Daily News - Wednesday 4 September 2013
An election campaign that ignores fairness
Media release, Anglicare
This election campaign is simply avoiding the issue of fairness for the people who are doing it toughest across Australia, according Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers.
Jobs reform 'beats UK model'
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
The peak group representing non-profit job agencies has declared Kevin Rudd's changes to mainstream employment services show that the government has rejected the British "prime contracting" model for reform and carved out its own path.
... Mr Thompson said the British model had decimated the provision of services by local voluntary organisations, "concentrated service provision in the hands of a small number of mainly private-sector organisations with access to significant licks of financial capital and, most importantly, it's not delivering results for jobseekers or for British taxpayers".
Labor to increase long-term jobless aid
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
Labor will dramatically increase and hasten support for the unemployed if it is re-elected, in reforms that aim to address the problem of long-term unemployment.
South Australian youth 15 to 24 to get national disability insurance from 2016
Lauren Novak, The Advertiser
Young South Australians aged 15 to 24 will be covered by the next stage of the DisabilityCare rollout from 2016, Labor says.
The first South Australian children were covered by the scheme from the middle of this year, starting with those aged two and younger.
Big spending, limited return
Editorial, The Australian
Labor made the DSP harder to get. As a result, successful applications have fallen from 63 per cent to 42.4 per cent and the total number of recipients has fallen by 7800 to 824,082. But as Mission Australia chief executive Toby Hall has observed, the change merely closed the stable door after the horse had bolted. We should question why one in every 15 workers in the labour force is on the DSP, a third of whom have been diagnosed with mental health problems. The long-term trend is in one direction: 3.9 per cent in 1991; 6.3 per cent in 2001; 6.7 per cent today.
Why hasn’t the mental health of Australians improved?
Anthony Jorm, The Conversation
Despite two decades of investment in improving mental health services, the mental health of Australians has not improved. This may be because haven’t been spending money on the right approach and need to place greater emphasis on prevention.
Homeless left in the cold: Mission Australia
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
Mission Australia chief executive Toby Hall has attacked the lack of attention given to homelessness and housing by the major parties in the election campaign as "seriously disappointing".
... Mr Hall said neither side had said anything about how to address the nationwide lack of housing affordability or about providing relief to vulnerable individuals and families within the private rental market.
Victoria - Outer suburbs stretched to breaking point
Aisha Dow, The Age
Severe growing pains in Melbourne's fringe suburbs have led to calls for council population targets and for an independent body to manage infrastructure planning in the city's growth areas.
Unsung policy issue: what will they do on housing affordability?
Farz Edraki, Crikey
Here’s an unfashionable issue you’re hearing nothing about: housing affordability. But if you’re a young person struggling to rent (or buy), it’s a big one.
Sex appeal Lib blames refugees for traffic jams
James Robertson, stuff.co.nz
A Liberal candidate in Australia's fedreal election believes asylum seekers are contributing to traffic jams in western Sydney.
"[Asylum seekers are] a hot topic here because our traffic is overcrowded," Fiona Scott, the Liberal candidate for the seat of Lindsay, told the ABC's 4 Corners program.
What if infrastructure is the real issue?
Katharine Murphy and Paul Owen, Election 2013 live, The Guardian
If voters are actually worried about congestion and infrastructure, and projecting that worry onto asylum seekers as a kind of proxy anxiety - it begs an interesting question in the whole debate, doesn't it? If the major parties went on more about infrastructure and less about boat people, would anxiety about unauthorised boat arrivals dissipate? I don't know, but it's an interesting question. (10.00 AEST)
Asylum Seekers Not Illegal and Not Our Enemy - Bishop
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese
The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has condemned the Coalition's decision to deny free government advice on lodging claims and to withdraw taxpayer funded support for legal appeals to those who arrive in Australia by boat seeking asylum.
Asylum seekers - public discussion on hold until after the election
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street
If there is a need and a political imperative to stop the boats, there ought be the possibility of agitating how this might most ethically be done. It might be possible to put an ethical case for stopping the boats, given the increase in arrivals, the increase in deaths at sea and the development of the people smuggling business model.
But even in the robust Australian democracy, such public discussion is on hold until an election is out of the way. Those critical of all the major parties either remain silent or state ideals that have no prospect of implementation. Most purists on the issue, who see no case for stopping the boats, do not endorse the Greens because of policy differences over other issues. And thus a critical political question is rendered irrelevant to the electoral processes and robust discussion about what works and what's ethical has to be put on hold.
UK - David Cameron's vision has been lost, says author of 'hug a hoodie' speech
Mark Townsend, The Observer
David Cameron's vision of a compassionate Conservatism has been lost in a lurch to the right, according to the prime minister's former adviser who coined the "hug a hoodie" line.
Danny Kruger, Cameron's former speechwriter, said the prime minister had allowed his ambitions to be hijacked by a rhetoric centred on "bashing burglars and sending immigrants home", instead of an optimistic agenda that would benefit communities.
Kruger said Cameron had lost his pre-election drive and energy and that his reforming programme, including the "big society" ethos, had fallen victim to cowardice in the face of criticism from the media and his own backbenchers.
A contest, but not one of ideas
Andrew Holden, The Age
Neither main party has presented that dramatic vision for the country. There has been policy made on the run, by Labor, and a deliberate evasion of detail, by the Coalition. Two of the three debates had some value, generally when the two leaders were forced to confront each other.
But too much appears as though it were based on an internal Labor report from the 1980s, which described swinging voters as ''basically ignorant and indifferent about politics. They vote on instinct for superficial, ill-informed and generally selfish reasons''.
It's about vision, stupid
Mitchell Neems, Business Spectator
Neither major party has a vision of Australia in 10 years; not because they don’t want one, but because it is inconsequential to something as short-sighted as an election.
The misleading 'debates' over debt, paid parental leave and costings in a broader sense highlight exactly how the short-term obsession with populism is eroding any chance of a national vision.
Labor’s launch illustrates its dilemma of ‘vision’
Bernard Keane, Crikey
Rudd, of course, had already tried the “vision” thing over the last fortnight, and it made him look foolish: northern Australia, high-speed rail, moving naval bases around for the hell of it. If Keating’s “vision” was a coherent set of strategies that he had woven together over more than a decade in politics before even becoming a senior minister, Rudd’s “vision” was the butcher’s paper from an all-nighter with advisers the day before.
Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation
Laura Tingle, Quarterly Essay 46 (2012)
Mark Textor says, “Australians have trodden water before, but they have never been so far out to sea and without someone they trust pointing to a horizon, saying, ‘That is where we have to swim.’ People talk about the ‘vision thing.’ To me it’s not a vision, it’s the horizon that people seek.”
UK - The Big Society
David Cameron, the prime minister, used to shout about the “Big Society”. He wanted to encourage small groups, charities and business to play a role in welfare provision. But recently we have heard less about the idea. Many people found it too abstract to be enticing. And cynics argued that the concept was devised to provide cover for swingeing government cuts.
Despite the criticism, the Big Society is not dead. In fact, the Conservative party is firmly behind the idea. But questions have been asked about the impact of fiscal austerity on Mr Cameron’s grand vision.
ACNC in the Firing Line
Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Pro Bono News
The opinion piece by Professor Wiltshire, Charity in the Firing Line, The Australian, August 30 2013, has caused my phone to run hot with inquiries about a “roll back” of the ACNC being the definitional gateway to federal benefits and concessions for charities.
Red Tape, Charities and Politics - A Curious Mix
David Crosbie, Pro Bono News
There is much to like about the Coalition strategies to strengthen the sector and to reduce compliance costs across government agencies, but when it comes to the ACNC, the Coalition have developed a bad case of tin ear.
The one thing you would expect from any new government is that it does not seek to undo what is clearly working to benefit our charities and our communities. Is that too much to ask?
Pope Francis and the Vatican's 'crows and vipers'
Andrew Brown, The Guardian
One of the most striking things about the Vatican is just how disconnected it can be from the world around it. Another is that it is at the same time fantastically well connected. Upwards of 150 states have diplomatic relations with the pope and it is represented in all international bodies of any significance. The paradox of extreme connectedness and extreme distance was nicely exemplified by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, whom Pope Francis has just sacked.
Can savage capitalism be humanized? Taking up the challenge of Pope Francis
Michael Stafford, Religion and Ethics, ABC
Pope Francis's critique of "savage capitalism," coupled with the power of his own personal witness, has resonated with many across the world and awakened new hopes and aspirations. But it has not yet led to large scale self-examination among American Catholic public intellectuals, or a critique of America's current economic and political realities. That's unfortunate. In many ways, America is ground zero for this "savage capitalism"- the place where the "dictatorship of the economy" and the "cult of money" enjoy almost unchallenged sway.