Daily News - Wednesday 1 October 2014

Posted 1 October 2014 7:54am
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Govt's bid to cut welfare benefits suffers setback
Louise Yaxley, PM, ABC

The Federal Government's bid to strip unemployment payments from people under 30 has suffered new blows today.

The Palmer United Party Leader Clive Palmer has ruled it out, and a bipartisan committee has found it would breach Australia's international obligations.

The Government is standing by the idea.

 

Kevin Andrews' Hunger Games policy a matter of survival for both sides
Jacqueline Maley, The Sydney Morning Herald

One of the more startling of the government's budget measures was the idiosyncratic decision by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews to make young people under 30 "wait" six months before they can receive unemployment benefits.

It was an impressively bold attempt to translate the popular Hunger Games franchise into federal policy, but it proved less popular than the movies.

People began asking awkward questions, including, "How are they supposed to, like, eat?" Welfare groups were outraged. The new, Clive Palmer-powered Senate was hostile. Eventually, the Hunger Games policy had to seek cover behind the larger target of an even less popular budget measure, the Medicare co-payment.

 

Investing in our future: Opportunities for the Australian Government to boost youth employment (pdf)
Brotherhood of St Laurence (June 2014)

The Australian economy has changed. While the modern economy offers great opportunities, it also comes with significant risks. Securing that first step on the job ladder has become much harder. The current labour market is a tough environment for young people. Those seeking full-time work are confronted with a decreasing number of entry-level opportunities, and high competition for available jobs. The premium placed on education and skills is rising. Employers are increasingly looking to recruit workers who are already qualified, skilled and experienced. We are facing a significant mismatch between the needs of employers, and the skills and capacities of the young people who are looking for work. Personal networks have also become increasingly important: who you know helps open the doors to employment.

 

It’s so easy to fudge a bludge: Online guides used to con doctors into giving out disability support pensions
Daniel Meers, The Daily Telegraph

An rmy of bludgers are using online “step by step” guides to con doctors into ­giving them disability support pensions (DSP), a Daily Telegraph ­investigation has found.

On the sites, would-be ­rorters give each other tips on exactly what to ask a doctor and coach them on how to ­respond to their questions.

... The website forums The Daily Telegraph has quoted from are run by ACON, the National Welfare Rights Network, notcrazy.net and boredofstudies.net.

 

Welfare Rights Network responds to the Daily Telegraph
Amie Meers

Your article says that the website forums quoted in the article are run by ACON, NWRN and two other sites. This is factually incorrect. We do not run any forums.

... The amount of deliberate social security fraud is acknowledged to be extremely low. With 7 million people who receive an income support payment in Australia equals just 0.02 per cent. A recent study found that the extent of fraud was “quite modest…There is no basis for the commonly held view that fraud is rampant in the system.”

 

Help us make social housing work
VCOSS

Victoria’s lack of affordable housing is at crisis point.

Only two per cent of rental homes in Melbourne are affordable for working single-parent families and none are affordable for a single person on the minimum wage or income support, according to one snapshot study. There is an estimated shortage of about 50,000 low-cost private rentals in Melbourne and there are high levels of forced evictions. Homelessness increased in Victoria by 20 per cent between 2006 and 2011, and about 22,000 Victorians are homeless on any given night.

 

Alcohol or drug abuse not a trigger for removal of children: Families SA
ABC

Alcohol or drug abuse by a parent would not necessarily 'trigger' the removal of a child from their biological family, a parliamentary committee investigating Families SA has heard.

Department for Education and Child Development chief executive Tony Harrison told the committee while he would not want any parent abusing alcohol or drugs, it was not realistic.

 

Child care cost, availability hurting economy as mothers forego work; Government acknowledges crisis ahead of key report
Adam Harvey, ABC

More than 150,000 Australian parents who want to work cannot because child care is expensive and hard to find.

The Federal Government is considering changes to the sector, which could include subsidising alternatives to childcare centres, such as nannies.

 

UK - One-stop service that helps women cope with real-life crises
Clare Jones, The Guardian

Real-life problems seldom fit into neat organisational boxes. And this is certainly the case for women struggling to cope with issues including domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance misuse, homelessness, poor mental health and offending behaviour, which tend to be closely entwined. Research has found that a woman in the midst of a potentially life-threatening crisis may have to visit up to 15 agencies in different locations before accessing the help she needs — often with children in tow.

 

US - The Importance of Possessions While Homeless
Cassie Rodenberg, Scientific American

The black of Jason’s beard grows with patches of grey, so he stays clean-shaven. Just for Men, drug-store hair color, saves him. Even his roots stay natural. He buys the darkest kind and re-colors it every couple of months. He parts his hair at the scalp to show: nothing but black.

 

QLD Pokie Plan a New Threat to Vulnerable - Report
Pro Bono News

A Not for Profit review of the Queensland Government’s poker machine ‘red tape reduction’ initiative has found that the plan increases gambling revenue and is a threat to vulnerable pokie victims and any future reform.

The Anglican Church Southern Queensland’s Social Responsibilities Committee has released a Monash University analysis of the red tape reduction program on electronic gaming machines, which it says was touted by the Queensland Government as an exercise in reducing the administrative burden on operators.

 

Food security in remote Indigenous communities
Australian National Audit Office (via APO)

This audit assessed the effectiveness of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s implementation of food security initiatives for remote Indigenous communities.

 

Political Vision Needed to Assist Vulnerable - Salvos
Pro Bono News

The Salvation Army has called on all political parties in Victoria to consider the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable in the lead up to the November State election.

In an election platform the Salvation Army says the greatest areas of concern are housing and homelessness, justice, family violence,Out of Home Care and health – including mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD).

 

Social impact bonds: a look through the institutional investor lense
Jonathan Shapiro, Australian Financial Review

As a portfolio manager in the 1990s at National Mutual Gary Brader grasped the enormous potential of securitisation to lower household borrowing costs by pooling together mortgages. That experience is why Brader, who is now chief investment officer at global insurer QBE, is such an active proponent of social impact bonds.

The global insurer has committed to investing up to $100 million in social impact bonds, where payments are tied to social outcomes – with the capital to be allocated over three years in bonds issued around the world.

With a large investment book playing a crucial role in delivering returns to shareholders, Brader cannot afford to allocate funds on a purely philanthropic basis. But he’s still lured towards the opportunity that presents itself from social impact bonds. “A cold-blooded heartless hedge fund could still find these investments interesting,” he says.

 

Twenty-First-Century Communications versus the Illusion of Control: An Epic Battle
Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly

The degree to which nonprofits neglect or marginalize their communication functions seems, if you believe in the notions of public benefit and the common good, both wasteful and immoral: communication is, after all, core to the associational and democratic purposes of the nonprofit sector. Communication helps build the intelligence of whatever enterprise one is engaged in. It creates energy and interest in that enterprise; builds an understanding of issues and of ways to take people- supported action on those issues (reframing when the public impression of the issue is off-kilter); and, of course, helps advertise the enterprise to those who might support it. Communication also serves to provide those who are meant to benefit with a way to help guide the enterprise.

These seem like functions that are too multiple and important to be marginalized. Yet even when a nonprofit has a paid, professional communications staff, both the organization and the staff often misunderstand their role as one of advertising— convincing and informing rather than engaging. By engaging, I mean involving stakeholders as part of the intelligence and energy of the enterprise in a way that respects them, integrates their thoughts and ideas, responds to them, and encourages them to respond to one another while advancing cause and knowledge.

 

Australian cardinal faces the Vatican’s law of the jungle
John L Allen, Crux

In bureaucracies everywhere, when someone’s interests are threatened by a cycle of reform, one time-honored resistance strategy is to dig up dirt on the reformers. For maximum effectiveness, the dirt should be related to a brewing crisis in which people are tempted to shoot first and ask questions later.

Whatever its supernatural claims may be, the Vatican is hardly exempt from this very natural law of the jungle.

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