Daily News - Monday 12 August 2013

Posted 12 August 2013 7:33am

A fairer go for millions caught in poverty trap
John Falzon, The Daily Telegraph

Nearly 13 per cent of Australians live in poverty. That's about 2.25 million people, including over half a million kids.

My organisation, the St Vincent de Paul Society, is not an economic think-tank. We don't pretend we could run the country. But neither can we be silent about what we see every day in prosperous Australia, especially in the lead-up to a federal election.

ACOSS calls for action on poverty
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

The next federal government must commit to comprehensive tax reform and wind back middle-class welfare, including the Schoolids Bonus and the Extended Medicare Safety Net, within its first 100 days, urges the nation's peak welfare lobby.

The Australian Council of Social Service will today release its election wish list, which includes using the Henry tax review as the "blueprint for reform" with nothing ruled out.

Inequity of super generosity
Michael West, The Age

Australia boasts what is perhaps the most generous middle-class welfare system in the world, a system where taxpayers shower benefits on executives that are not available to the average worker.

Preschools better for children than day care
Cosima Marriner, The Age

Preschools offer "significantly higher quality" than long day care centres, a long-term study of 3000 Australian children has found.

But pure preschool is becoming a luxury that many working parents cannot afford for their children, due to the mismatch between the eight-hour work day and the five-hour preschool day.

Kevin Rudd unveils Step into Skills, a $35 million plan for young disadvantaged job seekers

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has unveiled a $35 million plan to help young, disadvantaged job seekers become more employable.

... Mr O'Connor says it is not enough to simply train people in vocational skills.

"Given that we have people growing up in jobless households, they don't always have role models, they don't always understand the ethics of work and therefore it's important that there is investment dedicated to those disadvantaged young people to ensure that they get every opportunity they can to have a productive life - a meaningful life," he said.

Step into Skills
Australian Labor Party

Unemployment in Australia is very low – just 5.7% - but for those who haven’t completed their Year 12 Certificate or equivalent non-school qualifications, that number is more like 9.2%. There is a group of young people who often fall through the cracks. That is, those who come out of the school system but are not ready in terms of their skills set to head into formal vocational training.

Parties offer no real hope for the many homeless
Kirsty Needham, Sydney Morning Herald

Kevin Rudd pledged to halve homelessness by 2020 as prime minister in 2008, but when the crunch time came for renewing ambitious four-year funding deals worth a billion dollars with the states, he was no longer in The Lodge.

Victoria - Housing non-profits hit for higher rate on fire levy
Henrietta Cook, The Age

Not-for-profit community housing organisations are being slugged the commercial rate for the fire services levy and fear they will have to cut services to pay for the new system.

Community Housing Federation of Victoria executive officer Lesley Dredge said community housing organisations operated in a similar way to public housing and it was unfair they were being charged a commercial rate.

Tasmanian welfare agencies overrun
Alice Claridge, The Mercury

Tasmania's welfare and charity operators are overwhelmed with demand as more Tasmanians are pushed into poverty.

The need is so great agencies are turning people away.

Our shocking stats for acquired brain injuries
Mandy Squires, Geelong Advertiser

The number of people receiving brain injuries from car crashes in the Geelong region each year has nearly tripled since 2008.

The frightening statistics were released ahead of the national launch today of Brain Injury Awareness Week in Geelong.

PNG 'solution' will forever be a dark stain on Australia
Martin Flanagan, The Age

So here we are in an Australian election with the two major parties competing to see who can deal more harshly with asylum seekers because a significant proportion of the country is happy to be sold the fiction that desperate refugees can be stopped from coming to Australia by sea.

Teen refugees excluded until adulthood
Natalie O'Brien, The Age

Teenage refugees joining the so-called queue in Indonesia to apply officially for protection visas, instead of jumping on a boat, say they are being told Australia will not take them until they are 18 years old.

... An Immigration Department spokesman said Australia tries to discourage parents from sending their children on a dangerous journey to Australia ''to act as an anchor'' for families' subsequent migration to Australia.

Time to 'rethink' charities
Farrah Tomazin, The Age

Rates of reoffending, substance abuse and unemployment are getting worse, according to the latest snapshot of how Australia is faring.

Despite years of investment, a report card to be released this week has also found that child abuse and school completion is slipping, prompting calls to rethink the effectiveness of some charities.

Charity dollars really making 'The Difference'
Media Release, The Difference

The Difference 2013, launched in Melbourne today [Tuesday 13/8] by Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO, paints a grim picture with eight out of eleven social indicators, including drugs and alcohol; long term unemployment; re-offending and child abuse showing that they are worse since last year’s report.

An annual report card on Australian social health, this is the third issue of The Difference, created to help people better understand the connection between need and giving and ensure that their valuable charity dollars go to where they can make a real difference.

Evaluating your organisation's impact
Tris Lumley, The Guardian

There's a battle raging in the impact measurement landscape.

Our standards of evidence are too low, say experts. To identify the impact of an intervention—in other words to attribute impact—we need sophisticated evaluations that must involve control groups, and preferably randomisation.

Our standards of evidence are too high, complain others. It's unreasonable to expect cash-strapped charities and busy social enterprises to incorporate high-end evaluation into their work. We should focus on managing performance and give up on unrealistic expectations of attribution.

The Nudge Debate
David Brooks, The New York Times

We’re entering the age of what’s been called “libertarian paternalism.” Government doesn’t tell you what to do, but it gently biases the context so that you find it easier to do things you think are in your own self-interest.

Paternalism and the English language
Will Wilkinson, The Economist

Paternalism has to do with making people go in a direction they don't want to go. The gist of paternalism is that it takes away choices other people think are bad for us to make. By definition, "choice-preserving" policy is not paternalistic policy. By definition, paternalistic policy is not libertarian. If "libertarian paternalism" is stipulated to be a programme of "choice-preserving decision architecture", to use Messrs Sunstein and Thaler's barbaric jargon, then "libertarian paternalism" is nothing but a profoundly confusing, completely superfluous synonym for anti-paternalism.

UK - Pray-day loans
Nico Hines, The Daily Beast

The leader of the Anglican Church is shifting his sights from the ecumenical to the economical: Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, recently put forward an intriguing proposal that would closely link the Church of England to credit unitions.

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