Daily News - Monday 24 November 2014
Indigenous groups win extension on project funding
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
Aboriginal organisations have been saved from impending closure after the Prime Minister’s Department extended the period for funding applications under its controversial new grants system.
The Australian can reveal that last night the 5000 applicants for separate indigenous projects across Australia were informed of the extension.
They had been waiting to receive news of whether their applications were successful, or whether funding cuts to indigenous affairs and tough new criteria meant they would effectively have to close down by year’s end.
Job-seekers respond to call-back scheme
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
There has been a 10 per cent improvement in attendance rates at reconnection appointments by unemployed people since job providers were empowered to make these appointments directly with job-seekers.
The National Welfare Rights group says the figures reveal a carrot rather than a stick approach works, arguing the Abbott government’s current plans to toughen up the system are unnecessary.
The Grey Army of early Newstart retirees
Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies
The Abbott government chalked up a modest win this week with the first of its social services budget measures passed by the Senate with the help of Labor and Senators Day, Leyonhjelm and Muir. One budget measure yet to pass the Senate is the government's proposal to tighten Newstart eligibility for those 55 and over.
Victoria has an unemployment problem, with our unemployment rate now at levels not seen for over a decade. While it is true unemployment can affect anyone in an increasingly precarious job market, the reality is that it is more likely to affect people already facing disadvantage. When unemployment rises, it is these people who will likely be affected soonest, most often, for the longest periods, and with the most serious consequences. These are the people mostly likely to lose their jobs, and face the most difficulty finding one. They are also most likely to experience long-term unemployment, or to be excluded from the workforce altogether.
Push for drugs summit as those seeking help for ice addiction grows 122 per cent
Eamonn Duff and Nick Ralston, Brisbane Times
The NSW Government is under increasing pressure to hold a drug summit after the State Opposition rallied alongside health and welfare groups yesterday and committed to a special parliamentary inquiry, if elected in March.
Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health Jai Rowell hinted yesterday that the State Government was receptive to holding a summit next year, stating it was "open to options" and "determined to do more" to address the "terrible impacts" drugs like ice were having on the community.
The Salvation Army reveal an alarming increase in amphetamine use across recovery centres
The Salvation Army, media release
The Salvation Army says an increased number of people coming to them with problems with the highly dangerous drug ice (and other amphetamine type substances) has resulted in increased unpredictable and challenging behaviour.
Surviving the Secret Childhood Trauma of a Parent’s Drug Addiction
Alana Levinson, Pacific Standard
As a young girl, Alana Levinson struggled with the shame of her father’s substance abuse. But when she looked more deeply into the research on children of drug-addicted parents, she realized society’s “conspiracy of silence” was keeping her—and possibly millions of others—from adequately dealing with the experience.
Campaign to stop jailing mentally ill without conviction grows
Samantha Donovan, PM, ABC
A national campaign to stop mentally disabled people being jailed without a conviction is gaining momentum.
The Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign estimates more than a hundred people are in that predicament around the country and about half of them are Indigenous Australians.
Lawyers, academics and justice and welfare groups met in Melbourne today to develop an action plan.
Calls for inquiry into Victoria's disability sector amid allegations care provider Yooralla failed to act on assault warnings
Karen Michelmore, Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, ABC
Victoria's Government and Opposition have both pledged to hold an inquiry into the state's disability sector, amid allegations one of Australia's biggest disability providers failed to act on warnings about carers who went on to sexually assault vulnerable clients.
The pledge comes ahead of tonight's Four Corners program In Our Care – a joint ABC/Fairfax investigation – and days out from the Victorian state election.
Carers of hard cases fear private future under NDIS
Rachel Browne, The Sydney Morning Herald
Leonara Jaksen bathed, fed and changed her son Nicholas every day for 22 years. At night she would wake every two to three hours to turn him over in bed to ease his discomfort. Caring for Nicholas, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is unable to hear or speak, was a relentless full time job and it was driving her to despair.
"My doctor said if he's not put in care it will be an emergency for my health," she said. "I was ready to collapse."
We need to talk about disability
James Adonis, The Age
The rate of unemployment for people with a disability is 7.1 per cent. You might think that’s not too bad, except that the unemployment rate doesn’t really tell you much. The more telling statistic is that their workforce participation rate is almost three times worse than the rest of the population.
Some people with disability opt out of the workforce because they have no choice; their disability is so severe it renders them unable to work. Many more, however, want to be employed but feel they can’t apply for jobs because of the stigma permeating many workplaces.
The 'mind-body problem' and proposed DSP reforms
The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System led by Patrick McClure was released on 29 June 2014. The report contains proposals for significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). The reforms would see the DSP reserved for people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. Those people with a partial capacity to work would be placed on a lower tiered working age payment and provided with support to improve their employment capacity.
The proposals represent an attempt to deal with the perverse incentive for income support claimants to apply for DSP, which has a higher rate of payment and reduced activity testing, rather than allowance payments like Newstart. The changes would also be in keeping with the principle that welfare policy should focus on people’s ability to participate in paid employment, rather than on their disability.
Welfare rort inquiry will look at doctors
Matthew Benns, The Daily Telegraph
Doctors who help bludgers fraudulently claim the Disability Support Pension are being targeted by investigators as part of a major crackdown on welfare fraud.
The revelation comes after The Daily Telegraph revealed 38 members of a Western Sydney family had fraudulently claimed more than $2 million in Disability Support Pension and other payments.
Human Services Minister Senator Marise Payne said to date there had been a review of 5000 Disability Support Pension claimants under 35 years old.
Parents don’t cause autism, but they can make a difference
Kristelle Hudry, The Conversation
Parenting plays an important role for the development of all children. Supporting parents to interact more responsively seems to benefit children with autism, just as supporting parents can help children with other conditions such as anxiety.
Many autism researchers seem reluctant to study parent-child interaction, so the topic is something of an elephant in the room. We all know there’s some kind of relationship there, but many don’t seem to want to talk about it because of the risk of reviving the ghost of parental-blame past.
Baby dumped in Sydney drain revives call for safe hatch
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
Wrapped in the soft pastels of a NSW hospital swaddling cloth, a peg still clamped to the remains of his umbilical cord and just days old, a tiny baby boy was dumped through a hole in a stormwater drain, falling 2.4 metres.
That he survived the fall at all is a source of joy in an otherwise tragic case.
... Labor senator Helen Polley said yesterday that baby hatches attached to hospitals or police and ambulance stations, similar to those in Germany and Canada, had merit.
“Here, a parent could legally abandon a baby without fear of criminal prosecution,” she said.
Alan Tudge accused of bullying ACOSS over indigenous cash welfare
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The Greens have accused Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge of trying to “bully” the Australian Council of Social Service in a sign of the government’s “desperation to justify their cruel policy agenda”.
Mr Tudge has accused the Australian Council of Social Service of hypocrisy, pointing to an Emergency Relief handbook which suggests that providers may opt for in-kind rather than cash assistance in some cases.
The nation’s largest welfare group has slammed the idea as presented in the Forrest Review.
UK - Forget about the big society - we want a free society, says Acevo election manifesto
Sam Burne James, Third Sector
The charity leaders group Acevo has used its general election manifesto to call for government to forget about the idea of big society and focus instead on creating a free society and safeguarding the right of charities to campaign.
Launched today at the umbrella body’s annual conference in London, the manifesto Free Society: Realising our nation's potential through the third sector contains three key requests of government: the implementation of a five-point pledge enshrining the right to a free society, which would guarantee third sector independence; the creation of a citizens charter on community rights; and giving the money raised from fining "fraudulent bankers" back to society.
ACEVO Manifesto 2015: Free Society: Realising our nation's potential through the third sector
Jane Halton on central reform from her new Finance fiefdom
Stephen Easton, The Mandarin
It’s easy to stand outside the Australian public service and criticise it as cumbersome and a step behind the most dynamic parts of the private sector. All you have to do is focus on what it is not. But for those who dedicate their lives to it, like newly minted Department of Finance secretary Jane Halton, there’s a certain pride in what the incredible bureaucratic machine actually is, and what it can be.
Reframing Issues in the Digital Age: Using Social Media Strategically
Julie Sweetland and Rob Shore
One of a social advocate’s most critical acts is to frame an issue. In framing, a communicator uses language, metaphor, and other means to bring the community into the issue in a particular way. So, for instance, tobacco control advocates reframed tobacco from a “personal vice” narrative, in which the public discourse centered around individual choice and behavior, to a “defective product” narrative, in which the role of corporate malfeasance and the need for protective regulations became clear. Reframing an issue is hard work, as frames are socially shared and persist over time; but it is worth it, because public opinion and policy preferences are frame dependent. The stories nonprofit communicators tell have the power to make the public more or less supportive of positive changes—for instance, in the way we support human health and well-being, distribute society’s resources, and redress long-standing injustices.
Catholics must help to break down the isolation and stigma that surrounds people with autism spectrum disorder, Francis has said.
The Pope made the comments in an address to hundreds of parents and children affected by autism in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican on Saturday.
He appealed for the creation of “a network of support and services” to assist people on the autism spectrum.