Daily News - Monday 15 July 2013

Posted 15 July 2013 7:30am
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Confronting the monster within
Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald

The great majority of the people who seriously abuse children inhabit a petri dish of social dysfunction: drug addicts; alcoholics; people with mental illness; people who themselves were abused; single parents with little income; third-generation welfare recipients. They are gathered together in state-funded housing estates which become enclaves of social failure.

Government can break up these petri dishes but government cannot replace families. This brings us to the monster in our midst. There is a tremendous latent source of talent and empathy within the community which could respond to the problem of child abuse: trained volunteers.

Suffer still the little children
Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald

Louise Voigt, the chief executive officer and welfare director at Barnardos, says it is a ''a bit of a cop-out for everybody to see child welfare as failing'' and to blame government caseworkers for the consequences of disadvantage left unattended by the rest of society.

''It isn't the business of child welfare to stop alcoholism years before. It's too facile to say the child welfare department has failed,'' she said.

Breaking the back of persistent disadvantage
Eve Bodsworth, The Conversation

On weekdays, around 40 school-aged children from public housing estates in Fitzroy, Melbourne, attend a breakfast club organised by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The room is always busy, as milk and sandwiches are dispensed and pancakes flipped. The modest initiative has proved a boon for children, mostly recently arrived African refugees.

NZ - Welfare shakeup: What it means for parents
Simon Collins, The New Zealand Herald

Sole parents have got a clear message from today's welfare upheaval - planning to go back to work has to start from the moment a baby is born.

How Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong, Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama overcame adversity
The Sunday Telegraph

Bill Clinton, the first US president George Washington and Australia's own Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull share the experience of growing up in single parent families. So too do Labor's deputy prime minister Anthony Albanese and Senate leader Penny Wong.

Although it will be dismissed as pop psychology by some, serious academic study has been devoted to the number of political leaders with absent fathers who left or died too young. Some psychologists have even suggested childhood trauma can make them better, more resilient politicians. Ronald Reagan it was once suggested was able to "read a room" and sense levels of tension after growing up with an alcoholic father.

Children in detention despite Burke's pledge
Natalie O'Brien, Sydney Morning Herald

Hundreds of children remain behind the secure perimeter of immigration detention at Pontville, Tasmania, without their parents, despite new Immigration Minister Tony Burke agreeing to release 18 of the boys more than a week ago.

Say we vote to turn back those boats. What next?
David Wroe and Bianca Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

Like his vow to repeal the carbon tax, Abbott's promise to ''stop the boats'' is one on which his credibility rests. He argues Labor essentially doesn't believe it can be done. Whether he is able to persuade voters that the figure of 17,202 - the number of boat arrivals in 2012 - can fall to zero is looming as his biggest challenge in the countdown to the election.

Graced by a special need
Kate Legge, The Australian

Bill Shorten says he felt like an explorer who had stumbled across a lost city in the urban jungle when he entered the world of disability and found pockets of humanity hidden from view.

People in wheelchairs, children unable to communicate, carers at the end of their tether, families frightened for the future, their voices long ignored, their plight conveniently forgotten.

'Disability refugees' relocate to qualify
Rick Morton, The Australian

Families and people with disabilities are attempting to arrange job transfers and manufacture reasons to move into regions covered by national disability insurance scheme launch sites.

AA knows the sobering truth about alcoholism
Ross Fitzergald, The Australian

It is important to stress alcoholism is a health problem, not a moral one. Alcoholics are not bad people who need to be good but people suffering from an illness who can recover if they learn to totally abstain, one day at a time.

Sorry, productivity isn't everything
Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald

The biggest risk in the potential hiatus between the waning of the boom and the return to healthy growth in the non-mining economy is an unacceptable rise in unemployment, and higher productivity won't fix that.

Students get a hard lesson in poverty
Julie Hare, The Australian

Two-thirds of all university students live on less than $20,000 a year, with one in five surviving on less than $10,000, placing them below the poverty line and facing rising levels of debt.

A report by peak group Universities Australia, to be released today, says the average debt carried by an undergraduate student has soared over the past six years, rising from $28,800 to $37,200.

Pass it on: give Gen Y more than a foot in the door
Georgia Leaker, Sydney Morning Herald

I am one of the nearly one in five people under the age of 25 who are unemployed in Australia.

I'm 24 years old, have two university degrees and have been on Centrelink payments for six months. I am classed as a job-seeker and having just reached my six-month threshold, I have to undertake a skills test that Centrelink believes will help me gain employment.

Gen Y can't I find a job?
Damien Murphy, Sydney Morning Herald

... Generation Y is in danger of becoming the lost generation, the first since those Australians who survived the Depression to face a downwardly mobile work life.

“Not man enough”: male caregivers suffer at work
HC Online

Men who care for their families, women without children – one would expect the world to be accepting of people making decisions that suit their lifestyles and aspirations. Unfortunately it seems many social groups are still unaccepting of those choosing non-traditional roles.

A series of studies from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found women without children and men who take on caregiving roles are treated worse at work than individuals who conform to those expectations.

After Holden
Gideon Haigh, Sydney Morning Herald

When Holden offered redundancy packages in April, senior technical officer Steve Brecht did consider ending his 25-year career ... [he] wonders aloud what could ever replace his existing job satisfaction: "I read a local report about an aged-care facility saying: 'Oh, we'd be looking to take on Holden workers.' Really? Because I can't see myself wiping some 90-year-old dude's butt in the middle of the night for a job. No disrespect to him, or the person who might do that job, but I don't want to be that person; I don't look on that as a great way to earn a living."

UK - Are not-for-profits getting away lightly on female leadership?
Ama Marston, The Guardian

Debates about the female leadership gap are sweeping through the private sector. And yet, the glass ceiling remains unexamined in the not-for-profit sector, which is a major contributor to the UK economy. This is despite positive public perceptions that non-profit organisations are lead by dynamic women such as Dame Barbara Stocking, who until February this year was chief executive of Oxfam.

Rudd puts Labor on level pegging
Phillip Coorey, Australian Financial Review

The outcome of the federal election is too close to call with Labor storming back into contention under the leadership of Kevin Rudd to draw even with the Coalition.

The latest Australian Financial Review/Nielsen poll shows that for the first time in three years and 31 Nielsen polls, Labor is no longer behind the Coalition but tied at 50 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Abbott must reply to Rudd’s gauntlet with policy detail
Australian Financial Review

Mr Rudd’s stunning opinion poll turnaround confirms that Mr Abbott will not be able to coast into office on the back of a deeply unpopular Labor prime minister. He needs to spell out more detail of a broad policy agenda, even if it reveals some of the hard decisions that will need to be taken.

The Pope Says You Should Drive A More Reasonable Car
Co.Exist

As part of his general attitude against ostentation, Pope Francis thinks Catholic priests and nuns (but probably you, too) should spend less time trying to buy the newest, fanciest thing.

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