Daily News - Tuesday 8 July 2014
Jobs plan push on disability
Corey Martin, The Examiner
Disability activists are pushing for a national jobs plan for people living with disabilities as the federal government looks to overhaul the country's welfare payments system, including the disability support pension.
Time to look after our valued carers
Melissa Pretorius, Port Macquarie News
Sometimes those who give help, need to be helped.
But unfortunately, many of the more than 14,500 informal Indigenous carers in NSW, are reluctant to reach out when they need it most.
That's the view of Jo Archibald regional coordinator for National Disability Services.
The Federal Government wants to reduce the rates of divorce in Australia by shifting its policy to focus on early intervention in troubled relationships, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews says.
In 2012, 49,917 divorces were granted in Australia, an increase of 2 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Government has plans to set up an expert panel on early intervention to lower the divorce rate.
Therapy is no magic wand for relationships
Suzi Godson, Irish Examiner
In an ideal world a good therapist would get you to look calmly and objectively at your relationship to learn how to reduce conflict, encourage open communication. and help you appreciate what is working well in your relationship. Here on planet Earth, couple counselling often involves a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth because troubled couples wait an average of six years before seeking help, by which time their relationship is in such dire distress the therapy room becomes a battleground.
UK - Splitting up an unhappy home
James Pickford and Kate Allen, Financial Times
Chris Sherwood, director of policy at Relate, the relationship counselling service, said the financial difficulties of recession made it harder for couples to make a break. “We know from our consulting rooms that there has been an increase in the number of couples over the past five years who are living together because they can’t afford to separate.”
The head of the Rural Financial Counselling Service says a sharp rise in clients shows just how bad the drought is.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service offers support to farmers and farming-related business across Queensland.
South-west chairwoman Karen Tully says extra counsellors have had to be put on to handle the needs of more than 500 clients.
Tim Fairfax: how I beat the Black Dog
Mark Phelps, North Queensland Register
Tim Fairfax, AC knows exactly what it is like to suffer with the debilitating impact of depression.
Just three months after buying the Monto property Rawbelle in the early 1970s, the cattle slump hit, destroying the viability of the business.
... Mr Fairfax, who went on to become one of the major shareholders of Rural Press, the then owner of Queensland Country Life, is drawing on his own experiences to encourage community groups in drought-hit areas of Queensland and the northern Tablelands area of NSW to access funds to help them tackle the situation that continues to unfold.
The program, which is being run by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), is funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation (TFFF) for Queensland, while the Yulgilbar Foundation is providing funding for the northern Tablelands area of NSW.
The 'Tackling Tough Times Together' grants aim to bring community members together to do what he says is the most important thing to do at these times - talk.
Mental health workshops not working in drought communities
Kate Stephens and Virginia Tapp, ABC Rural
Mental health care providers are reassessing the way they deliver support to drought affected communities.
Not-for-profit organisation, Uniting Care, received funding from the Queensland government to hold 60 workshops across the state, but many have been postponed due to lack of interest.
Uniting Care mental health worker Jason Reid says they've realised the workshops aren't practical for farmers.
Kevin Andrews ‘open’ to talks on budget dole changes
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
The federal government is “open” to negotiating the most controversial element of its budget welfare measures, making young people wait six months for the dole, in a concession that Labor branded an “unravelling”.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told ABC radio yesterday he first wanted to test the strict welfare measure, which would save the budget $1.2 billion if completed in full, in a hostile Senate.
“We’ll see then what the other parties and the independents in the Senate have to say about it,” Andrews said.
Tony Abbott: the most radical prime minister since Gough Whitlam
Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald
I and many others got the Abbott government wrong. It’s turning out to be more like Gough Whitlam’s than John Howard’s, perhaps the most radical in Australia’s history.
... In the longer term the changes will be profound if the newly installed Senate approves them. The only prime minister in living memory to have put forward such a far-sighted program is Labor’s Gough Whitlam. And just as many of Whitlam’s measures became part of the social fabric and almost impossible to undo, Abbott’s changes will stick.
Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia
John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson, Institute of Public Affairs (August 2012)
If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact - and secure his place in history - he needs to take his inspiration from Australia's most left-wing prime minister.
No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam. The key is that he did it in less than three years. In a flurry of frantic activity, Whitlam established universal healthcare, effectively nationalised higher education with free tuition, and massively increased public sector salaries. He more than doubled the size of cabinet from 12 ministers to 27.
... Australia's ageing population means the generous welfare safety net provided to current generations will be simply unsustainable in the future. As the Intergenerational Report produced by the federal Treasury shows, there were 7.5 workers in the economy for every non-worker aged over 65 in 1970. In 2010 that figure was 5. In 2050 it will be 2.7. Government spending that might have made sense in 1970 would cripple the economy in 2050. Change is inevitable.
But if Abbott is going to lead that change he only has a tiny window of opportunity to do so. If he hasn't changed Australia in his first year as prime minister, he probably never will.
How crusade to end ‘age of entitlement’ replaced ‘war on poverty’
Verity Archer, The Conversation
The debate around welfare is ideological and partisan, no matter what country you’re in. Ideology doesn’t change much. Social democrats support welfare. Neoliberals don’t, or only accept it in a very limited form. Success, either way, depends on the circumstances.
Like Nixon, Hockey is using an economic crisis to achieve cuts to welfare. Only this time there is no economic crisis. If we believe respected economists like Saul Eslake, there’s not even a budget emergency. But that won’t stop the Australian government from pushing.
Action on the social determinants of health – views from inside the policy process
Gemma Carey and Brad Crammond, Crikey
When it comes to the social determinants of health, scientists say the evidence is in: the distribution of social goods like income, education and occupation are key drivers of health and health inequalities. The challenge for social determinants of health researchers and advocates is no longer collecting evidence, it’s translating this evidence into policy change.
Evidence-based policy: data has its limits
Warren Pearce, Alliance for Useful Evidence
Dr. Warren Pearce asks why, when there is such widespread support for evidence-based policy, is it so hard in practice? The answer, he argues, can be found in an array of definitions used for evidence and the shifting nature of policy that demands different kinds of evidence at different times.
UK - Is the latest Oxfam advertisement too political?
Ruth Dudley Edwards, The Observer
Well-paid Oxfam staff seem more interested in expressing their right-on lefty opinions than in alleviating poverty. Hence their falling out with Scarlett Johansson because of her support for the SodaStream Israeli company that employed hundreds of Palestinians on higher salaries than those paid by Palestinian employers. I may be right of centre, but that's because I want the world to be better in practice rather than theory. My benchmark is effectiveness rather than high-sounding rhetoric, so although I'm an atheist I have a standing order to the Salvation Army because they're really good at dealing with the short-term problems that often plague people in trouble. And – unlike Oxfam – they don't try to indoctrinate me.
UK - Are charities too political?
Andy Elvin, The Guardian
There is absolutely a role for charities in speaking truth to power and highlighting inconvenient truths, but to be effective in improving outcomes for those that charities seek to represent, they must be in the room when decisions are made.
Labour law is a deliberate and necessary intervention in a market because most workers will not get a fair outcome without it. It’s about worker voice, and redistribution of power. It’s about fair treatment and a giving people a measure of control, however modest, over their working lives.
And central to the efficacy of a regime of labour law is the role played by organised labour. Without free, independent, democratic trade unions, as actors in system and voices in civil society, the system will not work properly.
... . Labour law is one way of dealing with inequality and its consequences, including social exclusion. Without it, firms are likely to compete on wages, not productivity innovation and quality.
The Catholic Church’s best-kept secret
Damian Thompson, Catholic Herald UK
Ozanam was, by the standards of the day, a liberal. He didn’t dislike Jews or Protestants. He organised “conferences” of Catholic scholars and businessmen who ministered to the suffering. His motto was: “Beware of discouragement; it is the death of the soul.” By 1848 nearly 10,000 people belonged to these conferences, which became the Society of St Vincent de Paul. The SVP believed in social justice, if not yet in social equality. Ozanam saw his role as standing between the “opposing armies” of industrialists and workers. “If we cannot stop them, at least we can lessen the shock. And being young and middle-class makes it easier for us to be the mediators that our Christian identity makes incumbent on us.” He campaigned to restrict working hours in factories.
These are the roots of the Catholic social teaching that bore fruit, many years after Ozanam’s death, in the encyclical Rerum Novarum.
High youth unemployment rates are 'defeat' for society, pope says
Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
Job creation, respect for the environment and the second chances God grants to every sinner were recurring themes as Pope Francis visited the southern Italian region of Molise on Saturday.
"We cannot resign ourselves to losing a whole generation of young people who don't have the strong dignity of work," Pope Francis said during a meeting with the region's young people in the town of Castelpetroso. "Work gives dignity."
Pope meets sex abuse victims, says clergy actions cloaked in complicity
Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
Asking for forgiveness, Pope Francis told abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and had been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained."