The Federal Court has ordered Telstra to pay a penalty of $50 million plus costs for its treatment of Indigenous customers in rural and remote parts of Australia.

O’Sullivan Centre Board Member, Peter Gartlan working with the Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), which submitted nearly 100 cases from remote parts of Australia to the ACCC, said:

“The decision sends a clear message to the telco industry that mis-selling practices will not be tolerated”

“This conduct should have never happened in the first place.”

Peter worked for 2 years to bring this case to court. “Getting the cases to court involved a “monumental effort” by financial counsellors who worked with Aboriginal people in remote parts of Australia”.

“To the extent this conduct was systemic and so broad … this is the first time we’ve seen such conduct on such a huge scale,” he said.

“And that is why this fine is so important.”

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The following article is by John Bonnice, Chair of the O’Sullivan Centre Board. John is also Co-Chair of the Bendigo Reconciliation Committee and is a facilitator of forums on organisational white privilege, cultural self-reflection sessions and Conversation Circles

During Reconciliation Week in May 2018, the Bendigo Reconciliation Committee organised a range of Conversation Circles with the focus on creating dialogue between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal around issues of mutual concern.

One of the Conversation Circles centred on exploring what it means for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and agencies to work in partnership. In exploring the issue of partnership, it quickly emerged from the feedback of Aboriginal people present in the Conversation Circle that a key barrier to true partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people/agencies was the failure of mainstream organisations to recognise and address the impact of organisational white privilege that exists in mainstream organisations. (more…)

During the past three years 10 young people from Timor-Leste have travelled to South Australia to speak with young people in three Secondary Catholic Schools in Adelaide.  Perhaps the most significant aspect of this project was that young people in Adelaide heard face-to-face about the lives of the young people in Timor-Leste. Elga explained that the malnutrition experienced by her own family members in rural parts of the country has driven her to study nutrition at university and to seek to solve the problem of malnutrition.  Alberto told us he felt lucky that he lived because two of his siblings died from starvation during the Indonesian occupation. Timor is our nearest neighbour after Papua New Guinea but many Australian secondary students are unaware of its realities. Hearing the stories of young people from a nearby but vastly different country can inspire them to bring their own gifts and capacity to contribute to change in their world.  They can think about the need for Australia to be a generous country and assist our neighbours to overcome the poverty and malnutrition that they face.  The personal stories of young Timorese can be a very powerful way for them to learn how to think differently about their world.  (more…)

The O’Sullivan Centre was invited to deliver a workshop at the recent Financial Counselling Australia national conference held in Hobart in May 2018. The conference organisers were seeking a workshop that focused on work preparation and the role that financial counsellors could play in supporting employment outcomes for the people they supported.

In the Conference program the workshop was titled: Work Readiness and was described in the following manner:
It is often said that work is the key pathway out of poverty. What is our role (as financial counsellors) in having conversations with our clients about this? Learn some additional skills and tips that will support clients to see the possibilities 




When Alberto goes home to visit his family in a remote part of Timor-Leste his family kills a chicken to celebrate with him. During his childhood his family did not have sufficient food to eat and his two younger siblings died. With assistance from Alberto’s grandparents, his father started a garden, and eventually after the Indonesian Army left Timor-Leste in 1999 after the vote for Independence the family started raising animals and growing coffee, corn and beans that they could eat and sell for their income.




The O’Sullivan Centre is deeply saddened at the death of Denis Sheehan, our friend and colleague over many years. Denis was Chaplain to the Melbourne and Australian Young Christian Workers Movement in the 1980s and 1990s and worked with the O’Sullivan Centre in his later years. He was a gentle and encouraging man who inspired and was inspired by young people.

Denis was involved in the O‘Sullivan Centre for many years both as a board member and as was the inaugural project worker employed at the O‘Sullivan Centre project worker for the past few years.

The O‘Sullivan Centre was started in 1999 in honor of Fr Hugh O’Sullivan who worked for many years as a chaplain to the YCW at a local, national and international level. The Centre is made of ex-YCW people with the aim of building responses to injustice and promoting economic participation as a critical means to social inclusion. Over the past few years the Centre has been focused on delivering social inclusion workshops for community service workers with the aim of building social inclusion practice within the day to work of supports workers. The Centre has also focused on supporting the work of 2 Board members based in East Timor who are building and supporting the development of a local youth organisation. (more…)

John Bonnice, spoke at the Cardijn Symposium in Melbourne in mid-2017 about the influence that Hugh O’Sullivan had on the lives of so many. He spoke about the application of the way Hugh worked to our current work in Community Services.

May 18, 2017 marked 20 years since the passing of Hugh O’Sullivan, our dear friend and colleague. To celebrate Hugh’s life and to commemorate his anniversary, The O’Sullivan Centre invited people who knew and worked with Hugh to put pen to paper and write down their memories and stories of Hugh.


Two young women from Timor-Leste travelled to Adelaide to share their experience with students from St Aloysius College earlier this year. Students at the secondary college learnt about various religious, cultural, educational, social, economic and personal aspects of the lives of Leonisia Guterres Belo (Monik) and Safira Esperance da Cruz Cavalho.

Monik and Safira also visited other people and projects that are related to JDN’s priorities, including a SA Health Service that supports young mothers to complete their secondary education, Adelaide and Flinders Universities, student accommodation options.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide Charitable Trust granted funding for this project, which provides a very important opportunity for Timorese young people to learn about the experience of Australian secondary students and improve their English language skills.  In 2018, two young women and two young men will be selected to participate in this opportunity.


By Judy O’Sullivan

The Relationship Violence No Way Programme is an ongoing service funded and run by the South Australian Health Department through Southern Primary Health Marion Youth. I work as the coordinator for this programme which employs 20 young people on a casual basis to develop and deliver workshops in local high schools on Relationship Violence Prevention, Challenging Rape and Safe Partying and Friendship and Bullying Issues. (more…)

PO Box 3046, Ivanhoe North, Vic 3079

The O’Sullivan Centre seeks donations and funding to develop resources that enhance the social and economic participation of people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. In Timor-Leste we support health, employment and community education projects that are initiated by young people aged 18-24 through their new organisation Juventude ba Dezenvolvimentu Nasional (JDN). One-off donations as well as monthly contributions can be made using PayPal