Director’s Musings Part 1: Walking with Partner Communities.

Director’s Musings Part 1: Walking with Partner Communities.

By Roger O’Halloran

Rachel has just asked how the Director’s Report for Palms Post is shaping up.  Good, I say, but know that my mind is split about what to commit to print.  It is the first full week back in the office after Christmas, New Year and eight days preparing ten wonderful people for assignment.

I did take a week at the beach to freshen up, but I’m reliably informed that last Monday is noted for the one on which most Australians are at their lowest ebb.  Apparently (and Parramatta Road attests to this) it’s when most of us head back to work. Rachel, who took a pre-Christmas break, started the week prior and is in full swing so has offered me a couple of suggestions.

Rachel noted that International Education Day (24/1) was a potential topic. Palms educators assist many communities provide scholastic opportunities from pre-school to primary, middle, secondary and post-graduate studies.  Indeed Palms prepare all who volunteer for educating or mentoring within their professions.  Outcomes are conveyed monthly in these pages, daily on social media and in our annual reports, but I wrote on education just four months ago on World Teacher’s Day.

“You could write about Australia Day” was Rachel’s next thought.  For many reasons, I don’t celebrate Australia Day.  I like a lot about who we are as Australians and the relaxed way most enjoy the holiday says a lot about who we are, but this big diverse country was not named Australia on January 26th, 1770.  It is evident that most Australians, including our Prime Minister, are probably not sure what we actually celebrate on the day James Cook landed and named the place New South Wales.

Despite the nation of Australia not being formed until January 1st 1901, and despite a ground-swell of public sentiment growing against January 26th, old-world-attached politicians seem to do a lot of muscle-flexing in an attempt to defend  it.  Echoes of the same-sex marriage debate perhaps.

As the Executive Director of an organisation that has walked with the “oppressed and dispossessed (and) concerned itself with the struggles of Aborigines”[1] since its origins in the 1950’s, I was pleased to realise the ground-swell growing even stronger this year.  On Australia Day I joined those reflecting with First Nations Peoples at their Sydney Rally and confirmed that we still have much for us all to reflect on about the meaning of January 26th for different Australians.

While I am tempted to say more, this topic has been well canvassed across Australian media by better analysts than I.  So, in Part 2 of my musings let me turn to what some recent reading has inspired me to think about improving how Palms might better walk with the communities into which we are invited to live and work.

[1] Fr Cyril Hally, Paulian Association – First 25 Years, 1956-81


Don’t miss Part Two of this report and remember if you want to suggest topics for a Director’s Report, email [email protected].