The concept of Social Justice is used in contexts where people understand it to be about fairness beyond individual justice. For some it is a hang over from 1970s and they question its value in the 21st century. Others are calling for a greater emphasis on social justice to make systemic and structural changes to improve equality and make Social Justice both a political and social core value. Either view has its own tensions.
Universal concepts of justice were developed by all major religions who emphasise the importance of sharing, treating others as we would like to be treated, and not profiting at the expense of the disadvantaged (greed). Religious leaders were to behave in a manner that was fair and just to. Sadly many such institutions have fallen short of these ideals and not practiced as they have preached. A case in point are the crimes of child sexual abuse within institutions that were to have provided care and support to children in vulnerable circumstances.
In 2013 the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, requested a Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The children who were in the care or under the supervision of adults and were violated by these adults may now have recourse to have the criminal offences committed against them acknowledged. While acknowledgement alone won’t ever heal the emotional and psychological woundings, that the victims should have their voices heard, albeit decades too late, is only fair and just.
Australians like to think ours is a country where everyone gets a fair go. In 2006 a survey indicated that 91% of Australians believed that a ‘fair go’ was an important part of the Australian culture. Interestingly however, 45% felt our society was not becoming fairer in which to live. They cited the increasing gap between the poor and rich as one of the major indicators of a lack of fairness in resource distribution … you can read more here.
Fair. What is fair? What is your idea of fair? Do you feel you live in a fair society?