Daily News - Thursday 27 November 2014

Posted 27 November 2014 7:57am

Social Inclusion Week: promising steps to ending youth homelessness
Chris Stone, The Power to Persuade

Social Inclusion Week is an opportunity to connect with our communities and society, but it is also an opportunity to think of those who are excluded and how we as a society can become more inclusive.

Two key groups facing significant challenges in inclusion are vulnerable young people and the homeless. This makes the issue of youth homelessness critical to social inclusion. Youth homelessness is a ‘wicked’ problem in that it involves multiple interrelated factors, but it is not intractable. Communities around Australia are beginning to adopt approaches sufficiently holistic and integrated to make real progress on this problem.


Program to provide healthy cafe meals to Ballarat's homeless youth
Lily Partland, ABC

A successful program offering healthy and cheap cafe meals to homeless youth will launch in Ballarat next year.

When Rebecca Jakobi became homeless at the age of 24, she worked hard to keep a roof over her head.

"I didn't have much family support and I was couch surfing with friends, but sooner or later your friends run out," she said.

Rebecca moved from Werribee to Melbourne in order to access a homeless shelter.


NSW - Department of Family and Community Services report reveals children still at risk
Rachel Browne, The Sydney Morning Herald

The Department of Family and Community Services remains under-resourced, with a new report showing it is unable to ensure the safety of children at risk or monitor foster-care placements.

A NSW Auditor-General's report into the department revealed a 20 per cent increase in the number of children reported to be at risk of serious harm but the number of caseworkers has improved only marginally.

The caseworker-to-child ratio improved from 1:25 in 2012-13 to 1:21 in 2013-14 but still falls below the 1:12 ratio recommended by the NSW Ombudsman.


ACT - ‘Don’t blame the public service for child protection failures’
Stephen Easton, The Mandarin

The ACT opposition today attacked Canberra’s care and protection services for children and young people, based on the annual report of a committee whose chair says they’ve got it wrong. She is highlighting the complex role the public sector has in child protection.

According to the shadow minister for family and community services, Nicole Lawder: “The ACT Children and Young People Death Review Committee 2013-14 Annual Report released yesterday highlights ongoing and systemic issues within the ACT’s care and protection services.”

But the report shows nothing of the sort, according to former Australian Institute of Health and Welfare director Penny Gregory, who chairs the independent committee.


Family demands answers after finding out about Karmah Jayne Hall's suicide in foster care on Facebook
Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley, ABC

The biological family of a teenage girl who suicided in foster care is demanding answers from authorities after learning of her death on Facebook.

Karmah Jayne Hall, 14, took her own life in September at her foster parents' property north-west of Sydney.

The family said authorities failed to keep Karmah safe and had kept them in the dark about her death ever since.


Banks ‘on side’ of welfare card
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

The major banks, payment providers and retailers want to help the government roll out a “healthy welfare” cashless card, according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister on Indigenous Affairs, Alan Tudge.

The Australian understands that the government is trying to push mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s proposal with the commercial banks.


WA Opposition demands independent review of policy that jails fine defaulters
Anna Vidot, PM, ABC

The West Australian Opposition says Premier Colin Barnett must commission an independent review of the policy that sees fine defaulters jailed.

Labor's Paul Papalia says the policy doesn't work, and disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged members of West Australian society.

The policy is once again in the spotlight after the August death in custody of Miss Dhu, a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who'd been jailed over unpaid fines.


The impact of gambling problems on families
Nicki Dowling, Australian Gambling Research Centre, AIFS

Gambling problems can have significant impacts on families and communities, yet this has received relatively little research attention. Although most available information is based on intimate partners and children, gambling problems can also affect extended family members such as parents, grandparents and siblings.

This discussion paper summarises the available research about how gambling problems affect family relationships and family members, how families cope with gambling problems, and the assessment and therapy options available to the family members of people with gambling problems.


Interactive gambling
Sally Gainsbury, Australian Gambling Research Centre, AIFS

One of the most significant changes to the gambling environment in the past 15 years has been the increased availability of interactive or Internet gambling. Interactive gambling, including mobile gambling, is the fastest growing mode of gambling. This paper describes how and why Australians choose to gamble interactively. It will consider how interactive gambling differs from traditional land-based options and the differences between gamblers who do and do not gamble interactively. The discussion paper focuses on concerns regarding interactive gambling, including the risks it poses, particularly in terms of problem gambling. understanding of the impact of new technologies on gambling behaviour.


Indigenous Australians and gambling
Nerilee Hing and Helen Breen, Australian Gambling Research Centre, AIFS

This paper synthesises information published about Indigenous Australian gambling,1 and summarises issues and implications for key stakeholders. It is relevant for raising awareness and promoting community education about gambling for Indigenous Australians. It is also relevant for policy-makers and service providers interested in reducing gaps in health and wellbeing between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.


Rush to run job-search schemes
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

More than 180 organisations and 1300 individual bidders have applied for more than 250 tenders for the new $5.1 billion federal job-search scheme.

The tender invited bids for five different services: employment providers (currently known as Jobs Services Australia); work-for-the-dole co-ordinators; the new enterprise incentive scheme; harvest labour services and the national harvest labour information service.

The department has started registering and checking each tender ahead of the more substantive assessment.

The government expects to make an announcement on the successful tenders in March and start the transition of jobseekers to the new arrangements from April, ahead of the July 1 start.


Disability “Overhaul” Needed - Commissioner
Xavier Smerdon, Pro Bono News

Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner has called for a complete overhaul of governance and complaint handling procedures in services operated for people with disability.

Susan Ryan made the calls after an ABC Four Corners’ report alleged that disability service provider Yooralla had not acted appropriately when dealing with complaints of sexual assault against disabled clients.

“It appears that at Yooralla, a large and important provider of services to people with disabilities in Victoria, there was a breakdown of governance and monitoring of the protection of those receiving the services,” Ryan said.


GP co-payment to be abandoned as Government seeks to knock off 'barnacles'
Mark Simkin, ABC

The Federal Government is abandoning a centrepiece of its May budget, the $7 GP co-payment.

It is one of several measures swept up in what Prime Minister Tony Abbott is calling "a barnacle-clearing" exercise to remove policies slowing the Government's momentum through its second year in office.

Sources have told ABC that the Coalition was "willing to go back to the drawing board".


In Conversation: Candidates speak about a Victoria without poverty
VCOSS (video)

In the lead up to the 2014 Victorian Election, VCOSS CEO Emma King, sat down with senior Ministers, Shadow Ministers and spokespeople from each of the major parties to explore their vision for a Victoria without poverty.


Roundtable: Good policy needs compelling storytellers
Centre for Policy Development

CPD was delighted to host Sir Gus O’Donnell, former British Cabinet Secretary, head of British civil service and, for four years, Press Secretary to PM John Major, on 13 November 2014 for a workshop at Cisco in Melbourne to discuss how polling intersects with long-term policy development. The workshop, held under the Chatham House Rule, drew together industry leaders, consultants, public sector representatives, policymakers and researchers. The workshop was made possible through sponsorship from Telstra, Deloitte and Cisco.

... One of the consistent themes was the importance of storytelling in policymaking, both for public servants and politicians. Narratives must be logical and coherent. Polling, where used, should be used carefully. Questions should be constructed in a way that does not bias answers. Polling should inform policy design early, rather than necessitate dramatic late changes as part of a messaging strategy. There was a lively debate about differences between the current media and political cycles today as opposed to previous decades, and what effects or constraints this may have on leadership styles and, ultimately, policymaking. Views differed on the extent to which policymakers should be ahead of, or respond to, public opinion.


US - How The Pope Could Tear Apart The Religious Right
McKay Coppins and Hunter Schwarz, BuzzFeed

As political spectators gawk at the “civil war” currently engulfing congressional Republicans in the wake of the government shutdown, a potentially more consequential rift is beginning to form within the party’s traditional coalition of conservative Christian value voters. Blame the Vicar of Christ.


How different are Francis and Benedict?
John L. Allen, Crux

During a brief press conference aboard the papal plane yesterday, returning to Rome from a day trip to Strasbourg, a French journalist asked Pope Francis if he’s a Social Democrat. The question was based on a line from one of the pope’s speeches in Strasbourg in which he took a shot at multinational corporations.

If you don’t follow European politics, the Social Democrats are the main center-left party, so it’s a bit like an American asking the pope if he’s a Democrat.

Francis actually laughed out loud, and then said: “Caro, questo è un riduzionismo!”

The Italian basically translates as, “My dear friend, that’s an over-simplification!” Francis went on to talk about how he tries to follow the Gospel and the social teaching of the Catholic Church, not any party line, and ended by thanking the reporter, Renaud Bernard of France 2 TV, for cracking him up.


Pope Francis’s speech on Europe could have come from the lips of St John Paul II or Benedict XVI
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald

This speech could well have come from the lips of Saint John Paul or Pope Benedict, which leads me to guess that it was in fact written by someone who wrote speeches and encyclicals for them. If I were to point the finger, I would do so at Archbishop Rino Fisichella, one of the most clever and capable men in the Roman Curia.

This may well tell us something about what is happening in the Vatican at present. After a period of disconcerting chaos and drift, a more secure hand seems to be on the tiller.

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