Daily News - Thursday 17 October 2013

Posted 17 October 2013 8:20am
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Ministers told to rein in spending as Mathias Cormann cracks down on grants
David Crowe, The Australian

Ministers have been ordered to seek higher approval for billions of dollars in annual grants, as the Abbott government hunts for savings amid fears of a hit to revenue in a looming budget update.

The directive will restrict all discretionary grants as part of a wider plan to identify major budget savings outside a commission of audit to be revealed within weeks.

Parental leave may trigger revolt
Mark Kenny, The Age

Tony Abbott may have a more pressing challenge than convincing Labor to abandon its carbon price - keeping his own senators in line over issues such as his generous paid parental leave scheme.

Joe Hockey pledges tax reform will be on the 2016 federal election agenda
John Kehoe, BRW

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has pledged to take a tax reform agenda to the 2016 election, as he revealed the government would release the state of the nation’s finances before Christmas.

Lampedusa deaths: look at how Europe responded
Gideon Boas, The Age

Bob Carr is a dinosaur feeding the hungry beast of racism in this country. An ineffectual foreign minister who opened his mouth before taking proper counsel, he now seeks to fuel the obsession of the major Australian political parties with kicking already persecuted and downtrodden people.

Quoted as saying to Right faction colleagues in the ALP, ''if you want to embrace the Greens-Left-Fairfax-ABC position, you are going to go backwards at the next election'', Carr is reinforcing a position on asylum seekers that can't be allowed to persist in a country that aspires to call itself humane and compassionate.

Ways of knowing people in poverty
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

If we are fortunate in our circumstances, Anti-Poverty Week invites us to look beyond, at another less advantaged world. It also invites us to reflect on our own attitudes. In writing on poverty there is often tension between a hard-edged realism and spiritual or romantic fascination. The tension suggests that neither attitude is sufficient.

Welfare doesn't cause poverty – it is necessary for more equality
John Falzon, The Guardian

Social spending, regardless of the screams of blue murder from those who have more than enough rope, helps build greater equality. This isn’t just good for the people stuck down the wells. It’s good for everyone since the higher the level of inequality the higher the rates of crime, mortality and physical and mental illness. Inequality is literally bad for our health.

US - The “Individual Mandate” Argument
Elizabeth Stoker

Matt Bruenig and I recently wrote an article for Salon pointing out that while American Christian voters on the right fully intend to harness government to enforce some Christian ethical codes (e.g. the restriction of contraception, the restriction/total illegality of abortion, the illegality of gay marriage, the illegality of gay adoption, sodomy laws, and so on) they strongly resist using government to enforce Christian ethical codes regarding poverty reduction efforts.

How do they explain this?

UK - Charities 'should be honest with major donors if they want their support'
David Ainsworth, Third Sector

Charities must be honest with major donors if they want their support, according to the philanthropist Nick Jenkins.

... He said that charities should tell the truth to donors when reporting on the effectiveness of the interventions they funded.

"As a major donor, I want a bit of honesty," he said. "If it failed, I just want to know that it failed."

Father Bob, dissident prophet
Tim Kroenert, Eureka Street

Pope Francis notwithstanding, Father Bob Maguire is the closest thing the Catholic Church in Australia has to a celebrity. His authentic manner and dedicated work with the homeless in the community surrounding his former parish, Saints Peter and Paul's in South Melbourne, over the course of decades, have earned him many admirers both within and outside the Church. His aptitude at engaging with the media and in recent years his regular Triple J radio show with John Safran, has earned him a deeply committed fanbase, especially among young Australians.

The cult-like nature of his following is acknowledged in the title of this documentary by Melbourne filmmaker Milburn, which follows Bob during the years following his forced retirement from Saint Peter and Paul's, and captures some of the community outrage at the decision, and Bob's own ultimately unsuccessful resistance to it.

Jesuit influence overplayed
John Warhurst, Sydney Morning Herald

It has been a big year for the Jesuit Order around the world with the election of one of their own, Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina, as Pope Francis. It has also been a big year for the Jesuits in Australian politics, culminating in the election of Jesuit-educated Bill Shorten as leader of the opposition Labor Party. Shorten was a student at the Jesuit GPS institution in Melbourne, Xavier College.

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