April 21st 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The deeper causes of Australia's social malaise

GENDER POLITICS Queensland proposes transgender birth certificates

CANBERRA OBSERVED Malcolm at 30 (polls): the cloud on Turnbull's horizon

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell firmly denies sex abuse allegations

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Sydney Archdiocese aims to eliminate slavery in supply chain

RURAL DEVELOPMENT Irrigation along Fitzroy River proposed and opposed

LIFE ISSUES Abortion Rethink Summit: the case for care

VERBATIM WA food, drink producers face shortage of carbon dioxide

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Land costs: economist Henry George's solution

ELECTRICITY Will Turnbull lose three out of three?

ECONOMICS Trade wars: tariffs unlikely to be fired in anger

SEX AND TEENS How about support for the abstaining majority?

VISUAL ARTS Layers of meaning in Botticelli's La Primavera and The Birth of Venus

MUSIC Is it good?: Or, do we just like the sound it makes?

CINEMA The Death of Stalin: Black comedy of a dark time

BOOK REVIEW Cool head on topic that generates heat

BOOK REVIEW Life's not so bad: from the outside



OPINION What a republic would really mean for Australia

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Sydney Archdiocese aims to eliminate slavery in supply chain

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, April 21, 2018

In an effort to curb modern slavery and human trafficking, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney set up an Anti-Slavery Taskforce at the behest of the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP.

The Taskforce’s report, released in February 2018, was compiled by the Taskforce executive, comprised of John McCarthy QC and Katherine Moloney.

The report’s foreword cites Pope Francis: “[modern slavery is] an open wound on … contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”[1]

The purpose of the Taskforce was to identify and eradicate from the supply chain of products, services and investments the Archdiocese utilises, forced labour and human trafficking.

The report says: “For this reason, we recommend a robust and rigorous anti-slavery supply-chain strategy, using an international best-practice model which incorporates human rights due diligence throughout the supply chain. In this way the Archdiocese would lead by example and support other Catholic entities as well as the public and private sectors to make good on Australia’s commitment, under section 8.7 of the [United Nations’] Sustainable Development Goals, to eradicate modern slavery in this generation.”[2]

In responding to an attack by Fairfax Media on the value of the assets of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Fisher recently pointed out in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald (“Where will relentless campaign leave the most needy?” February 13, 2018) that the Catholic Church was the largest non-government provider of essential services in Australia.[3]

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and its agencies (CAS) alone spend around $1 billion each year. Sydney Catholic schools account for around 85 per cent of Archdiocesan expenditure and employ 7,843 staff in 150 schools educating 70,236 students.[4] Catholic school students number over 750,000 throughout the nation.[5]

Given the huge resources used by the CAS and the fact that “the Catholic Church is one of the largest purchasing groups in Australia after government”,[6] Archbishop Fisher saw the need to “seek to slavery proof the supply chains of the Archdiocese of Sydney, its agencies and affiliates”, following the Holy See’s announcement to slavery proof its supply chains in 2016.[7]

Encouragement Australia wide

In a letter to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Fisher urged the other dioceses of Australia to follow the example of the CAS Anti-Slavery Taskforce, given that action over a wider field was required to counter the enslavement of an estimated 40.3 million people around the world, 40 per cent of whom were trapped in forced labour in the Asia-Pacific region. An estimated 4300 people are enslaved in Australia.[8]

The anti-slavery supply-chain strategy notes that the areas of high risk of exposure to slavery in the Archdiocese’s supply chains for Sydney Catholic schools include the procurement of “apparel and uniforms, cleaning services, construction, canteen food services, information and communications technology, and stationery and education supplies”.

For CatholicCare Sydney, an Archdiocesan agency which provides welfare services, the area identified as high risk was “cleaning services”.

The strategy recommends that the CAS “implement the Australian model of supply-chain regulation throughout all CAS procurement operations”, which will require that CAS “establish collaborative relationships between procurers, the project team and relevant stakeholders”.

The aim is to:

  • “Produce relevant procurement policy and practice guidelines, facilitate internal coordination and collaboration, and develop a system of information sharing.
  • Develop supply-chain contractual agreements as the basis of the new anti-slavery regulatory program.
  • Engage and inform suppliers so as to enable them to transition to the new anti-slavery regulatory program.
  • Undertake a staged implementation process based on risk, importance and timing of contractual renewal or tendering. This long-term change management process will commence with pilot projects and will be established incrementally in a systematic and stepwise manner.”

And second, that CAS:

  • “Develop and disseminate guidelines for all purchasing of goods and services which occur outside procurement operations (e.g. parishes).
  • Equip and empower these entities and the Catholic community in Sydney (through educational initiatives and grassroots engagement) to make ethical purchasing decisions consistent with the proposed anti-slavery supply-chain regulatory program of CAS.”[9]

Pope Francis reminds us that “purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act”.[10] This also applies to purchasing from businesses or companies that espouse anti-life and anti-marriage sentiments, of which there are many.

The CAS Anti-Slavery Taskforce’s intent is to end modern slavery in so far as the supply chains of the Catholic Church in Australia, beginning with the Sydney Archdiocese.

If more individuals, businesses and organisations seriously undertook to eliminate not only slavery from their supply chains but also patronage of businesses that support abortion, IVF, embryonic stem cell “research” and promotion of the LGBT agenda, a culture of life would begin to permeate society and the exploitation of people and the erosion of Judeo-Christian virtues would end.


[1] John McCarthy QC and Katherine Moloney, Report to the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Sydney Archdiocesan Anti-Slavery Taskforce, p1, February 2018.

[2] Ibid, p1.

[3] Archbishop Anthony Fisher, “Where will relentless campaign leave the most needy?”, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 13, 2018.

[4] Op. cit. [1], p8.

[5] Ibid, p54.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, pp55–56.

[9] Ibid, pp10–11.

[10] Pope Francis, “World Day of Peace, 2015: No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”, address, Vatican, January 1, 2015.

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