Makarrata, Truth Telling and Justice for First Peoples: Is there a way ahead?

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This forum was held on Wednesday 16 February 2022 at the Chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity & Culture.

Makarrata is an ancient word from the language of Yolngu people of Arnhem Land. When the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) recommended a Treaty of Commitment between Aboriginal Nations and the Australian government in 1979, they selected Makarrata as the indigenous term to represent the process. Far more complex than the term treaty, Makarrata encompasses the processes of conflict resolution, negotiation, peacemaking and justice. In the words of indigenous lawyer, academic and activist Noel Pearson;

“Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past. It is about acknowledging that something has been done wrong, and it seeks to make things right.”

Makarrata has become more widely known throughout Australia since the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017, which called for a Makarrata commission; “to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling.”

Speaker: Professor Asmi Wood, Professor of Law,ANU, College of Law BE LLB (Hons.) PhD ANU; Barrister & Solicitor ACT.

Chair: Mr Clive Rodger, Co-Chair, Christians for an Ethical society.

About the speaker

Asmi Wood’s current research and publication have centred around two main topics; firstly, Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people in Australia and secondly, IndigenousParticipation in Higher Education. The Australian Parliament, both Committees and individuals, Government agencies, community organisations, schools and Indigenous groups have all used Asmi’s research to clarify key issues among staff, invited Asmi to speak at their public events and make contributions to their literature. His research has included policy papers, law reform submissions and articles or chapters in journals and books.

Asmi has presented several keynote addresses to large conferences interested in Indigenous issues including on issues such as ‘recognition’.

“Is it just me,” asked the frog, “or is the water getting warmer?” Watch online

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This forum was held on 9 June 2021 at the Chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Read “Is it just me,” asked the frog, “or is the water getting warmer?”

“You do not believe anything unless it makes a difference to the way you live your life”. – Bishop Leslie Newbigin. With science ‘settled’, indeed with anecdotal measurements proving more severe than science initially predicted, what is the roll of the community of faith in teaching and action? Yes, there is reason for hope. What is that reason? Science has reasonable grounds for expecting the Church to provide a rationale – or get out of the way. Science gave us a path way out of the pandemic. Science is providing a pathway in face of Global Warming. Faith and science must inform one another. This address contributes to that conversation.

Speaker: Right Reverend Dr George Browning. Respondent: Dr David Hunter. Chair Professor Stephen Pickard.

About the speaker:

Right Reverend Dr George Browning, PhD, DLitt, is the current convenor of the ACC&C Ambassadors, having the overseen the partnership with Charles Sturt University which established the Centre as well as the founding of St Mark’s National School of Theology. He was Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn from 1993 to 2008 and Inaugural Chair of the Anglican Communion Environment Network from 2001 to 2006.

His doctoral thesis, Sabbath and the Common God: Prospects for a New Humanity, examines the biblical concept of Sabbath as an ethical framework for a response to the challenge of climate change.

In 2000 he was awarded the Centenary medal for his contribution to the community and in 2007 a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) for his contribution to education.

About the respondent

Dr David Hunter, BSc, MSc, PhD, is President of the Orthopterists’ Society, a worldwide organisation of over 300 scientists and practitioners from 60 countries working on locusts, grasshoppers and related insects.

He is also a consultant to the Asian Development Bank as “Climate Adaptive Pest Management Specialist” in the face of climate change, locust attack, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the forum flyer.

Neglect or Ageing with Dignity? Watch online

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Lin Hatfield-Dodds









This forum was held at the Australian Centre for Christianity & Culture on 23 March 2021.

Caring for the aged in our community has been underfunded and characterised by neglect. Many societies revere their elderly and provide respectful environments for them to age. Gordon Ramsay and Lin Hatfield-Dodds explore the Royal Commissions Report and its recommendations at this Forum and analyse the implications and ethical issues.

Speakers: Gordon Ramsay and Lin Hatfield-Dodds. Chair: Clive Rodgers, CES co-chair.

Read the forum flyer.

Political Propaganda, Freedom of Communication and Truth on Social Media, Watch online

By | Past Forums

Speaker Professor Seumas Miller, Respondent Toni Hassan, Chair Professor Stephen Pickard.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are used by billions and have enabled the moral right to communication to be exercised on a vast scale. But there has also been an exponential increase in the spread of fake news, hate speech and propaganda, notably from former President Trump, leading to a violent attack by his supporters on the US Congress. A host of difficult practical ethical problems have arisen, e.g. Who is to decide what is fake news and what is fact or what is hate speech or what the limits of religious freedom of communication are – the tech giants themselves?

Held on 10 February, 2021 at 7.30pm at the Chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity & Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton.


Download the forum flyer

Lin Hatfield Dodds Interview: Australia post Covid-19, Listen online

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On Thursday 25th June Professor John Warhurst President of Christians for an Ethical Society interviewed Lin Hatfield Dodds.

Lin is an Associate Dean of ANZSOG at ANU. She is a former Deputy Secretary of Social Policy in the Department of PM&C, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, President of the Australian Council of Social Service and chair of the Australian Social Inclusions Board.

In the interview John explores with Lin the impact of the pandemic and the type of Australian society she would like to see emerge.

We are hoping this discussion can be continued live in the ACC&C Chapel later in the year.

Listen to the audio recording by clicking the player below.