Daily News - Monday 17 November 2014

Posted 17 November 2014 7:27am

Community groups welcome G20 pledge on youth unemployment
Natasha Bita, The Australian ($)

Youth unemployment is “unacceptably high’’ and governments must do more to create quality jobs’’, G20 leaders declared yesterday.

To the delight of community organisations, the leaders of the world’s 20 richest nations pledged to get more young people into work, education or training courses.

... Mr Costello — who heads World Vision Australia — said the Abbott government should scrap its plan to make the under-30s wait six months for Newstart payments.

“The plan to cut the dole assumes this will get them off their backsides and they will get out and be productive,’’ he said.

“The truth is when there’s only one job for every three applicants you’ve got to actually create jobs, not cut the dole.’’


Chatterers wrong on poverty
Nyunggai Warren Mundine, The Australian ($)

I’m a strong supporter of Australia’s welfare safety net. But its purpose is to assist people in hard times get back on their feet, not keep them in hard times. The ACOSS report illustrates the clear correlation between poverty and welfare dependency in Australia. Some think the solution is to increase welfare. I think the solution is to get people off welfare and into a job.


Youth homelessness funding welcome, but where are housing policies?
VCOSS, media release

The Minister for Housing, The Hon. Wendy Lovell MLC, today announced that if re-elected, the Coalition government would provide an additional $6 million to Kids Under Cover for its programs to address youth homelessness. Kids Under Cover, a VCOSS member organisation, runs an integrated youth homelessness support organisation comprising their studio, scholarship and mentoring programs.


Childcare benefits red tape putting off low-income parents
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Low-income and disadvantaged families use fewer childcare and preschool services because they find applying for benefits “confusing and frustrating’’.

And some avoided services ­because they found providers ­ignored their needs, a ­national study has shown. These parents wanted pro­viders to place more emphasis on learning that would better support their children when they started school.

The study by the University of NSW Social Policy Research Centre concluded that if the government accepted the draft recommendations of the Productivity Commission for a new “work or study test” then thousands of children whose parents were unemployed would be excluded from early childhood services.


Freer foreign adoption risks past ‘travesties’, warns senior judge
Nicola Berkovic, The Australian ($)

A senior udge has warned against repeating “travesties” of the past by ramping up adoption from countries such as Ethiopia that are not signatories to The Hague adoption convention.


Child Protection: too few adoptions mean too much of everything else
Jeremy Sammut, Centre for Independent Studies

Australia, by international standards, has a pitifully low number of 'local' adoptions despite more than 40,000 children languishing in foster care throughout the states and territories. In 2012-13, there were just 81 children adopted from care nationally - 78 in NSW and just 3 in the rest of the country.

In the United States, by comparison, more than 50,000 children are adopted from care each year. If Australian children in care were adopted at the same rate as in the United States, there would be around 5,000 annual adoptions nationally.


Spare the rod: Spanking makes your children stupid
The Economist

George Stewart's teacher in Jamaica used to wait by the school door with a switch to punish tardy pupils. His parents whipped him, too. Now he lives in the Bronx and refuses to hit his own children. “I don’t think beating works,” he says. “It instils in them a cruelty that they pass down, generation to generation.”

Ample evidence backs his view, say Richard Reeves and Emily Cuddy of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank. Nearly 30 studies from various countries show that children who are regularly spanked become more aggressive. They are also more likely to be depressed or take drugs, even after correcting for other factors.


Cashless welfare payments proposal sparks protest outside Adelaide ALP convention

A protest against the South Australian Premier's broad backing for proposed welfare reforms for Aboriginal communities has been staged outside the ALP state convention in Adelaide.

A review prepared for the Federal Government by mining magnate Andrew Forrest recommended a cashless welfare system was needed in remote communities.

Premier Jay Weatherill previously said he was open-minded about the welfare proposals, a view he again put to reporters when asked about the protest.


Welcome to Sweden - the most cash-free society on the planet
Helen Russell, The Guardian

Stockholm’s street magazine vendors no longer need to ask if passers-by can spare some change anymore – they take cards instead.

In the most cashless society on the planet, sellers of Sweden’s answer to the Big Issue have been equipped with portable card readers to accept virtual payments.

... The country’s highest-profile cash-free campaigner is Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus. After his son was robbed several years ago, Ulvaeus became an evangelist for the electronic payment movement, claiming that cash was the primary cause of crime and that “all activity in the black economy requires cash”.


Remote communities unite with funding plea from afar: don’t shut us out
Paige Taylor and Verity Edwards, The Australian

The 35 communities of Western Australia’s Fitzroy Valley, in the deep inland of the state’s far-north Kimberley and home to almost 4000 Aborigines, are calling for a “proper conversation” about their future after the Barnett government’s announcement of mass closures.

An unprecedented joint statement by the 10 Aboriginal organisations representing the Fitzroy Valley’s three native title-holder groups, the communities themselves, as well as the organisations that service and support the township of Fitzroy Crossing and the surrounding 35 communities, ­acknowledges “real and difficult ­financial issues for governments in relation to supporting remote communities”.


Kimberley Catholic Bishop echoes fears about closing remote Aboriginal communities

The Catholic Bishop for the Kimberley says residents of larger northern towns would also suffer if the Government shuts down dozens of communities.

The Premier has flagged the closure of up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities, saying federal funding will not cover the cost of keeping all 270 open.

Bishop Christopher Saunders has added to the chorus of those opposing the plan.


Coalition urged to fill drought policy void
Colin Bettles, Farm Weekly

Drought policy is expected to be elevated on the Coalition’s agenda when federal parliament resumes sitting later this month, to help resolve the government’s current ad hoc response method.

That prioritisation would acknowledge sustained warnings from the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) about a “huge void” in drought policy, following the axing of the previous 'exceptional circumstances' (EC) policy under the previous government.


UK - 'The danger is that too much of the sector has become obsessed with trying to win contracts'
Dan Corry. Civil Society

... the danger is that too much of the sector has become obsessed – for perfectly understandable reasons – with trying to win contracts. If you win a contract in a competitive tender then are you really likely to operate it very differently from another, maybe for-profit, provider?

Charities are rarely able to compete for bigger contracts – especially those that contain large elements of payment by results – due to their inability to cope with the risk and cash-flow issues they present. They end up as sub-contractors, a situation many find very unsatisfactory from a mission perspective (if they don’t agree with the way prime contractors deliver other parts of the service), as well as a business perspective (they have insufficient or unclear expectations about the volume of work they can expect).

In any case, is the sector just a supermarket with rows of outsourcing providers down its aisles for commissioners to choose from? What about shaping the sector, filling gaps in need, advocating at a national level and on behalf of individuals?


UK - We need a bolder charity sector which claims the right to have an opinion
Danny Kruger, The Guardian

We need to fight with everything in us to avoid becoming the poverty industry. Already, simply by raising money to meet need, we are in a collusive relationship with the problems we want to fight. Adrian Mole, throwing down litter with the excuse that it keeps his uncle the dustman in work, reflects the attitude of many offenders I work with – they think that we, the support providers, need them to have problems in order to keep our jobs. Are they wrong?

They often aren’t, but they could be. In youthwork, offender resettlement and other fields traditionally seen to be working with “problem” populations, there is a growing trend away from what is called deficit-based work – fixated on the needs and failings of vulnerable and disadvantaged people – towards asset-based work which looks to their talents and passions, their potential not only to sort out their own lives but to make a contribution to society in general.


Send me to jail: The 70-year-old supernun prepared to do anything to help children in detention
LIz Burke, news.com.au

When 70-year-old Catholic nun Sister Jane Keogh was arrested and led to a paddy wagon by eight federal police officers in Canberra yesterday, she wasn’t surprised. In fact she was disappointed the matter didn’t go further.

“I was thinking if I was charged and they offered me bail, I would say ‘could I go to jail instead’?” she told news.com.au.

Sister Keogh was among five protesters, three of them religious leaders, arrested yesterday at an MP’s office in Canberra protesting against the government’s treatment of children in detention centres with advocacy group Love Makes A Way.


The Catholic Church: Is it a ship without a rudder?
Russell Pollitt, Daily Maverick

Pope Francis has opted to operate from a paradigm that many of the current bishops, appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are not used to working from. The previous two Popes made decisions the rest of the Church was expected to implement. Francis, on the other hand, is operating out of a different model; for him communal discernment is at the heart of deciding on a way forward.

... Francis has opted for a “Jesuit way of proceeding”. This is rooted in the teachings of St Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits. To discern means to engage in a process of trying to discover the will or desire of God in a given situation. Discernment includes a time of reflection, prayer, talking, listening, some division, and even some debate so that different perspectives can emerge. At the opening of the recent Synod, the Pope asked all present to speak boldly and listen with openness – two key concepts in communal discernment.

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