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John McCarthy QC shining a light on slavery in Australia

"The truth is, slavery touches the lives of most of us in this room every day through the supply chains of the goods and services we purchase. Do you own a telephone or a computer, clothing, shoes? Do you drink coffee or tea? Do you wear jewellery or makeup? Do you buy seafood, pet food, meat, fruit, vegetables or eat fast food?" 

"I’m afraid you and I cannot deny that we benefit from the exploitation of other human beings in large part because they are invisible to us." 

John McCarthy QC is Chair of the Sydney Archdiocesan Antislavery Task Force. He posed these questinos during his presentation at the national Catholic social services conference, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion, which was held in Melbourne earlier this year. An edited collected of pieces, including this one is included in the newly published book of the same name, available now! Order your copy here.

Watch the full presentation here.

Published by Connor Court, Serving Communities with Courage and Compassion draws includes more than 50 contributions from professionals working from across Catholic social services in Australia and New Zealand, as well as education, health, aged care and parishes. 

The book was officially launch on November 12 by Archbishop of Melbourne, Rev Peter Comensoli. In moderating the launch, executive director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, Joshua Lourensz said, "This book itself is a great example of social services working together with our broader community to put something out that will be really useful for everyone." He acknowledged the current "difficult time for Australia and the world" and said the book will enable conversations from the conversation to continue today.

This is the fourth book to emerge from conferences hosted by Catholic Social Services Victoria together with Catholic Social Services Australia. It was edited by long-term contributors to the Catholic social services sector — Prof. Gabrielle McMullen, Patrice Scales and Denis Fitzgerald.

Speaking on behalf of the editors, Prof. Gabrielle McMullen said the book seeks "to provide a volume that is 'right for the times'; a volume to bring the inspiration and momentum of the conference to the challenges for social services, challenges emanating from society, from government and from the Church."

"The book captures the hope that emerged from examples of courageous and compassionate service recounted at the conference and it explores the richness of Catholic social teaching, with which the sector identifies so strongly."

She said, "Conference books can often be dry, technical volumes. This one is different – it’s all about ‘people’, people whose stories make ‘mission’ a reality: those needing homes, people coping with bushfire disasters, families needing child-care – and it’s also about the glorious stories of those in our sector who respond to the need."

Read more about the launch, here.

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