Download our Social Policy Statements
Compassionate Treatment for People Seeking Asylum
When Mother Cabrini first arrived in New York in 1889, the situation of the Italian immigrants was deplorable. Living in their midst, in equally squalid conditions, she saw first-hand the exploitation and discrimination they suffered. In less than a month, her Sisters were providing education to Italian immigrant children and she had opened her first orphanage. It was there that she decided all of the Cabrini Sisters should bear the title ‘mother’, to better express their responsibility for the children in their care. This story was repeated in many parts of the USA as well as in the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Panama) and England, France and Spain. While, Mother Cabrini’s programs were initially for Italians, she soon learnt that all immigrants face the same problems on arrival in a new country. Her life’s work for their cause led to her being named Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants in 1950. This same spirit of service is expressed through Cabrini Outreach today in our health services for Medicare ineligible people seeking asylum and those who have access to Medicare but no income. Through our research and services, we see the impact of Australia’s policies on the mental health of people seeking asylum. We believe our findings make an important contribution to creating a more compassionate response for asylum seekers in Australia. We echo Pope Francis’s call to follow in the footsteps of Mother Cabrini and treat refugees and asylum seekers with greater compassion.
Catholic Alliance of People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)
Following conversations with Jesuit Social Services regarding a collaboration to respond to Australia’s increasingly harsh Asylum Seeker policies, the formation of CAPSA followed. CAPSA aims to turn hearts and minds towards compassion, so as to create a country that welcomes and respects people seeking asylum. Learn more
End to Modern Slavery
It is a shocking fact that men, women and children remain victims of slavery today. In 2016, a reported 15.4 million people were in forced marriages and 24.9 million were in forced labour. Of the estimated 4 million people who are trafficked annually, both within and outside their country, 80 per cent are women and girls, 50 per cent are children and more than 90 per cent of trafficked persons are sexually exploited. The International Labour Organization estimates there are 152 million child labourers and 24.9 million victims of forced labour. We believe workers should be protected, not harmed. Every person deserves to work in a dignified job, without risk of exploitation. Unfortunately, many people in developed countries unwittingly contribute to the problem through uninformed purchasing. Ethical purchasing helps to shut down the trade. We all have a role to play in ending this exploitation, through the purchasing choices we make. We are pleased the Australian Federal Government has decided to enact legislation that will require businesses earning more than $100 million in revenue to report on their efforts to stamp out modern slavery in their supply chains. We believe this will strengthen the procurement practices within our organisation. We also commit to providing information to our staff to encourage them to consider their purchasing practices and to support ethical businesses.
Reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations People
Our First People experience significant marginalisation and disadvantage, which has a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. This is captured in the words of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, released in May 2017:
“Proportionately, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are alienated from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. Our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.”
Research demonstrates between one-third and half of the difference in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians can be explained by the social determinants of heath; unemployment, social exclusion, poor educational opportunities, lack of social support, stress and addiction. Addressing these disparities requires a systemic view of health and wellbeing. Respect and empowerment are the cornerstones of change. To this end, we respond to the invitation to walk with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in the movement of the Australian people for a better future. We believe we have much to learn from our Indigenous brothers and sisters on the journey.