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Australia 2000 meeting on "building a better society" a great success!

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Philip Ruddock MP I f

Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

21 March 1991


AUSTRALIA 2000 MEETING ON "BUILDING A BETTER SOCIETY" A GREAT SUCCESS! The question of how to build a better Australian society towards the year 2000 was posed at a local Public Meeting hosted by Federal Member for Dundas and Shadow Minister for

Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Mr Philip Ruddock.

This second Australia 2 000 meeting, held at the St Anne's Church Hall, in Church Street Ryde last Tuesday evening, 19th March, 1991 was aimed at giving local residents the

opportunity to express their views as to how a better society could be obtained and to listen to various speakers with differing persuasions.

A diverse and interesting representation of local residents attended, and the members of the Forum included the Reverend Sir Alan Walker, Chairman of the National Goals and Directions Movement and previous Superintendent of the Central Methodist Mission, now known as the Wesley Central Mission.

Les Whitcroft AM also participated as a forum member

representing the local Ryde Rotary club. Les has also had a wealth of experiewnce in community involvement.

Susie Nelson-Smith, Project Manager of Epping Skillshare completed the Panel. Susie was representing the adult education sector, and has had a background in Communications.

The main points to come out of this meeting were as follows:

* People must be prepared to adapt to change if we are to ensure a better future for Australia and a better society in which to live.

* Much of the emphasis was placed on a change in values and standards. We need a country that will be productive, not only in terms of our economy, which was covered more

expansively at our first Australia 2000 meeting on "Creating a

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More Productive Economy", but in terms of community spirit and involvement, and the ability to get alongside those in need.

* Reverend Sir Alan Walker also stressed the need for

Australian society to return to God and to the practices of Christianity, and the need for the revival of a spiritual

focus. He also made the point that public leaders must adhere to the pledged word. Without honesty in Government, and

Government being a reflection of general society, it would be very difficult to ensure that societal standards and values could be raised.

* Immigration was a theme in the evening's discussions,

especially regarding the current levels of immigration. The whole area of immigration is complex and different facets of the programme were discussed, such as the recent tightening up

of conditions for marriages involving overseas spouses, refugees and humanitarian applications.

* The deterioration of the family unit due to economic

constraints, societal expectations and consumer demands was another area discussed. Youth homelessness has been a direct result of this, according to Les Whitcroft, and in order to stop youth homelessness, there needs to be a return to the

importance of the family as the major support network. In

order that this can happen there needs to be a whole series of actions, from Government level - a change in policy and

leadership bringing about an upturn in the economy and in the allocation of resources to the community and individual


* Health, conflict resolution and welfare spending and

allocation were other areas considered.

"All in all, this meeting was most productive in considering fresh approaches to this problem currently of concern to all Australians, said Philip Ruddock.

"All of the comments made will be forwarded to the respective Liberal Federal Shadow Ministers for their consideration and incorporation into Liberal Policy strategy".

"Through this programme, and through other community

consultation programmes being undertaken throughout Australia, I am confident that we will approach the next,: Federal election the most thoroughly prepared party to implement the necessary and wanted changes to Australian society, structures and

istitutions for a better Australian society."

The next Australia 2000 meeting will be on "Improving and Protecting our Environment". For further information on the Australia 2000 programme, please do not hesitate to contact my office on 858 3367.