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High profile humanitarian priest calls for positive post-election action


Tuesday, 21st May 2019 at 4:30 pm
Maggie Coggan
Controversial priest and humanitarian, Father Rod Bower, is calling on the community sector to unite and engender a sense of belonging within disparate groups, following results from the federal election.  


Tuesday, 21st May 2019
at 4:30 pm
Maggie Coggan


1 Comments


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High profile humanitarian priest calls for positive post-election action
Tuesday, 21st May 2019 at 4:30 pm

Controversial priest and humanitarian, Father Rod Bower, is calling on the community sector to unite and engender a sense of belonging within disparate groups, following results from the federal election.  

Speaking at the Communities in Control conference on Monday, Bower said it was vital that communities and community organisations brought people together and celebrated the things that connected, rather than divided society.

Bower is an Anglican priest who came to fame after photos of the billboards outside his Gosford Church campaigning for LGBTQI+ acceptance, action on climate change and better treatment of refugees attracted nation-wide attention.

He also announced in late 2018 he was running in the federal election as an independent candidate in the NSW Senate but was unsuccessful.  

He told Pro Bono News that creating a deeper sense of belonging for everyone in our communities was one of the biggest challenges we all faced as Australians.

“If we actually look for and discover each other’s humanity, we will discover that we share common humanity in a common place and that can be part of a deeper sense of belonging,” Bower said.

He said that often people behaved badly or anti-socially because they felt like outsiders in their communities.

“I think the things that we hear from people like Pauline Hanson, or the more extreme right-wing groups are because they are also expressing a deep sense of not belonging,” he said.

“So engendering a deeper sense of belonging in our community is a very important foundation on which to base all our community activities.”

The two-day post-poll conference, organised by Our Community, featured over 1,000 delegates from across the social sector.

Main speakers included human rights lawyer David Manne, Professor Helen Milroy, and former PM Malcolm Fraser’s daughter, Phoebe Wynn-Pope.

Denis Moriarty, the Our Community managing director, said the conference was about inspiring community organisations to take control of their own futures, no matter which party was in government.            

“[Community organisations] are the ones who do the most to improve the lives of others, and we’re doing our bit to give them a spark,” Moriarty said.

“I want people to be provoked, even angered, by what they hear. But most of all, I want people to walk out with renewed purpose, whatever their path.”

Bower said there was a strong feeling of collective responsibility between community delegates to move forward in a strong positive direction following the election.  

“After the election, I think the sector is a bit more conscious of the need for our work in the community, and if anything is even more dedicated to it,” he said.  

“It’s on us collectively to create belonging where people from all faiths, politics, traditions, and views are able to flourish.”


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.


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One Comment

  • Avatar Bienne TAM says:

    “I think the things that we hear from people like Pauline Hanson, or the more extreme right-wing groups are because they are also expressing a deep sense of not belonging,” he said.
    This person is entitled to his own point of view but he does not accurately and deeply know the truth about this matter. Each one needs a STRONG sense of belonging to COMMON identities. Australia does not know its right way to get there, especially leaving it into the hands of so called professionals, experts, human rights lawyers, and high-profile politicians. Like in this case, the author associated Pauline Hanson and the more extreme right-wing groups, painting a picture in the mind of the readers that she is “BAD”, “Negative”, and belongs to the “Extreme Right-Wing Groups”, This is counter-productive to the public in general. Pauline Hanson bonds herself to Australia so strongly that she dares to speak up against the Elite Class and the Establishment over their folly and blindness when it comes to the truth of Islam in particular, among other issues. She speaks her mind to the point and advocates the rights of women, especially women oppressed by men under Islam. She identifies herself with these women in her sufferings and seeks to liberate them from religious-political bondage by bringing their plight to the government which was mocked by the Labour-Greens and LIberal parties. She wants to bring these women together under freedom Australia has offered for them but they have to choose to break that bondage and to be set free, which can only possible by Christ Jesus alone. This is the bottom line.

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