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The major responsibilities of the ACSJC are:

  • Researching issues and monitoring trends in public policy and current affairs in Australia and overseas;
  • Presenting Catholic Social Teaching and the social justice tradition of the Catholic Church;
  • Applying Catholic Social Teaching to current social justice, human rights, development and peace issues in Australia and overseas;
  • Speaking out against injustice, the abuse of human rights, poverty and violence and in favour of change for a more just society and thereby ensuring a credible national Catholic voice on these issues;
  • Promoting a spirituality of justice and the integration of concern for social justice into the liturgy, worship and general life of the whole Church;
  • Building social justice networks within the Catholic Church, encouraging local action, coordinating action at the national level, and maintaining contact with relevant international Catholic agencies;
  • Collaborating with national and international agencies with objectives similar or complementary to those of the ACSJC;
  • Witnessing to and promoting unity among Christians through ecumenical action in favour of justice and peace;
  • Educating the Catholic and wider community on social justice, human rights, development and peace issues in Australia and overseas by providing guided experience and educational materials;
  • Advising the Bishops on statements and actions for justice and peace and assisting them as required.

Appendices

  1. Membership
  2. Secretariat Arrangements and Finance
  3. Relationships with Dioceses

Appendix A:
Membership of the ACSJC

  1. The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) will consist of ten people being:
    1. one member of the Bishops’ Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development (BCJED)
    2. nine people appointed by the BCJED
  2. The member of the BCJED who is the Bishops’ Delegate for Social Justice will be the Chair of the ACSJC.
  3. The majority of the members of the Council shall be lay people with various experience and expertise.
  4. There shall be as close as possible to equal numbers of women and men among the non-Episcopal membership of the Council.
  5. Members shall be appointed for one three-year term and may then be reappointed for a second three-year term. In exceptional circumstances a person may be elected for a third term.
  6. The BCJED will appoint members on the basis of their skills, experience and knowledge in areas that are central to the mandate of the ACSJC.
  7. The ACSJC shall ordinarily meet three times a year.
  8. A quorum will consist of no less than six of the Council’s members.
  9. In the case of a tied vote, the Chair will have a casting vote.
  10. The ACSJC may establish any committee or working group necessary for its work and may co-opt members for such committees or working groups from outside the membership of the ACSJC.
  11. When membership vacancies occur, the ACSJC Chair and National Executive Officer shall advise the BCJED of the skills, experience and knowledge required by the ACSJC at the time and potential nominations for those vacancies.

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Appendix B:
Secretariat & Funding Arrangements

  1. The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council shall be served by a Secretariat which shall be accountable to it.
  2. The Secretariat shall be co-ordinated by a National Executive Officer, who shall be appointed by the Bishops’ Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development.
  3. The Secretariat shall – at the direction of the Council – undertake a number of tasks on its behalf. These shall include:
    1. Development of policies for the consideration of the ACSJC.
    2. Undertaking initiatives and on-going programs.
    3. Maintaining and developing relationships with Church and other agencies.
    4. Collaboration where appropriate with other agencies (Catholic, other Church, and wider community based) with objectives similar or complementary to those of the ACSJC.
    5. Preparation of an annual operations program setting out a schedule of activities and targets against which performance can be measured.
  4. The Secretariat is responsible immediately to the ACSJC and ultimately to the BCJED for all matters, normally through the ACSJC Chair.
  5. The ACSJC and its Secretariat shall be funded by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. It will submit an annual budget, report, and audited financial statements to the ACBC.

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Appendix C:
Relationships with Dioceses

  1. The ACSJC shall provide the opportunity for collaboration with the local Churches, including maintaining close links with and arranging meetings of diocesan justice and peace organisations and representatives for the exchange of views and information.
  2. The ACSJC shall advise the BCJED on the views of the Australia-wide Catholic community on major social justice issues.
  3. The ACSJC shall promote justice, development and peace in an integrated way at the Diocesan level in association with the local Bishop or those nominated by the Bishop for such work.
  4. The ACSJC shall encourage and assist where possible in the running of diocesan regional seminars, conferences, lectures and workshops that increase the awareness of clergy, religious and laity of the social teaching of the Church.
  5. The ACSJC shall, as far as possible, respond to the requests of local Bishops or diocesan justice and peace representatives for particular assistance. This includes review and evaluation of particular local projects as requested and as far as possible.

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