Daily News - Thursdsay 4 September 2014

Posted 4 September 2014 6:54am

'Third way' for government services wins Kevin Andrews's approval
Noell Towell, Canberra Times

Public servants should form their own co-operatives and bid for the right to provide government health, education, welfare and even emergency services, according to a new report that has won the backing of the Abbott government.

The report, to be launched by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews in Canberra on Thursday, also calls for "mutuals" such as motoring group NRMA or insurance outfit Australian Unity to be able to take over government functions.


Public Service Mutuals White Paper
Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals

The BCCM will launch the Final Report and Reccomendations White Paper, Public Service Mutuals: A Third Way for Delivering Public Services in Australia, at Parliament House, Canberra, on Thursday 4th September, 2014. The Report will be launched by the Minister for Social Services, The Hon. Kevin Andrews.


NFPs Should Merge To Survive: Costello
Xavier Smerdon, Pro Bono News

One of Australia’s most recognised and respected Not For Profit leaders has warned that the sector may become unsustainable unless similar charities consider merging.

Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Australia Tim Costello told Pro Bono Australia News as part of the Philanthropy Australia Conference that too many organisations were competing with each other.


Tougher welfare laws defeated in Senate
Sky News

This time it's over tougher rules for job seekers which would remove the ability for Centrelink staff to waive eight-week penalties for refusing an employment offer.

Labor says the law is unnecessary, will disadvantage honest job seekers and could lead to homelessness.

The bill was defeated 35-29, with the Palmer United Party's three senators siding with Labor and the Greens.


Raising voices against violence for women with disabilities

Women with disabilities experience higher rates of violence against them than women in the general community, but are often too scared to report it.

To help raise awareness of this and to help women with disabilities who have experienced violence to tell their stories, several organisations have joined together in the Voices Against Violence research project.


Parents campaign for Queensland magistrates to be given power to assess mental impairments
John Stewart, ABC

The parents of a mentally impaired woman who was convicted of 15 shoplifting charges say Queensland's laws need to be changed to give magistrates the power to assess whether a person is fit to plead.

John and Collein Avery, from Redcliffe, say their daughter has an IQ in the lowest 1 per cent of the population, but the local magistrate does not have the option to have her mental capacity assessed.


Melbourne northeast 14 per cent youth unemployment provokes calls to give young people chance
Megan Bailey, Diamond Valley Leader

Youth unemployment in Melbourne’s northeast has reached 14 per cent, prompting charities and social services to call on employers to give young people a chance.

Brotherhood of St Laurence figures show unemployment among people aged 15 to 24 living in the north east was 11.8 per cent in July 2013, climbing 2.2 per cent in 2014.

Executive director Tony Nicholson said unskilled and semi-skilled jobs had declined and employers increasingly expected to recruit fully-trained and experienced workers. He said the state couldn’t afford for the trend to continue.


Work for the dole should be re-engineered and renamed, says BCA
Business Council of Australia, submission

The Business Council supports the principle of mutual obligation, but considers that any requirements should directly relate to improving the employment prospects of jobseekers.

The proposed approach entails an unprecedented scaling up of the scheme and a significant $900 million investment. A 2002 study showed only 22.7 per cent of Work for the Dole participants were in employment three months after completion. Independent research conducted for the evaluation of welfare-to-work estimated 10 per cent as a broad indicator figure of the net impact of Work for the Dole on employment outcomes.

The stated aim of the scheme is to provide employability skills many employers have argued are lacking in jobseekers. At an employer roundtable of Business Council members to discuss the new contract, employers did not agree that Work for the Dole would increase the likelihood a jobseeker would get work at their companies.

... Work for the Dole needs to be re-engineered to build the skills and attributes employers need and be aligned to local industry so that participants are being prepared for real jobs. The program should be renamed to remove the stigma associated with the scheme.


Government "has launched a series of vindictive and punitive measures" against jobseekers, says ACTU Secretary
Dave Oliver speech to Ideas & Society forum, ACTU

The youth unemployment rate is three times the overall figure. One in five people aged between 15 and 19 in the labour market are out of work.

Despite its boast of a million jobs over the next five years, we are fast approaching 800,000 unemployed people, almost 100,000 more people looking for jobs than before the Coalition was elected.

The government has pulled $1 billion out of vocational education and training, while creating a cost incentive for employers to overlook local workers through the use of 457 visas.

The employment situation will be worsened by this year’s tight Budget, and the cuts of thousands of public sector jobs, along with outsourcing and privatisation of services.

Rather than work with unions and community groups to find work for the unemployed, the government instead has launched a series of vindictive and punitive measures to make life even harder for jobseekers.


Bob Day calls for removal of minimum wage for young in maiden speech
Lisa Cox, The Age

Crossbench senator Bob Day has used his maiden speech to demand sweeping changes to Australia's workplace relations laws, including the abolition of minimum wage limits for young workers.

In comments that will encourage business groups and Coalition backbenchers agitating for industrial relations reform, the Family First MP has told the Senate that the minimum wage is an "absurd" barrier to employment.


Minimum wage 'absurd', says Bob Day
Bob Day, first speech

I note the Newstart allowance at the moment is worth about $240 a week and the minimum wage is about $640 a week. Between $240 and $640 there is a no-go zone where anyone who offers or accepts anything in between is breaking the law. In fact it is even worse than that because we do not permit anyone to work for any amount between nought and $640. We praise people who work for no money—working up to 40 hours a week in op shops and nursing homes and for the RSPCA—but we do not allow them to work for more than zero until you reach $640. If you are allowed to work for nothing, surely you should be allowed to work for something. It is absurd.


VET market ‘doesn’t work for everybody’: BCA’s Jennifer Westacott
John Ross, The Australian ($)

Fad-driven market reforms have left vocational education and training more disjointed than ever, according to two of the country’s biggest employer groups.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacottsaid that governments were pursuing contestable funding as “a policy vision in and of itself”, with no clear idea of why they were doing so.

“We can’t just say let the market work, because it doesn’t always work for everybody — and I say that as the queen of capitalism,” Ms Westacott told the TAFE Directors Australia conference.


UK - Remember the young ones: Improving career opportunities for Britain’s young people
Tony Dolphin, IPPR

This report looks at five critical elements of the school-to-work transition for young people – the role of employers, vocational education, apprenticeships, careers guidance, and the benefits system – and at lessons the UK can learn from European economies with better youth employment records.


Chasing jobs and fleeing depression
Afiomai, The Drum

Being long-term unemployed I know the feeling of seeing my skills and qualifications wasting away. Of feeling the clutch of depression and thinking of suicide, writes Afiomai.


There is nothing wrong with me...
Tara Rymer, ABC Open

When I was 20 my cousin suddenly died.

He was in his late twenties and his death was by no means foreseeable. It was not until this event, that I realised, that I too could die. My cousin’s passing had inadvertently brought out a realisation that I was not invincible; and as far as the grim reaper was concerned, age was irrelevant.

In the days and weeks that followed, an insidious range of emotions and thoughts washed over me. I went through an initial period of grief – I lay in bed for almost a week and barely ate or drank. When I emerged from this state, I found myself changed. I felt a general constant depression and an underlying fear of something that I could not quite identify.


The Scientific Secret to Strong Relationships
Laura Geggel, Yahoo News

Many people say they live happy and healthy lives when they are involved in meaningful relationships, but it's unclear how people achieve these close and caring relationships, and how such bonds promote well-being.

In a new review that experts call a "gigantic contribution" to the field, scientists examined how relationships can encourage — or thwart — personal thriving.


Asylum seekers on Manus Island sent to isolation units: leaked report
Liam Cochrane, ABC

Leaked security reports from Manus Island describe frequent self-harm, suicide-watch and the use of isolated confinement at the Australian-run detention facility for asylum seekers.

The reports were written by staff from Transfield Services, the company contracted to provide security and catering services on Manus Island.


Greens call for Manus Island health investigation
Melinda Howells, PM, ABC

The Greens are calling for an urgent investigation into medical care on Manus Island, as the condition of a young asylum-seeker with septicaemia gets worse.

The 24-year-old Iranian man is in a Brisbane hospital, where refugee advocates say his life support system could soon be turned off.


Contesting inequality: an alternative to Hockey’s budget agenda
Frank Stilwell, Evatt Foundation

As followers of the Evatt Foundation website will be well aware, economic inequalities have been increasing in many countries. These growing gaps have resulted primarily from the phenomenal growth in the income and wealth of the super rich during the last three decades, not directly because of increasing rates of absolute poverty. The top 10 per cent of households has done spectacularly well in the race for riches over that last three decades. The top 1 per cent has increased its share even more spectacularly: in Australia it has nearly doubled its income share. The concentration of accumulated wealth – always more unequally distributed than current income – has become even more extreme.


Menzies, a failure by today’s rules, ran a budget to build the nation
Richard Denniss, The Conversation

Robert Menzies left Australia in far worse financial shape than he found it, at least according to current treasurer Joe Hockey’s favourite debt and deficit benchmark. Having inherited budget surpluses from the Chifley Labor government, the Menzies Coalition government ran small budget surpluses from 1949-50 to 1957-58.

But then Menzies' “irresponsible profligacy” began, running budget deficits for the last nine years of his reign.


Could some form of socialist economics make a comeback?
Mark Colvin, PM, ABC

Back in the sixties and seventies, many in the political mainstream often regarded free-market economists like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek as fringe figures.

But over the decades, they and their disciples moved into the mainstream and increasingly pushed left wing economists out of the centre of political power.

Was that a pendulum swing? Could some form of socialist economics make a comeback?


Curiosity Is as Important as Intelligence
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Bloomberg

There seems to be wide support for the idea that we are living in an “age of complexity”, which implies that the world has never been more intricate. This idea is based on the rapid pace of technological changes, and the vast amount of information that we are generating (the two are related). Yet consider that philosophers like Leibniz (17th century) and Diderot (18th century) were already complaining about information overload. The “horrible mass of books” they referred to may have represented only a tiny portion of what we know today, but much of what we know today will be equally insignificant to future generations.

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