Daily News - Monday 30 June 2014

Posted 30 June 2014 7:49am

Blueprint for overhaul of welfare system recommends simplifying payments, extending income management

The Federal Government has received a blueprint for an overhaul of the country's welfare system, recommending that 20 current welfare payments be cut to four.


Interim Report Proposes a Simplified Welfare System
Kevin Andrews, media release

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews says an interim review of Australia's welfare system has put forward a simplified payments structure with four basic payment types, among other potential reforms.


Review of Australia’s Welfare System
Department of Social Services

The Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, appointed an independent Reference Group to lead a review of Australia’s welfare system.

Mr Patrick McClure AO is the Chair of the Reference Group and its other members are Ms Sally Sinclair and Mr Wesley Aird.

The Reference Group’s Interim Report A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes was released for public and stakeholder comment on 29 June 2014.

The submission process is open until Friday, 8 August 2014 and will inform the development of the Reference Group’s Final Report to the Minister for Social Services.

Full report: A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes


Support agencies say Coalition is rushing its overhaul of welfare system
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

Community groups have raised concerns about the length of the consultation process on what could be the biggest overhaul of Australia’s welfare system in decades.


Patrick McLure offers a cure for what ails welfare
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

... the devil will be in the ­detail. When the final review is delivered, the question will be whether the Abbott government will make the upfront investment necessary, including increasing some payment rates, in order to save taxpayers and deliver the country’s most disadvantaged the dignity of work.


Informal carers ‘can get back to work’
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

Carers looking after a person with a serious disability may not need their allowance payment once the National Disability Insurance Scheme lumbers to life, the McClure welfare report says.


Call for radical pension change for disabled
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald

An Abbott government's review has suggested that only people with a permanent disability should receive the Disability Support Pension and flagged greater government control over how people spend their benefits as part of a radical shake-up of the welfare system.

But with welfare groups cautioning against the demonisation of people with disabilities, the Coalition has not been able to explain how ''permanent'' disability would be classified.


Disabling rorters: Planned Disability Pension Scheme overhaul could force thousands of Australians into workforce
Samantha Maiden, Sunday Telegraph

Australia's isability support pension will be abolished for anyone not suffering a permanent disability and replaced with a working age welfare payment under radical reforms the Abbott Government will now consider.

If adopted, the scheme would involve migrating hundreds of thousands of people off the DSP to a new, temporary, working age welfare entitlement.


Beating the bludgers will help the disabled
Editorial, Sunday Telegraph

Verbally bashing disability support pensioners as an army of bludgers and shirkers has ­become a national sport with painful consequences for ­deserving recipients.

Families with disabled children who rely on the DSP don’t need a “tough love” cure. They need people to stop suggesting their kids are bludgers when they have, in many cases, struggled every day of their lives. Endless ­debate about reducing payments or changing the system has provoked enormous anxiety for these families.


Abbott government unveils plan to restrict how young people spend dole
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

Controlling what young people can spend their unemployment benefits on, and moving thousands of people off the disability support pension (DSP), have been flagged in the federal government’s review of the welfare system.


Abbott delivers a ‘kick in the pants’ to our youth
Deborah Cobb-Clark, The Australian ($)

The Abbott government clearly thinks that young people could do with a big kick in the pants. It recently announced changes to Newstart and Youth Allowance that will reduce benefit levels, impose waiting periods, and limit income support to six months in any 12-month period for most unemployed people under 30.

... Will rolling up the social safety net lead more young people to get off the couch and into classrooms and jobs? Our take on this surely depends on whether we think couch sitting is mainly about a lack of motivation or mainly about a lack of opportunity.


Emergency relief fall guys for a heartless government
Mike Bowden, Eureka Street

After a lifetime of full-time paid employment, upon retirement I approached the St Vincent de Paul Society in Darwin and offered my services. My wife was ill so I could not offer much away from home time, but could do other things like administration or publicity etc. from my home PC. The president offered me the job of council secretary. Not much to it, he said, just sign a few letters and come to a monthly meeting. No worries — I'm in.


US - Money for nothing
Philip Pilkington, Aljazeera America

PBS recently aired a short segment on a policy proposal known as the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). The idea behind BIG is that all citizens in a given country should be guaranteed a basic income whether they work or not. This idea has been embraced by people on both sides of the political spectrum, from left-wing academics such as David Graeber and Frances Fox Piven to right-wing free-market thinkers such as Milton Friedman and Charles Murray.


US - Why Living on the Dole Is Bad for You
Brink Lindsey, Bleeding Heart Libertarians

In a post last week, Jessica Flanigan takes me to task for my opposition to a universal basic income. Because I worry that a UBI would further encourage mass idleness, a serious and worsening social blight among the less educated and less skilled, I favor instead social policies that promote engagement in the work force – in particular, through wage subsidies for low-skill work. Flanigan says this makes me a paternalist.


Last chance to be heard for law services, fighting to protect the most vulnerable
Carolyn Bond, The Guardian

Next Tuesday marks a concerning milestone for free legal assistance in Australia. From that day, community legal centres will be unable to use their federal funding to progress law reform or advocate on policy to prevent or deal more effectively with legal problems affecting thousands of people.


Injecting rooms just the start of much-needed drug reform
Tony Trimingham, Brisbane Times

After my son Damien died in 1997 from a heroin overdose, I became convinced we needed to do everything in our power to keep people who use drugs safe and alive.

I gave evidence to the NSW parliamentary committee under the chairmanship of Ann Symonds on injecting facilities. The evidence presented was overwhelmingly in favour of such facilities. Through no fault of Symonds, the committee rejected the evidence on political grounds.


Do the Opposite of What You Think You Should Do for a Depressed Friend
Janet Allon, AlterNet

Trying to cheer a depressed friend up might leave you both worse off than you started.

According to a new study coming out in the Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, the last thing that someone who feels low wants to hear is uplifting tales. "Those with low self-esteem actually reject the so-called 'positive reframing,' or expressions of optimism and encouragement, most of us offer to them," Dr. Denise Marigold, the lead author of the study, told Today.com. "What we think is well-intentioned support is really alienating for them. They feel as if people don't understand their issues and don't accept their feelings. It almost demonstrates a lack of caring."


David Leyonhjelm: Trouble shooter
Deborah Snow, Sydney Morning Herald

A pro-gun libertarian who believes government should have as little role as possible in society, senator-elect David Leyonhjelm is about to have a critical say in Australia's future direction.

David Leyonhjelm peers over the top of his glasses at the well-heeled audience filling an auditorium at conservative Sydney think-tank The Centre for Independent Studies. The Tuesday evening crowd laps up his message: ever smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation. He cites John Locke, the 17th-century British philosopher, arguing that there are only three proper roles for government: protection of life, liberty and private property. "Nothing else," says Leyonhjelm, approvingly.


Is it really so radical to support higher taxes to fund a better society?
Kenneth Davidson, Brisbane Times

The government and its ideological supporters say that with an ageing population and a shrinking workforce, the country cannot afford to fund a welfare system which allows the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the dysfunctional to participate in the affluent society. What they really mean is that they are not prepared to pay the necessary taxes to ensure this participation.


Abbott's Australia beds American Calvinism
Lawrence Cross, Eureka Street

America has a history of an idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity, heavily influenced by the doctrine of the Franco-Swiss theologian John Calvin, whose ideas were followed by the Founding Fathers. It leads to the extraordinary conclusion that the poor are not blessed, as described by Christ. Rather, they deserve their plight and may well be abandoned by God.


Abuse and corruption the Australian way
John Warhurst, Eureka Street

We should open our eyes and take in what multiple government inquiries are telling us about Australian society at the moment. It is not enough to focus on just one; we should consider the revelations cumulatively. It is little exaggeration to say that almost no major institution in our society, public or private, has been left untouched. We should join the dots and cry.


5 tricks to make a big impact with your small charity
Michael Allen, Guardian

Our Q&A on 14 June generated a lively discussion on how small charities can innovate and do more with less. See the experts' tricks and techniques here and our roundup of the best advice, below.

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