Daily News - Thursday 6 November 2014

Posted 6 November 2014 7:58am

What would Whitlam have done?
Lisa Bryant, The Canberra Times

... That Whitlam saw preschool education and childcare as two separate entities is not a failing of his. Only since the establishment of Australia's childcare and preschool systems has an explosion of knowledge from the field of neuroscience shown just how important the early years are in developing children's brains. It is in the years before school, from the moment a child is born, that their brains are wired for the rest of their life. And this is why we now refer to our preschools and our childcare centres as early education and care centres. In the play children do at these centres, they are learning.


Banyule children’s charity Berry Street calls for better foster carer pay
Megan Bailey, Diamond Valley Leader

Banyule children’s charity Berry Street is calling on major political parties to increase funding for foster families, saying Victorian carers are the worst paid in the country.

Berry Street chief executive Sandie de Wolf said the cost of raising a 10-year-old foster child was at least $265 a week, but Victorian carers were paid $100 a week less.

Ms de Wolf said a Berry Street poll of 643 people showed 80 per cent of respondents thought foster carers were not adequately reimbursed.


Plea for foster care allowance for grandparents
Aryelle Sargent, The Advocate

Foster care allowance for kinship carers could mean the difference between an isolated child and a well-rounded and healthy child, according to Wendy Roberts.

Mrs Roberts, at 71, is raising her grandchild as a self-funded retiree and considers herself lucky she isn't doing it on a pension.

Yet Mrs Roberts and her husband still struggle financially, with no extra support.


Swear against violence against women
Kayleigh Bruce, Whyalla News

All members of the community are being encouraged to take a stance against gender and family violence for White Ribbon Day.

Whyalla Agencies Promoting Safe Families will be hosting a community event on November 25 to promote awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and support a male-led stance to reducing violence against women.

... Whyalla Agencies Promoting Safe Families is a collaborative partnership between Victim Support Service, Centacare Domestic Violence and Homelessness Service, SA Police, Whyalla City Council, Centacare Catholic Services, Centrelink and Mission Australia.


Social housing scheme ‘flawed from the start’, says charity St Laurence Community Services
Rick Wallace, The Australian ($)

A charity caught out in a ­National Rental Affordability Scheme scandal that has jeopardised housing projects for elderly Australians has questioned the design of the Rudd-era program and how it allowed universities to seize vast blocks of grants intended for low-income earners.

The chief executive of St Laurence Community Services said his agency had been left in limbo amid claims being investigated by police that a Sydney developer had fraudulently passed on worthless incentives to several charities in Ballarat, Victoria.

“It’s a poorly implemented scheme,’’ Toby O’Connor said. “The fact that the universities got hundreds of these (incentives) to provide to overseas students is pretty ordinary, when people like us ... really struggle.’’


Veterans facing homelessness epidemic
Ashley Hall, AM, ABC

It's feared Australian war veterans are in the grip of an epidemic of homelessness.

A new service established in the Northern Beaches of Sydney is over-subscribed even before it's been advertised. All of the participants have a mental illness as a result of their service and some are as young as 25. And the service providers say they need more help to re-integrate into civilian life.


Welfare Reform and Young People: Policy v evidence
Tanya Corrie and Susan Maury, The Power to Persuade

Too many Australian young people are locked out of the workforce. A recent study has found that “more than 580,000 young Australians are now either underemployed or unemployed. Overall, this represents more than a quarter of 15 to 24 year olds in the labour market.”[1]

There are many positive benefits of participation in paid work and education. It reduces the likelihood of financial stress, positively impacts on self-esteem and social relationships and young people’s life chances dramatically improve with each level of education completed.

So the recent government push to ensure young people are ‘earning or learning’ should be, in theory, positive.


US - What to Change: Character or Incentives?
Richard V Reeves, Brookings

The development of certain character strengths, such as prudence and drive, clearly contributes to individual and collective success, as last week’s publications from our Character and Opportunity Project highlighted.

But it does not automatically follow that policy-makers’ efforts are always best focused on the development of these skills. For one thing, they may be hard to get at through specific interventions. Just because they are a good thing doesn’t mean policy can engender them: love, too, is a good thing, but it is hard to imagine successful policies to raise the level of love in a society. We have to be alert to the danger of what philosopher Jon Elster described as ‘willing that which cannot be willed’.


Nutrition is key to closing the Aboriginal life expectancy gap
Jennifer Browne and Deborah Gleeson, The Conversation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significantly poorer health and lower life expectancy than other Australians. But while reducing these inequalities is a priority for governments, national policy has neglected nutrition, one of the most important determinants of health.


Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam
Noel Pearson, The Drum

Only those who have known discrimination truly know its evil. Only those who have never experienced prejudice can discount the importance of the Racial Discrimination Act. This old man was one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice.


Former Christmas Island, ACT chief Jon Stanhope ramps up attack on ALP over 'cruel' asylum seeker policies
Gordon Taylor, ABC

The former administrator of Christmas and Cocos islands, Jon Stanhope, has ramped up his attack on his former party, the ALP, over its asylum seeker policies.

In an address in Canberra last night, Mr Stanhope described the Federal Government's asylum seeker policies as cruel, and said that Labor is in "lock-step" with the Coalition.


Steve Bracks’ federalism agenda: start with health, education
The Mandarin

An important factor in making the relationship between the executive and the bureaucracy work is ensuring the public service has a clear idea what the government wants, he says. “That is, the government has clear and well-articulated programs and that is shared with the public sector and they know exactly what is to be undertaken,” he said. “If it’s a partnership approach you will achieve so much more than if you mistrust the public sector in delivering your program.”

Ministerial advisers — a bugbear of many a public servant — should work on a different level. “I take the view, strongly, that the premier and the ministers are responsible, and advisers are not in any executive function,” Bracks said.

“They are there to ensure that the minister or the premier is aware of the issue, as well as compliance with policy, the effect of a particular decision publicly or the constituency effects of it. They’re not there to undertake policy development, they’re not there to execute programs. In my view, they should be invisible. If an adviser overreaches, it’s the minister’s responsibility. If an adviser tries to act as though they’re a public servant, it is the minister’s responsibility to control that and fix that.”


Pope Francis pays tribute to Gough Whitlam
Nick Miller, The Canberra Times

The Pope has sent a special message of condolence to the family of Gough Whitlam, which was read at a memorial mass in Rome to honour the former prime minister.

The letter reveals that the Pope personally prayed for Mr Whitlam after hearing of his death.

The mass, held on Monday evening at the chapel in Domus Australia in Rome, was celebrated by former Australian archbishop, now the Vatican's financial tsar, Cardinal George Pell.


Pope Francis has conservatives talking schism. Easier said than done
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Many conservative Catholics have long viewed Pope Francis with suspicion thanks to his effort to shift the Church’s focus away from a culture war agenda and toward a more welcoming approach and a greater emphasis on serving the poor.

But last month’s controversial Vatican summit on the modern family, with the push by Francis and his allies to translate that inclusive view into concrete policies on gays and divorced and remarried Catholics, for example, seems to have marked a tipping point, with some on the right raising the specter of a schism — a formal split that is viewed as the “nuclear option” for dissenters.

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