Charter for Compassion in Australian Parliament
On 24th June 2010, the Australian Government became the first national government to formally adopt the Charter for Compassion. The Charter is an initiative by religious historian Karen Armstrong, which aims to place compassion back at the heart of religious and public life.
Australia’s leading politicians signed the Charter, and a plaque with the Charter’s text was accepted by Senator Ursula Stevens and a welcome to country by Ngunnawal Elder Agnes Shea. Bhante Sujato lead the group in a meditation on compassion.
The emotion of the event was palpable, and was heightened by the fact that, as the meeting was progressing, we were losing a Prime Minister in extraordinary circumstances and gaining Australia’s first female Prime Minister. The atmosphere at parliament was electric, with hundreds of visitors pouring in. We could see first hand the pain and struggle of the politicians as they kept about their civic duty under tremendous stress.
The ASA hopes that the everyday reminder of the Charter for Compassion will bring a little more kindness and gratitude into those halls of power.