Book Launch: “Of Labour and Liberty”

May 23, 2017

Of Labour and Liberty Book Launch

Event Information

Join us as Bishop Vincent Long, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta launches Race Mathew‘s new book, Of Labour and Liberty at the Whitlam Institute, in partnership with Monash University Publishing.

Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966 arises from the author’s half a century and more of political and public policy involvement. It’s a response to evidence of a precipitous decline in active citizenship, resulting from a loss of confidence in politics, politicians, parties and parliamentary democracy; the rise of ‘lying for hire’ lobbyism; increasing concentration of capital in the hands of a wealthy few; and corporate wrong-doing and criminality. It questions whether political democracy can survive indefinitely in the absence of economic democracy – of labour hiring capital rather than capital labour. It highlights the potential of the social teachings of the Catholic Church and the now largely forgotten Distributist political philosophy and program that originated from them as a means of bringing about a more equal, just and genuinely democratic social order. It describes and evaluates Australian attempts to give effect to Distributism, with special reference to Victoria. It documents as grounds for hope the support and advocacy of Pope Francis, and ownership by some 83,000 workers of the Mondragon co-operatives in Spain.

About the speakers

Race Mathews is a former Chief of Staff to Gough Whitlam, Federal MP, Victorian MP and Minister, Local Government Councillor, academic, speech therapist and primary teacher. He has held numerous positions in the Australian Labor Party and the co-operative and credit union movements and has written and spoken widely about their history, attributes, and activities. A major focus of his research has been the great complex of worker-owned co-operatives at Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain and its origins in the social teachings of the Catholic Church. He is married to writer Iola Mathews, and lives in Melbourne.

The Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta, was born in 1961 in Dong Nai in Vietnam. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, his family has been dispersed: his mother, a brother and a sister are in Melbourne, three brothers are in Holland, a sister remains in Vietnam, and Bishop Vincent is now in Parramatta. Bishop Vincent is the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese born bishop in Australia. He was Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Peace and for Social Services and was Chair of the Catholic Education Commission (Victoria). Nationally, he serves as the Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, Chair of Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and member of the Permanent Committee. In 2016, he was appointed the 4th Bishop of Parramatta in succession to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP following his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney in 2014.

Date and time

Fri. 16 June 2017

10:30 am – 12:00 pm AEST


Whitlam Institute, Female Orphan School

Conference Room 1, Building EZ, Western Sydney University

Cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere, NSW 2116

Free event, refreshments provided, but please register at:

The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University exists not simply to preserve the legacy of the Hon Gough Whitlam AC QC through the Prime Ministerial Collection, but to ensure that his legacy lives through our commitment to bold public policy and social reform and through our efforts to nurture an interest in and understanding of our democracy.

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