Daily News - Monday 1 December 2014
The largest annual youth survey in Australia has revealed that a successful career is the top priority for young people but many believe they will not meet that goal.
Nearly 14,000 young people aged 15 to 19 responded to the youth survey by service organisation Mission Australia.
Conservative Zealotry and the Child Protection Debate
Philip Mendes, ABC Religion & Ethics
Child abuse and child protection have always been a highly contested area of policy and practice.
Historically, views have ranged from structuralists on the radical Left who view child abuse and neglect as closely linked to broader social disadvantage, to behaviouralists on the conservative Right who attribute child abuse solely to individual pathology. The former view generally holds that the provision of concrete support services - such as housing, food and payment of bills to relieve the immediate stresses of poverty - will directly prevent harm to children. The latter view suggests that individuals need treatment and/or punishment to prevent them further abusing their children. Far less attention is paid to prevention or support services.
A foster carer has broken down in tears while giving evidence to a South Australian parliamentary inquiry into the work of government welfare agency Families SA.
Jo Jarvis, from the group Connecting Foster Carers, cried as she alleged there was a lack of respect and support for foster and kinship carers and that poor decisions had sometimes been taken by inexperienced staff.
NDIS a good idea, but it’s a shame it doesn’t exist
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
Australians, particularly people in the disability community, should be angry.
They have been sold a solution to decades of woeful support, a solution that does not yet exist.
From a distance, the national disability insurance scheme is the very model of good public policy: a huge reform designed to overhaul the delivery of disability support to 460,000 people who languished in a patchy, underfunded sector.
The problem with grand ideas is they rarely live up to the hype. Dragging the Platonic form of the NDIS from the ether and into reality was always going to result in something less than perfect.
Actuary finds $6bn hole in annual NDIS costings
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
The nation’s flagship disability insurance scheme has an unfunded, annual $6 billion hole in its design, because the former federal Labor government did not fully model the cost of people growing old within it.
The scheme, spruiked as a $22bn program at its peak, will instead cost $28bn due to its beneficiaries ageing past 65 — and the gap will need to be made up by raiding other parts of the budget.
The NDIS full quid a matter of timing and luck
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
When polio survivor Gary Newton eventually signed up for the National Disability Insurance Scheme a staff member gave him some simple advice: get in quick — tell us what you need now.
The 62-year-old knew all about it: the cut-off for the NDIS is 65, and those who miss are relegated to the poorer aged-care system forevermore.
Secret Fair Work talks on NDIS ‘workplace’ reform
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
Unions and employers are in secret talks with the Fair Work Commission about controversial changes to workplace laws considered vital to give the National Disability Insurance Scheme the flexibility it needs to survive.
National Disability Services, representing employers in the sector, and the Australian Services Union are locked in preliminary discussions about reforming the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services award, which could involve changes to penalty rate formulas and minimum shifts.
... Those covered by the NDIS are given direct control of the money they are provided for disability support, directly hiring their own staff for one-on-one care in their own home and effectively becoming employers.
Problems arise if people are funded for only an hour of support per day while minimum shift provisions in the award require casuals to work more hours than this. The NDIS also has different definitions of what constitutes a day shift and when a night shift begins. “The union is in a difficult position because it knows the NDIS needs more room to move, but changing the award for low-paid employees is absolutely anathema to them,” the source said.
An auditor general's report says the Hunter is leading the way in terms of turnaround times in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Four states are participating in the NDIS, including New South Wales where the Hunter is a trial site.
It is expected about 10,000 people will benefit from the rollout of the NDIS in the Hunter.
Caring for my mother in the grip of her Alzheimer’s is an ordinary act of love
Alex Andreou, The Guardian
If you had told me five years ago that I would have to change my mother’s diaper, I would have hyperventilated at the mere thought. The reality of doing it, when it became necessary, was actually surprisingly straightforward. The same applies to most aspects of caring for a loved one. The things that seemed impossible in theory are made possible by love. It is as if a limitless battery of affection has been charged by 40 years of her looking out for me; and now that the reverse is needed, a splendidly efficient autopilot system has engaged.
Poverty, homelessness painful evidence for inequality in Canberra
Frank Brassil, The Canberra Times
The St Vincent de Paul Society last year spent $1.2 million in direct emergency relief in the Canberra / Goulburn region, 60 per cent of that in the ACT. Most of that was raised through direct appeals to the community. This is only one dimension of the services we provide, but it shows a significant level of need in our community.
Women's clinic stops homeless cycle before it starts
Miki Perkins, The Age
Meg and her family first saw the eerie red glow through the lounge room curtains. It grew brighter and brighter, and her heart dropped into her stomach.
Outside in the quiet suburban street stood her volatile ex-partner, an incandescent flare in his hand.
He hurled it towards the house, in Melbourne's outer western suburbs, and followed it with a volley of home-made petrol bombs.
Support to end homelessness for indigenous
Marco Magasic, Byron Shire News
The Clarence River traditionally unites the three Aboriginal nations in the Clarence Valley through shared history and heritage, and Gurehlgam Corportation is now uniting the area to stand up and end indigenous homelessness.
Going Home Staying Home Aboriginal homelessness case worker David Monkland said the new service would ensure the homeless indigenous population was supported to achieve safe and stable housing in the community.
A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action
Geoff Aigner, New Matilda
It’s hard to argue with the Abbott government’s focus on education, employment and community safety. But I don’t know what difference we will make in any of these areas when we actually don’t know how to work and talk together.
We don’t have a problem with policy, spending or structure. We have a problem with our capability to work in relationship with people different to us
Social Justice and Native Title Report 2014
Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
At the beginning of this reporting period, we were in the midst of the 2013 federal election. During the campaign, then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott pledged to be the nation’s ‘Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs’. He intended to translate his long-standing concern for Australia’s First Peoples into action, placing Indigenous Affairs at the heart of the Coalition government’s agenda.
As this report was being prepared, the Coalition government took office, which provides an opportunity to reflect on its progress to date and on the challenges that lie ahead.
Why Joe Hockey's budget flopped so badly
Ross Gittins, The Canberra Times
The first and biggest reason the government is having to modify or abandon so many of its measures is the budget's blatant unfairness. In 40 years of budget-watching I've seen plenty of unfair budgets, but never one as bad as this.
Frankly, you need a mighty lot of unfairness before most people notice. But this one had it all. Make young people wait six months for the dole? Sure. Cut the indexation of the age pension? Sure. Charge people $7 to visit the doctor, and more if they get tests, regardless of how poor they are? Sure.
Economist Chris Richardson said "the budget is burning" through a combination of falling commodity prices, lower tax receipts, slow wage growth and political deadlock over savings measures.
"We have big deficits that are not going to go away unless 'political Australia' manages to reach some compromises around this," he said.
Abbott's nightmare could become permanent
Paul Sheehan, The Canberra Times
... somewhere between the government's understanding that the country faces the risk of drifting into the European malaise of unsustainable welfare spending, and the framing of the narrative about what needs to be done, the narrative was lost in translation.
Instead, the government has allowed another narrative to be framed – broken promises – pushed ruthlessly by the opposition and its surrogates, just as Abbott pushed ruthlessly on broken promises when he was leader of the opposition.
How will the Victorian election result affect Tony Abbott?
Daniel Hurst, The Guardian
The Coalition’s election defeat in Victoria has the potential to frustrate Tony Abbott’s agenda to reshape the federation and the tax system, while reigniting debate on the commonwealth’s transport funding priorities.
The prime minister has launched two white paper processes that could lead to major proposals to adjust federal-state government responsibilities and revenue sources, including possible changes to the goods and services tax (GST).
But the Coalition’s loss of one of the major east-coast states could complicate Abbott’s desire to reach broad consensus on such reforms.
Victorian upper house: Daniel Andrews faces a big headache
William Bowe, The Guardian
It seems beyond doubt that at least five micro-party members will take seats in the Legislative Council, where they will collectively hold the balance of power.
Nationals face upheaval in Victoria with likely loss of Shepparton
Oliver Milman, The Guardian
The Nationals are facing upheaval in Victoria, with the party set to lose its stronghold seat of Shepparton to an independent and the Coalition partnership with the Liberals set to be reviewed.
Local lawyer Suzanna Sheed is on course to wrest Shepparton from the Nationals, ending the party’s 47-year hold on the rural Victorian state seat, which lies north of Melbourne.
... “I think the people of Shepparton have come to see that being a safe seat has not served them well when compared with seats like Ballarat and Bendigo,” Sheed said, although she stopped short of claiming victory.
“There is a sense in this that people have seen the (federal Indi MP) Cathy McGowan phenomenon and see that an independent candidate can make a difference.
Harnessing the economy to the Good Society- a policy strategy for church and community activists 2015
Paul Smyth, The Power to Persuade
At the recent Social Policy Connections AGM I was asked to speak about the challenge social policy activists face in getting purchase on a social policy agenda monopolised for a couple of decades by a brand of economics generally hostile to social intervention. My takeaway message is that this monopoly is now broken. As Labor MP with responsibilities for social policy, Jenny Macklin said recently: ‘social policy is no longer the Poor Cousin’. It is time for church and community activists to come in from the cold.
... The first strategy is to build the narrative of the good society. In developing a political strategy any group has to think what can be its most useful contribution. In locating itself in this emerging contest between PaleoLiberalism and Inclusive Growth I think the churches have a huge vested interest in reimagining and reinventing their ideals of solidarity, fellowship and the Good Society as the basis for a new reordering of our economic and social priorities.
Francis rolls out ‘social gospel’ case for Catholic/Orthodox unity
John L Allen, Crux
Francis offered several motives for pursuing closer ties, yet conspicuously absent was the imperative most often cited by more conservative Catholics and Orthodox: Making a common stand against secularism, especially permissive sexual morality.
... Knowing that concerns about papal power have long been a stumbling block, Francis insisted that full communion “does not signify the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.”
He then ticked off three reasons why Orthodox and Catholics should come together: to defend the poor, to end war and heal conflicts, and to help young people to see past materialism and to embrace a “true humanism.”
Killing Religion an own goal for ABC managers
Michael Mullins, Eureka Street
During the week, ABC 730 NSW presenter and public broadcasting advocate Quentin Dempster referred to a ‘nincompoop’ in senior ABC management who was heard to comment on the need to get rid of the ‘strangle-hold of specialisation’.
... religion is a particular target of the ‘reshaping’, with a 40 per cent staff loss compared to 10 per cent in other RN program areas. At the time of writing, the only program to remain in its current form is Andrew West's Religion and Ethics Report, though it will suffer from the 70 per cent cut to resources for religious programs. There will be less depth in Rachael Kohn's The Spirit of Things, with its air time being reduced, and the ABC’s longest running radio program Encounter will be absorbed into a new program that belongs to the features genre.