Daily News - Monday 26 August 2013

Posted 26 August 2013 7:20am
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Are we mature enough for a genuine tax debate?
Toby Hall and Jennifer Westacott

From Mission Australia's perspective, we want to see tax reform that reduces or eliminates the disincentives to work, and makes the system more efficient, so that we are not giving to people - particularly sole parents - with one hand and taking with another.

We support cutting company tax and reducing state payroll taxes as an incentive to employment and productivity - but only as part of co-ordinated tax reform agenda. That means that at the same time, we need to look at other systemic barriers people face in finding a job.

Australia has a strong social safety net and this must be preserved. That is why both our organisations support increasing Newstart and addressing income inequality.

Please put your housing plans on the table, says Anglicare Australia
Anglicare

Anglicare Australia repeated its call for the two biggest political parties to unveil a national plan to make housing, particularly rental housing, more affordable, following the release yesterday of another Greens housing initiative.

“The critical and long standing shortage of affordable rental housing right across Australia has become a feature of this election campaign,” Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director, Kasy Chambers, said today.

Parramatta’s family services staff walk out to highlight shortages
Isabell Petrinic, Parramatta Sun

About 80 family services case workers from three Parramatta offices walked off the job for an hour on Tuesday to highlight their concerns around the high vacancy rates in their industry.

... The industrial action followed media reports last week which revealed NSW is short about 270 case workers.

The enemy within NSW child protection
Jeremy Sammut, Centre for Independent Studies

... adoption is 'taboo' in child protection circles, and most caseworkers (mainly due to what social workers are taught in their university training) are ideologically hostile to any moves to increase adoptions for child welfare purposes.

Stopping Goward's push for adoption is the real objective of the 'caseworker shortage strike.' It is a pre-emptive public relations hit job on a minister who it is hoped will have diminished credibility in arguing the case for adoption when the memory of her 'lies' and alleged failure to ensure there are sufficient staff to see abused children is fresh in the public's mind.

2095 teddy bears at the Melbourne Town Hall
MacKillop Family Services (Tuesday 20 August 2013)

Today 2095 teddy bears were sitting on the Melbourne Town Hall steps to represent the overwhelming number of children currently in foster care in Victoria.

The Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Bernie Geary and MacKillop Family Services CEO Micaela Cronin attended the event which coincided with the launch of MacKillop Family Services’ Foster Care Fortnight.

Carers fear they'll fall through cracks
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Carers Australia is concerned with a growing perception that DisabilityCare will serve the needs of all carers of people younger than 65 with a disability or chronic health problem and that these carers will no longer need to have their own government-funded supports in place.

They are seeking a guarantee that funding of carer-support programs will be maintained and increased in line with the growth of the unpaid carer population.

Unpaid carers: the necessary investment
Carers Australia, election platform

This Federal Election Australian carers seek commitment in five key areas of need.

1. Continuation and growth of carer-specific supports
2. Continuation of investment in early invervention for children with developmental disabilities
3. Investment in the future of Young Carers
4. Support for carer participation in education, training and employment
5. Address the disconnect between aged and disability care supports

NSW - Fine words but childcare still overcrowded
Cosima Marriner, Craig Butt, The Age

Almost one-third of Sydney childcare centres have no vacancies, forcing some parents to wait nearly two years for a place, with neither Labor nor the Coalition outlining a solution to the childcare crisis experts say is hampering women's workforce participation.

What's the point of a PPL scheme without child care?
Madeleine Genner, Breakfast, ABC

For Tony Abbott's Paid Parental Leave scheme to be a true reform it needs to accompanied by affordable and accessible childcare, but the current system is already under considerable strain.

Childcare body wants PC review of funding
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

The peak early childhood body has thrown its support behind Tony Abbott's call for a Productivity Commission inquiry into the funding of the sector.

Today Early Childhood Australia will release its wish list for the next government, which calls for the inquiry to look at, among other things, the Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit.

Sweet refuge: a country town opens its heart
Julie Power, Canberra Times

Congolese orphan Labelle Ouyou arrived in Australia to start a new life with her four younger brothers carrying the family's only possessions in her handbag.

As the children walked down the arrivals hall at Brisbane airport last Sunday, their aunt Denise Tibatina collapsed on the floor in grief and relief. ''It was like I [just] lost my sister,'' said Ms Tibatina, who hadn't met the children before and hadn't seen the children's late mother Antoinette since 1988.

Greens Support ACNC at National Forum
Pro Bono News (Friday 23 August)

The Australian Greens Party has expressed its confidence and support for the new charity regulator, the ACNC at the first Not for Profit pre-election forum at the National Press Club in Canberra today, hosted by the Community Council for Australia.

Why Future CEOs Must Quietly Embrace Social Media
Mike Maddock, Forbes

A year ago, I would have said that I wanted a platform on which to build my personal brand. I suspect most CEOs and companies may think about it the same way. They think Twitter is another tool that lets them talk about themselves, their company, and their products and services.

Today, after playing with the technology for a year, I understand Twitter gives you an excellent opportunity to listen (more about this in a minute)—an opportunity that most chief executives are wasting.

Liberals won't wind back welfare, says Mark Latham
Caroline Zielinski, Brisbane Times

Welfare will not be "wound back" under a Liberal government, despite potential Treasurer Joe Hockey calling for the "end of the age of entitlement".

"Does anyone seriously take the idea that Joe Hockey, a harmless, simple buffoon is going to wind back the welfare state? Even if [the Liberal party] wanted to, they couldn't do it. I think it's a cause for celebration," Mr Latham told the audience.

Free radicals: Inside the Institute of Public Affairs
Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders, The Age

On tactics, Roskam insists his institute does not engage in traditional knocking-on-doors lobbying. Its preferred weapon of choice is the open battlefield of the media, both the mainstream and burgeoning social media sectors. Indeed, over the past decade the IPA's presence in print and electronic media has grown nearly eight-fold. Its spokesmen have regular spots on ABC TV and radio and on Murdoch's Sky News. IPA commentators are daily contributors to newspapers in both the Murdoch and Fairfax stables, including The Age.

Think Tank challenge: Surviving the competition
James McGann, Asia Pathways

The ongoing challenge for think tanks is to produce timely and accessible policy-oriented research that effectively engages policymakers, the press, and the public on the critical issues facing a country. Gone are the days when a think tank could operate with the motto “research it, write it, and they will find it.” Today, think tanks must be lean, mean, policy machines. The Economist described “good think tanks” as those organizations that are able to combine “intellectual depth, political influence, and flair for publicity, comfortable surroundings, and a streak of eccentricity.”

Want to Win a Political Debate? Try Making a Weaker Argument
Eric Horowitz, Pacific Standard

If all of American politics could be epitomized by a single emotion, it would be the frustration of watching an ignorant politician maniacally disregard the proof that your own position is correct. Professional politicians are dogmatic in part so they can remain “pure” for re-election, but even average citizens talking policy with their friends are rarely swayed by each other’s arguments.

Invoking Jesus? That's the spirit
Jack Waterford, Canberra Times

Speaking for myself, I am not sure a Catholic can, in good conscience, give a vote, or even an effective preference, to either the Liberal Party or the Labor Party. It is possible that on refugees one is slightly more wicked than the other - opinions will differ about which - but the approach of both is fundamentally and morally wrong. One can disapprove of many a thing that a politician - an ordinary human being - does, but letting it go by is not usually actually sinful.

But one should not assist him or her in performing objective evil. Nor can one escape the moral dilemma by the sickening, lately invented, charade of pretending that the evil policy is not about repelling borders, but something devised for their own good because it saves them from drowning.

Right-wing complainers about Pope Francis need to understand who's healthy
Eugene Cullen Kennedy, National Catholic Reporter

The keen observer of all things ecclesiastical, David Gibson, tells us that Pope Francis has unsettled and divided those who designate themselves as traditional or right-wing Catholics.

Just when Pope Benedict XVI had reassured traditionalist Catholics that his reform of the reform would overturn the Second Vatican Council and make it safe for them to stay out of the sanctuary and yield it to the clerical culture cardholders who, backs turned to the faithful, could make the Mass mysterious again by mumbling it in Latin, along comes Pope Francis who, to traditionalists' horror and discomfort, is recalling the church to Vatican II and emphasizing its themes.

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