Media release: Election challenges from the grassroots

Video series explores social justice challenges facing the new government

June 29 2016Social challenges ranging from poverty and isolation to cohesion are the subject of three six-minute videos published by the head of the Anglican Church of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, before the Federal election on Saturday.

Archbishop Freier argues that Australia cannot separate economic and social challenges, but must produce policies that help people flourish, whatever their situation. Affordable housing and secure income are the top priorities, because without these families and individuals fall into an array of formidable problems.

The first video, titled Change and Challenge, takes the northern Geelong suburb of Corio, the seventh most disadvantaged of Victoria’s 667 postcodes, as an example of how the web of disadvantage works, where one sort of social problem leads to others. People caught in these situations cannot wait for a long-term economic restructure, they need better policies now, Archbishop Freier says.

This video can be seen on Archbishop Freier’s website at 

The second video, Out of Service, examines the challenges experienced by outer suburbs on the fringes of Australia’s big cities, using Mernda, 30 kilometres north of Melbourne, as an example. Mernda is already home to 10,000 people, and in a decade it and neighbouring Doreen will hold 55,000 people. Even now, before this astounding growth, there are huge problems of limited infrastructure: public transport, roads, schools, hospitals, childcare and social activities, especially for teenagers. The result is social isolation, high rates of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and problem gambling.

This video can be seen at 

The third video, Cohesion and Inclusion: Pathways to Hope, focuses on problems of social cohesion and exclusion. One in five Australians under 25 experience social exclusion, a staggering 250,000 people.

It takes as its model the inner Western Melbourne suburb of Footscray, which has residents from 135 countries, and more than half of whom were born overseas. They can face extra problems.

Archbishop Freier suggests Australia needs policies and programs that not only act as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff but make sure people don’t fall off in the first place.

This video can be seen at