The Social Justice Facilitation Group

The Social Justice Facilitation Group at St Leonard’s has been formed to facilitate programs, projects and events in order to educate, advocate and act on social justice issues.  Whilst the core focus is on two church-wide projects – family violence in Bayside and building partnerships with global christian communities (in Jakarta, Indonesia), the group also promotes and supports other causes (including Fair Trade and Asylum Seekers and Refugees) for the church and wider community. Regular updates and more on ‘what’s happening’ in the Social Justice space will be communicated via the Message, the weekly St Leonard’s e-news and here on the SL website.

Like to join SJFG? Contact Millicent Rees-Jones at

Fair Trade Sales – Please note that we will now be selling Fair Trade every FIRST Sunday of the month at church during morning tea. Check out the website for our supplier Trade Winds. It is now easier to buy Fair trade online and on demand.

Family Violence Forum at St Leonard’s – Elder Abuse

Eyes and Ears on Social Justice (web links for interesting articles, talks, video clips…):

  • The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks; NY Times April 11, 2015 – a thought provoking op-ed piece comparing our ‘resume virtues’ with our ‘eulogy virtues’.  How do you balance the two and lead a ‘good’ life?
  • The Hidden Reason for Poverty the World Needs to Address Now; TED talk by Gary Haugen, Civil Right Lawyer and International Justice Mission (IJM) President – this talk looks at how violence is an underlying factor in the vicious cycle of poverty and unless it is addressed and laws are better enforced, particularly in the developing world, poverty will remain endemic.
  • Australia Fashion Report 2015: The Truth Behind the Barcode by Baptist World Australia – just released report on how Australian fashion brands measure up with regards to fair and ethical standards and conditions for their global suppliers.

Wanting a better understanding of the Asylum Seeker/Refugee situation in Australia? 

Here is a list of recommended reading from Rona Forsyth, a member of SJFG. Rona is happy to loan out these books. Her contact details can be found in the church directory…

1. “The Drownings Argument” edited by Robin Rothfield.  A small book ,very readable , comprised of 11 short articles written by prominent refugee advocates . The authors have written compelling arguments as to why the Government’s  Asylum Seeker Policy does not justify the mistreatment and offshore processing of refugees.

 2. “Refugees : Why Seeking Asylum Is Legal And Australia’s Policies are Not” Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong.  An up to date book, written for a general audience, it explains who asylum seekers and refugees are, what the law is, and what policies like offshore processing, mandatory detention and turning back boats mean in practice. This book rejects spin and panic to provide a straightforward and balanced account of Australia’s asylum policies in light of international law. Using real life examples it reminds us of the human impact of Australia’s policies. Highly recommended.

 3. “Future seekers : Refugees and the Law in Australia”  Mary Crock and Ben Saul.  An informed assessment of the laws, policies and practices that affect refugees and asylum seekers.

 4. “Borderline: (New Edition)”  Peter Mares.  A sharp critique of both government and opposition policies based on hard facts and reasoned arguments.

 5. “Freeing Ali : The Human face of the Pacific solution”. Michael Gordon. As the first journalist to gain unrestricted access to the refugee detention centre on Nauru he follows the story of Ali from Afghanistan to Nauru and ultimately to Melbourne .

Gordon ” deploys his investigative , analytical and writing skills to expose injustice and prick the conscience of the community ” – Petro Georgiou MP

6. “Tampering with Asylum”  Frank Brennan SJ.  Father Brennan, Jesuit priest and lawyer, argues that Australia has set up a virtual offshore border, denying asylum seekers any access to legal protection.

7.  “Human Rights Overboard : seeking asylum in Australia” Linda Briskman, Susie Latham, Chris Goddard. (foreword by Julian Burnside)   This book draws together the oral testimony and written submissions from the 2005 ‘People’s Inquiry Into Detention’. It is a haunting journey guided by voices from every side of the fence, former and current detainees, refugee advocates, lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists and Immigration detention staff. Taken together their stories record a humanitarian disaster and stand as an indictment of Australia’s refugee policy.

Please send me any social justice information or events that you would like posted on this page.  Thanks, Millicent  (