Daily News - Tuesday 2 September 2014

Posted 2 September 2014 7:54am

Deal looms on wait for the dole under Newstart Allowance plans
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Unemployed people under 30 would face a shorter wait for the Newstart Allowance payment than the six-month proposal unveiled in the budget, as the Abbott government prepares to compromise in order to get its controversial welfare reforms through the Senate.

The Australian understands that senior members of the ­Coalition have conceded that getting the proposal for a full six months off the dole through the Senate is extremely difficult, or even impossible, and are prepared to accept a shorter waiting period. The government is expected to be able to get the radical measure through if it settles for a waiting period of one month, as operates in New Zealand.


Businesses targeted on welfare bans
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

An investigation has found that 55 businesses across Australia sold banned items to welfare recipients on the BasicsCard, prompting Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews to ask his department to work with the Department of Human Services to investigate.

In the past 12 months, checks by compliance officers from the Department of Human Services on 518 Basics­Card merchants have found 55 merchants had sold excluded items to BasicsCard holders.


Time, trust, respect — case management in emergency relief: the Doorways Model
Nicola Brackertz, Salvation Army Australia (via APO)

The Salvation Army is a major provider of Emergency Relief (ER) services in Australia. In 2013, the organisation provided ER to over 157,000 individuals and their families nationally.

Historically, ER services have provided crisis support and assistance for disadvantaged families and individuals through the provision of material aid (e.g. food, assistance paying bills, general household goods and clothing) and information, referral and advocacy.

In recent years, however, people have been presenting to ER with more complex needs and there has also been a rise in the number of people seeking aid. Rather than acting as a way to alleviate short term financial stress, ER services now see many clients who are experiencing long term financial hardship due to a combination of factors, including inadequate income support, unemployment or retrenchment, mental health issues, disability, housing stress and social exclusion. Clients often present repeatedly to ER services and use multiple agencies to help them get by.


Whose mission: the historical role of the church in delivering welfare services and the challenges presented in the contracting era
Wilma Gallet, The Power to Persuade

The contracting state brings faith-based groups into competition with each other as well as secular nonprofit organisations and for-profit firms. The boundaries between the government, for-profit, secular nonprofit and faith-based sectors are blurring. There is also blurring of boundaries between the market economy and civil society and this raises questions about values and norms particularly for faith-based groups whose values are rooted in the Gospel message and compassion for the poor and marginalised.


Funding for school chaplains will support students' well-being (pdf)
National Catholic Education Commission, media release

The National Catholic Education Commission has welcomed the announcement of the extension of a program that supports the well-being of school students across Australia.

NCEC executive director Ross Fox said Parliamentary Secretary Scott Ryan’s announcement that the Abbott Government will honour its pre-election promise to continue the National School Chaplaincy Programme will be welcomed by schools across Australia.


Mental health lessons cuts illness, stigma

Mental health lessons for secondary school students can reduce stigma and have a potentially lifelong effect, a study has found.

Researchers from the Black Dog Institute analysed data from 208 year nine and 10 students from 10 schools across NSW who took part in the charity's mental health literacy program HeadStrong.

They compared this with students who participated in the standard secondary school PDHPE (Personal Development, Health and Physical Education) curriculum.

Researchers found those on the HeadStrong program scored higher on a mental health literacy test than their peers.


Jane Keir says surviving drought is a mental health challenge (audio)
ABC Rural

Jane Keir's 40 year nursing career has seen droughts come and go; she says survival is not easy and you can't rely on doing it on your own - you need help.


How stigma prevents wider understanding of risks and prevention of overdose
Donna Ribton-Turner, Crikey

For those of us working in health and community services, media coverage of the private tragedies of celebrities and other public figures is a two-edged sword. It can help draw attention to important health and social concerns we work with every day, but often distorts public perception of what are typically complex issues.

Two recent examples highlight the challenges we face in improving public awareness of potential harms associated with alcohol and other drug use. Both involved the untimely deaths of well-loved performers: one from an apparent opioid overdose, one by suicide.


Explainer: what is casual racism?
Jacqueline Nelson and Jessica Walton

There is nothing casual about racism.

But the term “casual racism” has emerged over the last couple of years in media coverage reporting on more extreme forms of interpersonal racism, such as racist slang and racist diatribes on public transport. These incidents occur on a seemingly “casual” or unexpected basis.


Seeking the cake and not the crumbs
Jen Bowles, The Drum

Anorexia can take many things from you: your dignity, your health, your money. For now, I'm just looking forward to enjoying a birthday cake one day, writes Jen Bowles.


US - That Whosoever Believeth Shall Not Suffer Depression, Schizophrenia, Homosexuality, Bipolar Disorder, or Autism
Pacific Standard

Over the past few decades, millions of Christians in America have turned away from conventional psychology and psychiatry—and toward biblical counseling. These Christians believe that all remedies, even for severe problems such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, are best treated with counseling based on the Bible alone. Under this approach, medication and secular therapy are eschewed in favor of self-examination, repentance, and prayer.


Academic depth & complexity vs snappy story-telling: resolving the tension?
Cheryl Brumley, The Power to Persuade

Is storytelling a risky venture? In academia, where reductionism is the dirtiest word of them all, the answer is a resounding yes. In my job for the LSE Public Policy Group blogs, I take weighty academic subjects and distil them through consumable mediums like podcasts and videos. As someone who must find that narrative arc in academic research through a process of interviewing, scripting, editing, and sound design, I am a primary witness to an academic’s post-interview trepidation as they consider how a single misstep could affect their career. Before I’ve even had time to wrap-up my microphone leads, I am hit with a barrage of anxious questioning ...


The paradox of political dysfunction
Jonathan Green, The Drum

You could call it a watershed moment. Earlier this month, The Australian's Paul Kelly detailed the collapse of coherent, constructive political culture in this country:

The trajectory of Australia's relative decline now seems set with the nation in denial of its economic challenges and suffering a malaise in its political decision-making - signalling that a country that cannot recognise its problems is far from finding their solution.
Australia's political system is in malfunction. The evidence has been plentiful for some years and continues to mount. The origins of the crisis are deep-seated. This is the reason it is unlikely to be easily reversed. The nation's economic advantages are extensive but unless buttressed by effective public policy they will erode relentlessly.

It's a theme he expands upon in his new book, Triumph and Demise, a title that refers to the political sine curve that did for Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and then propelled the ascent of Tony Abbott.

Kelly does not intend this, but you could also read his title as a neat phrasing of the paradox at the core of our political dysfunction: that the things that succeed in modern politics are the very things that also undermine its worth as a system of policy delivery. In modern political triumph we see the seeds of political decline.


Paul Kelly on the politics of the NDIS
Paul Kelly, Triumph and Demise (book)

The origins of the NDIS lay in a Productivity Commission report initiated by Bill Shorten as parliamentary secretary ... The 2011 Productivity Commission report on disability was so powerful that both sides signed up. The report condemned the system for the disabled as ‘inequitable, fragmented and inefficient’. Support was delivered by welfare, charity and family. Many carers were chained to this life till they died, often forced to re-prove their child’s disability to every new agency. The report documented a policy shambles that diminished the lives of more than 400 000 disabled Australians and was a condemnation of the nation as a civilised place.

It made the status quo untenable. It recommended that disability shift from welfare to an insurance concept, that the national government take responsibility and that a new funding system was required.


The saints show the way of social justice
Vatican Radio

Wishing to highlight the connection between sanctity and social justice, Brandon Vogt explores the lives of 14 saints and how they lived the social doctrine of the Church in his book Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World.

Vogt spoke with Vatican Radio and explained how these saints express a vision of a good society, where people, organizations, and governments are in right relationship with each other. He identified the fundamental themes as life and dignity of the human person.

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