THE St Vincent de Paul Society has formally protested at the Federal Government’s increased transfer of responsibility for the needy from the public sector to Church and private welfare agencies.
A letter to all federal MPs, signed by the society’s national president, John Moore of Sydney, also criticises a lopsided application of the Government’s principle of mutual obligation and says the society will not become “an arm of the government”.
Terry McCarthy of Canberra, who chairs the society’s Public Affairs Committee, said the society believed it had to take up the issue.
The letter says the Vincentian approach to welfare is one of community participation for the common good, “but regrettably ours is not the just, equitable and egalitarian society that many Australians think it is”.
“There are huge and growing disparities in income levels, access to health, education and housing, justice and employment. The disturbing facts are that the gap between rich and poor are widening at an alarming rate.
“Unless we arrest this slide we will develop two separate nations, one with little human dignity or pride – and that is hardly the Australian way.”