by Dr. Robbie Lloyd

Australia’s good fortune during COVID has been helped by three key factors, which can keep informing us as we “Come Through COVID.”

We live on an island continent and could therefore more easily separate ourselves from sources of infection. But isolation is not a permanent answer, and we need to plan for re-entering the world in ways that strengthen our cross border relationships, whether between States and Territories or with other nations.

We also “followed the science” on how to protect our people, which was underlined every time contact tracing and infection controls were messed up.

Plus we set up a system of financial support for most people, even though refugees, temporary visa holders, overseas students and arts workers were left completely in the lurch.

Now as we face the “exit” phase of coming through COVID, with vaccines on the way and reduction or removal of financial support, we need to consider how we can best care for each other effectively.

Catholic Social Teaching has many clues to help show us some options to consider:

But the dominant message clearly shown during the last year is that politicians listen when the public show they care enough to hold them to account. If issues come up and people speak out, those “in charge” take steps to listen. If we remain silent, things run according to the vested interests in the ears (and pockets) of those in power.

So one way of coming through COVID effectively is to get your community organised to know what you want to see change in this emerging new era.

At the Justice and Peace Office we use the maxim of the “the 4As” to guide us – Action, Advocacy, Assembly and Affirming the Faith. We don’t just talk, we act. We bring people together, and we remember what Jesus’ teachings show us about how to care actively for each other.

Every community is different, and you will know best what’s needed. If you get together and design your coming through COVID exit plan, there will be opportunities to get together and share energising new ways of being in community together. And if you are unsure and want help, please contact the JPO for ideas about how to explore your options. 

Dr. Robbie Lloyd is a Research and Project Officer at the Justice and Peace Office.