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Why forums?

The CES conducts public forums to raise the level of knowledge and understanding of the community on key social justice issues and their Christian ethical basis.  Social justice is not the monopoly of Christianity. It is also supported by the values of other religions and secular ethical systems. As Christians, we believe the dissemination of the truth is a primary calling of Christ.  Injustice is easily perpetrated through ignorance or misunderstanding.  


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

(Edmund Burke).


“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” 

(Martin Luther King, Jr).


If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

(Alexander Solzhenitsyn)


“Unless the engagement and dialogue between us is premised on the concept of ‘the listening heart’ then our relationship will remain out of balance and our endeavours will be doomed. But we have time and we have access to resources. We have the skills and we have the capacity to deal with all the issues that are before us. But do we have the capacity to listen and do we have the vision and sense of national courage and resolve that will enable us all to confront the truth of our past and look to a time when our children will not have to ask the question that so troubled Michael Long on his walk to Canberra: ‘Where, Prime Minister, is the love, where is the love for my people’”

(Patrick Dodson, “Whatever happened to reconciliation” in Altman & Hinson (eds), Coercive reconciliation (Arena, North Carlton, 2007) p. 29)


Current Forums

See our home page for information on future forums

Recent Forums

Audio Downloads etc of some past forums are available from our download page.

"Where lies Happiness? The Christian Understanding of Contentment and Community"

Speaker:   Reverend Professor James Haire AM KSJ, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
Chair:       Bishop George Browning
When:       7:30pm Thursday, 8 March 2012
Where:     Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton

The Reverend Professor James Haire is Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (National Australian Christian Centre)(ACC&C), Professor of Theology of Charles Sturt University (CSU), and Director of the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PACT), all based in Canberra.

More details about Professor Haire

Professor Haire's address will cover:

  • The basis of the Christian understanding of Happiness and Contentment
  • The Christian understanding of Community
  • Societal Dynamics Today and the Disintegration of Community
  • The Christian Response to the Threats to Contentment and Community

poster (A4, 112kB)

"FREEDOM to lead a life we have reason to VALUE: the social causes of HEALTH & WELLBEING "

Speaker:   Professor Sharon Friel Professor of Health Equity & ARC Future Fellow, ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment
Chair:       TBA
When:       7:30pm Thursday, 19 April 2012
Where:     Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton

Professor Friel's research encompasses many issues at the heart of this year's theme - namely the importance health equity and its relationship to: global health; social determinants of health; climate change; food systems and food security; socio-environmental determinants of non-communicable diseases, urbanisation; mental health in selected south-eastern Australian rural communities flowing from acute and chronic climatic changes. She is interested in research, training, policy and advocacy related to action in the social and environmental determinants of health equity in Australia and across the Asia Pacific including Papua New Guinea.

poster (A4, 107kB) media release
Slides of Prof Friel's talk (pdf, 4.8MB)
Here and here are two articles by Prof Friel (et al) on the topic
Here is a radio talk by Sir Michael Marmot, the UK epidemiologist who proved that social status and power have a direct effect on human health
Sir Michael Marmot spoke with two ANU academics in April 2011 on the economic, social and environmental determinants of human development and health equity. The video of this talk is available through this link and an audio is here. The video link has the advantage of displaying the various charts that the speakers refer to.

How Fair is a Fair Go in Australia? The Impact of Tax and Welfare

Speaker:   Professor Peter Whiteford, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
Chair:       TBA
When:      7:30pm Thursday 13 September 2012
Where:     Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton

Peter Whiteford is a professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU. He came to ANU from the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales where he has worked for various periods, most recently as Director. Peter is an expert in family assistance policies, welfare reform, and other aspects of social policy, particularly ways of supporting the balance between work and family life. He has published extensively on various aspects of the Australian system of income support. Peter has an outstanding reputation overseas as well as in Australia. He has worked as a Principal Administrator in the Social Policy Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

poster (A4, 86kB)

Here is a copy of Prof Whiteford's presentation (ppt, 1.56MB)


Details of some of our past forums: (Audio Downloads etc of these and other forums are available from our download page.)


The 2011 Series on Good Stewardship - Protecting our Future

  1. "Known Knowns: A Basket of Summer fruit." The Lord said to Amos “What do you see”? And I said “A basket of summer fruit”. Amos 8:2 - Bishop George Browning - 17 February 2011

  2. "Nuclear Power - Bequeathing yet more problems to future generations?" - Dr Sue Wareham - 24 March 2011

  3. "Populating the future - Hurtling towards a precipice, hoping for a miracle?" - Geoff Buckmaster, and "Controlling our population - a moral obligation" - Mark O'Connor - 12 May 2011

  4. "Water community and food" - Dr John Williams - 8 September 2011
  5. "Climate Change "Denial" Twisting Language?" - Dr Haydn Washington - 13 October 2011
  6. "Sustainable Cities" - Professor Peter Newman - 25 November 2011

The CES 2010 forums: Poverty and Affluence

  • March 2010: Rev Erica Mathieson and Father Frank Brennan AO SJ introduced the 2010 theme, speaking on "Poverty and Plenty: Where do/should Christians stand?"
  • April 2010: Professor John Nevile and Sue Jordan (St John's Care) spoke on "Climbing out of Recession - on the backs of the unemployed?"
  • May 2010: Kerry Murphy (immigration lawyer) and Paul Power (CEO Refugee Council of Australia) spoke on "Escaping Oppression - Seeking Asylum and Refuge."
  • In August 2010, our forum was co-sponsored by the Association of Good Government; and the speaker was Dr Terry Dwyer talking on the subject "Is taxation Immoral?"
  • In September 2010, Graeme Mundine, then Executive Secretary of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Executive Council (NATSIEC), addressed concerns about the Northern Territory Intervention under the topic "Poor Fellow My Country; Lamenting Our Poverty of Spirit."
  • In November 2010, Dr Richard Dennis, Executive Director of the Australia Institute spoke on "A Fair Share; Consumerism and a 'Fair Go' in Australia".

The CES 2009 Series of Social Inclusion Forums

The last forum on Social Inclusion for 2009 was "The social inclusion agenda: What does it mean for poverty in Australia?" with speaker Julian Disney  14th October 2009


Two forums were previously held on mental health issues, namely:

      1.      The fifth Social Inclusion forum "Mental disorder plus addiction: I can't fit in anywhere" 

               Prof Ian Webster and Deb Wybron - 3 June 2009

      2.      The fourth Social Inclusion forum  "Access to Mental Health Care: There're people to help you out but not many to stop you falling in."  

               David Crosbie and Kat Szukalska - 30 April 2009


The third Social Inclusion forum "White Man's Dreaming: the NT Intervention"   Bishop Greg Thompson - 23rd February 2009

(Background information on the Northern Territory intervention.)


The CES 2008 Series of Social Inclusion Forums

The first Social Inclusion forum, "The Biblical imperative for social justice and the practical implications of this", was held on 28 August 2008

Father Michael Fallon MSC spoke on the Biblical imperative for social justice, followed by Terry McCarthy, ex diplomat and former President on the National Social Justice Committee of St. Vinnies, who spoke on the practical implications of this for Australia.


The second Social Inclusion forum "Federal Policy on Social Inclusion" was held on 5 November 2008. Senator Ursula Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector outlined the Government's current Social Inclusion Policy. She was followed by Kasy Chambers, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia who spoke on Social Inclusion from the view point of the non-government sector


The CES 2008 Series of Prison Forums

Three separate forums have been recently held prompted by the introduction of the A.C.T.’s first prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). These were:

  1. Professor Tony Vinson speaking on "Prisons – can they be human even rehabilitate?"

  2. Simon Corbell (Attorney General for the ACT) speaking on "The new ACT Prison: What is planned and what it will achieve" and Professor David Biles speaking on "How the ACT compares:  The facts and figures on prisons and prisoners in Australia", and

  3. Senator Gary Humphreys, Mr Ron Cahill (ACT Chief Magistrate) and Justice Richard Refshauge speaking on "The ACT Prison, a defacto mental institution?"

For more details about these prison forums please go to the CES Prison Information Page.  This page will also monitor future events and issues that arise with the operation of the prison when it opens in August 2008.  The page also contains information about how you can become more involved with the new prison.  (See our "active citizen page" for some general information on becoming an active citizen).


Downloadable information on the prison forums, including MP3 recordings of the actual talks, is available at our "download page".


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