Daily News - Monday 12 May 2014
It’s your choice: earn or learn
Alan Tudge, The Australian ($)
One of the most insidious results of slower economic growth and welfarist policies is high youth unemployment.
... we need to stop any incentive for young people to exit the system and be on the welfare line. At the moment a person can drop out of school and collect a couple of hundred dollars each fortnight if they satisfy certain requirements. For some, the temptation is too much.
In tough talk ahead of the budget, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews also repeated warnings that the days of young Australians sitting at home on the couch collecting welfare cheques were over.
He said the government believed young people should be either be working or training for work.
“The message out of this is simply this. The days of easy welfare for young people are over. We want a fair system but we don't think it is fair that young people can just sit on the couch at home and pick up a welfare cheque. Those days are over,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
Mr Andrews confirmed the budget, to be delivered on Tuesday night, will introduce rules that mean some people collecting the DSP will be reviewed for capacity to work.
Disability Support Pensioners under 35 to be reassessed for fitness to work under Budget welfare reform
Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph
Almost 30,000 Australians under 35 claiming a disability pension will be reassessed for their fitness for work by independent government appointed doctors under welfare reforms contained in next week’s Budget.
The move will be the first step on the road to a radical reform of the welfare system to be unveiled in next Tuesday’s financial blueprint.
... In recognition that reform to the spiralling cost of welfare payments had failed to be addressed, Mr Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey will personally take control of welfare reform from Human Services Minister Kevin Andrews.
Disability advocates want the Federal Government to work with the nation's biggest businesses to create jobs for disabled Australians, instead of limiting access to the disability support pension (DSP).
Sole parents face $11,000 welfare hit
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
Parent advocacy group The Parenthood will today reveal the cuts to welfare for sole parents recommended by the National Commission of Audit could leave them up to $446 a fortnight worse off, or more than $11,000 a year.
The commission recommending changing the current Parenting Payment Single indexation arrangements to a benchmark of 25 per cent of average weekly earnings, rather than 25 per cent of average male weekly earnings.
PPL back-down: Symbolism not Budget repair
Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies
Last week the Prime Minister announced that next Tuesday's Budget would see changes to the government's proposed reforms to Paid Parental Leave (PPL). This announcement came in the wake of speculation that the Budget will include sweeping cuts to family payments, and amid threats from within the Coalition that some government senators might cross the floor over a future PPL bill if the cap on the payment were not reduced.
The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well
Cathryn Hunter and Rhys Price-Robertson, Child Family Community Australia
Child Aware Approaches is a grassroots initiative that engages civil society to develop local approaches, actions and initiatives to keep children safe and well, recognising that protecting children is a shared responsibility. This paper defines Child Aware Approaches, outlines the philosophies and principles underpinning this strategy, and offers case study examples of how the principles can be applied in practice. This paper is intended for service managers and practitioners working with vulnerable children and families, particularly those working in adult-focused service sectors.
Child welfare at risk as family courts reach ‘crisis point’
Nichola Berkovic, The Australian ($)
Child welfare is being compromised and the safety of women put at risk because of unacceptable delays in the nation’s family law system, with courts in Sydney’s west reaching “crisis point”.
Passive welfare massive problem in NT
Zach Hope, NT News
A slow-moving and southern-centric Federal Government looms as the major obstacle in a bid to cleanse the Territory of the “infectious claws” of passive welfare, Attorney General John Elferink says.
A passionate Mr Elferink told the NT News: “I genuinely believe passive welfare has led to more deaths in Aboriginal communities than any other policy of the government since federation.”
‘Free’ care just got more expensive
Natasha Bita, The Australian ($)
A new $7 payment for blood tests and doctors’ visits, to be slapped on patients in tomorrow’s federal budget, will fuel out-of-pocket health costs that have already doubled in a decade.
Australians who cannot find a bulk-billing doctor are already being left $28 out of pocket on average each time they visit a GP — plus $23 when they have a blood test, $88 for an X-ray and $57 to see a medical specialist.
$1.8b Medicare Local set to be axed
Ellen Whinnett, Herald Sun
The Federal Government looks set to axe the $1.8 billion Medicare Local program in Tuesday’s Budget.
Health Minister Peter Dutton is thought to be planning to adopt most of the recommendations in an independent review of Medicare Local which called for the program to be restructured.
Australia’s ‘unsustainable’ health spending is a myth
Jeff Richardson, The Conversation
The unsustainability of government health expenditure in Australia is a myth that has been carefully nurtured to justify policies to transfer costs from government to the public.
Abbott budget to make Australia more unequal: economists
Gareth Hutchens and Jonathan Swan, Sydney Morning Herald
Economists warn the Abbott government’s first budget will increase inequality in Australia if it tries to reduce the deficit by predominantly cutting spending.
Saul Eslake, the chief economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says it is “virtually impossible” to cut government spending in ways that do not disproportionately affect people on low to middle incomes.
Are we really living in the Age of Entitlement?
Peter Fray, The Australian
The hardest challenge before the government is to change the national psyche. Can a fair go have two meanings: one, that no one is left behind; and, second, that no one is ripped off?
[Hugh] Mackay offers a third view. There is “an insidious new form of entitlement creeping into our culture. It’s the sense of entitlement among the newly wealthy that makes them feel as if they and their kids are ‘entitled’ to their wealth, It’s a new form of anti-egalitarianism.” Perhaps there is good reason for this.
Budget 2014: Prime Minister Tony Abbott orders pay freeze for himself and federal politicians
Smantha Maiden, The Daily Telegraph
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ordered a pay freeze for himself, federal politicians and the nation’s top public servants.
The edict is understood to have the backing of the independent Remuneration Tribunal, which tomorrow is expected to announce it will agree to Mr Abbott’s request.
... Free bulk-billed visits to the GP will be a thing of the past with the introduction of a new $7 co-payment that will cost pensioners up to $70 a year.
Charities wait with bated breath for budget funding cuts
Gen Kennedy, The Chronicle
For some Toowoomba workers, the wait for budget night has been a period of limbo.
Many charity workers whose positions are funded by the federal government will not know if they will have a job after June 30 until the budget is handed down.
ACNC Cautions on Return to ATO and ASIC
Pro Bono News
The return of charity regulation back to the Australian Tax Office and ASIC would mean a return to regulatory deficiencies and unnecessary transitional costs for charities, the charity regulator has said in a submission to a Parliamentary inquiry into the ACNC’s Repeal Bill.
US - Preschool is important, but years before are crucial
Ryan White, USC Annenberg
... for some kids at least, preschool’s promise may come a bit late. One of the recurring themes in the emerging science on early childhood is that early is rarely early enough. Research is finding that many of the skills and behavioral traits that allow a child to succeed in pre-K and kindergarten are laid down even earlier, in the first few years of life. And when kids don’t get the kind of warm, responsive interactions they need with adults, even the best preschool is unlikely to fully unwind the damage.
... “Those interactions are literally building brain circuits,” Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child, recently explained to WGBH’s Kara Miller. “And when the interactions are positive and predictable and stable, you build strong brain circuits. And when they’re disruptive or uncertain or non-stable or abusive and neglectful, you build weak brain circuits.”
UK - Policymakers seduced by neuroscience to justify early intervention agenda
Patrick Butler, The Guardian
Experts warn that 'artfully packed' ideas from the US downplay poverty and inequality in the lives of problem families and are being conscripted as 'moral arguments' to take children into care.
UK - Decision-based evidence-making to punish the poor?
Daniel Silver, Becky Clarke, Amina Lone, Patrick Williams, Discover Society
Iain Duncan Smith established the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank in 2004 following his ‘Easterhouse epiphany’ in Glasgow, as he witnessed “levels of social breakdown which appalled” him. Now led by Christian Guy, the work of the CSJ appears to be a crusade that rests on moral panic rather than robust social science research. This has major implications for public policy and the much-heralded aspiration for evidence-based policy.
Embracing low-end service jobs
Lane Kenworthy, Policy Network
While technological change may enable continued production of manufactured goods in affluent countries, it won't alter the downward trend in manufacturing employment. Public policy must ensure that job inequality should not spill over into social inequality.