Category Archives: Media


Sophia Think Tank is once again working with the Australian Media Engagement Project and Partnering for Transformation to bring you Hope Talks.  This series of escalating conversations begins with the AMEP Media Lunch with Shaun Carney speaking on “Beyond the Game:  Is there a Crisis in Australian Democracy?”

Here’s the details…..

Beyond the Game: Is there a Crisis in Australian Democracy?

When? Tuesday, April 30 from 12 – 2pm

Where? One Community, 184 Surrey Road, Blackburn

Keynote Speaker:

Shaun Carney.  Writer, analyst, strategic adviser

Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University

Columnist, Herald Sun

Previous Associate Editor of The Age (1998-2012)


Research shows that Australians are increasingly concerned about…

             Loss of a national vision and values

             Lack of serious debate around significant issues

             Increasing feeling of non-representation of people by elected representatives

             Political activity reduced to an election cycle

             Market-led policy frameworks, which at their heart, treat people as productive units: rather than citizens through which our communities and nation are built.


We believe there is a need for higher level discourse to change social meaning and the quality of policy making.  We also have a deep concern for the most vulnerable Australians, who cannot cope with the changes being forced on them.

Shaun Carney titles himself writer, analyst, strategic adviser. This understates the high regard in which he is held by his peers as a columnist with both The Age and Herald Sun, and his insightful understanding of politics and politicians. He is brilliantly placed to lead us in this conversation, “Beyond the Game: Is there a crisis in Australian Democracy?”

Join us for the conversation on April 30, and help to make a difference.


There will be $10 per head charge to cover the venue and lunch costs.


We look forward to seeing you all. Would you please advise your attendance to by 12pm, Friday 26/4?




My submission for Food for Thought this week is a look at the issues Essendon AFL club are facing, along with Australian sports in general.  Have a read and let me know what you’re thinking…..



This week’s Food for Thought looks at the problem of favouritism and asks the question of our society: are we really as egalitarian as we would like to think?  Find it at



Sophia Think Tank, Partnering for Transformation, and Urban Neighbours of Hope all came together to host ‘On Building a Better World: Conversations around the passions of God and the Politics of People’.  The speakers included Andre Van Eymeren of Partnering for Transformation; Ash Barker of Urban Neighbours of Hope; Melinda Tankard Reist, author and advocate for women and children; Simon Moyle from Urban Seed; Barney Zwartz, the Religion Editor of the Age newspaper; Jim Longley, past member of the NSW State Parliament; Jim Reiher until recently a member of the Greens; David Wilson from Sophia Think Tank and a past Melbourne City Councillor.  Quite a line up.

The diversity of opinion, strategy, and implementation struck me as significant but there was an underlying theme from everyone that we really could make a difference in the world and that we are called to do so.  From Isaiah in the Bible who articulated a vision of what a better world could like to Melinda Tankard Reist who rallies hard and long through social media to make a difference in the area of pornography and the sexualisation of children to Jim Longley who shared openly about the challenges and the excitement from the inside of State politics and his belief that we need a high level debate about the true role of Government in this country, to Simon Moyle talking about nonviolent direct action and his experiences in protest movements.  Then there was Ash Barker who told some stories from his years of standing with the marginalised in Thailand and reminded us that we who experience privilege can help the ‘not-so-privileged’ to benefit from the power we have rather than be abused by it.  I took some time to share some stories of how I had been able to do that as a Councillor in the City of Melbourne and the excitement of seeing marginalized people empowered by the sharing of wealth and opportunity.  

Jim Reiher pointed out that the best place to change an organization is from the inside and he shared an example of how he had been involved in helping to change the Greens drugs policy because he was able to sign up to the Committee involved in a review of that policy.  Andre Van Eymeren shared from his experiences in community development as he reminded us that relationships are the core of community and that to build community we need to be committed to relationship building and nurture.  Barney Zwartz listened patiently and graciously as we shared horror media stories with him and then responded to give us an ‘insider’s view’ on how the Media really works.

As I said, diversity!  Out of it all came a clear challenge that we should use our personalities, our opportunities, and our passions for the benefit of building a better world.  In the Bible there is a letter written by the Prophet Jeremiah to his fellow countrymen in exile in Babylon (see Jeremiah 29).  He tells them that they should do all they can for the wellbeing of that city.  I think the same calling exists for us today and I believe that all of the participants in the Forum went away with that same challenge.  So, where to now…….



This week’s blog on Food for Thought is a call for raising the level of public debate beyond personal attack to  a serious look at the issues.  Its a call to play the ball rather than the man….



This week’s Food for Thought blog is a reflection on the tragic rape and murder of Victorian ABC staffer Jill Meagher and various community reactions to it.  How do we rightly respond to a tragedy like this?  How does the Bible address this sort of thing?  Read it at



Last night’s Four Corners  entitled ‘There is no 3G in heaven’  was an excellent programme about youth suicide, especially in the City of Casey on the outskirts of Melbourne.  If you missed it please take 45 minutes to watch it.  You won’t be sorry.

Sophia Think Tank has been delving into the issues surrounding these tragedies and have come to many of the same conclusions that this programme comes to.  There are such a wide range of themes but one that is constant is the need to take more seriously the care of people suffering mental health problems.  The services need to be high quality, affordable, accessible, respectful, and deeply humane.  All of Community needs to sit up and take notice of this.  All levels of Government need to fund appropriately, training of mental health providers need to be trained in relational skills as well as psychological intervention, young people need to be consulted so we can find out what sort of care they would best respond to, peer support techniques need to become a part of High School education,  and so the list goes on.  It’s a whole of community response that is needed because we are all affected and we are all responsible.  No ducking allowed!

The Bible tells us to look after Society’s most vulnerable.  In the times of Jesus that referred especially to ‘orphans and widows’.  Today it includes young people who are suffering mental health issues.

The question then:  what can I do about it in my areas of influence?

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