Daily News - Friday 27 June 2014

Posted 27 June 2014 8:02am

Unlawful deliveries
Peter Mares, Inside Story

When Sister Brigid Arthur first encountered “Ana” she was “sparky,” despite being in detention. She appeared physically and mentally well, and was as excited as “the brightest young mother-to-be” about the imminent birth of her first child. The second time they met, the baby was one week old and Ana appeared sad and confused. Sister Brigid recalls her saying tearfully, “I shouldn’t have had this baby here,” and “I shouldn’t have had a baby at all under these circumstances.”

On each subsequent visit the situation was worse. “Her eyes got duller and duller,” says Arthur. “Eventually she became hugely depressed and ended up in hospital in neonatal psychiatric care.”


Asylum seekers facing '49% chance of death, torture' could be sent home
Stephanie Anderson, SBS

Asylum seekers could be sent back to their home country if they face a less than 50 per cent chance of death or torture on their return under sweeping changes to migration policy in Australia.


Survivor to help tackle domestic violence against women with disabilities
Lily Partland, ABC

Fiona Guthrie says that when her former partner betrayed her trust and raped her, she didn't know where to turn.

The Ballarat woman - who has a mild intellectual disability, bipolar disorder and severe anxiety - found it difficult to cope as she searched for help.


Tony Abbott launching plan to stop domestic violence, forced marriages and female genital mutilation

Authorities will crack down on forced marriages, female genital mutilation and the abuse of migrant spouses under a new national plan to stop violence against women.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will today launch the $100 million Second Action Plan to stop domestic violence, which will also see state and territory governments commit to work on implementing a national scheme for domestic violence orders.


Safe seats are more likely to have a work for the dole pilot
Kyle Peyton, The Conversation

In July, the federal government will begin a series of pilot programs for its work for the dole scheme across Australia. All job seekers aged 18 to 30 who have been unemployed for more than a year and have a work experience requirement will either participate in this program or have their income support payments reduced or stopped.

The program is controversial – for good reason. First, it probably won’t work ...


Life chances: policy must respond to the real lives of young people
Janey Taylor, The Conversation

Debbie started life as a baby on the 20th floor of high-rise flats. She was the youngest of four children in a sole-parent family with possible child protection issues. Her parents both had very disadvantaged childhoods.

Debbie’s story follows her family’s move to public housing in a country town and her parents’ struggle to stabilise and settle over the years. Debbie left school early and was injured in a car smash.


Head east for the jobs, new data reveals
Peter Martin, The Age

A tidal shift in the jobs market has seen mining supplanted by aged care and even manufacturing as job vacancies in the west vanish and are replaced by new vacant jobs in Australia's east.

Figures from the Bureau of Statistics show the number of vacant jobs in mining has slipped by 5400 in the past two years, and in construction by 6700. Over the same period the number in manufacturing has slipped just 1200, despite reports of factory closures.

There were 11,000 vacant manufacturing jobs in June and only 4200 vacant jobs in mining.


High price for cheap homes
Stefanie Balogh, The Australian ($)

The Coalition has slammed a $115 million Labor-era scheme to increase the supply of affordable homes in regional cities as a “pork-barrelling exercise’’, after it emerged just 247 of 8000 promised dwellings had been delivered at more than triple their estimated cost.

... Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said yesterday the Building Better Regional Cities program was “the essence of incompetence and partisan pork-barrelling’’.

He said former housing minister Brendan O’Connor “cherry-picked programs that fitted in with his political agenda, with complete disregard for the advice of his department, which said that most applications were lacking in merit or did not provide value for money’’.


Inequality to worsen unless big changes made to how we govern
Clare O'Neil, The Australian

If there is a silver lining to the Abbott budget, it is that for the first time in a long time the nation is talking about equality.

Interesting questions are under debate. Is it equality of outcome that counts, where all Australians end up with equal shares of the pie? Or is it equality of opportunity, where we each have an equal chance of ending up at the top, which really matters?

The truth is, no matter how you define equality, the evidence shows that we are some way off achieving it. The richest 20 per cent of Australians control 60 per cent of all household wealth, while the poorest 20 per cent control just 1 per cent.

... Cutting welfare is the centrepiece of the Coalition’s budget strategy. It’s the government’s primary response to a “budget emergency” that has been met with deep scepticism by economists all over the nation. But if the Prime Minister is so concerned with the state of the budget, the place to start making cuts is to his paid parental leave scheme. The scheme is a top-up of maternity leave to the wealthiest women in Australia, which comes at the expense of payments to the very worst off. The more you earn, the more government support you get. No matter how you definite equality, it’s pretty hard to argue that that’s going to help, isn’t it?


We all pick the facts that we like
Greg Lindsay, Australian Financial Review

The distinction ... between “advocacy” and “research-based” think tanks is entirely spurious. Anyone interested in shaping policy ideas must pay attention to evidence. Any organisation that simply ignored evidence and sounded off in an uninformed way would soon lose all credibility.

You will never influence governments to do anything without marshalling a battery of facts. (One of the finest discussions of this was in a 2009 speech by then chair of the Productivity Commission, Gary Banks.)

Conversely, those in the think tank world who claim to be mere pragmatists with no ideological axe to grind are fooling themselves as well as misleading the rest of us. In the social sciences, there is no such thing as evidence-based research, free of any contaminating values or biases.


Vatican document for synod on family balances mercy and cultural blame
Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Struggles faced by faithful around the world in following Catholic teachings stem mainly from ineffective education in those teachings and the pervasive effect of a relativistic culture, states the guiding document for an upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family.

The document, anticipated by many Catholics as a barometer for what to expect from the synod, also strongly reinforces church teachings regarding the indissolubility of marriage, the restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples, and that partners must be open to having children.


Television, smart phones and computers can threaten relationships, says Vatican document
Synod of bishops, The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization

... television, smart phones and computers can be a real impediment to dialogue among family members, leading to a breakdown and alienation in relationships within a family, where communication depends more and more on technology. In the end, the means of communication and access to the Internet replace real family relationships with virtual ones. This situation runs the risk of leading to not only the disunity and breakdown of the family but also the possibility that the virtual world will replace the real one (particularly a danger in Europe, North America and Asia). The responses consistently mention how even a family’s leisure time is hijacked by these instruments.


Pope Francis Has More Clout On Twitter Than Any Other World Leader: Study
Jonathan Fowler, AFP

Pope Francis has by far the most clout of any world leader on Twitter because he is so widely retweeted, a study of political use of the social network showed on Wednesday.

With 14 million followers for the nine different language versions of his @Pontifex account, the cyber-savvy pontiff boasts just a third of those notched up by US President Barack Obama.


Pope Francis’ Gentle Revolution
Angelo Franco, Highbrow Magazine

On March 28th of last year, 10 days after his papacy began, Pope Francis I visited a detention center in Rome and washed the feet of young offenders as part of a Holy Thursday Mass ahead of Easter. Foot-washing is part of a Christian tradition that mirrors Jesus’s actions at the Last Supper during the time leading to his crucifixion. But this time, Pope Francis set a precedent and tone for a reign of the Catholic Church sees such deeds not only as a slow move toward a more progressive outlook of its core values, but also as opportunities for marketability. Pope Francis has created an image for himself and the Vatican that works like a well-oiled machine, with contradictions and incongruities, forward pushes and innovative stances due, in large part, to Pope Francis himself – his ideologies, background, and position within one of the most powerful forces in the world.

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