Voting on 21 May (7): Contributing to a Just and Peaceful World

Australian citizens go to the polls to elect a federal government on 21 May. The 17 million people eligible to vote will be electing both a local member to sit in the House of Representatives for the next three years; and a number of senators, to sit in the Senate for the next six years.

To assist voters in considering how they might vote, the Uniting Church has prepared a resource that identifies a number of issues, in seven key areas, that should inform the way that we vote, if we take seriously how the Gospel. calls us to live.

The seven areas are drawn from Our Vision for a Just Australia, a 40-page document expressing the Uniting Church vision for a just Australia and why our Christian faith calls us to work towards its fulfilment. It can be read in full at https://uniting.church/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Our-Vision-For-a-Just-Australia_July2021.pdf

The Assembly has prepared a shorter 8-page document as a Federal Election Resource, in which key matters in each of the seven areas are identified. That document is found at https://uniting.church/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Federal-Election-Resources-2022_11-April.pdf

The final area reflects the vision of the Uniting Church for Contributing to a Just and Peaceful World.

The UCA resource notes that “we are a nation that works in partnership with other nations to dismantle the structural and historical causes of violence, injustice and inequality. Our government upholds human rights everywhere, acting in the best interests of all people and the planet.”

It further notes that we remain one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with the highest median wealth per adult, and fourth highest average wealth per adult. “Historically, we played a significant part in reducing world poverty and making significant gains in human flourishing. COVID-19 has made the world poorer, less equal and less secure.”

“Climate change and increased geopolitical competition is destabilising democracies and increasing the number of refugees in the world. In 2020, Australia boosted aid to our local region to support pandemic response, however, the current government has capped ongoing aid to pre-COVID levels, the lowest since 1961.”

“Despite our relative wealth, we are ranked an ungenerous 21st on the global list of overseas development aid as a percentage of gross national income. The recent and ongoing conflict in Ukraine reminds us again of the urgent need to rid the world of weapons capable of catastrophic, widespread destruction.”

The key issues to inform our voting in this regard are what each candidate or their party says about:

• Centering Australia’s foreign policy on a commitment to justice and peace; collaborating internationally to deliver community development and human rights.

• Legislate Australian Aid to reach 0.5% GNI by 2026 and 0.7% GNI by 2030.

• Increase support to fight COVID globally.

• Sign on to the global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

• Increase support to vulnerable nations to help address the impact of climate change.

For the full series of seven posts, see:

Author: John T Squires

My name is John Squires. I live in the Australian Capital Territory. I have been an active participant in the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) since it was formed in 1977, and was ordained as a Minister of the Word in this church in 1980. I have served in rural, regional, and urban congregations and as a Presbytery Resource Minister and Intentional Interim Minister. For two decades I taught Biblical Studies at a theological college and most recently I was Director of Education and Formation and Principal of the Perth Theological Hall. I've studied the scriptures in depth; I hold a number of degrees, including a PhD in early Christian literature. I am committed to providing the best opportunities for education within the church, so that people can hold to an informed faith, which is how the UCA Basis of Union describes it. This blog is one contribution to that ongoing task.

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