Daily News - Friday 23 May 2014
Billions in budget cuts may 'destroy' social safety net, ACOSS warns
Emma Griffiths, ABC
Australia's social safety net is at risk of being "destroyed" by billions of dollars worth of cuts in the federal budget, the nation's peak social services body says.
Budget will save vulnerable from bleaker future, Joe Hockey tells welfare sector
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has denied his budget was driving a wedge between rich and poor as new economic modelling revealed that the Coalition's savings measures have a higher impact on low and middle income earners than wealthier Australians.
Mr Hockey told the community and welfare sector that his budget would save vulnerable Australians from an even bleaker future.
... "Everyone is assuming we are malevolent, we have bad motives," he said.
"If we don't start living within our means the people who are the most vulnerable in the community will suffer the most."
Hockey's Post Budget Address to ACOSS
Unquestionably, there has been an expansion of the welfare system over the years and I gave a speech on the End of the Age of Entitlement two years ago and it was simply about making the point, the politicians have been as guilty as everyone else, in extending what is deemed to be welfare, higher and higher up the pay scale, and what it means is you can do it and you can afford it while you've got money coming in but then when the money doesn't come in, how do you pare it back?
PM rejects analysis showing poor worst hit
Tom Allard, Sydney Morning Herald
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the budget was ''striving to be fair'' as he criticised modelling showing the the poorest 20 per cent of families will be hit much harder than the wealthiest households, saying the assumptions behind it were devised by the opposition.
Budget could force young unemployed into Gloria roles - and worse
Mike Reddy, letters, Sydney Morning Herald
The Prime Minister apparently thinks that being forced to work on a sex hotline to supplement income is something to make light of but it is no laughing matter for grandmother Gloria ("Abbott's wink and smirk send cyberspace into a red-hot fury’’, May 22). She is not alone.
Under the government's changes to Newstart many poor unemployed people under 25 will have the choice of starving, begging, crime, or prostitution while they wait six months to be eligible for benefits. The families of many unemployed young adults are unwilling or unable to support them and don't have rich mates that will give their children a $60,000 scholarship.
Keep calm: the cuts are small, the pain shared ... and necessary
Judith Sloan, The Australian ($)
Everyone needs to calm down. This budget is not tough; arguably, it is too soft.
The explanation for the hostile reaction to — and misinformation about — the budget largely revolves around the slight reduction in entitlements to various groups, which are no longer sustainable given the fall in the terms of trade and our ongoing sluggish productivity performance.
... And while denying the Newstart Allowance to those younger than 30 for a period of six months may seem harsh, there will be various carve-outs.
Stop your complaints, says budget architect Tony Shepherd
Health Aston, Sydney Morning Herald
The man who helped provide the blueprint for Treasurer Joe Hockey's austere first budget has lashed out at ''narrow sectional interests'', including his ''good mate'' David Gonski, for the hostile community response.
Welfare whingers, look at NZ
Adam Creighton, The Australian ($)
Even after Joe Hockey’s tough budget, Australia’s welfare mountain will still dwarf anything across the Tasman.
... If the federal government overnight reduced welfare, health and education spending to New Zealand levels it would be rolling in a $40 billion budget surplus next year rather than wallowing in deficit until 2018 or even later.
Australians’ hysterical reaction to the Coalition’s first budget must bemuse New Zealanders, especially since Treasurer Bill English said last week that he would cut public spending as a share of gross domestic product by more than twice as much as the Abbott government has announced.
NZ - Budget Speech
Bill English, Finance Minister
The future cost to taxpayers of people who received welfare in 2012/13 will be $76 billion by the time they exit welfare or retire. About three-quarters of that cost is due to people who first received a benefit under the age of 20.
... The Government has a target of increasing participation in early childhood education so 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality ECE.
The Budget contains funding of $156 million over four years to help early childhood centres remain accessible and affordable, meet demand pressures and increase participation towards the 98 per cent target.
Finally, the Budget contains funding to help the most vulnerable young New Zealanders and protect them from abuse and neglect.
This includes funding to roll out eight more children’s teams around the country to identify and work with at-risk children and their families.
Green Army 'barmy': Greens
Colin Bettles, The Land
Greens agricultural spokesperson and Western Australian Senator Rachel Siewert says Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is trying to downplay big cuts to Landcare and natural resource management in last week’s budget, by spruiking the Green Army’s merits.
UK philanthropic leader and author Julia Unwin will meet with Federal and State MPs including Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews on issues around poverty and inequality during her visit to Australia this week.Julia-Unwin.jpg
Unwin will be meeting with Government MPs and groups including the Business Council of Australia, ACOSS and VCOSS to discuss the challenges of poverty and inequality from her experiences in the UK and will deliver a public lecture on the future of philanthropy.
Is there a recipie for social change?
What makes social change happen? What are the combination of forces that result in change? And what, if anything, can we do once we have identified them? Read Julia Unwin’s thought-provoking speech, delivered on 3 April 2014 at York St John University, UK: Is there a recipe for social change? The role of events, emotions and evidence in driving lasting social change.
UK - Why the social impact bond at Peterborough prison is being halted
Edward Lander and Stephen Cook, Third Sector
Two recent announcements by the government have reopened debate about social impact bonds, which are pioneering new ways to finance projects that tackle social problems: non-government investors are asked to fund the projects, usually run by charities or social enterprises, and are reimbursed and rewarded with a dividend if the project is successful.
US - ‘Social impact bonds are well-intended, but they bloat bureaucracies’
Cate Long, Reuters
When I first heard about “social impact bonds,” where private investors loan money to pay for social services and then are paid “success fees” for behavioral improvements, I thought they were overly complex and unnecessary. If social programs are not effective, just change them. It is inefficient to inject another layer of bureaucracy and oversight that social impact bonds seem to require.
On Being Vulnerable
I came across this New York Times piece by Michael Roth entitled Young Minds in Critical Condition and really enjoyed it.
... The cynical thrill of deconstruction is straight refutation. You’re not putting something out there, you’re not offering an alternative, and you’re not rendering yourself open to any kind of attack. In may ways straight refutation is an invulnerable position: because you’re not proposing anything, your commitments are never available to be damaged or questioned, because they just don’t exist. Your only commitments are non-commitments, a dedication to reduction, destruction, irony. In this way you can preserve your ego for a very long time, because there’s no avenue there through which you might be wounded. Thus we have very self-assured intellectuals out there who are able to preserve a pretty robust sense of self-importance purely by nature of never having proposed anything that could lead to critique.
The takeaway: believing in something makes you vulnerable.