Daily News - Friday 26 September 2014
Forrest's bold plan for indigenous Australians
Last October, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, commissioned a report from Andrew Forrest, one of Australia’s leading business leaders with an unrivalled record of working for the advancement of indigenous Australians, to prepare a report on how governments and business in Australia could create sustainable employment opportunities, to help end the chronic disadvantage which Australian Aborigines experience.
Like many government inquiries, this one went beyond the narrow terms of reference to examine the causes of indigenous disadvantage, and to make major recommendations for the future.
Abbott's team flying high on indigenous wings, says Minister
Noel Towell, The Canberra Times
Morale is at an "all-time high" among the public servants working in indigenous affairs for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, according to the federal government.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion told Parliament on Tuesday that PM&C bureaucrats were "delighted" at the direction of their department since its takeover of indigenous affairs late last year.
Senator Scullion brushed off Labor questions about the PM&C in Senate question time on Tuesday, telling the Chamber that indigenous Australians were thanking the government and the Prime Minister for the work they were doing.
Report Calls for Restoration of Homeless Funding
Pro Bono News
A Victorian housing and homelessness agency has called on the State Government to restore funding to a housing support program in the wake of a new financial report.
Chief Executive Officer of HomeGround Services, Heather Holst said funding should be restored to the Victorian Social Housing Advocacy Support Program (SHASP) after a report found 78 per cent of public housing tenants supported by the program avoided eviction and 73 per cent engaged in repaying rent debts.
New Book Shines Light on Homelessness
Pro Bono News
The creators of a new book exploring homelessness in Australia claim it will re-define how society thinks about what is often an overlooked issue.
The book, Homelessness in Australia: An introduction, was edited by Chris Chamberlain, Guy Johnson and Catherine Robinson and launched by the Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Jan McLucas at a National Conference for Homelessness in the Gold Coast earlier this month.
The Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), who instigated the development of the book, said that the text is the first of its kind in providing an introduction to homelessness.
Parent training in parole plan
Amanda Banks, The West Australian
Parents could be required to take part in programs to help them provide better homes as a condition of their child's release from detention under a plan by the head of the juvenile parole board.
Former Supreme Court justice Michael Murray proposed the approach in a bid to ease the difficulty of being unable to find a safe and supportive home environment for young offenders due to be released from detention.
Joined-up government: does it connect the policy dots?
David Donaldson, The Mandarin
We often hear of evidence-based approaches to policy, but what about implementation? Experiments in joined-up government — often referred to as a “whole-of-government” approach — have revealed serious barriers, but some worry these lessons are not being heeded.
Governments need to resist the temptation to keep setting up program structures with intuitive appeal but little evidentiary basis, says Gemma Carey, research fellow at the ANU’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment and co-leader of social policy forum Power to Persuade.
The big problem with government campaigns against public service red tape
Jack Waterford, The Canberra Times
The good old Abbott Government has a multi-pronged program to reduce the cost and burden of government on citizens, to reduce waste and, in particular, to reduce duplication, overlap, redundancy and fragmentation of government services in the Australian federation. Each of these abstract terms has a negative connotation, and few politicians, on either side of politics, to defend it. But has anyone ever proved that a range of choices, and at different levels of government, makes the provision of effective or frugal government more difficult, or the results more efficient?
Why we should consider ourselves a nation first, a federation second
John Hewson, The Conversation
Clearly, the White Paper review of our Federation should attempt, once and for all, to determine which level of government is responsible for what, in terms of both policy development, and service delivery.
Then, to decide the most effective way to finance this structure, obviously linking with the Abbott Government’s Tax review, which needs to focus on both State and National tax structures, actual and potential.
Treament ills as doctors battle depression
Kathy Evans, The Canberra Times
As a nervous fourth-year student doctor, Talia Steed surveyed the patient on the medical ward lying in front of her and was consumed by a creeping sense of panic.
Any minute now, she realised, the spotlight would turn on her, and she would be asked for her professional opinion. Introverted and shy by nature, she was gripped by a wave of performance anxiety. There were some consultants, she had discovered, who could sniff out her fear and make a meal of it. The process of annihilation had begun.
This was her first experience of life on the ward, and it set the blueprint for much of her medical training.
Disability simulations should be left in the 90s
Stella Young, The Drum
Another day, another awareness campaign. From pink water bottles for breast cancer, to dumping a bucket of ice water on your head for neuromuscular conditions, it seems we're bombarded by requests to be "aware" of one thing or another.
September alone has seen such calendar entries as World Stay in Bed Day, World Physiotherapy Day, White Balloon Day, Headache and Migraine Week, Canberra's Big Red Kidney Walk, and numerous other events.
Political activism not yet on life support
John Warhurst, The Canberra Times
Political activism, in the sense of community activism rather than insider political lobbying, is somewhat out of favour at the moment. There is a sense in which many of the political causes dear to the hearts of such activists are neglected or opposed by governments in Australia. That certainly applies to action on climate change because the federal government has taken government policy in a completely different direction.
... Democracy needs people like George Browning and his friend, the former Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra, Pat Power. But they and their fellow activists are in a minority. Surveys demonstrate that the majority of citizens are not activists but passive members of the political community. Activism is not only not for everyone, it is not even for the majority.
TPVs: human rights used as bargaining chips
Graeme McGregor, The Drum
If the Government's announcement of temporary protection visas sounds familiar, it's because they are a relic of Australia's past abuses of refugees' rights, writes Graeme McGregor.
An alliance of leading children’s, international aid, human rights and refugee organisations from Australia and the Asia-Pacific have condemned a deal brokered by the Federal Government to relocate refugee families to Cambodia.
Former Chief Justice of the Family Court, the Hon. Alastair Nicholson, speaking on behalf of the alliance said UNICEF Australia, Save the Children, Plan International Australia, World Vision, Amnesty International, Refugee Council of Australia, International Detention Coalition and Children’s Rights International, had grave concerns for the welfare of children and their families under the deal and had met in Sydney earlier this month to formalise a commitment for regional co-operation and the protection and welfare of asylum seekers.
“Dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus is 'the evangeliser par excellence and the Gospel in person'. His solicitude, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalised, invites all of us to care for the frailest and to recognise his suffering countenance, especially in the victims of new forms of poverty and slavery. The Lord says: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me'. The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to love Jesus Christ, to adore and love him, particularly in the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: Church without frontiers, Mother to all.
Reach out to the Muslim community, we’re all Aussies together
Denis Hart, The Australian ($)
Brutal attacks by the forces of Islamic State on Christian, Yazidi, Muslim and other religious and ethnic minorities in northern Iraq continue to be a deep concern. We can feel so remote from the conflict it is hard to know how to help. But we can act in our own country to promote peace.
A higher terrorism alert level, police raids on terror suspects, the deployment of Australian military forces, Islamic State urging attacks in Australia and a tragic fatality in Melbourne have led to increased tensions in the community. There have been reports over the past fortnight of abuse and threats directed at both Muslims and Christians.
The challenge for Australians is how we relate to each other on a personal level. Do we replicate the divisions and threats seen overseas, or do we respond differently?