Daily News - Thursday 18 September 2014

Posted 18 September 2014 8:37am

Liberty and equality's forgotten sibling
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

Many people become uncomfortable when conversation turns to social justice. That may reflect their experience of being buttonholed by unrelentingly serious people on the wrongs of the world and the need to change them. But their discomfort may also reflect a long history that goes back as far as the French Revolution with its slogan, 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity'. Social Justice Week offers an opportunity to tease out the connections implied by this slogan.


Telling positive stories of bush refugees
Vernon Graham, the Land

Western Australian finalist, Jackie Jarvis, is producing a series of video "postcards" to highlight the potential for refugees to ease rural Australia's chronic labour shortage.

The $10,000 bursary she received for winning this year's WA Rural Women's Award has allowed her to employ a professional film maker to start capturing the good news stories of how refugees have been successfully resettled in the WA bush.


Mental As Anything help unite NSW town
Danielle McGrane, AAP

Aussie rockers Mental As Anything will head up Hear The Bush Beat in Burcher, a small rural town situated in central NSW, about a three-hour drive north of Lockhart.

The concert is being held alongside the Poppers in the Pines tractor pull event - uniting people in the town for a weekend of festivities.

"It's awesome when they can all just forget about everything, all come together, and have a great time together," said Penny Carlisle, who works in rural support for CentaCare.

... CentaCare runs festivals such as Hear The Bush Beat to try and bring people from isolated communities together.


Separated Dads Support Group ready to help
Stephanie Muir, The Leader

Wagga's new Separated Dads Support Group is looking to welcome members of the community to two upcoming events this month.

... The Separated Dads Group is now auspiced by Centacare South-West NSW and is seeking to fill a huge service gap in the community by building and developing a support group catering to the needs of fathers.

“Family separation brings with it a wide range of issues and needs, often not anticipated or experienced before – especially where children are involved,” post separation cooperative parenting facilitator with Centacare Lyn Reilly said.


Prime Minister vows to try 'new things' to improve school attendance in remote Indigenous communities
Anna Henderson and James Glenday, ABC

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has acknowledged his government has a long way to go in achieving promised school attendance improvements in remote Indigenous communities.

At Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, truancy officers patrol the streets each morning with loudhailer to gather children to go to school.

While there have been improvements in student attendance, still only about half of those enrolled show up to school.


Palmer United Party urged not to agree to shorter dole waiting period
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Clive Palmer and his senators have been urged not to agree to a deal that would reduce the amount of time people under 30 have to wait for the dole, ahead of a debate in the Senate next week.

National Welfare Rights Network president Maree O’Halloran has written to the Palmer United Party MPs in response to revelations in The Australian that the government is seeking to ­reduce the waiting period, from 26 weeks to four. The Australian understands the government is confident it can strike a deal for a watered-down version of its May budget initiative to be passed by the Senate. But without the support of the Greens and Labor, it needs six of the eight crossbench votes. “If the government succeeds with its new plan, 113,000 people a year would be ­denied access to already low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments,” Ms O’Halloran wrote.


The hidden underclass: how Australian underemployment is concealed
Robert Carr, The Guardian

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has recently announced a 12-year high in the national unemployment rate. On top of this, casualisation is growing at a blitzkrieg pace. In 2013, casual and fixed-term contracts represented an estimated 35% of the Australian workforce, although some estimates are up around 40% today.

Proposed changes to Newstart would force job seekers under 30 to apply for 40 jobs a month, and with this move, the government is on the verge of igniting the employment relations tinderbox. Underemployment could be the spark.


Men, domestic violence is a choice, not an instinct
Jerril Rechter, The Canberra Times

A woman is knocked unconscious with a single, calculated, punch. The prominent athlete towers above her, at almost two metres tall. He pauses to inspect his work and drags her out of the lift at the next floor, carelessly dropping her at the door before security come to her aid.

The CCTV footage goes viral. And at once the public spotlight is on her. Why didn't she leave him? How could she let this happen? What kind of person would stay with an abusive man who attacks women in elevators?


Boosting retirement incomes the easy way
The Australia Institute

The Australian government is currently willing to boost the retirement incomes of wealthy Australians by providing low cost ‘reverse mortgages’ through Centrelink. The Pension Loan Scheme (PLS) allows eligible Australians to receive payments equivalent to the full age pension paid into their bank account on a fortnightly basis, borrowed from the government and secured against the value of property owned by the recipient. These government-issued loans allow wealthy older Australians to boost their own incomes by converting equity in their home into a fortnightly flow of cash from the government.


NAB’s $1 million to boost impact investment opportunities
NAB, media release

NAB today [16/9/14] announced a $1 million fund to support organisations in delivering finance solutions for important social issues.

The NAB Impact Investment Grants Program builds on the bank’s belief that the finance sector should play a major role in addressing the significant growing social and environmental challenges facing Australia.

NAB Executive General Manager Debt Markets and Impact Investing Australia board member, Steve Lambert, said impact investment had the potential to change the way the country addresses social issues.

“There is a fundamental shift underway to address the challenges facing Australia in the future. We want to show that access to capital can increase the impact that the community sector and social purpose organisations can deliver for our people and communities to prosper,” Mr Lambert said.


Australia’s Impact Investment Potential Strong
Pro Bono News

There is clear potential for a vibrant, dynamic, and informed impact investment market in Australia with the possibility of A$10 billion in impact assets under management within the next five years, a new report reveals.

The report - Delivering on Impact: The Australian Advisory Board Breakthrough Strategy to Catalyse Impact Investing– maps a strategy to tackle some of the country’s most pressing social issues through impact investing and is part of the global report by the Social Impact Investment Taskforce.


Federation White Paper - First issues paper released
Australian Government

A scoping paper titled, “Issues Paper 1 - A Federation for Our Future” was released by the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP on 12 September 2014.

The Prime Minister will release a series of policy specific issues papers over the final months of 2014. Papers on health,education, housing and homelessness, and federal financial relations will provide an overview of the key issues in these policy areas and will pose questions with the intent to promote public discussion.

Rather than propose new ideas, the issues papers will set out at a high level, key issues the White Paper will consider.


Renewing federalism: Increasing the GST will increase inequality
Scott Brenton, The Conversation

Tax reform is often poli-speak for raising the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In a brilliant piece of political marketing, the GST was introduced at the turn of the century as a “states” tax that was meant to provide rivers of gold and simplify the tax system. Of course these optimistic projections have fallen short and a range of state taxes remain.

The GST is a national tax, levied at the same rate across the country, and collected by the Commonwealth government. The Commonwealth government chooses to earmark this particular source of revenue as untied grants to the states, but they could just easily earmark another source of revenue. Indeed the recent National Commission of Audit recommended “providing the States with access to the Commonwealth’s personal income base”, which would return us closer to the original federal bargain.


A Federation for our Future
Federation White Paper, issues paper 1 (pdf)

Ultimately, governments should be aiming to establish the conditions under which, to the greatest degree possible, citizens have the freedom and opportunity to live the lives they have reason to value, to flourish and prosper. This is what is sometimes referred to as ‘the common good’. In Australia, we express this goal as a core value of the Australian national character in the phrase ‘a fair go’. This expresses a commitment to everyone having an equal opportunity to develop their capabilities and talents to allow them to thrive and to participate in the social and economic life of the nation, to become the best they can be through the responsible and reasonable use of their freedom.


Costello tells government to spell out tax reform principles
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation

Former treasurer Peter Costello has said the government should lay down its principles for tax reform ahead of setting up its tax review – and declared what they should be.

With details of the planned white paper yet to be announced, Costello today said the first task needed to be the principles.

These should specify that the tax take would not rise as a proportion of GDP; reform should increase the efficiency of the system, and simplify it; and changes should promote economic growth and heighten incentives to work.


US - Is Income Inequality Destroying Trust In Our Society?
Sydney Brownstone, Co.Exist

It makes sense that trust in corporations and government would plummet after a devastating global recession. But the idea of social capital--a concept that the World Bank started researching in the ‘90s--is a much bigger societal force than just faith in institutions. In one sense, social capital is a basic feature of democracy, the soil that nurtures people working together towards a common goal. In a neighborhood, for example, it could be the likelihood that your neighbors know you and have your back. Yet as Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam explained in his 2000 book Bowling Alone, social capital is on the decline and has been for several decades.


US - Inequality at the Top: Why Should we Care?
Richard V Reeves, Brookings

It is easy to wonder if politicians proclaiming their support for the “middle class” rather than the “poor” are simply disguising their progressive, redistributive instincts in more voter-friendly language. But maybe there is something deeper going on now. Perhaps politicians are sensing that equality is no longer principally about poverty, but about wealth. A refashioning of political egalitarianism could be the result.


Archdiocese of Sydney dumps George Pell’s sex abuse verdict
Dan Box, The Australian

The Catholic archdiocese of Sydney has overturned the findings of a Vatican inquiry, conducted under its previous archbishop ­George Pell, which attacked the credibility of alleged child abuse victims and said they may have “fabricated” their claims of abuse by a priest.

A “definitive final ­decree”, written by Cardinal Pell’s interim successor, Bishop Peter Comensoli, found “with moral certainty” that the alleged victims were abused at a boarding school during the 1970s, as they claimed.


Catholic church's Manuka redevelopment plans revealed
David Ellery, The Canberra Times

Manuka is to receive a major lift from the $35 million redevelopment of the St Christopher Cathedral precinct announced on Tuesday.

Billed as the largest single spend in the history of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, the project dates back more than a decade and has been on hold since 2010.

It will bring together the headquarters of a wide range of Catholic services and agencies scattered across the ACT in two three-storey office buildings to be built above a 111-space underground car park.

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