Daily News - Thursday 17 July 2014

Posted 17 July 2014 7:56am

The false bottom of the magician's hat
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

After reading reports commissioned by Government, my response is often like that of a small boy watching a magician. Everything is presented so reasonably, so logically. You know that an unwanted rabbit will be produced out of the hat, but you can’t quite work out how it will be done.

The McClure Review of Australia’s Welfare System reads reasonably and pleasantly, commends a variety of initiatives, good and bad, states solid principles, and proceeds logically from a diagnosis to suggested cures. Yet you sense that things may turn out badly for the objects of the report: people who rely on income support. As is usual in magic the secret will lie in the false bottom of the magician’s hat. It will have a financial bottom line, but no human bottom line.


I want to work’: youth unemployment on the rise
Sally Whyte, Crikey ($)

Australia’s unemployment figure has remained remarkably stable in recent years, with the job market not looking apocalyptic for most. That is, of course, unless you’re under 25.

Behind the headline figure of 6% unemployment last week was the news that the youth unemployment rate had risen to 13.5%, and experts and business say it should be addressed to mitigate possible long-term effects for the economy. Australia’s rate of youth unemployment is above the worldwide average of 13.1%, and of the 734,000 Australians between the ages of 15-64 looking for work, people between the ages of 15-24 are over-represented at 280,500.

Dr Veronica Sheen, a research associate at Monash University, says the lack of jobs hits younger people harder than others in the workforce. “Because there’s more applicants than jobs, employers can pick and choose and not worry about training a young person or an older person who needs re-skilling, they can just pick and choose among people who already skilled.


The B20, job creation and the importance of being human
Veronica Sheen, The Conversation

The B20 business leaders meeting this week in advance of November’s G20 summit play an important role in advising on what to do about those intractable global issues of economic growth and job creation.

... There is an air of crisis in the international community about youth unemployment in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The G20/B20 concerns are echoed by the World Economic Forum, the European Commission, the OECD, the IMF, and the ILO.

B20 and the IMF make much of the skills mismatch between young people and the job market, assuming the education system is failing to keep up with the new skills needed.


Summary of B20 2014 Priorities
B20, web site

Long term unemployment, youth unemployment and jobless growth are key human capital challenges. An employment paradox exists in many countries. While unemployment remains relatively high, many economies are also struggling to fill job vacancies. Workplaces are being transformed by technology, with one report suggesting 47 per cent of job categories could be automated within two decades.

The B20 will make recommendations in five areas: maximising job creation, providing education, training and skills to meet labour demand, creating solutions to better match supply and demand, encouraging adaptability for labour markets to respond to rapid changes, and implementing measures to ensure accountability and real progress.


Impact investment and social impact bonds
Financial System Inquiry, interim report

Impact investment allows investors to align their financial objectives with their personal values by investing in opportunities that offer both social and financial returns. Capital can flow from impact investments made by mainstream financial institutions, institutional investors and philanthropic funds, either directly into social enterprises or via specialist financial intermediaries. Capital held by intermediaries then flows into social enterprises through avenues such as direct lending, social investment funds and social investment products managed by these intermediaries.

... Some submissions propose more active Government involvement in expanding the impact investment market. These include Government providing risk capital to attract initial investments, developing a dedicated social investment bank and introducing tax concessions. The latter should be considered as part of the Tax White Paper process.

Media release: Release of the Financial System Inquiry Interim Report


WA Government looks to private investment to address high re-imprisonment rates
Jessica Strutt, ABC

The Department of Corrective Services is hoping private investment can help address WA's high re-imprisonment rates.

Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon confirmed he engaged not-for-profit organisation Social Ventures Australia to assess the feasibility of social benefit bonds, which are already used in the UK, the USA and are being trialled in New South Wales.


US - The Quiet Movement to Make Government Fail Less Often
David Leonhardt, New York Times

The explosion of available data has made evaluating success – in the government and the private sector – easier and less expensive than it used to be. At the same time, a generation of data-savvy policy makers and researchers has entered government and begun pushing it to do better. They have built on earlier efforts by the Bush and Clinton administrations.

The result is a flowering of experiments to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

New York City, Salt Lake City, New York State and Massachusetts have all begun programs to link funding for programs to their success: The more effective they are, the more money they and their backers receive. The programs span child care, job training and juvenile recidivism.


Wollongong emergency housing service ignored by government
Joshua Butler, Illawarra Mercury

"We were culled, not because we were not good but because we were a small service," manager of Wollongong Emergency Family Housing, Julie Mitchell, says.

The 29-year-old WEFH service housed more than 120 families a year on annual funding of as little as $260,000. But the service did not win a tender package from the state government. At least 27 of its properties will now be transferred to St Vincent de Paul.


Domestic Violence Centres Under NSW Govt Assault
Wendy Bacon, New Matilda

In June, the NSW government released the results of a tender for three years of funding for Going Home Staying Home, its new policy for homelessness and domestic violence services. 27 women’s refuges, some of which had been open for decades, lost their funding. Wendy Bacon reports.


The need for counselling
Editorial, Border Mail

The situation where children are waiting a year for counselling to counter the damage done by family violence is of great concern.

Reports of family violence have increased across our region — just as they have in other parts of Victoria and the rest of Australia.


US - Marriage Isn't the Answer to Poverty
Carter Price, New Republic

Conservative policy researchers have recently been pushing marriage as the solution to low economic mobility, high poverty, and even domestic violence. Likewise, conservative policymakers like Representative Paul Ryan, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Mike Lee have all pushed marriage as the best path to higher economic mobility. At an event commemorating 50 years since the start of the War on Poverty, Rubio stated that “the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage.” While these ideas are red meat for the right wing, their evidence generally comes from misreading or overstating the data.


NDIS now in Lake Macquarie
Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

The National Disability Scheme is making a profound difference to the lives of thousands of Hunter residents living with disabilities, one of the state’s most prominent disability advocates believes.

After a year of operation, about 2000 people are receiving services under the Newcastle NDIS trial.


Social work in Australia: virtual teams offer supervision
Amanda Nickson, Guardian

Social work practice in rural Australia faces high staff turnover, burnout and difficulties in recruitment and retention. A lack of supervision and professional development opportunities have been identified as contributing to difficulties.

My research describes the process of peer supervision in virtual teams in rural and remote Australia, based on a research trial over a 12-month period.


Hockey threatens to bypass Senate
Anna Henderson, Lateline, ABC

An increasingly frustrated Abbott Government is threatening to circumvent the Parliament to impose budget cuts if the Senate maintains its hostility.

Meanwhile, a new Government senator has flagged a drastic policy agenda in a speech tonight. Liberal powerbroker James McGrath wants the GST to be increased and applied to everything, the federal Health and Education departments abolished and the ABC to face privatisation.


Senate deadlock leaves Government facing $300 billion budget hole, says economist Chris Richardson
Emma Griffiths, ABC

Chris Richardson, from Deloitte Access Economics, has told ABC TV's 7.30 program the Senate plan to block cuts and new fees from the Abbott Government's first budget will cost $300 billion over the next decade.

"Essentially, the Senate is not just blocking the budget for the next handful of years, but blocking the budget for the next decade," he told 7.30.

"And it says deficits as far as the eye can see unless there is some breakthrough in political processes.


UK - What to do after losing a campaign
Katherine Sladden, Guardian

Over the past couple of months we've had some big wins, but we've also seen some losses. Two campaigns to protect asylum seekers from deportation have been particularly tough. A group of students fought hard to protect their friend Yashika from being deported before her A-levels and Anj spent the last few months fighting for her friend Afusat and her daughters who are at risk of FGM (female genital mutilation). Unfortunately, despite valiant efforts, the deportations went ahead.

The thing about campaigning is, is that you need to go into it not feeling as though defeat is an option so you can give it your all. But when you campaign big, then sometimes you will also lose big. So here are my five tips for bouncing back after a tough campaign.


Canada - Stephen Harper intimidates charities into silence
Carol Goar, The Star

Voluntary agencies live in fear of the Canada Revenue Agency. If it decides they have stepped over the line between good works and political activity — pointing out the link between poverty and government austerity for example — it can revoke their charitable status.

That means they can no longer issue tax receipts to their donors. They fall off the list of “registered charities.” They lose their credibility and their funds dwindle.


Why arguing on Twitter is so impossible
Dylan Matthews, Vox

... we have to be able to live our lives in conversation with people with different comprehensive doctrines, who have sets of reasons they accept and reasons they reject. And it's just not productive, given that, to conduct every debate as if what needs to happen is for your interlocutor to just accept your whole worldview in its entirety.


Calling all CEOs: It’s time to join Twitter
Hilary Carter, Globe and Mail

Being a CEO on Twitter today is comparable to playing a game without an opponent. Fewer than 30 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs are active Twitter users. This figure is astounding. I say this because Twitter, for all of its unique attributes, is the most powerful global communications tool in existence for business, government, and opinion leaders worldwide. Many of Canada’s business leaders have shunned Twitter. This needs to change.


Can the Vatican go viral? George Pell’s communication challenge
Richard Umbers, The Conversation

Imagine you were playing with your phone while you waited for the World Cup final to get underway and you suddenly saw a photo of the Pope Emeritus eating popcorn with the current Pontiff on your timeline. Below the photo is a tagline wishing both countries well and a quote from St John Paul II:

Sport … protects the weak and excludes no-one.

In the very near future we may see such a radical reshaping of how we view the Vatican and it will come via the most unlikely of social media champions, Cardinal George Pell, current Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy in the Holy See.

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