Daily News - Wednesday 28 May 2014
Moral arguments, twitter and the quest for policy change
The Power to Persuade
Moral and ethical arguments sit at the core of public policy. Politics and policymaking is, after all, a contest over ideas and world views.
The evidence-based policy paradigm has encouraged academics and, to a lesser extent, advocates to disengage from the moral dimensions of the arguments they make. But, by disengaging we sidestep the very ground upon which policy arguments are fought and won.
Tony Nicholson speech: The Future of the Community Welfare Sector
Tony Nicholson, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Our sector has evolved to a critical stage underpinned by a particular paradigm. Central to this paradigm is the idea that our sector can continue to meet society’s current and emerging needs by contracting to government, expanding and aggregating organisations, driving for greater efficiency, and further professionalising, regulating and circumscribing care.
To my mind it is a paradigm that is fundamentally flawed. I sense it is sapping the very ethos and moral drive of the sector and, with it, the wder community.
Sitting through Senate committee hearing a kind of Kabuki on the Hill
John Butcher, The Age
The chairman had done his homework. Bushby quoted remarks Crosbie had made at the National Press Club in late March in which he had named the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the Financial Services Council (FCA) as the principal backers of the push to abolish the ACNC, suggesting as their motive a desire to avoid transparency.
In quoting Crosbie’s remarks, Bushby craftily ensured their entry into Hansard. Later in the day, Bushby put Crosbie's "evidence" to representatives of the FCA and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference who strongly denied Crosbie’s imputations.
... Of course, every theatrical production has a stage manager: in this case, Andrews’ special adviser Ted Lapkin watched from the back row and, it was suggested, was orchestrating proceedings by texting questions to the chairman.
At the interval, Lapkin, mobile pressed to his ear, was overheard saying, "I think it went really well".
CEO of child abuse royal commission resigns, shocking support groups
Thomas Oriti, PM, ABC
anette Dines has been described as a 'driving force' behind the royal commission. Ms Dines established the offices in late 2012 and has been the public face of the commission ever since. But she announced her resignation today, and Hetty Johnston from the support group Bravehearts didn't see it coming.
... Francis Sullivan from the Catholic Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council is urging people not to jump to conclusions. He says the royal commission is as strong as ever.
Domestic violence support networks say Family Court should do more to protect women
Alison Caldwell, PM, ABC
First thing this morning, the head of the Family Court, Chief Justice Diana Bryant, took to the airwaves to defend the court against its critics. Speaking on the AM program she said violent parents are often granted some level of access to children, subject to risk assessment. She said that when it comes to violence there's only so much the law can do.
NSW - Homelessness risk for women after funding review
Amy Corderoy, Rachel Browne, Daily Life
Homeless women are already being evicted from refuges under a new measure that cuts $5 million out of city homelessness services, advocates say.
Shifting from entitlement to enterprise
Ross Gittins, The Age
It has been easy for older people to see themselves as particular victims of this budget. And I confess I never expected to see any government courageous enough to pick on Grey Power the way Tony Abbott’s has. In his efforts to get people into the workforce, however, it’s carrots for the old and sticks for the young.
... Get it? Older people want to work, but suffer from the prejudice of employers, so they’re helped with a new and generous subsidy to employers, whereas the young don’t want to work when they could be luxuriating on below poverty-line benefits, so they’re whipped to find a job by having their benefits cut and their entitlement removed for six months in every year until the lazy loafers take a job.
Just how having their benefits reduced or removed helps young adults afford the various costs of finding a job – including being appropriately dressed for an interview – the government doesn’t explain.
Australia's ageing population need not be a burden on taxpayers
Katharine Betts, The Age
For over 35 years Australian politicians and economic commentators have been worrying about the ageing of the population. Their anxieties focus on labour-force participation and the dependency burden that older people (aged 65 plus) are thought to place on working taxpayers.
Is this anxiety justified? To answer this question, we need to look at our present situation and at projections based on present trends. We should also consider wider evidence from other developed nations.
No excuse for young able bodied
Emma Alberici, Lateline
... in the end we are saying if you're able-bodied, if you are capable of working, you can basically work full-time, you are not in training, then what is your excuse? And we should be encouraging young people to get a job.
Slack attitudes to young people
Kevin Andrews, interview, 2GB
CHRIS SMITH: The figures reported today, I made mention of them about 30 minutes ago, they are quite alarming. There were 734,866 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance, the junior version, in April. But why do more than 50 per cent of them not have to look for work because of job search exemptions, we’re giving them all the opportunity they need to not try and find a job.
MINISTER: That’s true Chris, there’s been, I think, a fairly slack attitude taken in the past to say to young people in particular who are capable of working give you all sorts of excuses not to go out and get a job and we’re saying to them now essentially you should get a job, if you’re not in a job then we’ll give you some assistance to get into training so you’ve got the skills for a job in the future.
Reprieve for some before the loss of dole payments
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
More than 100,000 dole recipients under the age of 30 will not be kicked off Newstart Allowance on July 1 next year as expected but instead will be offered work for the dole as their first option if they work for 25 hours a week for welfare.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews last night revealed crucial details that take some of the sting out of the tough, contentious welfare changes unveiled in the budget.
Mr Andrews said young unemployed people on Newstart before December 31 would move into the Abbott government’s new arrangements from July 1 next year but would begin the “mutual obligation” (work for the dole) phase first, before entering a “non-payment period”. From January 1, when the new regime came into force, new applicants for the dole would be required to serve their non-payment period first.
Categorising the poor
Frances Coppola, Pieria
The moral beliefs that drove both the harsh treatment of vagrants in the 16th century and the unintended cruelty of the Victorian workhouse system persist to this day.
The idea that “work must pay” encourages politicians to make claiming benefits extremely difficult for the unemployed and – more worryingly – for those who are unable to work due to illness or infirmity, just as in Victorian times, workhouse conditions were made deliberately harsh to discourage people from entering them.
Politicians castigate “generational worklessness”, promoting the idea that a tendency to worklessness is somehow inherited, passed on from parents to children. It was this idea that led to the brutal separation of families in the workhouses.
Labor supports family tax benefits freeze
Mark Kenny, the Age
Labor will wave through controversial family welfare changes to freeze the rate of family tax benefits for two years, saving the budget $750 million per year in perpetuity and reducing further the list of no-go items identified in the first Coalition budget.
Sources in the opposition said the ALP was aware it could not be seen to be overly negative and that, in government, it too had ''paused'' increases to family payments.
Treasurer Joe Hockey ‘won’t flinch’ from tough budget measures
David Crowe, The Australian ($)
The Abbott government will spurn calls to scale back its major budget reforms, in a new vow to confront Labor over $40 billion in savings to be stymied in the Senate. Joe Hockey insisted yesterday he would “not flinch” on the budget cuts as he sought to dismiss talk of watering down the controversial measures to get them through the upper house.
... A stalemate in the Senate is certain as the Palmer United Party refuses to talk to the government amid a dispute over its demand for more taxpayer-funded staff to support its three senators-elect as well as leader Clive Palmer.
Palmer: No staff, no talks
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation
Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party are refusing to meet with ministers in a bid to pressure the government to give PUP extra staff to deal with legislation “effectively”.
The real story is Clive and his puppets
Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian ($)
Come July 1, Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party will control four Senate votes. The Abbott government, with 33 Senate seats, needs 39 votes to pass its budget. When it comes to raising revenue, Labor says “aye” to the deficit levy. The Greens, who like making petrol more expensive, will support the government’s twice yearly indexation of the fuel excise. Alas, when it comes to the hard yards — reducing spending — Labor and the Greens will go into retreat.
That means, after July 1, Abbott and Joe Hockey will need to find six votes from the following people to repair structural deficits: PUP senators Zhenya Wang, Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus; Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, who has signed an agreement to vote along PUP lines; independent senator Nick Xenophon; Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm; Family First’s Bob Day; and the Democratic Labour Party’s John Madigan. Any way you look at it, in the absence of Labor or Green support, the Abbott government will need PUP votes to pass the budget to restart the process of the economic reform in this country.
Julia Gillard weighs in on budget fallout
Michael Gordon, Daily Life
Julia Gillard has delivered a rallying call to the community and charity sector to take up the fight of social justice and inclusion after conceding that much of what she sought to achieve in government is under threat.
The former prime minister has also declared that progressive values and fairness across the globe are under challenge and committed her post-political life to education.
In a speech in honour of her political mentor, Joan Kirner, Ms Gillard did not mention Tony Abbott by name, but appealed to community groups to lead the fight for a ‘‘socially just Australia and socially just world’’.
Trickle-down theory all washed up now
Mark Triffitt, The Age
The penny is beginning to drop among some in business that a 1980s trickle-down approach to budget reform may not be a viable solution to long-term growth. The concern is the Commission of Audit has effectively on-passed an outdated framework to government that equates the complexities of "running" Australia with running a business - complete with a view that any competitive challenge can be addressed by taking the axe to costs.
The government should now be aware that in the 21st century, this disconnected view translates directly into a massive disconnect with voters. It also drastically reduces the chances of advocating smarter, more equitable pro-growth reform in the future.
Ordinary people, lending a hand
Peter Barrett, The Age
A metallic green Ford Falcon station wagon crunches down the gravel driveway of Ann Morrow's Williamstown home. ''Here they are,'' she says, interrupting herself mid-thought and marching outside.
Dressed in jeans and sporting short-cropped salt and pepper hair and striking red-framed glasses, the 72-year-old grandmother is a volunteer with the Hobsons Bay Refugee Network. It supports refugees and asylum seekers in the community by providing donated goods, such as washing machines, fridges, beds, clothes and food. It also helps find accommodation for those adjusting to life out of detention.
The rise and fall of the hot desk: say hello to activity-based working
Graeme Ditchburn, The Conversation
Office space is one of the largest costs associated with running a business, which is why hot desking, where employees choose from a selection of available work sites rather than having an assigned workspace, has gained popularity since the 1990s.
The Boss With No Office
Seth Stevenson, Slate
When we imagine a powerful CEO, we typically picture a secluded corner office large enough to fly a kite in, with thick wood paneling, plush pile carpets, and a gatekeeping assistant—all designed to dampen the intrusion of any exterior stimuli. But a newer vision of management feng shui involves an emphasis on availability, transparency, and the abolishment of physical hierarchies. “My door’s always open,” that old, sometimes insincere invitation to underlings, somehow seems more deeply earnest when there isn’t any door at all.