Daily News - Tuesday 21 October 2014

Posted 21 October 2014 8:03am

Kevin Andrews says welfare reform a 'two-term exercise'
Judith Ireland, The Sydney Morning Herald

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has described the Coalition's welfare reform plans as a "two-term exercise" as he prepares to receive the late-running final report of the federal government's sweeping review of the $100 billion welfare system.

Mr Andrews, who was a senior minister under the Howard government, has also committed to standing at the 2016 election and made a pitch to keep his portfolio in a second term.


$1.5bn scheme failing on jobs
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Only 277 indigenous jobseekers have found employment that ­lasted more than six months in ­remote regions in the past year, prompting the Abbott government to devise an overhaul of Labor’s remote jobs scheme.

The Coalition has concluded that the $1.5 billion nationwide scheme has been failing to engage Aborigines in work, with $120 million already spent equating to about $433,000 per successful job placement of six months or more.

The data also reveals that only 30 per cent of the 37,000 unemployed Aborigines registered with the scheme were engaged in work for the dole and similar structured mutual-obligation activities.


Andrew Forrest’s Indigenous employment project: Do the arguments stack up??
Kirrily Jordan, Australian Review of Public Affairs

The Australian Government is currently considering the 27 major recommendations of Creating Parity, the report of the Forrest Review. While the Review was originally tasked to scrutinise Indigenous training and employment programs, the Creating Parity report has substantially expanded on this brief. Not only does it include recommendations for a much broader suite of concerns including income management, early childhood services, school attendance, housing and mobility, but it also recommends that some proposed measures apply to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike.


Our mental health system is failing people living on the edge
Herald Sun

About a month-and-a-half ago, when I was overseas for work, one of my friends, let’s call her Meredith, tried to kill herself.

After realising the drugs she had mixed to achieve her demise weren’t interacting the way the internet said they would, Meredith called a friend to take her to hospital.

Once at St Vincent’s, she saw a series of people who spent minimal time with her. One nurse she spoke to commented that she’d just had a bad day. And, after admitting to the psych nurse that she didn’t regret her attempt to kill herself and that she planned on trying again soon, the nurse just sent her home.


Housing First: the 'counterintuitive' method for solving urban homelessness
Billy Briggs, The Guardian

At a soup kitchen in Detroit, a former crack addict in a wheelchair is explaining how he lost his legs. “They were amputated in 2000 because I had frostbite from sleeping on the streets,” says Clayton, 54. Fourteen years on from becoming a double amputee, Clayton is still homeless in his home town, but he’s been off drugs for more than a decade, and remains remarkably sanguine about his plight. “It ain’t easy sometimes, but at least I’m still alive,” he says, breaking into a smile.

It’s winter 2013 and we are in the Central United Methodist Church, a stone’s throw from Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. It is noon, a soup kitchen is in full flow, but outside it’s bitterly cold, December snow piled high on the streets, the Detroit River frozen. When dark falls, the temperature can plunge to -20oC.


'Ice' destroying rural youth
Caro Melddrum-Hanna, Lateline

Rural health workers are sounding the alarm about the impact of the drug crystal meth, or ice, on country towns, warning that it's leading to rising crime rates and users taking up the drug at an earlier age. In one small Tasmanian town it's estimated that up to 10 per cent of the population is using ice. Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna travelled to Smithton on the north-west of the state for this report.


Justice and disadvantage? Just add rurality….
Catherine McFaul, VCOSS

People’s ability to access justice transverses the spectrum of political persuasions, weaving through legislature and systems of government, and influences people’s connection to their community, health and wellbeing, often with life-changing repercussions.

This is particularly so for rural Australians, who face geographic barriers in access to, and administration of, justice.


Justice reinvestment saves huge costs of law-and-order auctions
Sarah Hopkins, The Conversation

A number of reports, most recently Victorian and NSW crime statistics, show crime rates are falling. But as election time looms in these states, their governments' focus on tough law-and-order policies is swelling the prison population beyond capacity.

A lot of people will shrug their shoulders and wonder what the fuss is about. People who commit crimes go to prison and this makes the community safer. What they fail to consider is the very real downside: a bigger drain on the public purse and a bad social outcome.


Offshore detention centres: annual costs hit $1 billion
Sarah Whyte, The Age

The federal government has spent more than $1 billion this financial year to house about 2200 asylum seekers in offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Running the detention centre on Manus Island has cost taxpayers $632.3 million, and the operational cost of Nauru was $582.4 million, a Senate estimates hearing was told on Monday.


Civil society organisations across Europe are seeing their independence come under threat
Heidi Sandberg, Civil Society

In recent years public authorities around the world have increasingly turned to civil society to assist in finding solutions to present and future problems.

But in what ways are they asked to help?

In most of Europe the welfare state is under pressure and organisations are frequently asked to deliver services of different kinds. But in many countries when they enter into contracts with the state they are also requested to forget their independence and ability to gather public opinion around issues.


'Undemocratic, opaque, ad hoc': does COAG still work?
David Donaldson, The Mandarin

COAG plays an important role in Australia’s federal system. But are its decisions rushed and undemocratic? Federation reform requires another look at the premiers’ meeting.


However dramatic, the Synod of Bishops 2014 was just the beginning
John L Allen, Crux

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the tumultuous Synod of Bishops on the family, conclusions are up in the air as to what it all meant. Given the clear divisions that ran through the summit, it should be no surprise that after-the-fact interpretations are also all over the map.

For some, the outcome was a defeat for Pope Francis and the more open line they perceive him to represent on issues such as gays and divorce and remarriage. For others, the fact that even watered-down language on those points survived in the synod’s final document represents a watershed, even if, like Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster in the United Kingdom said, they feel it “didn’t go far enough.”

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