Mark Glasson, Chief Executive Officer
Is supporting The Voice being too political?
Recently I received an email that admonished Anglicare WA and the Anglican Church for being involved in politics. The email came not long after a public announcement by Anglicare WA supporting the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution and the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
The correspondent encouraged us to focus on helping those in need and to leave the politics to the politicians. This encouragement caused me to ponder the whole question of politics and our role in it.
At its very simplest, politics is about decision making. Decision making that guides how we live together in groups, communities and broader society. Decisions about the rules we impose to maintain civic order and how we distribute our collective resources.
Most of our work at Anglicare WA is in service delivery to people and communities living with vulnerability and disadvantage. Through this work, we have learned about the structural issues that keep people in poverty, keep people out of the workforce and prevent families from getting the support they need. We want to tackle some of those structural issues head on to support people and communities in WA. To do this work successfully, we must be political. In fact, we cannot - if we are not.
You will see Anglicare WA advocating for a liveable level of JobSeeker and other support payments. You will see us calling for greater emergency relief for those facing immediate crises, for better responses to violence in the home, and for more homes. This activity is all about increasing the focus on how our collective wealth is distributed, and influencing the decisions being made. We advocate for change, undertake research to influence change and speak out when change does not happen. It is politics in action.
At its heart, our advocacy is focussed on creating justice and fairness. We have been an ally on voice, treaty and truth in support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart since 2017, and we accept this gracious invitation of hope and peace to walk together for a better future for all.
Not surprisingly our organisational position is in support of a Voice to Parliament.
We also believe this position is entirely consistent with the Fourth Mark of Mission, to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.
We have made it clear to our staff the way they choose to vote is their own personal choice and they are safe to do as they see best. This does not mean however that we must remain silent.
At Anglicare WA, we believe in a just and fair WA where everyone can thrive. This is far too important to leave to the politicians.