Faith in action: concrete wins for the common good

A night of power, passion and democratic participation with commitments to end 'no-grounds' evictions
Sydney Alliance Assembly


On Tuesday evening, 28 February 2023, almost 1,000 people packed-out the Morley Centre in Westmead for a pre-election Assembly with NSW Treasurer Matt Kean (LP), Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey (ALP) and Greens MP Jenny Leong.  

With the NSW State Election taking place on Saturday 25 March, the Sydney Alliance brought together representatives from over 45 member organisations including religious organisations, community groups, unions, social services and schools to raise critical issues faced by residents in Western Sydney. The Diocese of Parramatta is a founding member of the Sydney Alliance, led by our MET – Peace, Justice, Ecology Team. 

The goal of Sydney Alliance is to advance the common good and achieve a fair, just and sustainable city. The pre-election Assembly had clear goals from the outset – the event was not a debate, or a forum. It was an Assembly to obtain commitment from the politicians on seven key issues: 

  • Increase the supply of social and affordable housing  
  • Mandate social and affordable housing targets for all new developments on public land 
  • Transition to renewable energy for moderate and low-income renters and landowners 
  • Climate-proof rentals 
  • Increase rental rights including ending ‘no grounds’ evictions 
  • Issues facing temporary migrants  
  • Continue to meet and discuss  

The Assembly was loud, colourful, passionate and respectful. The event opened with local Vietnamese Lion Dancers and drummers leading a procession of all speakers, politicians and representatives from the 45 Alliance partners. Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv led the delegation from the Diocese of Parramatta and opened the proceedings.  

“This event is an opportunity for us to dialogue with our political leaders and find a way forward in terms of critical issues like affordable housing, fair rents, cost of living and sustainable development before the NSW Election,” he said.  

“The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta wishes for our part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good. We do so through our social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, reaching out to all, especially those most in need. As people of faith and as people of good will, let us all join hands in partnership as we work for a better Australia and a better city that will be a great legacy to future generations.” 

Before the politicians were given the podium, there were short speeches from different member groups and testimonies from seven Sydneysiders telling their stories about climate and energy issues and housing stress. There was also a short interlude by the Auburn Uniting Choir.  

Over the course of the evening, the politicians were asked for commitment on the seven priority areas. There was unequivocal support from both Labor and Liberal regarding social housing, agreement to meet within the first 100 days to discuss issues facing temporary migrants and to meet with the Sydney Alliance again.  

Whilst it wasn’t delivered on the night, one impact of the Assembly was that by the end of the week the NSW Liberals agreed to ban ‘no grounds’ evictions creating bi-partisan support for this initiative. 

As the largest gathering of the Sydney Alliance in Western Sydney yet, the event was “a night of power, passion and democratic participation. Ending no-grounds eviction is going to help hundreds of thousands of Western Sydney Families,” according to Lead Organiser David Barrow.  

“The Sydney Alliance Assembly was an amazing showcase of solidarity and unity in working for the common good across diverse organisations and backgrounds,” said Sebastian Salaske-Lentern, Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator.  

“I would like to acknowledge and thank all involved. A special thank you goes out to staff and students from some of our Catholic Schools, especially from Catherine McAuley and Parramatta Marist in Westmead, who generously shared the Morley Centre with us for the night. I feel that the event was a positive experience of faith in action for all,” he said.  

To find out more about the Sydney Alliance, please visit:  

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