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A new protocol to be introduced next week provides a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse. The National Response Protocol, which was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2020 plenary meeting, is the product of two years of work and widespread consultation within and beyond the Church.  That consultation included engagement with victims and survivors and their advocates.

"Australia Day recalls the arrival of the First Fleet under Governor Phillip in 1778.  It marked the beginning of European settlement in Australia and of Indigenous dispossession. For most Indigenous Australians with a sense of their own history Australia Day is an occasion for grief. For many other Australians it is an uncomfortable day, one for rumination, for pondering the creation and the destruction of cultures and for revisiting the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the overseas invaders. To understand its significance, however, it is helpful to set the arrival of the first fleet in a broader context, beginning with the arrival of Captain Cook in Botany Bay eight years earlier," writes Andy Hamilton SJ

In our final newsletter for 2020, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria Joshua Lourensz writes, "We have been a part of a truly remarkable policy and social landscape this year, and there have been some very real challenges being met and experienced by organisations across the CSSV membership. The path forward into the new year won’t be easy for many, but there is a good platform to build creative and holistic responses to the chronic and compounded issues that we have seen and continue to see so clearly demarcated."

Catholic Social Services Australia, urging the Commonwealth Government to reconsider its plans to decrease the rate of JobSeeker payments from January 1. CEO Ursula Stephens explains that the temporary increase to the payment due to COVID-19 had a positive impact on the wellbeing of recipients, but lowering the rate next month will resume a “long-term decline in the adequacy” of the payment.

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