Daily News - Friday 9 May 2014
Joe Hockey to swing axe on public sector
David Crowe and David Uren, The Australian
More than 200 spending programs will be slashed in next week’s federal budget as Joe Hockey vows to shrink the size of government in a “big, structural change” to save billions of dollars.
... The cuts to more than 200 programs illustrate the scale of the savings measures to be included in the budget on Tuesday night. Programs will be scrapped or scaled back and merged with other activities in order to cut administrative costs, making more federal job losses inevitable.
'Guillotine' hangs over farmers
Colin Bettles, The Land
The Audit’s hit list includes ... abolishing the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS)
... Mr Joyce said he was poring his way through the Audit’s report and would “give it time to ruminate” in light of other recommendations for agriculture.
There are concerns youth in the country's most disadvantaged areas will miss out on training opportunities, amid fears funding for a national scheme that connects employers and schools is about to run out.
The Partnership Brokers program was started in 2010 but only has funding through to the end of 2014.
Treasurer Joe Hockey's decision to raise the pension age to 70 is being met with criticism from middle-aged Australians looking for work, who say they may be left in the lurch for decades.
Mr Hockey has confirmed the Coalition wants to raise the pension entitlement age to 70 over 22 years.
Disability support pension to be cut with new index scheme
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
The ballooning Disability Support Pension will be dramatically reformed in the federal budget, with new indexation arrangements designed to stop the payment growing at such a fast rate.
Changing the DSP indexation arrangements was one of the key recommendations of the National Commission of Audit, but The Australian has learnt that the government had already been considering the option.
... The Australian has learned that the budget will also feature more regular reviews for recipients of the DSP, with under-35s to be the target of the more regular reviews which are likely to occur every six months.
Better social policy ‘could improve teen mums’ poorer lives’
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
Teenage mothers are less likely to finish school or gain employment, and are more likely to have less income and suffer from poor health.
University of Melbourne professor Guyonne Kalb, who co-authored the study, said ... said teenage mothers could benefit from well-designed social policy to alleviate the negative impact that teenage motherhood had and reduce the future incidence of teenage motherhood.
Children’s cognitive abilities linked to parental education
Agnieszka Jaroslawska, The Conversation
Cognitive difficulties are very common in children from impoverished backgrounds, putting them at risk of educational failure. However, it is not clear what influences the development of cognitive abilities, nor when such factors have their biggest impact. What is more important, your parent’s degree or the town you grew up in?
This issue was addressed in a recent paper by University of Pittsburgh child psychiatrist Daniel Hackman and his colleagues. They found that parental education, but not the characteristics of a neighbourhood, was associated with working memory performance.
Pupils from large families ‘do worse at school,’ claims study
Alison Kershaw, The Independent
Children from large families tend to do worse in maths and reading than youngsters with few brothers and sisters, research suggests.
Those with two or more siblings scored lower in both subjects than the average results for children from smaller families, a study found. It suggests that girls and boys from larger families suffer from an “educational penalty” – with boys affected more than girls.
It’s not a crime to have ADHD
Brenton Prosser, The Conversation
Every few months, the same question about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is posed in the media - is it real? The latest example comes from leading American neuroscientist, Dr Bruce Perry, who claims ADHD is better thought of as a description than a disease.
Teaching Teenagers To Destroy The Joint
Bec Zajac, New Matilda
At a small school in Melbourne’s south-east, recess has ended and a dozen teenagers head to their portable classroom for their next lesson. Inside, there is everything you’d expect to find: atlases, dictionaries, trophies. But between the posters about spelling rules and timestables are less likely teaching tools.
“Sexism is a social disease. Feminists unite!” a poster reads. Declares another: “84 per cent of sexual assault victims are female. Around 1 per cent of perpetrators are female. Destroy the Joint!”
Half of families pay no net tax if welfare benefits deducted, new figures reveal
Jessica Irvine, News Corp Australia
Half of Australian families receive more in welfare than they pay in income tax, new figures reveal.
As the Abbott government sharpens its budget razor on welfare, the figures reveal just how dependent we’ve become.
The exclusive modelling for News Corp Australia by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra reveals 48 per cent of Australia’s 12.2 million “income units” pay no net tax. Any tax they do contribute is more than offset by the welfare — pensions, family tax benefits or childcare rebates — they receive.
Exposing the dangers of welfare
Adam Creighton, The Australian
If anyone crowned economics queen of the social sciences, it was the brilliant Gary Becker. The Nobel prize-winning economist died on Saturday, aged 83, leaving a bookshelf of seminal scholarship that brought the rigour of economic theory to everyday life, spawning the small library of “economics of everything” books that now grace bookshops the world over.
... Becker explained how the welfare state shredded the social fabric that once bound families and communities together.
The explosion of single-parent families, drug addiction, crime and loneliness stemmed not from a sudden outbreak of moral torpor but from the rational response of individuals, conscious or not, to the financial incentives associated with these activities.
According to new research by disability charity Scope out today, 67 per cent of people feel uncomfortable when talking to a disabled person. This awkwardness stems from ignorance and fear, and the awkward truth is we'll need time, money and whole lot of effort to change attitudes.
Tony Abbott and the white man’s burden
Morgan Godfery, Overland
... Tony Abbott is a paternalist. He favours centralisation, not self-determination. He favours top-down management, not bottom-up solutions. Abbott is an ideological descendant of the Aborigines’ Protection Society and the London humanists of the nineteenth century.
Instead of devolving power to Indigenous people –the trend in Canada, New Zealand and the United States – Abbott is centralising it in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. While noting concern at the ‘top down nature’ of the Northern Territory Intervention Abbott indulges his totalitarian instincts and supports top-down income management. While he is all for ‘closing the gap’ – in health, wealth, education and incarceration – he is pursuing cuts that will reinforce them. Abbott’s policy programme is a nod to the nineteenth century.