Speech: Peace through compassion Kym Goodes, CEO, TasCOSS Tamar Valley Peace Festival, 27 July 2016 Introduction At the start of the federal election campaign the Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley said publicly that people on the Newstart allowance were ‘off their heads on drugs’. When I hear statements like that I imagine how it feels, to be someone who can’t find work, who as a last resort signed up to Newstart allowance, how it must feel to be labeled in that way. Imagine how it feels to be a peace-loving Muslim right now? Or be told that you don’t deserve the right to marry your same-sex partner? When the media asked me to respond to Mr. Whiteley’s comments and I did, Mr Whiteley accused me of being “too compassionate”. The judgments that are made, the labels that are put on people come from the same place – fear. Change I understand why people are fearful. Change is happening at a rapid pace. We are going through a period of great disruption. The systems we thought were made of stone and here forever are failing: This is borne out in both economic and social examples •
the global financial crisis and the collapse of banking systems
the exposure of long term and wide spread sexual abuse of children in institutional care are just two examples
the institutions that had always served us are failing –
These are painful endings to things that we have trusted and relied on for many years.