After reading my ROS posts, Dr John Flett asked me to provide some background social information for his German academic colleagues who are contributing to the Rescuing Our Soul Conference in September 2016.
Most of our welfare system is Federal (i.e. Commonwealth). The Federal Government accepts that it has a responsibility to provide welfare for the citizens of Australia. There is always an argument about how much welfare (see research institutes at the bottom of the email).
What I have created here is a list of the main social services with links.
- The Federal Government portal for all things social sector / human services
- National Health System (Medicare)
- You can also find on https://www.humanservices.gov.au/ links and buttons to other welfare services like for
Children as they grow up
Unemployment support / job seekers
Aboriginal people etc.
The doctor then claims money from the government for providing a service to you. Most of our welfare is like this. You ‘apply’ and a professional provides the service.
- Services around ageing – Commonwealth Home Support Programme (Ageing)
- Disability services (National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS)
Instead of being given someone to provide you with disability support from govt/ or service provider (such as ourselves) now people who have disabilities will be able to choose the service provider themselves. They might choose a government department (unlikely) or a not for profit like us (Uniting Communities) or a competitor, or a private company or even a family member…
This is the government website designed for Australian’s seeking assistance (i.e. it is not academic)
- Australian Council of Social Services
This is the national peak body for the social sector which most (Baptist, Catholics, and all NFPs are part). On most issues we align with ACOSS’s social policy perspectives.
- UnitingCare Australia
The Uniting Churches national lobby group made up of most Uniting Church service providers. Based in Canberra, it is an agency of the the National Assembly with its own governance body but is paid for by the agencies via a levy. This is our first interesting governance point which I will come back to in blog #6 a guide to UCA governance. The advocacy uniting Church agencies do is often pursued by the peak body which is whole funded by church agencies and not by the Assembly.
- Australia Institute
This is a progressive research body which is congruent with UnitingCare Australia’s approach to social policy, which would be characterised as focussed on disadvantaged and isolated people.
- Centre of Independent Studies
And for a bit of balance here is the more conservative research body.
- Uniting Communities
Could you try to explain in your own short words for me– how the Australian social system functions?– how it is financed?– what is the role of the churches in society and social systems (how much are the directed by state rules, finances, fees etc.)?Could you explain in your words the word– ‘church agency’ and the word ‘church affiliated organisations’?– How are they financed and how much are they directed from governmental rules and laws, how is the connection to church or parishes organized (structural)?
This blog was originally an email response to John Flett’s request for help (4th July 2016). Since that email I’ve improved the text which you have found here on FiA.
Rev Peter R McDonald is the Executive of Advocacy and Community Relations at Uniting Communities as well as the Minister in placement. His profile is here and he will be attending the Friday and Saturday of the ROS conference.
Catalogue of work prepared for “Recapturing our Soul” Melbourne 2-4th Sept 2016
- Part 1- ROS Conference – Rescuing our Soul from?
- Part 2 – ROS Conference – UnitingCare Australia’s Mission and Ministry Network and the Four Marks of the Church
- Part 3 – ROS Conference – Faith in Action as alternative to Rene Girard
Beginners Guides – Background information written with our visiting German scholars in mind.
After reading Parts 1-3 Dr John Flett asked me to prepare a brief description of 1) the Australian social service sector, 2) Uniting Church agencies, 3) Uniting Church governance, and 4) The relationships between the three.
Hence my “Incomplete Guides” written for beginners. The guides are ‘incomplete’ as they do not describe the whole system. Rather they pick one or two issues as an example of what can be found within it.
- Incomplete Guide to social services and the way the Uniting Church plays (Part 4 for ROS):
an incomplete guide to Australian social sector written from a Uniting Church agency point of view
- Incomplete Guide to the way the Uniting Church plays in the social sector (Part 5 for ROS):
the second incomplete guide to the history and presence of the Uniting Church in social services today
- Incomplete Guide to the convoluted names and governance of UCA: the third incomplete guide to the basic structure of the Uniting church and the logical consequences of a hybrid centralised and decentralised church (Part 6 for ROS).
(New work posted 24th August)
- The relationship between the three is the last piece of work. This pivots us into the area of the relationships between, church governance, agency governance and state governance. We (Uniting Communities) approaches this through the lens of advocacy. How might we apply pressure to the Synod and the government to make communities a better place to live for disadvantaged and isolated people. This may get written in the few days prior to the conference or may be writtenm . See how I go.