Daily News - Thursday 27 June 2013

Posted 27 June 2013 8:12am

Along with voters, Labor lost the moral high ground
Greg Jericho, The Drum (Wed 26 June)

The lives of those less fortunate can always be put off with the argument that "now is not the right time" or that we "must live within our means".

And this is where many will find fault with the Government of this Parliament. They will look to Newstart and the single parent allowance. They will look to asylum seekers.

If the Liberal Party wins this election, the members of the ALP sitting on the opposition benches will soon discover that an ALP government that goes hard on the less fortunate only serves to provide an incoming LNP Government greater scope to go harder. All the ALP has done with such policies is lose any moral high ground it may have once had.

Patrick McClure calls for welfare overhaul
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian (Tues 25 June)

The architect of the Howard government's first tranche of welfare reforms has called for a renewed crackdown on the Disability Support Pension and a revisiting of his proposal for a single welfare payment.

Patrick McClure, who chaired the independent welfare reform committee for the Howard government, also says he believes the controversial income-management scheme started under the Coalition government and expanded under Labor has been a success and should be used in disintegrated areas more widely.

Public policies as investments
Michael Mintrom, APO

This paper is an initial step in my effort to build on and broaden the logic that led me to believe the New Zealand Government should give high priority to funding high-quality, effectively-targeted early childhood education programs ...

Treating public policies as investments is an important way of ensuring that micro-level policy choices are fully consistent with macro-level policy goals. The approach to public policy advocated here contrasts sharply with the set of mentalities and practices that produces public services that are under-funded, poorly functioning, populated by demoralised staff, and constantly criticised by citizens.

Q&A Professor Judith Sloan on 'dim-witted' childcare workers (video)
Q&A, ABC - via YouTube

Daniel Boland: "Yesteday in a blog post you referred to childcare workers as dimwitted graduates from second rate universities. How can we ever hope to reform or improve the childcare industry if this is the level of respect afforded to its employees?"

Family Values Vs The Stalinist Straightjacket
Liam McNicholas, New Matilda

What began as a short, strange and fairly callous Catallaxy Files post by Judith Sloan on childcare workers, who she called “dim-witted” educators from “second-rate universities”, has reached national attention thanks to her appearance on Q and A.

It hardly seems worth going into Sloan’s lack of evidence (not to mention lack of an apology). But it’s worth taking a slightly more serious look at her published thoughts, as they showcase the fairly common conservative perspective on early childhood education.

Indonesia: Children Seeking Refuge Find Abuse, Neglect
Human Rights Watch

Indonesia detains and neglects migrant and asylum-seeking children, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Each year, hundreds are detained in sordid conditions, without access to lawyers, and sometimes beaten. Others are left to fend for themselves, without any assistance with food or shelter.

Minister 'notes' refugee call
Michael Gordon, Sydney Morning Herald

The federal government has again rejected calls to find alternatives to indefinite detention for refugees who receive adverse security assessments from ASIO.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has simply ''noted'' calls from the Commonwealth Ombudsman for a new approach to managing those who face indefinite detention while subject to the assessments.

Kevin Rudd to be sworn in after dramatic leadership comeback
Emma Griffiths, ABC

Prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd is expected to be sworn in this morning at Government House after staging a dramatic comeback in a leadership ballot last night.

Bill Shorten emerged as turncoat kingmaker to return Kevin Rudd to the Labor leadership
Patrick Lion and Gemma Jones, Daily Telegraph

Labor Party powerbroker Bill Shorten last night emerged as the turncoat kingmaker, knifing the prime minister he installed and casting fresh doubt over his own chances for the top job beyond the election.

Rudd must keep Labor ship afloat
Paul Kelly, The Australian

The further risk for Labor is that Gillard becomes the focus of a victim cult and a narrative about the unfair destruction of our first female PM.

An ashen-faced former Gillard loyalist, Bill Shorten, who defected to Rudd will face the most difficult task explaining his reversal.

But claims that Shorten has ruined his future prospects of leading the party are nonsense.

Lessons from Labor meltdown
Gareth Evans, The Australian

The first rule [of political survival] is to have a philosophy and to stick to it. The hugely successful Labor governments led by Bob Hawke and Paul Keating two decades ago did just that, essentially inventing the "third way" model that later became associated with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in Britain. Its elements were clear: dry, free-market economics (but in our case with low-paid workers benefiting enormously from "social wage" increases in medical care and retirement pensions); compassionate social policy; and a liberal internationalist foreign policy.

The current government, by contrast, has struggled to re-create anything as compelling. It seems torn between old industrial labour preoccupations, the new environmentalism, and capitulating to populist anxiety on issues like asylum-seeking "boatpeople".

Rudd wins spill, but will Labor finally lead?
Jonathan Green, The Drum

Labor, polling badly, looking defeat in the loaded muzzle, turned in on itself, abandoned even the pretence of political and policy competition. For months.

This is a betrayal of both our political process and the basic democratic principles on which a healthy and productive national discussion depend.

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