith Hall, 30 White Crescent, Campbell
Date: Tuesday April 14, 2015
Time: 7:30pm - 9:00pm (Followed by a light supper)

Registration and pre-payment required Sharon Brewer (02) 6163 4300

The war to end all wars: Our responsibility to those who died: Tuesday 4 November 2014

A public forum to consider Australia's WW1 commemoration and whether it pays appropriate respect to those who died believing in a better world.

World War 1 brought death to approximately 61,000 Australians and shattered the lives of countless others. Globally, a generation was virtually lost. The legacy of the war continues to this day. A century on, does our commemoration stop short of asking the hard questions such as how such a cataclysmic event could occur, what we learnt from it and whether that responsibility to learn has been lost amid the flag-waving ?

Tuesday 4 November 2014, 7.30 pm
The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall St, Barton.

Organised by the Medical Association for Prevention of War, a Chorus of Women, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (ACT Branch), Honest History and the UN Association of Australia (ACT Branch)

A Chorus of Women: A Passion for Peace

A Passion for Peace is a community oratorio being developed by Canberra's A Chorus of Women. It will be performed at the Albert Hall, Yarralumla, between 27 April and 1 May 2015, immediately following the ANZAC Centenary commemorations.

Other related events before then. More information and here

Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility - big bank investments in fossil fuels

The ACCR says:

"Australian banks are major financiers of fossil fuels, especially coal. As well as loans their superannuation and investment operations are significant investors in fossil fuel companies.

ACCR's research leads us to believe that this investment in 'unburnable carbon' is a financial risk for investors as well as major environmental issue.

ACCR wants investors to know what the banks are doing, and we want banks to reduce their risky fossil fuel investments."

They need the support of 100 shareholders in each of the big banks, to enable them to move shareholder resolutions. Read more here

Items of potential interest - please have a look