It’s a national shame
“IT is a national shame that after 25 years of economic growth, we have not been able to ensure our most precious national resource, our children, are given the best possible start in life,” Fr Brennan said following the 2017 Vinnies CEO Sleepout in the ACT.
As the CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, Fr Brennan joined other leaders in the social services sector, for the vigil event on the lawns in front of Parliament House.
“I am concerned not only that the rate of child poverty is increasing but that our Australian society is becoming less caring,” he said.
The sleep-out coincided with the 30th anniversary (June 23) of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s 1987 speech promising that by the year 1990 no Australian child will live in poverty.
“While Bob Hawke was lambasted for having such lofty ideals 30 years ago, it was at least a statement that was powerful and valuable,” Fr Brennan said.
“It sparked debate and told Australians, and the world, that child poverty was not acceptable and that we were going to try to fix it.”
Fr Brennan says 731,300 children or 17.4% of all children in Australia are living in poverty, an increase of two percentage points over the past 10 years from 2004 to 2014.
“Prime Minister Hawke was a popular, pragmatic, experienced politician. I hope there can be a new generation of popular, pragmatic, experienced political leaders able to inspire us all with a vision of greater inclusiveness and equality.”