Our favourite news stories for 2022
20 December 2022 at 9:00 am
The Pro Bono News team breaks down what captured their attention most during a year filled with an abundance of sector-worthy news.
There’s plenty to celebrate in our sector this year, from B Corp hitting a huge local milestone to the enormous impact of social enterprise on our economy, 2022 has seen the for-purpose space blossom with organisations and people working to do social good.
Throw in a new government, federal budget, fresh COVID-19 spikes, a soccer world cup and natural disasters – and we think it’s fair to say this year was big.
Behind the scenes, the Pro Bono News team delivered this news and plenty more to you twice a week, all throughout the year, acting as a voice for the for-purpose sector on the issues that matter most. It’s a job we take as a privilege, knowing the significance of this sector in supporting our communities and helping to address widespread disadvantage, from homlessness and mental health to the rising cost of living and stretched labour market.
So, what stories caught our eye and stuck with us throughout a busy year of reporting? We break down our favourite stories for 2022 and why they resonated with us.
Isabelle Oderberg, Editor
After years of the sector we love suffering so unbearably, my favourite stories from the year are the ones that represent true hope for our community and the broader one going forward.
The first of these shifts was the appointment of Andrew Leigh as assistant minister for charities. Long a champion of charities and for-purpose organisations, there seemed to be a collective, deep sigh of relief when his appointment was confirmed.
The other appointment that I believe will make a huge difference to the future of the work of this industry is that of the new commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), Sue Woodward. There surely wasn’t a better candidate, with Woodward having been instrumental in the ACNC’s set-up and later holding the role of director of policy, education and red tape reduction between 2012 and 2015, after which she’s worked in a range of key roles across the sector.
It’s been a hell of a few years for everyone, especially those tasked with taking care of all of us, fighting for social justice and equality and all those generally trying to elevate their fields to a place of moral fortitude.
These two appointments make it feel like we’re back on the right path and 2023 will represent hope and progress. Start, as they say, as you meant to go on.
Danielle Kutchel, Journalist
Here we are at the end of another year, my first with the Pro Bono team — a group of people I have admired for many, many years. Permit me to wax lyrical for a moment: I feel so privileged to have joined Pro Bono and to be able to explore and inform the for-purpose sector every day. There are so many wonderful people and organisations in this sector, and I love to hear all your stories.
So of those, which are my favourites? Well, that’s like asking a parent to choose a favourite child. But as it happens, I do have some favourites. I joined Pro Bono News as Australia was thrust into an election campaign that felt like an eternity (or was that just me?). Working on our election coverage was an incredible experience. We gathered your thoughts, listened, and put your questions to those clamouring for your vote. Putting together our first interactive election tracker was so much fun, and it’s something I still refer to.
Homelessness and housing have been on the agenda. Will 2023 finally be the year we make a serious effort to resolve these issues? I don’t know, but stay tuned — we’ve got plenty of coverage lined up for early in the year. As a journalist, I like to centre lived experience when talking about social justice, and this interview with the team behind the podcast Homeless in Hotels was incredibly poignant for me. It’s a side of the issue we haven’t really confronted yet. Likewise, I spoke to a number of stakeholders about the upcoming Brisbane Olympic Games, which have the potential to shape social policy in Queensland for years to come.
Disability is a topic close to my heart for many reasons. We heard a lot this year about the need to increase the rate of employment for people with disability. Having reported on this issue for almost a decade now I was struck by the number of summits held about it this year, and it turns out many people with disability are tired of the talk too. I am grateful for their honesty on this and many other issues, including long COVID.
On a more festive note, I really loved putting together some ideas for eco-friendly gift wrapping. Like many, I was furious to hear of the collapse of Redcycle, but I really enjoyed learning about some of the organisations out there doing their bit to address the plastic crisis.
Finally, I just want to thank all those who have gotten in touch over the past year, whether with a story tip, a thank you or words of encouragement, and those who have shared their stories with me. It means a lot to hear how much you enjoy reading our publication. Stay safe, have a wonderful festive season and holiday, and see you in 2023!
Ruby Kraner-Tucci, Journalist
Despite joining the ever-delightful Pro Bono News team just four months ago, I already have over 80 articles under this masthead to my name (yes, I counted!) – so the idea of choosing just one top story is too big of a challenge for my end-of-year brain to bear. Instead, I’ll give you three.
I got my first taste of political reporting with our 2022 federal budget coverage, where we reported on the most topical funding announcements for the for-purpose sector all night long. Unpacking the Albanese government’s spending on climate initiatives made for a great piece, particularly as it’s been backed by a raft of new policies since then.
Over in the for-purpose world, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Fiona Harrison from Australia’s first 100 per cent Indigenous-owned chocolate company, Chocolate on Purpose, who gave fantastic insights on setting up and sustaining a First Nations-led supply chain – and why it’s good for business.
Finally, it was a pleasure to follow the appointment of the new head of the ACNC, Sue Woodward, a lawyer, activist and friend to many in the sector. From initially breaking the news to sitting down with the commissioner-to-be in an exclusive interview, it was a privilege to deliver this important and relevant news to the Pro Bono audience.
On that note, thank you for reading our work, for writing to us, for pitching stories and sharing your own (especially when it came to creating our ethical gift-giving guide which was overflowing with your suggestions!). I wish you all a safe and joyous end to the year, and look forward to doing it all again in 2023.