Daily News - Monday 2 June 2014

Posted 2 June 2014 7:38am

Criticism isn’t enough, where do we go from here? Reactions to the response to the budget
Paul Smyth, The Power to Persuade

Reactions to the social policy aspects of the Federal Budget confirm for me that what John Buchanan and I argued in our book Inclusive Growth in Australia (Allen & Unwin 2013) is true: we are in the midst of a paradigm shift from neoliberalism to a new policy framework which integrates growth with equity and sustainability. I may be completely wrong and ‘ending entitlement’ actually anticipates a brave new world of ‘small government’. But if we are indeed past the point of no return for Thatcherism then it really behoves the critics to be out there with their positive alternative. The post Budget debate thus far suggests they have a long way to go.


Beyond the budget: What would a fairer tax and transfer system look like?
Jackie Brady, The Power to Persuade

Much of the debate over the federal budget is over whether everyone is doing their fair share of the heavy lifting needed to get spending and revenue back into long-term balance. But with the government holding reviews of both the tax and welfare systems, we need to broaden the debate. What would a fairer tax and transfer system look like?


Single welfare payment ‘no longer an option’
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

The $80 billion welfare system would be restructured into four or five targeted streams under a radical proposal being reviewed by the Abbott government that rejects the option of a single payment, first floated in the 1990s.

Former Mission Australia chief executive Patrick McClure, a long-time adviser to governments on welfare reform, has delivered the government his first interim report into the system, arguing it is so complex that the long-held ideal of a single payment is no longer a viable option.

Instead, there should be four to five “streams” of payments, mirroring the New Zealand model. Such a system would include “add-ons” to reflect the needs of recipients, including parents.


New wave of reform for welfare
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

A new wave of welfare reform that could force people off dozens of benefits is being prepared as the Abbott government seeks to simplify almost $80 billion in annual outlays.

Inflaming the dispute over tough budget cuts, Tony Abbott and senior ministers are canvassing further ways to cancel or reduce payments as they express frustration at the number of benefits. The government is aiming to sharpen the political row over welfare by releasing confidential advice within weeks to highlight the complexity of the system and the looming burden on taxpayers.

On the agenda is a far-reaching program to weed out supplements and allowances that are not essential, cutting down on the cost of running the system.

... The Weekend Australian has been told that Mr McClure’s recommendations are to be released for public comment within weeks, setting off a new round of debate over the welfare system.


Building a Victoria Without Poverty
Emma King, Pro Bono News

The Federal Budget has left us reeling. The Commonwealth Government has taken a divisive approach to make those who can afford it the least bear the brunt of its proposed budget changes.

We should not be corralled into a debate that demonises some, and pits Australians against each other. Are you a “heavy lifter” or a “leaner”, a “winner” or a “loser”, or do you “earn” or “learn”?

VCOSS believes that this divides, rather than unites, our community.


Good job Bad job: Finding work in the global labour market
Stan Correy, Rear Vision, Radio National, ABC

On Rear Vision the new geography of jobs, finding work in the global labour market. Where you live could decide if you have a good or bad job. According to Prime Minister Tony Abbott ,workers who’ve lost their jobs don’t need to worry they will transition from “good jobs to better jobs”. In today’s rapidly changing labour market the better jobs could be in the next city, state or another country.


Job preference to dole trainees
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Young people who undertake work-for-the-dole placements at councils, aged-care facilities and parks could receive permanent paid work when jobs are advertised, under the Coalition’s plan for the redesigned scheme.

... Mr Hartsuyker said he believed that unemployed people who undertook work-for-the-dole placements should be the frontrunners to get real jobs when they became available.

“I’ve had the discussion that it would be my wish that when positions come up in entities where they have work-for-the-dole participants placed, that they would give very strong consideration to the people who’ve been working with them,” Mr Hartsuyker said.


Drug tests if you’re on the dole
Samantha Maiden, The Sunday Telegraph

Drug testing for the unemployed and the suspension of payments to people with outstanding arrest warrants are two options to be debated in a major overhaul of welfare.

The Abbott Government has confirmed it is looking closely at New Zealand’s welfare system, which includes a hardline approach to drug use.

The New Zealand model strips welfare recipients of half their payments if they fail a job-required drug test or refuse to submit to one.


NZ - Minister claims low drug result as victory
David Fisher, The New Zealand Herald (Jan 2014)

Drug testing of beneficiaries is turning up an extremely low number of results showing drug use - and a lot of missing information about the controversial policy.

Of the 8,001 beneficiaries sent for jobs requiring drug testing, only 22 tested positive to drug use or refused to take tests.


Tony Abbott: report on welfare penalty for drug users 'highly speculative'
Daniel Hurst, The Guardian

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has played down the prospect of the government withdrawing unemployment benefits from people who fail drug tests, saying reports about the option were “highly speculative”.


Youth unemployment rates forecast to soar
Anna Patty, Matt Wade

Families and young people in western Sydney would be hardest hit by federal budget changes that deny the dole to under-30s for six months of each year, analysis shows.

The 17 per cent youth unemployment rate in the western suburbs is almost three times higher than in wealthier parts of the city, including the inner west, and is set to rise above 20 per cent, according to analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.


Young jobless ‘have an attitude problem’
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Almost 40 per cent of employers believe the poor attitude of young jobless Australians is severely impacting on their job prospects, a major survey has found.

About half the employers said the best action many young people could take to enhance their employment prospects was to improve their attitude and physical appearance.


Call for change of attitude on employing older workers
Shane Green, The Age

Pushing the pension age to 70 risks opening a new front of discrimination against older workers, which experts warn is already systemic and blatant.

New figures from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission show that more than half of age discrimination complaints it receives relate to employment, and the proportion is steadily increasing.


Schools get training for mental health intervention
Benjamin Preiss, The Age

Teachers and school staff will receive training in early intervention for depression and self-harm among students, under a plan to improve mental health support.

Clinical advisers from national youth mental health foundation headspace will run the sessions for 3500 teachers and staff by the end of this year.

The state government's Schools And Families Engaging Minds program includes online training with videos that parents and other school staff can also access.


A new dimension of violence
Gympie Times

Cyber stalking has turned Noela McKinnon's life and Australia's domestic violence protection system inside out, Gympie people were told yesterday.

Ms McKinnon told a Mary St demonstration yesterday of her 18-month nightmare trying to prove how a hacker had stolen her identity and committed serious cyber offences against her and her family.

...She praised the detective work of SCOPE officer Karen Marsh, saying police did not understand the new cyber dimension in domestic violence until Ms Marsh's detective work helped her prove her innocence.

"They have forensic computer experts in the police force, but they are specialists in criminal prosecution and domestic violence is a civil matter (except for breaches of court orders).

"We did a course at SCOPE," Ms Marsh explained, adding that SCOPE is a part of Centacare, a government funded non-profit organisation, of which Ms Marsh is team leader in domestic violence services.


UK - Criminalising parents would not improve parenting
Alan Wood, The Guardian

Speculation has been rife about the inclusion of a new law criminalising emotional neglect in the Queen's speech later this week. Attempts to change the law on neglect have been frustrated in the past, for instance when Baroness Butler-Sloss tried to amend the crime and courts bill, and Mark Williams MP introduced an unsuccessful private members bill in 2013.

But despite a high profile campaign led by Action for Children, we must ask ourselves what benefit a new law would bring for children and young people?


Simple pleasures beyond reach of disabled seniors
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

Older Australians who have a disability and require care have less choice in how they spend household budgets, with more money going on necessities and less on recreation and “simple pleasures”, new modelling shows.

Data from the Australian ­Bureau of Statistics reveals couple households caring for an older disabled person spentmore than $100 a person less per weekthan other couple households.


Alarm sounded on rollout of NDIS
Rick Wallace, The Australian ($)

Governments and the disability service sector were ill-prepared for the radical shift to a National Disability Insurance Scheme and urgent work was needed to prevent problems in the rollout.

That’s the view of Ernst & Young partner and community specialist Mark Nixon, who supports the NDIS but is scathing about the preparation for its introduction in 2018.

... Mr Nixon said the NDIS was a unique reform that handed power to consumers, but many small ­organisations accustomed to receiving three-monthly block grants would be at risk of financial collapse in the handover to contested bidding for services.


Unheard stories of the sex abuse crisis
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street

The victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of church personnel have waited a long time to be heard, to be believed, and to be offered a modicum of compassion and justice. In the process, some church personnel, including conscientious priests of the utmost propriety, have been hurt and wronged by the broad-brush approach of some state sponsored inquiries and media responses.

In Unheard Story, Fr Padraig McCarthy rightly highlights shortcomings in legal-political-media processes like the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation.

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