In light of the continued positive announcements in Victoria, we faith leaders in Victoria urge continued compassion, understanding and cooperation across the state – in the nature of our public conversation and in the nature of our national collaboration – given the continuing reality of the pandemic.
Our faith traditions teach the benefit and necessity of letting go of past matters and beginning again. Let us all – government and community leaders, members of the media, and individuals alike – learn from the past and focus on the future.
As the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier reminded us this week, commenting on the shocking spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the world, “No one is safe until we are all safe “… and thus, “even those who conquer the virus within their own borders remain prisoners within these borders until it is conquered everywhere.” (The Age 26/10).
That is the reality for us all until we can find a vaccine and make it universally available.
The pandemic therefore continues to require a high level of public and political cooperation, nationally and internationally.
That is the reality for us all, until if or when we can find a vaccine and make it universally available.
Debate and differences of opinion are to be expected – that is the nature of our democratic institutions.
However, can public conversation take place in a compassionate spirit of giving and forgiving? Not just because this would be good and gracious but also because of the challenge the pandemic still poses.
We must work together in addressing the impacts of this pandemic – not just the health impacts, but mental health and wellbeing, family violence, unemployment and the rise in racism and vilification. These are just a few of the critical areas of need that sadly existed before coronavirus (COVID-19) but have been exacerbated over the course of this difficult year.
There is no going back to pre-COVID norms, so let us seize this opportunity to build a better and more inclusive, respectful and socially cohesive society.
In making these suggestions, as faith leaders in Victoria, we offer our continuing cooperation as well as the assurance of our prayers and meditations.
The truth is, we all need to gather our strength and be unified for what may still lie ahead in 2020, 2021 and beyond.
Members of the Multifaith Advisory Group
- All Nations Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia Mulgrave
- AMAFHH Federation – Shi'a Organisation
- Australian Intercultural Society
- Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights
- Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
- Baha’i Community of Victoria
- Benevolence Australia
- Board of Imams Victoria
- Rabbinical Council of Victoria
- Buddhist Council of Victoria
- Catholic Social Services Victoria
- Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne
- Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
- Faith Communities Council of Victoria
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
- Hindu Council of Australia (Vic)
- Hindu Society of Victoria
- Islamic Council of Victoria
- Jewish Community Council of Victoria
- Lutheran Church of Australia
- National Council of Churches of Australia
- Presbyterian Church of Victoria
- Rabbinical Council of Victoria
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
- Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
- The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
- Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
- Victorian Council of Churches
- Victorian Multicultural Commission
- UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations
Reviewed 23 June 2021