Daily News - Thursday 13 November 2014
Pope Francis letter to Tony Abbott calls on G20 to be 'examples of generosity' to refugees
Daniel Hurst, The Guardian
Pope Francis has called on G20 leaders to be “examples of generosity” in meeting the needs of refugees, while also taking action against inequality and environmental attacks.
In a letter to the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, who is hosting the G20 summit in Brisbane this weekend, the pope emphasised the need for efforts to curb climate change, eliminate the root causes of terrorism and prevent financial system abuse.
The G20 agenda in Brisbane is highly focused on efforts to relaunch a sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy, thereby banishing the spectre of global recession. One crucial point that has emerged from the preparatory work is the fundamental imperative of creating dignified and stable employment for all. This will call for improvement in the quality of public spending and investment, the promotion of private investment, a fair and adequate system of taxation, concerted efforts to combat tax evasion and a regulation of the financial sector which ensures honesty, security and transparency.
Mick Dodson blasts Tony Abbott for 'negativity' towards Indigenous people
Shalailah Medhora, The Guardian
The former Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, has blasted Tony Abbott for his negativity towards Indigenous people, saying he’s contributing to the perception of “black failure”.
Speaking at the national press club in Canberra on Wednesday, Dodson said the prime minister’s Indigenous policy focuses on protecting children, securing communities and building jobs.
“It’s a three-trick pony and a very small pony at that. Stop the negativity. All of those three things are about our failure, supposedly. Because we’re Aboriginal,” said Dodson, who is chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Aiatsis). “The reality is many, many of us are very successful.”
Professor Langton calls for public debate about ice abuse in remote areas
Lindy Kerin, AM, ABC
Professor Marcia Langton is the foundation chair of Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She maintains the Healthy Welfare Card could help fight the scourge of drug abuse in remote communities.
She told Lindy Kerin she heard many stories of ice use during her nation-wide talks for the Forrest Review.
Indigenous health service contests claims of ice use in remote communities
Sara Everingham, AM, ABC
An Indigenous health service in South Australia says claims of an ice crisis in remote Indigenous communities are overblown and could harm the fight against drugs.
University of Melbourne Professor Marcia Langton recently told The Australian newspaper she'd heard many reports of crystal methamphetamine use in remote Indigenous communities.
But she's been accused by a Northern Territory politician of generalising about all Indigenous remote communities to win support for a major welfare change.
A plan to close more than 100 of the state's remote Indigenous communities will have severe consequences, says the WA Premier, but added that his hands were tied.
Premier Colin Barnett revealed plans to close between 100 and 150 of the 274 remote communities in WA, saying they can no longer continue to service them.
The move sparked a backlash in parts of the Indigenous community, with Aboriginal elders leading a protest outside state parliament this afternoon over the plans.
G20 Brisbane: Global Cafe hears mental health the leading cause of disability
Kim Stephens, Brisbane Times
Mental health is at the tipping point of being the world's leading health affliction, a leading researcher in the field said in Brisbane on Wednesday.
In an address of the first day of the G20 warm-up event the Global Cafe at City Hall, Kathleen Pike, head of the global mental health program at New York's Columbia University, said investment in treatment was at a critical point.
"It is time for the world to recognise mental health is the leading cause of disability and it's time to make mental health a priority on the global health agenda," Dr Pike said.
Poll reveals four out of five Victorians say mental health should be a priority
Grant McArthur and Ashley Argoon, Herald Sun
Four out of five Victorians believe mental health needs to be made a top priority of the State Election as concerns grow about a funding gap for the sector.
A pre-election poll has also show two thirds Victorians believe building a state-of-the-art youth mental health research facility should be a high or top priority — despite neither major party backing a $70 million upgrade of Orygen’s Parkville research centre.
What about the mental health of kids with intellectual disability?
Richard Hastings, Bruce Tonge, Glenn Melvin, Kylie Gray, and Vaso Totsika
High-quality epidemiological research shows children and adolescents with intellectual disability are four times more likely to have diagnosable mental health problems compared to others their age. This mental health inequality clearly needs attention.
Part of the problem is a process called diagnostic overshadowing: symptoms are incorrectly assumed to be related to the child’s disability rather than an underlying mental health issue. This often makes it difficult to identify mental health problems in children with intellectual disability.
Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain's structure and function
Alex Fradera, BPS Research Digest
Loneliness increases the risk of poor sleep, higher blood pressure, cognitive and immune decline, depression, and ultimately an earlier death. Why? The traditional explanation is that lonely people lack life’s advisors: people who encourage healthy behaviours and curb unhealthy ones. If so, we should invest in pamphlets, adverts and GP advice: ignorance is the true disease, loneliness just a symptom.
But this can’t be the full story. Introverts with small networks aren’t at especial health risk, and people with an objectively full social life can feel lonely and suffer the consequences. A new review argues that for the 800,000 UK citizens who experience it all or most of the time, loneliness itself is the disease: it directly alters our perception, our thoughts, and the very structure and chemistry of our brains. The authors – loneliness expert John Cacioppo, his wife Stephanie, and their colleague John Capitanio – build their case on psychological and neuroscientific research, together with animal studies that help show loneliness really is the cause, not just the consequence, of various mental and physical effects.
55,000 get aid through Lifeline
Cathy O'Leary, The West Australian
More than 55,000 West Australians called Lifeline's crisis support line last year in a sign people feel less embarrassed seeking help.
The annual Report to the People to be released by Lifeline WA today reveals 55,548 calls to the national phone line in 2013-14 came from WA, while another 9000 people sought help from other Lifeline services such as group counselling.
Mental health services—in brief 2014
AIHW, media release
Mental health services—in brief 2014 provides an overview of data about the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians. It is designed to accompany the more comprehensive data on Australia’s mental health services available online at mhsa.aihw.gov.au.
A young mum speaks out about the stigma of young motherhood
Rebecca Sullivan, news.com.au
Elyse Minhinnick is a 28-year-old Aussie mum. She was 23 when she gave birth to her daughter, who is now five years old. Elyse says although we like to think ourselves as a socially progressive nation, the stigma against younger mothers is alive and well in Australia. This is her story.
Adopting change for sake of the children
John O'Neil, The Daily Telegraph
As our sixth National Adoption Awareness Week unfolds this week, we have much to celebrate and much to be done. Just 12 months ago, Deborra-Lee Furness, patron and founder of Adopt Change, organisers of National Adoption Awareness Week, spoke at the National Press Club.
Moral failures and market failures: why we should abandon intercountry adoption and support local foster care
Vittorio Cintio, On Line Opinion
We know from past history that adoption flourishes when governments deny the resources that families and communities need to look after their own children. It then becomes easy to break the connection between birth parents and their children. This in turn frees up a larger pool of children available to be adopted.
US - Child custody - parental rights vs the child’s best interest
J Herbie DiFonzo, The Conversation
The November 2014 elections included a North Dakota voter initiative emblematic of the vigorous debate taking place nationwide about child custody.
The “Parental Rights Initiative” required courts to award “equal parenting time” to both parents after divorce or separation. The measure was defeated by a sizeable margin (62% to 38%) but it represents only the latest round in a combustible campaign to change how child custody cases are decided.
Violence against women: prevalent, serious and preventable
Kate Hauser. The Power to Persuade
On Wednesday 17 September, VicHealth released the third National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS). The key determinants of violence against women are the unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women and adherence to rigid gender roles and gender stereotypes (VicHealth, 2014). The survey results serve as a powerful reminder that actions to transform attitudes towards gender roles and relationships are critical in fulfilling our commitment to prevent violence against women before it occurs.
UK - Its Cost Is Just One of the Myths Around 'Welfare'
John Hills, Huffington Post
... there's a more pervasive myth around the 'welfare system'. That is that its beneficiaries are largely unchanging and are different from the rest of 'us' who pay for them through our taxes. We are always in work, pay our taxes and get nothing from the state. They are a welfare-dependent underclass, pay nothing to the taxman, and get everything from the state. If only we could get them to work through ever-more stringent conditions on getting benefits and through cutting back the value of what people who get them are allowed, we'd fix the public finances and get the economy moving.
US - The Neighborhood Effect: Localities and Upward Mobility
Jonathan Rothwell, Brookings
It goes without saying that parents have a profound effect on the relative economic success of their children. Parenting behaviors—reading and speaking to children, breastfeeding, offering psychological support, and building character strengths—are related to children’s performance later in life. And there are genes, obviously, but the most comprehensive study so far finds that genetic differences can explain only about one month of the gap in educational attainment across thousands of individuals. Economists have found that inherited wealth is far more important.
In a new analysis published in Economic Geography, Douglas Massey of Princeton and I find that another element of parental advantage—the neighborhood in which they raise their children—matters a great deal. The effect of neighborhood income is 50 to 66 percent of the parental income effect, so that growing up in a poor neighborhood would wipe out much of the advantage of growing up in a wealthy household.
G20: Australia criticised for removing commitment to ‘fair’ economic growth
Lenore Taylor, The Guardian
Australia is sidelining the idea of “fair” or “inclusive” economic growth in G20 discussions this weekend, civil society leaders have alleged.
Tony Abbott has said the first aim of the G20 is to “promote economic growth and jobs growth by strengthening the private sector” and on the weekend, leaders will unveil the “Brisbane Action Plan” which compiles the individual policies they say will increase cumulative growth in their economies by 2%.
But the co-chairs of the civil society groups advising the leaders, the so-called C20, say Australia has downgraded the commitment of previous G20 summits to “inclusive growth”.
Joe Hockey exposed as the revenue tide recedes
David Uren, The Australian ($)
Joe Hockey’s revenue shortfall would not be a problem had it not been for all the spending.
For the four years in which the Howard government enjoyed the resources boom, the proceeds were mainly recycled into tax cuts and spending.
By 2007, the resources boom was lifting revenues by an average of $80 billion a year, of which $33bn was handed back in tax cuts and $40bn spent.
Labor came to office promising restraint, but never delivered. Its first budget included huge tax cuts and spending, while there was no holding back when the financial crisis hit.
The honourable and quirky Wayne Goss
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street
Queensland owe a lot to Wayne Goss. I first met him when he was instrumental in setting up the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in Brisbane in 1974. He was the articled clerk. Roisin Hirschfeld was a young social worker at the ALS. They later married and their two children went on to become Rhodes scholars.
With Mark Plunkett, I used go in one day a week to the ALS as a volunteer law student. Matt Foley was there in the wings too. (Plunkett went on to sue Joh Bjelke Petersen for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice when the police commissioner was precluded from investigating assaults on student demonstrators. Foley became Attorney General in the Goss government.)
Party discipline restrains debate
Emma Alberici, Lateline ABC
Cathy McGowan Independent for Wangaratta, Matthew Gordon the co-founder of Our Say and Simon Longstaff from the St James Ethics Centre discuss the survey findings that Australian voters are unhappy with their elected representatives and the political system reformed.
Gen Y bashing 'mad and dangerous' to Australian democracy
Henry Belot, The Age
The perception of young Australians as apathetic, lazy, and unlikely to engage in political discourse is inaccurate, mad and dangerous according to the authors of a new study on Australian democracy.
The study, undertaken by the University of Canberra's Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis in conjunction with the Museum of Australian Democracy, compared how different generations perceived our political system and what they would change about it.
New Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher tackles tests of our times
Tess Livingstone, The Australian
Stepping into the pulpit as Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop last night, Anthony Fisher confronted the big challenges facing the world and the church.
... Archbishop Fisher has lived and worked throughout Sydney. “Pope Francis says pastors should smell of their sheep,’’ he said. “This is not a comment upon clerical hygiene: it is an insistence that we are from and for our flocks.’’ He aimed to be “a shepherd for Sydney’’.