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 sixth area reflects the vision of the Uniting Church for Flourishing Communities, Regional, Remote, and Urban—with particular reference to issues of housing and mental health in rural and remote areas.
We live in communities where we are connected and we care for one another. In communities all over Australia, from our big cities to remote regions, we seek the well-being of each Australian and uplift those who are on the margins.
People in Australia living in rural and remote areas tend to have shorter lives, higher levels of disease and injury and poorer access to and use of health services, including mental health care, compared to people living in metropolitan areas. The housing crisis and mental health crisis are converging in regional Australia as rental vacancy rates in some regions fall below 1%.
Regional towns have experienced a significant reduction in available properties and rental affordability, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, the state’s peak body for community mental health said the situation was “pushing people experiencing mental distress into homelessness”
The key issues to inform our voting in this regard are what each candidate or their party says about these two major areas:
(1) Improved mental health support for people in rural and remote Australia that is adequately funded, able to be flexibly used and well managed locally.
(2) Governments to do more to provide affordable housing in the regions – to boost housing for vulnerable people and strengthen local economies.
For the full series of seven posts, see: