Daily News - Monday 22 September 2014

Posted 22 September 2014 7:49am

Welfare of young at stake
Patrick McClure, The Australian

I've worked for most of my career in the community sector in organisations such as Mission Australia and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and I believe investment in early intervention services that assist people to find pathways to education, training, work and a life they value is as attractive as it is common sense.

... The welfare reform interim report, A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes, recommends early intervention and investment to achieve better work and life outcomes, and to reduce the costs of lifetime welfare dependency to taxpayers and welfare recipients.

The reference group has seen first-hand how New Zealand’s welfare reform changes are working. Sensibly, the New Zealand government has simplified its income-support system into five payment types. Alongside their entitlement reform, the Kiwis have introduced an investment approach that focuses on getting people into jobs.


Cost of welfare may be rerouted early
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Welfare recipients younger than 24 and drug addicts would be the targets of a radical new welfare approach that evaluates how much an individual would cost the country in welfare payments and instead spends the money upfront in training, ­rehabilitation and support.

The head of the Abbott ­government’s welfare review, Patrick McClure, has told The Australian the innovative approach is firming up as a key final recommendation.

He said it would also be used to help rehabilitate welfare recipients who were on payments because of illnesses linked to long-term drug dependence.


Hockey denies backflip on welfare payments

Treasurer Joe Hockey has played down reports the government will strike a deal with Labor on pensions and family payments that would leave him with a $9 billion budget hole.

'You don't believe everything that you read, certainly in relation to the comments of the Palmer United Party but also from the Labor Party,' he told the Nine Network on Sunday.

The government is reportedly planning to put on ice cuts some of the budget's most contentious measures to get Labor's support in the Senate for other welfare changes.


Disability Chief says QLD should wait before joining NDIS
Sherele Moody, News Mail

Queensland must learn from the mistakes of others before it gets a National Disability Insurance Scheme trial site.

A leading disability advocate says the state should take a wait-and-see approach before getting on the NDIS bandwagon.

National Disability Services CEO Ken Baker made the comments following the release of the scheme's fourth quarter report this week.

Queensland is the only state or territory without a trial site.


Income management & mutual obligation policies are not evidence based, say psychologists
Australian Psychological Society, submission (pdf)

... policies of mutual obligation and income management have the effect of individualizing what is a broader social and economic issue (unemployment), and shift responsibility from government and community to those most vulnerable. Proposals to expand these mutual obligation and income management approaches and related programs are not evidence-based, and risk undermining the autonomy and decision-making ability of individuals, which, as well as being a fundamental human right, is essential to psychological health and wellbeing.


Stop blaming Aboriginal culture, just combat child abuse at every level
Ngiare Brown, The Australian ($)

Addressing the physical and sexual abuse of children is a complex matter that cannot be tackled adequately in a few short paragraphs; however, I cannot tolerate that the media and the public condemn all Aboriginal people as though we are absent, incompetent, weak and dysfunctional. Perhaps they are emboldened by a silence they perceive as permissiveness.

It is therefore past time that we reclaimed our voice and our power, and committed ourselves to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and of all children.


Hard conversation about Aboriginal culture and child protection
Jeremy Sammut, Centre for Independent Studies

Conservative social commentators have indulged in 'divisive grandstanding' by linking Aboriginal culture to the abuse and neglect of Aboriginal children, according to Ngiare Brown, the deputy chairman of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council.

These claims suppress the hard conversation we need to have about Aboriginal culture and child protection.


WA - Public housing debate flares up
Kim MacDonald, The West Australian

The public housing debate has been reignited by revelations 55 of the State-owned properties are valued at more than $1 million.

Housing Minister Bill Marmion says the Government's general approach is to sell high-value properties, which are mostly in the western suburbs and the North West, once the tenants move out.

But shadow housing minister Fran Logan urged the State Government to keep the $1 million-plus properties, many of which are close to important infrastructure such as hospitals and train stations.


Using and ignoring evidence: The case of Australian child support reform
Kay Cook and Kristin Natalier, Australian Review of Public Affairs

Taken together, our analyses of who spoke, how they spoke and what was heard point to gender as a primary organising concept of the Australian Child Support reforms. Men’s understandings framed the problems to be solved and thus their possible solutions. Women’s interests and experiences lay outside the dominant stock story. This gendered framing shaped the way that information, and in particular anecdote, was received and managed as evidence by the Committee during the Inquiry process. When we examined how arguments were made and evidenced in the inquiry process, we found that the type of data (for example, social scientific or anecdotal data; qualitative or quantitative data) was less important than whether the information confirmed or challenged the Committee’s understanding of the problems to be solved.


Why research beats anecdote in our search for knowledge
Tim Dean, The Conversation

Certainty is seductive, so we tend to cling to it. We hunt for evidence that buttresses it, while ignoring or rejecting evidence that threatens to undermine it.

We seek out friends and media commentators who share our certainty, and then reinforce that certainty in their company. We use certainty as a bulwark in our conversations with others and we use it to thump tables when we bump up against someone else’s convictions.


Income inequality linked to poor health outcomes for disadvantaged Australians
Australian Psychological Society, media release

Growing income inequality in Australia is having a detrimental impact on the mental health and wellbeing of already disadvantaged individuals and communities, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) has said in its recent submission to the Government’s Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry into the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia, which is holding a public hearing today in Hobart.

Co-author of the submission Heather Gridley FAPS, APS Manager Public Interest, says people’s economic and social circumstances impact on their health and wellbeing.

“Inequality in a society compounds disadvantage, leading to poorer physical and mental health and living circumstances for marginalised groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, women, and those who are unemployed or under-employed,” she says.


The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons
Rachel L Kendal, The Conversation

“Make sure you play fairly,” often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the opportunity to share sweets equally, young children tend to behave selfishly but, by about eight years of age, most prefer to distribute resources to avoid inequalities, at least among members of their own social group.


Why is poverty associated with mental health problems for some people, but not others?
Peter Kinderman, BPS Research Digest

Critiques of the rather discredited "disease-model" of mental illness are commonplace, but we also need to articulate the alternative. New research by Sophie Wickham and colleagues helps do that, by providing support for the idea that we learn, as a consequence of our experiences in life, a framework of appraising, understanding and responding to new challenges. This psychological schema then shapes our emotional and behavioural responses to future events.


US - “I Will Listen”: How Social Media Can Diminish the Stigma of Mental Illness
Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American

One in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Yet often these individuals conceal their difficulties from friends, co-workers, family health professionals and others who could offer help.

When the New York City chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI–NYC) decided to investigate this phenomenon, they found that fear of being stigmatized—resulting in part from beliefs that individuals with mental illness are unpredictable or dangerous—was keeping many people silent. Teaming up with marketing company JWT New York, they designed the “I Will Listen” campaign in an effort to help break through these misconceptions.


Gimme gimme gimme: how to increase your willpower
Will Storr, The Guardian

Two varieties of human emerge from the pages of The Marshmallow Test, a new book by the esteemed psychologist professor Walter Mischel. The first kind is optimistic, hopeful for the future. They're more likely to be successful in school, work and love. They're also thinner, calmer, more sociable, less likely to be addicted and better savers of money. The other kind of human is the other kind of human. And, yes, there I was, deconstructed across the pages in the mercilessly rational tone of the scientist: the creature who couldn't concentrate at school, failed at education, was "rejection-sensitive" and struggled with alcohol, drugs, petty criminality, fat, love, sugar and friends. The incredible thing about Mischel's book is that he claims all these failings are connected by one single quality: self-control. Not only that, he believes he has a method, in the form of a few simple thought exercises, to help the other kind of human transform their lives.


Peephole to power
Stephen Mills, Inside Story

In the wall of prime minister Bob Hawke’s office in the old Parliament House there was a tiny hole, about the size of a thumbnail. It was not a design flaw or a listening device snuck in by a foreign spy agency. It was a peephole, a beautifully simple way for the occupant of the adjacent office, the principal private secretary, to monitor his boss.

Put your eye to the tiny glass lens and you’d get a miniature image of the prime minister at work behind his desk. Sometimes Hawke was alone, attending to his paperwork or holding forth on the phone. More often, a meeting would be under way and you’d see, seated opposite him, whichever foreign leader, cabinet minister, public servant or staff adviser was occupying the attention of the government’s central figure. Once I saw the Pope in there.


‘Mud on boots’ of new chief Catholic Anthony Fisher
Tess Lingstone, the Australian

Pope Francis last night promoted the Bishop of Parramatta, ­Anthony Fisher, 54, as the new Archbishop of Sydney to replace Cardinal George Pell.

Bishop Fisher, a member of the Dominican Order of Preachers, is the first religious order priest appointed to Australia’s most senior church job since ­English Benedictine Roger Bede Vaughan in 1877.


Our hopes for the new archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher
Geraldine Doogue, Brisbane Times

What are the ideal characteristics of a man taking on the formidable job of Archbishop of Sydney in this early 21st century? Bishops have always occupied a venerable place in the life of the church. Even though Rome has steadily centralised its power in the last 150 years, the temperament and approach of a local bishop really matters to his people, more than is generally recognised by our largely secular society.

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