Australian Needs An Economy That Works For All

Posted 18 October 2017 8:15am

Speaking at the launch of An Economy That Works for All at Parliament House in Canberra, Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia said, our economy and the policy settings that support it are in need of a significant overhaul.

“Far too many people have been left behind, denied access to economic prosperity and the opportunity and the hope it brings,” Fr Brennan said.

“The Catholic Church has a role to play in encouraging action from those in power to deliver an economy that serves all in our community, particularly the most vulnerable, because our Church is one of the organisations who help the poor and vulnerable people who have been left behind. 

“Rather than continually trying to help these people to play catch up, we want to help bring about change to ensure they are not left behind in the first place.

“Individuals don’t choose poverty. Poverty is a choice we make as a society.

“We need our leaders to acknowledge that our economic system has lost its way, giving preference to the purity of market without due regard to the society in which it operates.

“Under the neoliberal paradigm, markets are supposed to create economic prosperity and growth, which will then ‘trickle down’ to all those participating in the economy.

“After more than four decades of this paradigm, there can be no doubt that ‘trickle-down’ economics has been of great benefit to those at top of the pyramid. However, the promise of riches from the trickle-down effect is at best patchy for many Australians, and non-existent for others.

“Continuing with the same economic and social policy settings will exacerbate the already growing divide between the rich and the poor and eventually damage the economy to such an extent that it has a detrimental affect on everyone.

“Remaining on this path is both morally and economically fraught.  Australia needs to take concrete action to arrest inequality now,” Fr Brennan said.

In the statement – An Economy That Works for All - Catholic Social Services Australia is calling on our elected leaders to:

  • establish an independent commission to develop evidence-based benchmarks to ensure that income support payments are adequate for people to live a frugal yet dignified life, and have realistic opportunity of securing a job. Our politicians don’t set wages on Budget night. Neither should they set welfare payments.                                                                             
  • strengthen our tax and transfer system. For Australia’s tax and transfer system to work effectively, we must, prioritise the needs of society first and then work out the best way to fund those needs. We must put the need of the poor and vulnerable first.
  • establish a new national accord between government, civil society and business.  This accord would outline the responsibilities of each sector in building a fair, flourishing and just society.
  • deliver greater transparency, through the public release of government economic modelling of all budgetary measures that affect the economic wellbeing of Australians, especially the poorest and most vulnerable in our society
  • create a new position on the RBA Board.   Appoint a preeminent Australian who has knowledge of and experience of the consequences of monetary policy on the poor and marginalised to reinforce the inter-connectedness of economic and social policy and acknowledge the role the RBA can play in using monetary policy to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised in our society.



Media contact: Lil Bryant-Johnson. Ph 0450 30 20 20


This launch event will be available to view on Fr Frank Brennan’s Facebook Page -

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