Daily News - Friday 15 August 2014
The perfect storm: alcohol, drugs, and depression
Katherine Mills, Frances Kay-Lambkin and Maree Teesson, The Conversation
More than seven million Australians will experience depression, anxiety, or alcohol or drug dependence during their lifetime. Over three million will experience at least one of these disorders within any given year, and one in four will experience multiple disorders.
Depression and alcohol dependence are among the most common ones to co-occur. Anxiety and nicotine dependence also often co-occur with depression and alcohol dependence. Unsurprisingly, the more disorders a person experiences, the greater their risk of suicide.
Stricken model and student Eleanor Butcher urges open mind on depression
Natasha Boddy, The Canberra Times
Eleanor Butcher knows just how dark and lonely depression and anxiety can feel.
But the model and university student believes it is something no one should think they have endure on their own.
The 22-year-old from Narrabundah spent several weeks in hospital being treated for anxiety and depression, which she has battled for about six years.
Robin Williams headlines make my work as a suicide researcher seem futile
Sharon Mallon, The Conversation
It is notoriously difficult to predict times of increased suicide risk because the variables are so great. However, there is strong evidence of a link between insensitive media reporting of suicide and increases in the suicide rate.
To say the reporting has disappointed many of us who work in suicide research is an understatement. From a researcher’s perspective, the solution is quite simple: don’t report on the methods or reasons for suicide in a simplistic way. Yet some of the headlines I read yesterday suggested the suicide research we produce is absolutely futile.
Please, spare us the details about celebrity suicides
Lauren Rosewarne, The Drum
The simple knowledge that a famous person killed themselves will spark essential conversations about mental health, but reporting the grisly details doesn't help anyone, writes Lauren Rosewarne.
NSW To Review Homelessness Reform Agenda
Pro Bono News
Homelessness NSW has welcomed a NSW Government decision to review its controversial reforms to the State’s homelessness services.
The review will be overseen by the NSW Ombudsman into the NSW Government’s reform of Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS), called Going Home Staying Home. At the time the Government said the reforms would make services easier to access and help tackle the causes of repeat homelessness.
Re-Engineering to be Market Ready for NDIS
Anne Bryce, Pro Bono News
As Australia continues towards rolling out the NDIS - a truly global initiative - much has been said about the paradigm shift that will revolutionise the disability marketplace.
Such a shift will turn people with disability from welfare hand-out recipients to consumers with real choice, forcing disability providers to open their doors to a new way of doing things after years of block funding issued by government direct to service providers.
As our voluntary sector vanishes, we mustn’t just wave it goodbye
Paul Smyth, the Conversation
Some community welfare sector commentators point to a new order for welfare where the private sector practises social responsibility, states seek to be more entrepreneurial and voluntary community organisations become more business-like.
In this new world, it is said, it makes no sense to single out one sector as the “community” sector. Rather we should look for a “community” distributed across ensembles of hybrid agencies.
Kevin Andrews sweats it out for a charity that is not happy with government's plans for welfare
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is sweating it out in regional New South Wales raising money for Carers Australia in the annual Pollie Pedal bike ride.
But while Carers Australia will be the ''chief beneficiary'' of the charity event, gaining $750,00, it has not stopped the organisation panning Mr Andrews' controversial budget plans.
In its submission to a Senate committee examining the social services budget measures, Carers Australia have warned that policies such as reviews for Disability Support Pension recipients, the lowering of pension indexation and the six-month wait for the dole, ''do not seem to take adequate account of the great economic and psychological hardship which will be imposed on the poorest Australians''.
Premier Jay Weatherill supports Andrew Forrest’s welfare reforms
Sarah Martin, The Australian ($)
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill will support Andrew Forrest’s cashless welfare system and join the mining magnate’s radical push to end “the blight of disparity” between black and white Australians.
The Labor Premier said yesterday that his cabinet had this week resolved to offer the “broadest possible support” to all 27 recommendations in Mr Forrest’s blueprint for welfare reform.
Forrest report the way to go
Dick Smith, The Australian ($)
Andrew Forrest’s report on Australia’s indigenous policies is a disturbing document. The scale of our collective failure is laid bare in all its awful detail. Billions of dollars have failed to deliver anything close to acceptable levels of Aboriginal health, education or employment.
The report paints a picture of a society being strangled by welfare dependency. Andrew Forrest has said the conditions young indigenous Australians face is a crime. I would go further — in remote communities we are silent witnesses to a slow genocide.
Tougher work test on childcare payment recipients to save $400m
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
A tough new test that would ban parents from receiving childcare subsidies if they were not working or studying would save up to $400 million a year.
The Productivity Commission’s interim draft report on overhauling the childcare system called for both parents to work or study for at least 24 hours a fortnight to qualify for government subsidies.
Save the Children also works closer to home for Australians and it's detailed what it says is the "systematic violation" of the human rights of asylum seeker children that Australia has sent to Nauru.
Anonymous Save the Children workers on Nauru have detailed their experiences in a submission to the Human Rights Commission's national inquiry into the immigration detention of children.
Transport poverty a real and significant problem
VCOSS, media release
People on low incomes living on Melbourne’s urban fringe and in regional areas are more reliant upon cars, have higher travel costs and are at significantly higher risk of ‘transport poverty’ than people in more affluent inner-city suburbs, says the Victorian Council of Social Service.
“Contrary to the views of Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, the evidence shows that people on low incomes who live in our booming outer suburbs and regional growth areas are paying more for their transport costs and travelling further than people who live in wealthier inner suburban areas,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.
Tax inner suburbs to service the outer
Jago Dodson, The Age
As Melbourne expands, one thing remains the same. Social disadvantage remains persistently concentrated in the outer suburbs.
The lack of access to services and jobs for people living in the outer suburbs contrasts with that found by those in the established inner areas, where public transport, community services and jobs are more readily found.
Joe Hockey row: no money for food, but Frankston family's car is a lifeline
Beau Donelly, The Age
Stephanie Lylak heard Joe Hockey’s suggestion that poor people do not own cars, or at least do not drive them very far, before she ferried her two eldest children to primary school in the family's 16-year-old Commodore.
The single mother from Frankston followed the reaction as she dropped her toddler off with her mother, who provides the childcare she cannot afford.
Joe Hockey's poor-people-don't-drive claim has managed to remove some of his more contentious budget measures from the spotlight for a day.
Victorian senator Ricky Muir challenged Joe Hockey's comments about the impact of extra fuel tax on poor people, saying not everyone in rural areas can "hop on cows and ride into town".
I’m a bit late joining the pile-on to Joe Hockey for his silly claim that poor people won’t be hit by fuel excise because they don’t drive (or not as much). Obviously, that’s true of just about every tax you can think of: poor people, earn less, spend less and therefore pay less tax. The big question, as the Australia Institute and others have pointed out, is how much people pay as a proportion of income. Food and fuel represent a larger than average share of spending for low-income households, so taxes on these items are more regressive than broad-based consumption taxes like the GST which in turn are regressive compared to income tax.
Petrol fuels hard slog for working families
John Black, The Australian ($)
The arguments by Joe Hockey and his Labor counterpart Chris Bowen about whether fuel taxes are progressive or fair misses the central point: swinging voters in marginal seats use more petrol to drive themselves to their second family job.
It is this second job that mainly determines whether a family is rich or poor. It also determines who wins elections. Our profiles of the 2013 election showed the biggest swings to the Coalition were in electorates dominated by part-time working women who overwhelmingly drove to work in their own car.
Inequality: an old concern given new prominence
Frank Stilwell, The Drum
The federal budget has provoked widespread opposition and the government's efforts to sell it have been failing. The Treasurer's comments about poor people not driving cars are further evidence of the disconnect between ordinary Australians and its leadership on many of the proposals.
The predictable concerns of those most directly affected by the austerity measures that Joe Hockey announced have been swelled by expressions of broad social concern with the unfairness of it all. Even people who emerge relatively unscathed from the tax and spending changes seem to sense that it runs counter to traditional Australian concerns with equity and social cohesion: the 'fair go'.
World Congress of Families conference firebrand figures
Lauren Wilson, News Corp Australia
Firebrand figures with extremist views about abortion laws, women’s rights and the family unit are controversially backing a families’ forum that three federal politicians are supporting. The World Congress of Families conference, which will be opened by federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, and is being publicly endorsed by conservative Coalition MPs Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi, has already sparked headlines for featuring the research of United-States based doctor Angela Lanfranchi, who links breast cancer to abortion.
This pope means business
Shawn Tully, Fortune
Francis declared that sound financial management was a pillar of his greatest mission: aiding the poor and underprivileged. That mission was endangered by volatile, unpredictable budgets that careened from modest surpluses to steep deficits. The Vatican’s inept practices had inhibited giving, he explained, and had to stop. “When the administration is fat, it’s unhealthy,” he said. Francis wanted a leaner, more efficient Vatican administration that would be solidly “self-sustaining.” That, he said, would free up more money for his charities. “You are the experts,” the pope said, “and I trust you. Now I want solutions to these problems, and I want them as soon as possible.” With that, Francis left the group to figure out the details.