Daily News - Tuesday 28 October 2014

Posted 28 October 2014 8:02am

Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects
John McAloon, The Conversation

Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen in Vietnam. More recently, research has shown that experiencing trauma early in childhood has a significant impact on the development of the brain and the way it works.


Disability pension rules a blueprint for cruelty, say Jenny Macklin
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Labor's Jenny Macklin has attacked the Abbott government for a planned expansion of tough rules that target people under 35 on the Disability Support Pension to older people on the payment in the first tranche of reforms to the welfare system to be rolled out in next year’s May budget.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told The Australian he would receive the McClure welfare review’s final report by Christmas, and then embark on a “phased” reform process, with an extension of the crackdown on the DSP to older people on the payment the most immediate priority.


UK - Heart attack patient on hospital bed told to attend work placement scheme
Natasha Culzac, The Independent

A heart attack patient who was recovering on his hospital bed received a telephone call, as he lay hooked up to machines, advising him that he must attend a government-led work placement scheme, it has been reported.

... The incident comes days after a coalition of charities found that thousands of patients with degenerative and progressive diseases are having their benefits cut because the government believes they’ll recover enough to look for work.


Attempt to abolish seniors supplement sparks stand-off
Judith Ireland, The Age

The Abbott government is once again on a crash course with the Senate over the welfare measures it handed down in the May budget.

It has listed its bill to abolish the seniors supplement to be introduced to the upper house on Thursday in the hope that the Greens will back it. As Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told Fairfax Media last week, "the Greens have given us some indication that they might support that as a stand-alone measure".

But Greens welfare spokeswoman Rachel Siewert has categorically ruled out backing the bill, saying, "we ain't going to support it".


Mountains of rubbish are creating a huge safety risk for hoarders across Victoria
Shelley Hadfield, Herald Sun

Firefighters have been confronted by hoarding or squalor at one Melbourne home every four days in one six month period.

And the Metropolitan Fire Bridge is receiving up to five referrals a week for properties to be placed on its Hoarding Notification System.

MFB’s Julie Harris said the more people learnt about the issue, the more widely it had been reported.


The Problem With Positive Thinking
Gabriele Oettingen, New York Times

Why doesn’t positive thinking work the way you might assume? As my colleagues and I have discovered, dreaming about the future calms you down, measurably reducing systolic blood pressure, but it also can drain you of the energy you need to take action in pursuit of your goals.


Jailing the victims continues cycle of disadvantage in justice system
Rob Hulls, Herald Sun

No matter how different we are, we all want a safe community. We all want less crime and fewer victims as a result. Often we assume to achieve that, we must jail as many offenders as possible to keep the “rest of us” safe.

But that fails to recognise that many offenders are victims of crime themselves. In fact, 34 per cent of young people in custody in Victoria have had previous child protection involvement; 64 per cent of young people in the juvenile justice system have experienced child abuse, neglect or trauma and a staggering 87 per cent of female prisoners across Australia have been victims of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, with most having experienced multiple forms of abuse.


City fringe housing won't help supply: RBA
Belinda Merhab, AAP

Building houses on city fringes may be counter-productive to solving Australia's supply shortage, since most people want to live near the city, a Reserve Bank official says.

The RBA's head of financial stability says building approvals are running at an "extraordinary" annual rate of 200,000, driven by low interest rates and demand from very strong population growth.

But that population growth was coming mainly from international students, given tertiary education is one of Australia's biggest exports after coal and iron ore, Luci Ellis said.


Ideological warrior takes on the Harper review of competition policy: Wonky Health in action
Tim Senior, Crikey

Calling a policy ideological is not an insult, it’s just a way of failing to recognise your own ideology (which ends up with you writing something like The Forrest Review!).

Ideology is the values and assumptions that guide you in deciding what questions you will ask and where you’ll find answers. In short, the Harper Competition Review is highly ideological. That’s not an insult. It should be ideological, in that it should have a guiding vision about what makes a better world.

So let’s look at what it says about health, and see where our ideologies clash and where they agree.


Another Tenterfield needed to drive reform
Stephen Martin, CEDA

With the 125th anniversary last Friday of Sir Henry Parkes' famous oration calling for the formation of an Australian Federation and the Federal Government's Reform of the Federation White Paper process underway, 125 years on we need another Tenterfield moment to engage the imagination of the broader population about what our Federation should look like in the future.


Equality at risk in the West, says Rupert Murdoch
Paul Kelly, The Australian ($)

... “In America, the most highly paid 1 per cent now pay 46 per cent of all income tax,” Mr Murdoch said. “In Britain, the top 1 per cent pay 28 per cent of all income tax. That is a massive shift from what our society looked like 30 years ago. We should all be concerned about this polarisation which was never the intent of policy but is certainty a consequence.


Welfare for some, illfare for others: The social policy agenda of the Abbott Government
Greg Marston, Australian Review of Public Affairs

The title for this paper borrows from an essay on the meaning of social policy written by the pioneering UK social scientist, Richard Titmuss, in the 1970s. Titmuss followed in the footsteps of social reformers Charles Booth and the Webbs, using empirical evidence to promote a ‘good society’. For Titmuss, the good society meant solidarity, unconditional and universal welfare benefits, equality and social justice. Titmuss was also very committed to translating research into practice. He contributed to various committees on health policy and helped established the National Health Service in Britain. In his writings, Titmuss encourages those with an interest in social issues to think critically about social policy by asking some simple but revealing questions, such as: social policy for whom, when and how? An aspect of his analytical framework focuses on the ‘social division of welfare’, through which policy makers are encouraged to think about the moral, political and technical distinctions between welfare provided to different categories of citizenship through different means and the implications for solidarity and social citizenship.


Glory days of big government
Nick Cater, The Australian ($)

... Menzies’ contribution to the capital was to dam the Molonglo to create a lake; Whitlam’s was the bureaucratic sludge that oozed into every corner of our lives, muddying everything it touched.

It was the start of technocratic transformation that installed a permanent ruling class of experts, people Donald Horne looked towards for salvation when he wrote The Lucky Country in 1964. They were the group that “understands the demands of the age better and sees life in more complicated terms” than the average person.

The times demanded “a greater emphasis on administrative and managerial capacity and an absorption of the technocratic ways of thinking”, Horne wrote, and boy did Whitlam deliver. In the 1971 census, barely a quarter of Canberra’s working population worked in professional or administrative jobs. In 1981 it was more than half.


Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: two journeys to wholeness
Susan Rakoczy, Transformation

Self-help articles often tell us that we need balance in our lives—in our relationships, work, food, exercise, leisure, and time spent with technology. But achieving this is difficult. The struggle for balance, or for wholeness, is also the challenge of living an intentional life of religious and spiritual commitment which is engaged with the social needs of our time. There is always the temptation to choose one over the other. But that is not wholeness—that is ‘half-ness.’

The lives of Dorothy Day (1897-1980) and Thomas Merton (1915-1968) illustrate that wholeness does not come easily. It emerges through the events of our lives, and often from different directions. Day began with social commitment and gradually found that the Catholic faith offered her the grounding for her lifelong work with the poor. Working from the opposite perspective, Merton ‘left the world’ in 1941 to enter a Trappist monastery after a tumultuous adolescence and early adulthood. Slowly in the 1950s, he began to realize that he was deeply united to all persons and that their concerns must also be his.

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