Daily News - Thursday 11 September 2014

Posted 11 September 2014 8:25am
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Repealing the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission
Noel Debien, Religion and Ethics Report, ABC

For 20 years, Australia's $55 billion charity and not-for-profit sector lobbied for better regulation. They wanted a national one-stop-shop to replace multiple state regulation. In 2012, they got it, with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). This body aimed to both regulate charities and not-for-profits better, provide greater transparency, and clean up bogus tax avoidance.

Now, the federal government wants to abolish the commission, without proposing what might replace it.

 

Does anyone still support Kevin Andrews?
Andrew Leigh

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is becoming increasingly isolated in his crusade to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, with a key representative of the Catholic church rejecting plans to scrap it.

In an opinion piece today the General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Rev Brian Lucas, has argued for constructive modifications to the commission while endorsing many of its key functions.

 

How tech millionaires are using 'impact investing' to make a difference
Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph (UK)

What’s left to do with your money when you’ve made more of it than you can ever reasonably spend in a lifetime? It is a nice predicament to have. On America’s West Coast, where counter-culture meets the explosive wealth generation of the tech revolution, it is also an increasingly common one. And for many, it is producing a kind of existential guilt about the whole purpose and process of great wealth creation.

 

Mentally ill Victorians could be cut off from vital services
Henrietta Cook, The Age

Up to 10,000 mentally ill Victorians could be cut off from vital health services because they do not meet tough eligibility guidelines for the national disability insurance scheme, an alliance has warned.

A group of 20 mental health organisations are urging the state government and opposition to commit $80 million over the next four years to continue the state's community-based mental health services.

The group, who will unveil their state election platform at a forum on Wednesday, have raised concerns about most of Victoria's community-based mental health services being rolled into the NDIS.

 

Couch surfing: the start to homelessness
B C Lewis, Blue Mountains Gazette

Couch surfing is usually the start to the slippery slope of youth homelessness, according to the Salvation Army. And this Saturday, Alex Pinch of North Katoomba, will be one of many sleeping on a friend's couch to draw attention to that issue.

The Salvos new fundraising campaign is called The Couch Project and it will specifically raise money to help the Salvos with their youth homelessness work.

 

UK - Social Impact Bonds and Homelessness
Russell Webster

The Department for Communities and Local Government recently published (2 September 2014) a very interesting Qualitative Evaluation of the London Homelessness Social Impact Bond (SIB) where providers were paid on a payment by results basis for their effectiveness in helping rough sleepers in London.

This scheme produced a substantial amount of learning because two different organisations (St Mungo’s and Thames Reach) were each contracted to deliver services to half of a cohort of 831 entrenched rough sleepers in London. Each organisation chose a different form of SIB and it was possible to compare outcomes directly on a like-for-like basis.

 

Ending feminised poverty
Kate Galloway, Eureka Street

I was heartened to hear news this week of the launch of the second action plan in the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. It is important that opposition to violence against women becomes part of daily discourse. It is clear though that this strategy needs to take its place alongside a vast array of other reforms to achieve its potential for transformative change and justice for women.

Despite historical gains for women in terms of formal equality – the right to vote, to own property and to be educated – the lack of progress towards women's substantive equality is bound tightly to deeply ingrained assumptions about gender. This is so even in an apparently broadly liberal society like Australia – although I personally find Australian attitudes to gender are largely very conservative. Social constructs play out daily in our personal relationships and our public personae. The effect of these assumptions is profound for our society: they underlie violence against women and are implicated in the feminisation of poverty.

 

Abbott budget to leave poorer women worse off
Gareth Hutchens, The Canberra Times

Women will bear the brunt of the Abbott government's budget cuts.

New analysis drawing on National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling budget impact models and latest census and Australian Bureau of Statistics data, shows women in low and middle-income households can expect to suffer the biggest financial losses from the Abbott government's budget savings.

And the worst hit – by far – will be women in low-income households.

 

Basic income: the world's simplest plan to end poverty, explained
Dylan Matthews, Vox

In recent months, discussion of basic income proposals have become fairly mainstream, but not so mainstream that most people know what the phrase "basic income" means. With that in mind, here are the basics (get it?) of the idea, in eleven questions.

 

Domestic violence in Australia
James Page, APO

Domestic violence is arguably the hidden violence in Australia – the violence which few people want to talk about, but one which has a dramatic social and economic cost for the nation. A recent increase in domestic violence in Queensland has prompted the current Queensland Government to convene a Special Taskforce, headed by former Governor-General Quentin Bryce. I want to suggest three factors which the Bryce Inquiry could well look at, and which have wider ramifications Australia-wide.

 

US - Wealthy Kids Are More Affected by Divorce Than Poor Kids
Belinda Luscombe, Time

And study says it's not just because they suddenly have less money

Children of wealthy families that come apart have a bigger spike in behavior problems than children of poor families who experience the same thing. But wealthier children benefit more from being incorporated into stepfamilies than poorer children do. So says a new study in the latest issue of Child Development, which also noted the kids’ age when parents separate plays a key role, with the most vulnerable stage being from 3 to 5 years old.

 

Is threatening to withdraw welfare payments the best way to fix Indigenous truancy?
Cameron Wilson, Bush Telegraph, ABC

One of the perennial issues confronting Indigenous schools in remote communities is truancy.

For the past five years the Federal Government has tried to address the issue by using a stick, s truancy officers or financially penalise parents if they did not ensure their kids went to school.

 

Indigenous gap is not closing, getting worse in some cases
Amy Corderoy, The Sydney Morning Herald

The life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians has not improved in more than 10 years and in some areas of health is getting worse, a report has found.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found two-thirds of indigenous Australians die before 75, compared with only 19 per cent of the rest of the population.

They are dying of preventable diseases linked to poverty and geography and, despite a lot of talk, not enough has been done to force change, experts say.

 

Public housing tenants moving for work
Matthew Lovering, AHURI

The recently released Forrest Review raises the issue that current public and social housing policies trap Indigenous and other Australians in areas ‘even when there are no jobs there’. Some of the Review's proposals include charging people living in public or social housing who are capable of working between 100 per cent and 80 per cent of market rents, and giving people who move for work priority in obtaining public housing in the new location.

To consider the impact of these suggestions we need to establish the size of the issue the Review is addressing. How many households are living in public or social housing who are capable of working and are living in areas (i.e. remote and very remote) with low employment rates?

 

Heavy pot users more likely to quit school and use other drugs
Fron Jackson-Webb, The Conversation

Almost half (46%) of regular cannabis users drop out of high school and just 12% become degree qualified, according to a study published today in The Lancet.

Teens who smoke cannabis daily or weekly are also eight times more likely to use other illicit drugs in young adulthood than non-users, the study found.

 

What works best in the war on drugs
Alex Wodak, The Conversation

In 1967, the Beatles took out a full-page advertisement in The Times describing Britain’s marijuana laws as “immoral in principle and unworkable in practice”. Almost half a century later, both past and serving political leaders around the world are acknowledging that drug prohibition in the guise of the war on drugs hasn’t worked.

 

Breaking up is hard to do.
Alessandro R Demaio, The Conversation

There are many absurdities in society that we overlook or come to accept. For me, there are few though more absurd than our relationship with alcohol. Addictive, harmful, carcinogenic and associated with a raft of social, economic and health consequences - we continue to accept its role as a social lubricant, a mark of celebration, a sign of manhood and a reflection of sophistication.

 

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signals possible backdown on offshore resettling for all asylum seekers
Emma Griffiths, ABC

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has signalled a possible backdown on the Government's policy of offshore resettlement for all asylum seekers who have arrived by boat.

Mr Morrison said he was "open to alternatives" and might allow some to come to Australia, but only on temporary protection visas (TPVs).

 

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says PNG refugee resettlement program faces 'difficult and frustrating problems'
ABC

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says there are still major problems with the refugee resettlement arrangements in Papua New Guinea.

PNG authorities have begun assessing the asylum seekers on Manus Island to determine their refugee status but so far, no one has been resettled into the community.

 

Government policy should be based on respect and responsiveness rather than statistics
Mark D White, British Politics and Policy, LSE

There are significant problems with statistics-based policy, argues Mark D. White. He writes that governments should eschew the use of output or well-being statistics and instead focus on respect and responsiveness. This would mean encouraging the ability and right of individuals to make choices in their own interests and responding to the needs and concerns of the people as expressed by the people.

 

David Leyonhjelm calls on Helen Dale to help fight for libertarianism
Paul Sheehan, The Canberra Times

Only one official libertarian sits in the federal Parliament, though there are many closet libertarians hidden inside the tax-and-spend big government of Tony Abbott. This week that libertarian, Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party, had a lesson in the treacheries of politics delivered to him personally by The Australian newspaper.

Leyonhjelm had intended to announce on Thursday that he had appointed Helen Dale, born Helen Darville, also known by the literary pseudonym Helen Demidenko, to his staff as a senior adviser.

 

Congratulations! You Fooled Facebook (Maybe)
Anna North, The New York Times

It’s perhaps no surprise that, as distrust of Facebook’s algorithm has grown in recent months, so has the popularity of attempts to circumvent it. The tricks users found may not work forever, but some say their value is in what they reveal about the inner workings of the site.

 

The makeup of Synod of Bishops on the family is disappointing
Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

The list of those attending the Synod of Bishops on the family is a disappointment to those hoping for reform of the Curia and for those who hope that the laity will be heard at the synod.

The appointment of 25 curial officials to the synod on the family is a sign that Pope Francis still does not understand what real reform of the Roman Curia requires. It makes me fear that when all is said and done, he may close or merge some offices, rearrange some responsibilities, but not really shake things up.

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