Daily News - Tuesday 9 September 2014
Welfare lobby blind to reality
Alan Tudge, The Australian ($)
It is almost impossible to imagine the day that the Australian Council of Social Service advocates tackling welfare dependency. Last week, it said it would never support any individual at any time having to wait before they access welfare payments. Not even for a month.
This is on top of its desire to scrap income management and other conditions on welfare. It seems the only welfare change it seeks is an increase in the size of payments. ACOSS may think it is being morally principled, but it fails to realise that while welfare is a safety net, it can also create dependency and misery.
Jacqui Lambie wants to live Twiggy Forrest’s vision
Rosie Lewis, The Australian ($)
Jacqui Lambie wants to become the “face” behind Andrew Forrest’s far-reaching plan to end disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, after the billionaire asked the senator to “champion” his reforms.
Mr Forrest met the first-term Palmer United Party senator last Tuesday to request her support, just one day before the Tasmanian revealed her Aboriginality in her maiden speech to parliament.
Senator Lambie told The Australian she was “proud and very honoured” to be involved in the Forrest review.
Asked why she thought she had been approached, she quipped: “I have this effect on billionaires; I don’t know how or why.
Flexible learning helps students with disadvantages finish school
Kitty Te Riele, The Conversation
Despite encouragement from federal, state and territory governments to complete school – and a legal obligation to “learn or earn” – one in five young Australians still leaves school before the end of Year 12.
Evidence about early school leavers in Australia demonstrates they are disproportionately drawn from disadvantaged backgrounds, including low-socioeconomic backgrounds, Indigenous backgrounds and regional and remote areas.
Time to smarten up about youth unemployment
David McLean, The Age
Education is not a solution to unemployment. The inherent supposition behind the "earn or learn" philosophy is that more education will somehow alleviate the paucity of jobs available. We are simply transferring the problem on to schools and burdening teachers with managing a disenfranchised youth who, though they may not be able to articulate it, are frustrated with their lack of prospects.
Overqualified And Undervalued: The Ugly Truth About Workplace Disability
Rob Potter, New Matilda
Discrimination against disabled people is a difficult subject to broach, much less comprehensively discuss. This is compounded by the fact that we live in a society that thinks it actually does fairly well on the subject. Most people cannot imagine themselves actually discriminating against someone with a disability. Like all people who exist within a single culture, the average person doesn’t identify it as a culture.
Discrimination is not necessarily personal, it’s often structural. No one says ‘we laugh at you because you are disabled’, but most people don’t think twice when they laugh at whatever circumstance Sheldon Cooper find himself in.
You see I have Asperger’s Disorder, a high function form of Autism and I experience significant discrimination. We live in a world that honestly does not think it has much of a problem while laughing at the disabled version of Mr Yunioshi.
Affordable housing a distant memory in areas once considered cheap
Clay Lucas, The Age
Rent levels in Melbourne are seeing low-income families priced out of even the city's once affordable suburbs such as Dandenong and Frankston, a Senate inquiry into housing prices will hear on Tuesday.
And with rent on a one-bedroom flat now topping $300 a week in suburbs including Balwyn and Brunswick, more must be done to create affordable options, housing groups say.
The Tenants Union is among a dozen housing, academic and community groups presenting on Tuesday at the Melbourne hearings of the Senate's inquiry into affordable housing.
House prices are inflated and a fall seems certain - the only question is when
Peter Martin, The Sydney Morning Herald
House prices are soaring, real incomes are sliding and property has become our fastest growing industry. Can anyone spot a problem?
Not Joe Hockey. The treasurer greeted last week's national accounts with the observation that there was "real and building momentum in the Australian economy".
Real estate and home building momentum would have been closer to the truth, because aside from mining there's not much else happening.
Child abuse and neglect committed in the family home has risen by nearly one third in the last three years, according to a recent report.
The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) says figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed a 29 per cent jump in child abuse or neglect by a parent or guardian since 2011.
It went from 31,527 in 2011 to 40,571 last year, NAPCAN said in a statement.
Taking a Stand for Children is Everyone’s Business
NAPCAN, media release
Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews has applauded the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) for its work in striving for child safety and wellbeing.
Mr Andrews has used an event for National Child Protection Week to thank NAPCAN for encouraging government, politicians, families and the community to work together to address child safety in their own neighbourhoods.
“As a nation, we need to take a stand on behalf of children who are harmed by violence, abuse and neglect,” he said.
The longest study of heroin users in Australia has revealed long term treatment programs offer the greatest chance of success in recovering from heroin addiction.
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) followed more than 400 heroin users for 11 years between 2001 and 2012.
Professor Shane Darke from NDARC said long term programs are proving to be more effective, compared to short term treatments, in helping heroin addicts on the road to rehabilitation.
Warning on 'ice' to state November poll hopefuls
Helen Grimaux, Northern Star Weekly
Melbourne’s longest-running drug safety outreach program, North West Outreach Services, has issued a warning to state politicians facing an election in November – they should talk with young people, not about them, if they’re considering jumping on the illicit drugs campaign bandwagon.
The service is one arm of Glenroy-based Youth Projects, whose chief executive Melanie Raymond said community-based partnerships would be the key to finding real solutions that reduce addiction to “ice”.
The United Nations' top human rights official believes Australia's policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers and turning back boats is leading to a chain of human rights violations.
THE incoming UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein mentioned Australia in his maiden speech in Geneva.
He says they are concerned about the human rights situation of migrants around the world.
Charity sector says the government has it wrong on charities watchdog
Judith Ireland, The Sydney Morning Herald
The charity sector "overwhelmingly" believes that the Abbott government has got it wrong in its attempt to abolish the national charities watchdog, World Vision chief executive Reverend Tim Costello says.
In an address to the National Press Club on Monday Mr Costello referred to a new survey that found that 82 per cent of those surveyed in the charity sector think the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission is important or very important in "developing a thriving not for profit sector". Only six per cent of those surveyed by Pro Bono Australia supported moving the commission's functions to the Australian Tax Office, as per Coalition policy.
UK - Unlock dormant insurance and pension funds to fund charities – think tank
Matt Ritchie, Charity Times
A think tank has suggested charities should be given access to the estimated £400m currently sitting in dormant insurance policies and pension funds to further their causes.
The Centre for Social Justice’s Social Solutions: Enabling grass-roots charities to tackle poverty report highlights ‘cold spots’ in the UK where there are few charities relative to the population, and presents a plan for boosting the social sector in the poorest areas.
A Social Innovation Fund using dormant insurance and pension assets would be used to pay for third sector innovations and fund poverty-fighting charities. CSJ compared the model to a fund aimed at expanding third sector activity in the US, and the Irish government unlocking €20m from insurance funds for projects.
UK - Holistic and specialist services need better access to government funding, says think tank
Centre for Social Justice, Social Solutions: enabling grass-roots charities to tackle poverty (pdf)
At its best the social sector offers intensive, holistic, relationship focussed interventions that go beyond a transactional service and have the potential to transform lives in the long-term. Yet it is often exactly these groups, who work outside of traditional service delivery models, who have little opportunity to gain government funding.
Abbott government blamed for not for profit pessimism: Tim Costello
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation
The not for profit sector is pessimistic about its performance and its future, with the Abbott government’s approach to funding and regulation blamed to the negative perceptions, according to a survey.
The chief executive at World Vision and chair of the Community Council of Australia (CCA), Tim Costello, said the Pro Bono Australia’s State of the Sector Survey of more than 1200 respondents found most participants felt the sector’s performance was declining significantly.
What the hype behind embracing failiure is really all about
Rachel Gillett, Fast Company
It seems like everywhere we turn we’re being told to “embrace failure.” From social media to countless business books and articles and the global failure conference FailCon, the importance of mistakes is lauded as a key stepping-stone for success.
Even advertisers are realizing the power of bragging about getting it wrong. For example, earlier this year Domino’s commercials touted that at their company “failure is an option” with a nod to its failed cookie pizza of 2007.
Sound bites are destroying political discussion
Karen Brooks, The Courier Mail
Stop the press. Hold the phone. Pump up the volume. A politician has delivered another sound bite. That’s right: slogans for bogans.
In our drive to have instantaneous communication and feedback, to receive and react to news of any kind, we’ve made the sound bite king and become subject to its reign, with politicians of all persuasions wielding it like a lexical dagger, cutting through white noise.
Australia's politicians have failed to solve the new economic equation
Nicholas Stuart, The Canberra Times
Journalist Paul Kelly's books always provide a detailed and accurate reflection of Australian politics. As a result they are becoming both (a) far more interesting and (b) much more depressing.
... Triumph and Demise: The Broken Promise of a Labor generation tells the story of the Rudd/Gillard years in all their shameless, tatty, self-interested and dysfunctional glory. Because Kelly can't help himself, he unearths a theme to weave the years together: a story of loss. The political system is, he opines, broken. It isn't capable (as it seemingly was in all his previous tomes) of delivering the far-reaching reforms. This carries a heavy and serious implication: our politicians are, today, failing us as they never did in the past. They are trapped in the spin cycle.
The challenge of a five-year Royal Commission
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been granted its sought two-year extension. It will run for five years. That is appropriate. I predicted on the night Julia Gillard announced the commission that it would take five years to do its work.
I am still worried about this extended federal royal commission – and that is not because I am a Catholic priest afraid of what the commission might discover in the bowels of my Church. I have long been an advocate for State assistance to the Church in this area, concerned that the Church could not do it alone. All church members, and not just the victims who continue to suffer, need light, transparency and accountability if the opaque injustices of the past are to be rectified.
The Synod of Bishops in October could be 'Must-See TV'
John L Allen, Crux
For those of us who covered a Synod of Bishops at the Vatican during the John Paul II and Benedict years, there was always a slightly surreal “Emperor has no clothes” dynamic about the experience.