Father Chris Riley: Our Governments Not Acting in Our Best Interests

I continue to listen to the rhetoric of governments and can’t stay quiet anymore.  I believe governments are elected to take care of our nation and its people but current governments are not upholding this care. Our governments are full of self-promoting, self-centred, self-absorbed, faux celebrities who want nothing more than to be seen lending a helping hand when in actuality are working in purely their own best interests.

I find myself appalled at politicians’ behaviour at Question Time  and deem it an insult to the people they are elected to represent. The self-centred talk about things that don’t promote value for the community, focus on who can talk the loudest and show downright rudeness without actually addressing any problems. I would never let my HSC students watch Question Time as I would never tolerate arrogance and self-absorption demonstrated by our elected members.

We have a government who will not act in the best interests of our people unless they can publicly, again and again, show how caring and generous they are. It’s not generosity when you get more out of it.  Our government has come to only thinking about the community only when asked to by celebrities and only responding when it appeases their calls. When the defining factor in finding funds is for Rhianna to tweet about it, we need to reconsider who we have in charge of our policies. But it isn’t the issue of self-absorption that I am most livid about, the sheer misuse of money by our state and federal governments astounds me.

I can understand the need for new infrastructure but I don’t understand $2.5 billion dollar being spent on tearing down two working stadiums only to build two more.  At this cost, how does this help anyone but those in charge of construction?

My organisation, Youth Off The Streets will survive without increased government funding.  Last year we opened two new schools for disadvantaged young people, one on the central coast of New South Wales, and another in South East Sydney.  I pledged an extra $500 000 towards preventing domestic violence in our communities and with the help of Lindsay Fox I decked out a semi-trailer to make youth services more accessible in rural areas. I will continue to expand in this coming year, just recently we opened our first outreach in Melbourne to combat what the government is calling “gang violence”.

I want our government to take positive action. Step into to lives of the people I work with, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable, see what their everyday life is.  Feel their struggles – as I do – understand the disconnects we have in our communities, and try to fix them.

I have worked with politicians for countless years and although there are many politicians that continue to astonish me with their blatant self-investment it is important to note that there are numerous others who do great work in our communities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hold our politicians accountable for their poor behaviour.

Yours Faithfully,

Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets

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