Daily News - Friday 12 July 2013

Posted 12 July 2013 9:04am

Cabinet will look at the adequacy of Newstart, says Rudd
Jonathan Swan and Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald

In response to a question is about the adequacy of unemployment payments, Mr Rudd confirmed that cabinet would look at the level of Newstart, as well as issue of the 84,000 single parents who were moved from the sole parent payment to Newstart on January 1 this year.

Mr Rudd said he did not want to raise expectations that anything could be done but noted, ‘‘we will be doing what we can’’.

Macklin urges WA to sign up to disability plan

The federal minister for disability reform Jenny Macklin has renewed calls for the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett to sign up to the national disability insurance scheme.

Social housing shortage critical in the regions
Rebecca Curtin, ABC

"What we need are more houses, more houses, more houses."

"But that's easier said than done, that takes time and there's all sorts of bureaucratic processes, there's the property market, there's all sorts of economic issues surrounding that."

That is Julie Shadlow-Bath describing the critical shortage of social housing - affordable housing run by Community Housing Organisations - in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

Homeless where the heart is for one young man on a mission
Sophie Aubrey, Herald Sun

Luke Owens is a man on a mission. The 20-year-old worked tirelessly to raise $500,000 within nine months for Bendigo for Homeless Youth, a non-profit organisation he founded last year - and the go-getter has plenty more up his sleeve.

"Genes" a reason poor kids struggle at school, says government report
Natasha Bita, News Limited Network

Rich kids do better at school and poor children struggle due to genetic ``inherited abilities'', the Federal Government's top policy research agency says.

In a controversial new report released today, the Productivity Commission cites ``parents' cognitive abilities and inherited genes'' as one of five main reasons why kids from low-income families lag behind those from wealthy homes.

Don't blame poor genes for school dunces, childhood experts warn
Natasha Bita, The Daily Telegraph

Mission Australia chief executive Toby Hall said it was wrong to assume poor children were not as smart as kids from wealthy families.

He said children from poor families could "absolutely succeed in society if they are given the right early education''.

"It's easy to blame genes,'' he said.

Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia
Rosalie McLachlan, Geoff Gilfillan & Jenny Gordon, Producitivity Commission

A child starts life with a set of personal resources or endowments — at conception they are dealt a hand of cards (by genetic heritage and maternal health). The evidence points to the importance of the antenatal period for shaping future development pathways for children.

While inherited genes influence their development, the quality of family environments, and the availability of appropriate experiences at various stages of development, are crucial for building capabilities. While most families provide the support children require to build the capabilities they need for life, families dealing with problems such as poverty, mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence are under greater stress and may be less able to provide an environment conducive to nurturing children and promoting learning.

Parental joblessness, financial disadvantage and the wellbeing of parents and children
FaHCSIA Occasional Paper No. 48

LSAC data was used to analyse links between parental employment and the wellbeing of families.

The study found that jobless families and families with short part-time hours (fewer than 21 hours) were at considerable financial disadvantage compared to families with full-time or long part-time hours of employment. Of the children in the study,
5 per cent were living in a family with short part-time hours, and 11 per cent lived in a jobless family – this figure includes half of the children of single parents. Developmental outcomes for these children were lower than those for children in families working more than 21 hours. Joblessness and short part-time hours contributed to these poor outcomes for children through the effect of financial stress on parents.

Productivity Commission to study geographic labour mobility
Productivity Commission

The Australian Government has requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a research study assessing geographic labour mobility within Australia and its role in a well-functioning labour market.

The principal objective of the study will be to examine patterns of mobility, impediments and enablers, and their effect on the ability to meet Australia's continually changing workforce and employment needs.

Jobless rate reaches four year high as full-time jobs vanish
Justine Parker, PM, ABC

Meanwhile the country's jobless rate has risen to a near four year high of 5.7 per cent for June.

It's the highest jobless rate since September 2009.

Nearly 15,000 jobs were created, but they were all part-time, and economists are warning that the unemployment rate for full-time workers is now at its highest level since the global financial crisis.

Unemployed young people: too many affected, too little support
Media release, ACOSS

In response to today's unemployment figures which show Youth unemployment at more than 4 times the national average, ACOSS has joined with the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition in calling on the Government to respond to the increase in unemployment among young people by increasing Youth Allowance for single independent young people by $50 per week, along with the Newstart Allowance payment for adults.

Unemployment soars in Queensland to 10-year high of 6.4 per cent as pollies bicker over who is too blame
Belinda Merhab, Steven Wardill, Courier Mail

Queensland's jobless rate has risen to its highest level in almost ten years, sparking political bickering over blame.

The unemployment rate in the state lifted to 6.4 per cent in June, its highest level since October 2003 and up from 5.9 per cent in May. Only Tasmania has a worse unemployment rate at 8.9 per cent.

Does the unemployment rate tell us the whole story?
Greg Jericho, The Guardian

The unemployment rate announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of 5.7% is just one of the many bits of information revealed each month in the Labour Force data. So let’s look under the hood, and find some of the things that don’t usually make it to the headlines.

US - Work Makes People Miserable
Brenda Cronin, Wall Street Journal

Being out of work causes unhappiness — but apparently, so does working.

New research based on surveys using a smartphone app found that workers were unhappy and stressed while on the job. In fact, respondents ranked being sick in bed as the only activity more unpleasant than working. When offered dozens of options ranging from leisure, such as going to a concert, to personal paperwork, such as paying bills, workers preferred cleaning the house or waiting in line to being on the job.

UK - Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford investigate benefits system: We found no scroungers and no-one living comfortably
Nicola Methven, The Mirror

As Lord Alan Sugar’s original eyes and ears, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford made a formidable team.

Amid chaos created by the wannabe Apprentices, they were forever on hand to tell it like it really was.

Now the pair have been reunited for a TV series in which they examine Britain’s complicated benefits system.

Former PR man Nick and ex-City solicitor Margaret set out to explode the myth that benefit claimants are all cheating, lazy scroungers trying to exploit the system, by putting together four claimants and four taxpayers to examine each other’s lives.

Are women lonelier than men?
Jean Hannah Edelstein, Daily Life (19 June 2013)

Being lonely is about feeling an absence of love, not just an absence of people. There are no guarantees against loneliness. Romantic relationships, in theory, should cure loneliness, but it's easy to feel very alone (and trapped) in a relationship that isn't right.

Perhaps that's part of why loneliness hits women harder: the extent to which we feel we are valued in terms of who we have relationships with by others may in fact lead to these senses of crushing isolation.

Don’t be fooled, loneliness affects men too
Roger Patulny, The Conversation

When it comes to the impact of loneliness, humanity trumps gender: all humans need human contact. Studies show that loneliness is associated with physical ailments such as heart disease and poor sleep, as well as mental health problems and alcohol and substance abuse – and these associations are not explained by one’s sex.

Men may be less likely to reveal loneliness because of cultural and gender differences in the expression of emotions; sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls these “feeling rules”. The dominant feeling rules in societies such as Australia prevent men from expressing sensitive emotions – and possibly seeking out social contact, support and friendship – in the same way as women.

Pope accused of encouraging illegal immigration
Nick Squires, The Telegraph (UK)

Pope Francis has been accused of encouraging illegal immigration after expressing solidarity with asylum seekers and economic refugees during a visit to the island of Lampedusa this week.

A Pope Like None Before. Can He Do It?
Sandro Magister, Chiesa

The symbolic voyage to Lampedusa. His great popularity. The reform of the curia. The calculated silence on ethical issues. But also his first error over an IOR appointment. The challenge of Francis in changing the Church is meeting with obstacles and enemies. Including at the Vatican

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