Daily News - Tuesday 25 November 2014
Income management in the Northern Territory has not led to people on welfare drinking less alcohol, sending their children to school more often or buying healthier food, according to the findings of a three-year study commissioned by the Federal Government.
A report from the study Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory was handed to the Department of Social Services on September 30 but has still not been seen by the Minister, Kevin Andrews.
One in 10 families could not afford food in past year: survey
Zoe Daniel, AM, ABC
A new household survey of outer Melbourne shows that as many as one in 10 families could not afford food at least once over the last 12 months.
Community organisations operating in so called growth corridors are reporting a spike in demand from middle class families struggling to pay utility bills and put food on the table.
Demand for financial help has increased more than 100 per cent in the last year and support services are turning away twice as many people as they're able to help.
Jobs for people is about more than just numbers
Shane Green, The Age
We are witnessing a massive structural shift. In the past four years, the state has lost 11,600 manufacturing jobs. In part, it has been accelerated by the high Australia dollar, making it harder for local manufacturers to compete.
And while the state had added about 90,000 jobs over the past four years, this has not kept pace with the growth in the number of worker age Victorians – more than 300,000 – fuelled by a population boom.
At a human level, it is nothing short of crisis. Not having a job goes to the very heart of our daily existence. At a material level, it is about putting enough food on the table, paying the bills, and being able to have a reasonable standard of living.
But it also about a sense of identity, personal fulfilment and a valued place in society. Without a job, those important attributes slowly erode, replaced with a sense of dislocation.
Since 2010, Youth Connections has provided a national, flexible,individualised and responsive service to assist young people who are disengaged, or who are most at risk of disengaging, from education or training. Youth Connections aims to support these young people to attain Year 12 or equivalent, and to help them make a successful transition through school and onto further education, training or work. The funding for the current program ends on 31 December 2014 and the Federal Government has made it clear that it will not continue to fund services for school-aged young people.
Vic Minister for Community Services promises disability inquiry
Simon Santow, AM, ABC
CHRIS UHLMANN: Mary Wooldridge is the Minister for Community Services in Victoria.
She's speaking here to AM's Simon Santow.
SIMON SANTOW: Minister, surely the time for inquiries is over, and the time for action and taking responsibility is now.
MARY WOOLDRIDGE: There's been a lot of action undertaken to further enhance the safeguarding system that we have in Victoria for people with a disability.
Over the course of the last few years, we have strengthened the role of the disability services commissioner, we've trained staff about working with our community visitors and the public advocate and we've introduced a Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme to stop people who abuse and neglect people with a disability bouncing through various providers. We've already had 1,000 staff being checked against our exclusion scheme.
Victorian justice system broken, says alliance
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
Reoffending is rising in Victoria, despite the big increase in imprisonment and expansion of prisons, a new study reveals.
An analysis by an alliance of groups fighting for a better justice system has found that almost 40 per cent of Victorian prisoners reoffend within two years, and that figure is rising, despite a steady fall from 2003 to 2010.
Michelle McDonnell, spokeswoman for Smart Justice, said the increasing rate of reoffending was a signal that the criminal justice system was broken, and the state needed to look at what reduced crime, rather than continuing massive spending on prisons as the sole solution.
Senate passes motion urging a rethink on justice target
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The Senate has passed a motion calling on the Abbott government to introduce a “national justice target” to close the gap between indigenous and non indigenous incarceration rates after a disturbing report revealed a staggering rise.
The Productivity Commission found that indigenous Australians experienced contact with the criminal justice system — as offenders and victims — at much higher rates than non-indigenous Australians. The adult imprisonment rate increased 57 per cent between 2000 and 2013. Although indigenous adults made up only 2.3 per cent of the adult population, they accounted for 27.4 per cent of all prisoners on June 30 last year.
Juvenile detention rates increased sharply between 2000-01 and 2007-08, and fluctuated since at about 24 times the rate for non-indigenous youth.
If you sell a car in Victoria, it’s not permitted on the road unless it meets the standards required to be ‘roadworthy’. If you sell food, its preparation and packaging must meet health and safety standards. If you sell toys or cots or electrical appliances – pretty much anything, actually – there are standards that must be met. And fair enough, too: these standards aim to ensure products do what they are supposed to do, and don’t put users at risk.
There’s one big exception though; rental homes. There’s actually only one standard that a rental dwelling must meet: it must have a smoke alarm installed. Apart from that, anything goes. No hot water? No worries. No glass in the windows? No dramas. No windows? Weird, but that’s okay. The fact is, under current Victorian law you could rent out a cardboard box in your backyard and as long as it had a smoke alarm fitted, it’d be legal.
A group of New South Wales pensioners is on the brink of becoming homeless after a developer bought the residential park they live in and served them with an eviction notice.
Advocacy groups said the desperate plight of residents at Hastings Point in northern NSW underlined gaping holes in consumer protections for some of the nation's most vulnerable people.
It is estimated 100,000 retirees live in residential parks, mainly in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Broome struggling to cope with homelessness, drunken behaviour
Erin Parke, ABC
The north-west WA town of Broome is grappling with a wave of homelessness and drunken violence, with liquor restrictions in the central Kimberley adding to the problem.
A lack of affordable short-term accommodation, combined with Aboriginal people moving in from remote communities, has led to people camping on bush blocks and parks in town.
Bundy's homeless living on the banks of river and in alleys
Fraser Coast Chronicle
A program to cut the number of homeless in Bundaberg has found people living on the banks of the river and in alleys and parks around the city.
The State Government and local service providers are now helping 190 Bundaberg residents find a permanent home, after an unprecedented survey into the region's homelessness situation.
Housing and Public Works Minister Tim Mander said the Home for Good campaign, delivered in partnership with the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), was aimed at helping to connect these individuals and families with vital frontline services.
White Ribbon Day: How a woman became homeless
Chloe Booker, The Weekly Review Bayside
When Madhu left her abusive husband three months ago, she and her two-year-old son became homeless.
The 30-year-old medical professional moved to Australia from India in 2012 as part of an arranged marriage organised by her family with her consent.
However the relationship soon turned sour. Eventually, after her husband’s verbal assaults became so bad Madhu was scared of their impact on their son, she left.
Experimental Radburn town planning disappearing from Canberra
Clarissa Thorpe, ABC
In the booming 1960s Canberra adopted an innovative town planning initiative to better use green spaces in its newest suburbs, but in some places the idea failed.
Fears Australian banks ill-prepared for housing-induced crisis
Jonathan Shapiro and Clancy Yeates, The Age
One of Australia's largest institutional investors says the main banks would have to raise billions more than most experts expect in a property crash that could wipe out the home equity of millions.
AMP Capital's head of credit markets, Jeff Brunton, said official stress tests failed to account for the impact on mortgages that did not default and that a severe fall in house prices could push more than 50 per cent of borrowers into negative equity. This would force banks to raise capital above and beyond losses from defaults to reassure investors they were safe.
Senate a hinder not a help
Peter van Onselen, Perth Now
... minor parties no longer fulfil the check and balance role conceived via the powerful committee system which took effect in the 1970s. The Democrats are effectively extinct, and the Greens are arguably too ideological.
With the gaming of the preference system, and the entry of a billionaire into the political lexicon (Clive Palmer), the Senate has become increasingly unworkable.
Palmer bitten as PUP senator breaks the chain
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation
On one interpretation the non-Green Senate crossbenchers now divide into four blocks: remaining PUPs Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang; independents Nick Xenophon and (ex-DLP) John Madigan, who often work together; Family First Bob Day and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, both right of centre, who collaborate on some issues, although they differ on social questions; and Lambie and Muir, who are unknown quantities for the future.
There is potential for Lambie, Xenophon, Madigan and Muir to do some common muscle flexing. Lambie said on Monday that she had worked with Xenophon, always got along with Muir, and her staff had good relations with Madigan’s office.
Jacqui Lambie and wildcard senators are not rogues
Tony Kevin, Eureka Street
I can understand the hostility of the major parties, and even the Greens, to the newbies. They have upset the predictable protocols of a two or three party Senate. They are wild cards. It is in the major parties' self-interest to try to exploit differences, to weaken and destabilise them.
But why the visceral hostility of many in the media towards the new senators and Palmer? Why do so many commentators and editorialists go out of their way to mock and belittle them? The present malignant coverage of the Palmer-Lambie split is perhaps the worst example. At the moment, some people are head-kicking Palmer, trying to worsen the split. There is developing some real or pretended respect for Lambie.
Australia's political system is broken: Christine Milne
Chris Uhlmann, AM, ABC
CHRIS UHLMANN: Now Christine Milne, what evidence do you have that essentially everyone in politics, apart from the Greens is corrupt?
CHRISTINE MILNE: No, what I've said is that what has happened in Australia is we've gone from a democracy to plutocracy and that is, we are governed by the wealthy and the wealthy corporations in their interest and it's against the, first of all, the global commons and against the common interest.
A group of 11 church leaders has been arrested after occupying Senator Michaelia Cash's office in West Perth.
They were calling for the release of children from immigration detention centres.
The group was made up of women.
They are part of a group called Love Makes A Way, which is drawn from various Christian organisations.
Five myths about Pope Francis
Maryann Cusimano Love, The Washington Post
1. Pope Francis’s critiques of capitalism are only his personal opinions.
Pope Francis is not shy in his economic teachings. His papal exhortation last year, “The Joy of the Gospel,” included the declarations: “No to an economy of exclusion . . . such an economy kills,” “No to the new idolatry of money” and “No to a financial system which rules rather than serves.” He was not speaking metaphorically. Pope Francis has launched initiatives to combat modern-day slavery and human trafficking, in which people die as part of the global economy.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has decried Francis’s stance as his personal opinions coming from Argentina; Rush Limbaugh has called the pope’s position “pure Marxism.” Others in the right wing have said the pope is well-intentioned but uninformed about capitalism.
Like it or not, these economic teachings are not unique to Pope Francis. They’re the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who was likewise pilloried by the powerful 2,000 years ago for telling the rich man to give everything he owned to the poor.