Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. A highly developed and wealthy country, Australia ranks well with regard to quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. The introduction of universal health care in 1975 was an important step.
European settlement of Australia devastated the Indigenous populations. Despite significant steps forward in recent decades, there has been no formal Treaty or constitutional acknowledgment of the first Australians. All social and economic indicators suggest that Aborigines are the most disadvantaged Australians. Within Aboriginal communities, women fare the worst. This is despite the fact that the role of Aboriginal women was significant in both the public and private spheres of Aboriginal societies.
Apart from the indigenous peoples, Australians are migrants or descended from migrants. It is ironic, therefore, that the nation struggles to achieve just policies in its response to refugees and asylum seekers.
Although significant levels of equality have been won by women, full and equal participation is not yet achieved. Also, domestic violence happens in all socio-economic and cultural groups within Australia.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd were missioned to Australia in 1863 by St Mary Euphrasia. In Melbourne, they established a residential facility for women and girls suffering hardship as a result of the turmoil of the gold rush. In the following decades they opened re-education centres in the capital cities of each State of Australia.
As these residential centres were phased out in the 1970s, other corporate ministries developed:
Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service, Victoria
Rosemount Good Shepherd Youth & Family Services, Sydney
St Clare’s School, Perth
Good Shepherd Microfinance
Good Shepherd Trading Circle
Good Shepherd Aged Services, Melbourne
Recognizing their increasing diminishment in leadership capacity, in 2008 the Sisters set up a new organization and named it: Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. This reshaped the governance structure of the Province, enabling the sustainability and development of Good Shepherd ministries into the future, beyond the capacity of the Sisters to provide high level leadership.
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand is established for the sole purpose of providing a governance framework for the apostolic works of the province, as well as ensuring a strong and sustainable foundation for future initiatives.
Click here for Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand website - http://www.goodshep.org.au/
It owns the major assets of the province and governs current Good Shepherd programmes in areas of welfare, education and financial inclusion.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd appoint the Directors of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.
After two years of thinking, planning and implementing the Future Ready process, three organisations have been merged to work as one - Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand now incorporates Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and Rosemount. This has been a significant achievement of the Sisters' Leadership Team, the Boards and senior staff working together in partnership.
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand plays a governance role in the broader Good Shepherd network in Australia and New Zealand. Everyone in this network shares the same mission, vision, purpose and values. Collectively we are able to have a greater impact on breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage for women and girls.
This network includes: