Daily News - Thursday 19 June 2014

Posted 19 June 2014 6:45am

Australian civil society and the C20: now isn’t the time to be polite
Bronwen Dalton and John Butcher, The Conversation

With a government that believes in stepping back, will civil society step up? Or will competition for a share of a shrinking funding pie lead civil society leaders to jostle for position at the table by playing nice with government?

In the face of a tough budget and growing anxiety about the as-yet unreleased findings of the welfare review conducted by former Mission Australia CEO Patrick McClure, civil society organisations might need to join forces and be a bit less civil.


Senate committee backs end of charities regulator despite opposition
Gareth Hutchens, Sydney Morning Herald

A Liberal-chaired senate committee has recommended Australia's charities regulator be abolished despite a majority of the submissions to its inquiry opposing its closure.

The head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, Susan Pascoe, said on Tuesday she was upset about the decision, but the fledgling regulator would keep performing its legislative functions until Parliament voted otherwise.


'Big companies should not donate'
Tom Elliott, 3AW

I think it’s great for individuals to donate money to charity but I don’t like it when companies do it.

It was reported today that Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour donated more than $2 million to an Islamic museum in suburban Melbourne.


Landmark ruling on squalid rooming house
Natasha Mitchell, Lifematters, ABC (audio)

Hundreds of illegal rooming houses are operating across Australia, with people living in squalid, crowded and unsafe conditions.

One tenant decided to take a stand. In an Australian-first, Mark Towler took his rooming house landlord to court, and won.


Centrelink recipients often dream about owning a home, but now even renting one is becoming out of reach
Peter Strachan, Cranbourne Leader

Rents in Casey are now virtually beyond the reach of singles on Centrelink Newstart allowances.

And the picture is not much brighter for families or anybody on limited incomes looking for rental properties in the city.

A report produced by the Council to Homeless Persons shows rental affordability in Casey has plummeted by 75 per cent during the last 10 years.


Affordable rentals disappearing from Melbourne suburbs
Council to Homeless Persons

Affordable rental properties have all but disappeared from Melbourne's suburbs, including the outer fringe which has long been thought of as offering low-cost housing. CHP has analysed affordable rental lettings by property type since 2000 to identify where the greatest declines in affordability have occurred. For one, two and three bedroom properties, both the proportion and absolute number of affordable rental lettings has declined, leaving low income households stranded. CHP's full analysis can be downloaded here. Our data has been taken from the Department of Human Services' rental report.

A recent article in The Age examined the issue of housing affordability, highlighting the growing number of residents in traditionally affordable areas like St Albans who are now living in ‘housing stress,’ where more than 30 percent of income is spent on rent.


Unexpectedly homeless in Melbourne
Tessa van der Riet, The Age (interactive)

Charities are gearing up for a surge in homelessness, particularly amongst youth, as a result of changes to unemployment benefits in the federal budget. The head of St Vincent de Paul's homeless services says they will be forced to stretch their limited resources to meet demand if the budget is passed with alterations to Newstart that mean under 30s have to wait six months before receiving financial support.


Homelessness set to surge post budget
Tessa van der Riet, The Age

Charities are gearing up for a surge in homelessness, particularly among youth, as a result of changes to unemployment benefits in the federal budget.

The head of St Vincent de Paul's homeless services says they will be forced to stretch their limited resources to meet demand if the budget is passed with alterations to Newstart that mean under 30s have to wait six months before receiving financial support.


Anglicare takes lead in new homeless services tenders
Louise Thrower, Goulburn Post

Anglicare will likely take the lead role in housing homeless men, women and families in Goulburn under a new state government funding model.

But the St Vincent de Paul Society (Canberra/Goulburn) has missed out on funding under the Going Home, Staying Home program to deliver local services.


Bureaucratic NDIS ‘letting disabled down’
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

National Disability Insurance Scheme is bogged down in bureaucracy and inconsistencies, and is “the same old system”, according to a warning letter to its managers.

Samantha Jenkinson, a campaigner for the NDIS through the group Every Australian Counts, spent months collecting examples from hundreds of Australians who had been let down by the scheme.


UK - Employers must become aware of dementia in the workplace
Louise Ritchie, The Conversation

Recent figures suggest there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. People usually associate the condition with later life, but around 17,000 of sufferers are under the age of 65. Coupled with recent changes to the state pension age and the abolition of the default retirement age, it looks likely that there will be larger numbers of people with dementia in employment in the coming years.


Number of young people seeking work soars
Sarah Muschamp, The Courier

Ballarat is facing a massive increase in youth unemployment as the federal government cracks down on benefits to young people without a job.

... General manager of local job search agency Centacare Trish Nolan attributes the dire situation to a number of factors, including expectations that young people will misbehave and just “a lack of entry level jobs”.

“The income support arrangements for people, proposed in the budget, assumes that there are ongoing full-time jobs available for young people in the area,” Ms Nolan said.

“That’s not necessarily the case in regional areas.”


Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate claims backpackers have been exploited by fruit picking contractors
David Lewis, 7.30, ABC

The Fair Work Ombudsman is preparing to launch an investigation into claims backpackers employed as fruit pickers in one of the country's biggest food producing regions are being underpaid by labour hire contractors and forced to live in illegal budget accommodation.

... Many labour hire contractors are now brazenly advertising fruit picking jobs for "Asians only" on the internet, raising questions about their motivations.

Caboolture-based fruit packer Donna Moye says her daughter, an Australian, responded to one of the advertisements but was overlooked despite her extensive fruit picking experience.

"She didn't get a response after she said she was Australian," Ms Moye said.


Asian workforce plan for Top End farms gets political backing
Matt Brann, ABC Rural (5 June)

The Northern Territory's new parliamentary secretary for Northern Development has backed calls from Top End growers to expand the Seasonal Worker Program to address labour shortages in horticulture.

Country Liberal MLA and mango grower Gary Higgins, says the Territory's mango industry would be better off, and could even expand, if workers were allowed in from South East Asian countries such as Vietnam.


Interactive: Winners and losers under youth welfare changes

Bills introduced today have proposed an overhaul of government allowances for young people and the unemployed, as announced in the Budget in May. Here's a look at which electorates will be most affected by the changes.


Sweeping social security changes introduced to parliament
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

Sweeping changes to Australia’s social security system, including reviewing people on the disability support pension (DSP) and taking young people off income support for months at a time, have been introduced to parliament.

Split between two bills, the welfare measures, which were first announced in the budget, were introduced to the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning.


Targeted welfare keeps us ahead of more generous nations
David Uren, The Australian ($)

Australia may have the cheapest welfare system in the advanced world, but it does more to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality than nearly all the others, except for the vastly more expensive system in Denmark. Estimates by the Australian National University’s Peter Whiteford show that each dollar of welfare spending in Australia reduces inequality by 50 per cent more than any other country.

... A social safety net is primarily about alleviating poverty but it is a mistake to see it as a dead weight on the economy. The spreading of risk through a welfare system comes at a lower cost to society than self-insurance. In his original 2012 speech on the culture of entitlement, Hockey praised Asian countries which rely on families rather than the state for social support. However, the lack of a safety net in Asian countries has led to excessive savings and inadequate consumption and is one of the greatest distortions in the world economy. China is now working to strengthen its social safety net.


UK - Benefit sanctions lead to spiral of decline and destitution
The Scottish Parliament

Benefit sanctions can lead to a spiral of decline and potentially destitution, often getting in the way of people getting back to work. That is the stark conclusion of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee in a report published [last week].


AMA wants GP fee gone
Dan Harrison, The Age

The Australian Medical Association has demanded Tony Abbott scrap his proposed $7 GP fee, accusing the Coalition of treating healthcare as ''an ideological toy''.


Medical co-payment belongs on scrap heap
Brian Owler, The Age

While the AMA strongly represents the interests of doctors, we will always put the interests of our patients first. This is our professional obligation. It is why we oppose the budget measures. They will hurt our patients, especially the sickest and most vulnerable.

The AMA is supportive of some co-payments, but not the one proposed by the government.


Australia's education system is segregated and losing equity, says visiting professor
Rebecca Barrett, ABC

One of the world's leading educators says Australia is losing its equity in education as the system becomes segregated due to the number of students now attending non-government schools.


When refugee advocacy fosters demonisation
Andrew Nette, Overland

A couple of months ago I had an interesting Twitter exchange with an outspoken opponent of Australia’s policy of warehousing asylum seekers in third countries such as Nauru, Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and, if media reports are correct, soon Cambodia.

The person – whose work, I should add, I greatly admire – tweeted a couple of negative figures about economic development and child labour in Cambodia and said, this is the kind of place we will be sending refugees to.

... So desperate have we become to convince middle Australia of the folly of the government’s asylum seeker policy that we are going to greater lengths to attack poor, struggling countries, whose elites, usually with no popular support, have agreed to cooperate with Canberra.


O'Farrell demands sacking of church officials
Tony Jones, Lateline, ABC

The Catholic Church is continuing to stand by one of its most senior officials, despite the former New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell demanding his resignation.

Mr O'Farrell set up the special commission into child sexual abuse and alleged cover-up in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese which slammed the Church's failure to report two paedophile priests to police for decades.

Under parliamentary privilege, Mr O'Farrell singled out two current Church officials for their inaction: Monsignor Allan Hart and Father Brian Lucas.


The Fall of the Vice-Pope
Ingrid D. Rowland, New York Review of Books

A photograph taken in Argentina in 2007 shows two cardinals, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Tarcisio Bertone, sitting side by side, although their chairs are on two different levels. At the time, Bertone was the Vatican’s Secretary of State, having traveled to a village in northern Patagonia “in the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI” to preside over the beatification of a turn-of-the-century religious student.


Why Is Pope Francis Canceling Events?
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Daily Beast

Rumors are swirling that Pope Francis is ill after the Vatican canceled all his July audiences and daily Mass.

No one can argue that Pope Francis deserves a little break. Since taking office in March 2013, the 77-year-old Argentinian has been on the move almost nonstop greeting his adoring public and reforming the Vatican’s many troubled institutions.

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