About

The Forum

The Johno Johnson Forum aims to foster discussion of economic and social policy in the Labor tradition with an emphasis on the party’s diverse heritage. We aim to create a space where people can openly discuss social and political ideas in a respectful manner, and connect with other like-minded individuals who are broadly interested in the Labor ideal.

Mission

The Australian political landscape is one of the most diverse in the world. This diversity exists both between the parties as well as within the parties themselves. The Australian Labor Party emphasises a fair go for all Australians, the dignity of work, social justice and the promotion of the common good.

It is well-established that the Australian Labor Party has strong roots in the social teaching of Christian Churches, and was particularly influenced by Catholic Social Teaching. Many of the ideas that inform the ALP’s social and economic outlook — including solidarity, human dignity and the common good — arise from this tradition. In recent years the Labor Party has shifted direction with Australia’s changing social and political landscape.

As highlighted at the Federal Election in 2019 people of faith are leaving Labor to vote Liberal. This is a tragedy given Labor’s links to people of faith. We feel that the Christian roots of the Labor Party are worthy of reexamination. Rather than seeing discontinuity between the present and the past, we believe that the Christian heritage of the party can be used as a lens to understand and address contemporary political and social problems.

Aims

Exploring diversity in the Labor tradition: We aim to create a forum for discussing economic and social policy in the Labor tradition, with an emphasis on the party’s diverse heritage. We are interested in how ideas from the social teaching of Christian Churches — particularly Catholic social teaching — can be used as a lens to understand and address contemporary political and social problems.

Fostering open, respectful and productive debate: We aim to create a space where people can openly discuss social and political ideas in an open respectful manner. We want people to be able to speak freely, particularly about matters of faith, but also to express these ideas in a way that is respectful of the alternative views that others might hold.

Connecting people of faith who believe in the Labor ideal: Many people of faith are passionate about social justice and pursuing the common good, and yet feel isolated in the current political climate. They neither identify with libertarian economic outlook of the right nor with the aggressive secularism of the far left. We aim to provide a home for the politically homeless, and to show that there is still space in today’s political landscape for those who might believe in the Labor ideal but who also have a strong faith commitment.