Daily News - Thursday 2 October 2014

Posted 2 October 2014 7:55am

Anti Poverty Week kicks off at Centacare Country SA
Kayleigh Bruce, Whyalla News

Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians and around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor.

Many local families feel the pressure of financial strains and through circumstances, people can find themselves in severe financial suffering.

To help reduce this poverty and hardship, Centacare Country SA is holding a free party in the park event to promote ways to increase financial wellbeing through savvy financial choices.


Counselling support for families in drought-stricken north-west NSW
Sally Bryant, ABC

Families and communities in north west New South Wales are under enormous pressure, as the drought grinds on.

With another year of no crops, with an ongoing reduction in stock numbers and a continual shrinkage of the local economies, entire communities are struggling to stay on top of the situation.

It's not easy to keep perspective in times like these.

When all you see is a drought landscape every day, when all your thoughts are about the physical, financial and emotional pressures of the unremittingly dry weather, emotional strength and mental health is at real risk.

And it's in this environment that Interrelate finds itself providing help to entire communities who are facing the fall-out from the season.


Joyce commits to rural debt 're-tweaks'
Colin Bettles, The Land

Three key resolutions have been agreed on at the rural debt roundtable meeting held in Canberra [last] week, including restarting the national rural debt mediation process.

The meeting was chaired by federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and involved 40 key stakeholders, including rural banks, farm groups and government departments.

Queensland LNP Senator Matthew Canavan attended the meeting and said problems with farm viability had been growing for a decade in rural areas, particularly in north Queensland, and would not be solved in an afternoon.

“But there were some resolutions from the meeting,” he said.


QLD - Mental health support group fears axed funding to reduce early intervention efforts
Paul Robinson, ABC

central Queensland mental health support group says it is concerned about how cuts in State Government funding will affect young people in the region.

Carinity-Wahroonga says funding for its mental health program will end this month.

It says it has helped more than 1,000 13 to 24 year olds over the past 11 years, to deal with issues such as suicide, abuse, neglect, bullying and depression.

... In a statement, Queensland Health says Carinity's application was unsuccessful and money has been provided to Anglicare to provide community managed mental health services in central Queensland.


Drug diversion programs in the ACT need to be strengthened: report
Kathleen Dyett, ABC

The ACT Government has released an independent evaluation of five programs which aim to divert drug users away from the criminal justice system.

The programs involve police, ACT Health, the courts and treatment agencies.

The five programs use assessments, treatments and education to keep drug users from reoffending and out of prison.

ACT Corrections Minister Simon Corbell said the report found the programs had strayed too far from their objectives.


Mend the Net - Who will speak out if you don’t?
Catholic Social Services Victoria

Catholic Social Services Victoria released our 2014 state Election Brochure on Wednesday 17th September.

Titled Mend the Net - who will speak out if you don't? it gives voice to the issues that are faced by the Victorian community.
It calls on government to stop people falling through the safety net; with striking visual representation of the issues that are slipping through.
Calling on community to play their part in making Victoria a fair and just society, the brochure at the centre of the launch expands on these issues to guide analysis and dialogue. It also gives concrete recommendations to the incoming government to ensure that Victoria continues to move towards a place of opportunity and fairness for all.


Children never forget warring parents
Shirley Stott Despoja, The Drum

Last month I came across a replay of Annabel Crabb's Kitchen Cabinet interview with Dr Craig Emerson, who was a minister in Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd's prime ministerships.

These ABC TV interviews are mostly light-hearted, but when Dr Emerson spoke about rows between his mother and war-damaged father, the mood darkened. He spoke of needing to look after the "traumatised children" of such relationships.

Tears sprang, and the look on his face was of pain I recognised. Annabel looked worried, but having dared to speak of what is perhaps the greatest pain of all, Dr Emerson forged on to repeat that we have to protect children from being traumatised in families. It was the unforgettable moment in the interview.


Cruel and Usual Punishment: Is There a Humane Alternative to Prison?
Thomas Wells, Religion & Ethics, ABC

Prison time is a very severe punishment. John Stuart Mill likened it to being consigned to a living tomb. Any society that employs it should do so with care and restraint. Yet we do not.

Partly because we think that prison is a humane punishment, it is drastically over-used in many countries, to the point of cruelty. Aside from failing in humanity, prison does not even perform well at the specific functions generally asked of a criminal justice system - namely, deterrence, retribution, security and rehabilitation.


Building a New Life in Australia: Introducing the Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants
John De Maio, Michelle Silbert, Rebecca Jenkinson and Diana Smart, AIFS

Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants is a newly initiated study that aims to better understand the factors that aid or hinder the successful settlement of humanitarian migrants in Australia, and to provide an evidence base to inform policy and program development. This ground-breaking longitudinal study will employ annual data collections over five years to trace the settlement journey of humanitarian migrants from their arrival in Australia through to their eligibility for citizenship. All study participants have received a permanent humanitarian visa enabling them to settle in Australia, granted either before their arrival in Australia as part of Australia's refugee program, or since their arrival, through Australia's asylum seeker humanitarian program. Study participants have come from a diverse range of backgrounds and a multitude of migration pathways.


Bludgers and battlers are back as Hockey takes aim at welfare state
Verity Archer, The Conversation

Bludgers are back, and with them their traditional sparring partners, the battlers. The welfare changes in the Abbott government’s first budget have created fierce debate.

On the side of the government, Andrew Bolt wants to “separate the battlers from the bludgers” and end the “culture of welfare”.

Others, like Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans and Labor’s Anthony Albanese, claim there are very few dole bludgers. They say the vast majority of unemployed “really do want to work” and demonising our most vulnerable can only add insult to injury.


UK - Why shame is the most dominant feature of modern poverty
Jeremy Seabrook, The Guardian

Shame is the most persistent attribute of contemporary poverty. This is a relatively new development since poor people have traditionally been proud, dignified, stoical; they have showed solidarity, even defiance, facing the condition of being poor. Why should shame be the particular inflection of poverty in this late enlightened age?


'Fat' MP claims people on welfare eat junk food and play video games
AAP, SBS World News

Young people chomping Cheezels in front of the Xbox while pocketing the dole need a wake up call.

That's the message from Liberal backbencher Ewan Jones, who's defending the government's controversial welfare changes that could lock out under-30s from receiving unemployment benefits for six months.

A joint parliamentary committee chaired by a Liberal senator has dealt a blow to the policy ruling that it's not compatible with human rights obligations.

But Mr Jones is adamant a tough love approach is necessary because the status quo is not putting a dent in the youth unemployment rate of 13.4 per cent in his Townsville electorate.


NSW - Byelection campaign focuses on youth unemployment
Jason Gordon, Newcastle Herald

Campaigning for the Newcastle and Charlestown byelections turned to youth unemployment yesterday with the blowtorch turned on cuts to TAFE, skills training, Newstart allowances and federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

Mr Pyne lit the fuse on Monday night when he told an ABC television audience that a youth unemployment rate above 12 per cent was not "a crisis".


How we tried to assist families in Australia, and why the attempt failed
Alan Tapper, On Line Opinion

In the 1980s, Australian politicians set out to make Australia a family friendly country. Those efforts have been sustained ever since, by governments of various complexions, led by Prime Ministers Hawke, Howard, and Rudd. Howard, in particular, was one of the most pro-family leaders in any modern polity. But, I will argue, these attempts have been unsuccessful. The Australian welfare state has evolved in ways that are not family friendly. The attempt was worthy, but the result is disappointing and the way forward is unclear.


Govt flags move to accept $3b welfare savings and discuss the rest later
Alexandra Kirk, The World Today, ABC

It's been four months since the Federal Government handed down its controversial budget, and for the first time it may have a glimmer of hope in getting some of its more controversial measures passed by the Senate.

It's proposing to split its social security bill.

Labor and the Greens say they want to see new legislation that only covers the savings they support.

If passed, it would deliver almost $3 billion in budget savings for the Government, but the future of the remaining $27 billion in proposed savings measures remains in doubt.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is defiant, saying he will never give up the fight for other controversial budget measures, including the $7 GP payment and the deregulation of the university sector.


Opposition claiming win in welfare budget fight
Naomi Woodley, AM, ABC

The Federal Government says it will present a new social security bill to the House of Representatives today, as it seeks to bank those savings the Opposition has indicated it will support.

Labor's Families spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin says it represents a humiliating back down by the Government, because it's previously refused to split up billions of dollars in welfare savings.


Joe Hockey signals more budget cuts need to be made to pave way for new defence, security spending
Emma Griffiths, ABC

Treasurer Joe Hockey has signalled more budget cuts are on the way, saying the Government has "no choice" but to look for new savings.

The move has been prompted by the failure to win Senate support for billions of dollars of budget measures and new spending on security and the defence mission in the Middle East.


NFPs Tied Up in Costly Funding Agreements: Report
Lina Caneva, Pro Bono News

The national charity regulator, the ACNC, has come out fighting for its future releasing a new report that shows Commonwealth funding agreement obligations are imposing a greater burden on charities than legislative obligations.


Ernst & Young’s Commonwealth Regulatory and Reporting Burdens research report

The ACNC engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to research the regulatory and reporting burden on charities. While this research focusses on Commonwealth burden, it also considers state and territory burden. This report provides the ACNC an independent insight into the source and scale of government requirements on charities, and to identify which of these requirements constitute red tape. The report examines the experiences of 15 case study charities drawn from subsectors in which there was anecdotal evidence of significant red tape and where research on the burdens imposed was lacking: social welfare, other education (excluding schools and universities) and health/aged care. EY also surveyed nearly 400 charities and analysed publicly available data.


Australia urged to embrace new forms of philanthropy
Rachel Carbonell, AM, ABC

Australia's national philanthropy conference gets underway in Melbourne today.

And while some of its best-known speakers will indeed be among the very richest in society, Australia is being urged to capitalise on a new international trend in philanthropy that isn't dominated by the very wealthy.

Community foundations are an increasingly popular form of philanthropy that allow for people with less money to get involved.

The head of the Canadian community foundation sector says the model has attracted billions of dollars, which goes to grassroots community spending.


A letter to my church about Islam
John Dickson, The Drum

As fears about Islamic State echo around the West, John Dickson urges members of his church to shun simplified understandings of Islam and instead meet Muslims with love and friendship.


Cardinal Kasper: Some Fear a Domino Effect at the Synod on the Family
Gerard O'Connell, America

Not since the Second Vatican Council has a gathering of representatives of the world’s Catholic bishops sparked such interest and controversy as the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family which opens in the Vatican on October 5. While the agenda is very wide, public interest has mainly focused on how this synod, and the follow-on synod in October 2015, will address the situation of Catholics who are divorced and remarried, and whether they can be re-admitted to communion.


Upcoming Synod of Bishops is about more than just marriage and family
Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter

When the Vatican held its first synod on the family in 1980, the Polish-born John Paul II -- a man "from a far-away country" -- had been pope for only two years. Curiously, next week's gathering of bishops on the very same theme also comes quite early in a new pontificate. It is less than 19 months from the day a Jesuit from Argentina, "the end of the earth," was elected bishop of Rome and took the name Francis.

The nearly 35 years that have passed between these two international meetings of bishops span a bit more than two generations. And while there is a similarity in two non-Italian popes confronting issues related to marriage and the family early in their papal ministry, their approaches could not be more different.

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