Newsletter 11: 28 August 2018

Dear Colleagues,

After a tumultuous week in Australian politics, we have a new Prime Minister, and a new Cabinet.  Whatever our political beliefs and preferences, it would seem most Australians are pretty fed up with party machinations that led to the removal of a Prime Minister elected by the people. Many political commentators have suggested the succession of different Prime Ministers over the last decade reflects poorly on the way Australian politicians engage in responsible, democratic government. 

Interestingly in the midst of the avalanche of media associated with the change in leadership, I received an email from a Marist Brother working overseas in a developing country. His sentiments stood in stark contrast with much of the conversation in which many Australians have engaged over the past week.  Clearly excusing himself from any opinion on the developments, my friend observed how fortunate we are in Australia for such momentous change to be effected without loss of life, bullets fired, opponents incarcerated, civil unrest quelled, and with relationships seemingly largely intact. We have much for which to be grateful.

The appointment of the Member for Wannon in country Victoria as the new Education Minister is noteworthy. Mr Dan Tehan has served the nation well as Minister for Social Services, Minister for Veteran Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC. He was elected to Federal Parliament in 2010. Mr Tehan recently gave a speech at the Saint Thomas More Forum in Canberra, titled The Freedom of Religion in Australia today. Reflecting through a lens on the life of the great Saint and martyr, Mr Tehan advocated the introduction of a new Religious Discrimination Act for Australia. (The speech can be found HERE). Strengthening rights to religious freedom is of enormous importance for our Catholic schools in fulfilling their primary purpose of evangelisation, making Jesus known and loved.

The challenges facing the new Prime Minister and Cabinet are significant. Let our school communities keep Prime Minister Morrison, and all Federal Ministers in our prayers as they get on with the important work of leading and governing Australia. May their decisions and actions be characterised most strongly by generosity, compassion, and justice. 

Sally Dillon