Daily News - Tuesday 29 July 2014

Posted 29 July 2014 8:09am

Couples take up free marriage counselling offer
Laura Chalmers, Herald Sun

Victorians have raced to take up the Federal Government’s offer of free marriage counselling, with nearly 700 couples signing up in the first month alone.

Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said nationally 1133 couples had registered for marriage counselling under the one-year trial, which commenced on July 1.

Victorians were second to NSW in their support for the program, with 698 couples signing on. In NSW, 785 couples registered.


What happened to the fair go?
Michael Green, the Age

... as debate continues over the Australian government's budget cuts to welfare, health and education, commentators across the political spectrum are warning that our society has become dangerously unfair. They include some unusual voices, such as businessman Geoffrey Cousins - a former adviser to then prime minister John Howard - and former Liberal Party leader John Hewson who recently cautioned ''our land of 'the fair go' is disappearing''.


Death sparks plea for homeless to seek help

A Ballarat-based charity is urging people to approach housing service providers if they are facing housing difficulties, after the death of a young couple living in their car at Cardigan over the weekend.

The coroner is investigating but police say it is believed the deaths were caused by a butane heater inside the car.

Wendy Ferguson from Ballarat Uniting Care says young people on Newstart allowance are the most vulnerable to homelessness.


Dole changes are, mostly, just the job
Susie O'Brien, Herald Sun

I'm working. You’re probably working too. So why shouldn’t those on the dole be forced to work for their taxpayer-funded pay packets as well?

Welfare should not just be a handout, but a hand-up. People should be prepared to give something back for the privilege of receiving benefits.

That is why I welcome changes that would force hundreds of thousands more people to join work-for-the-dole schemes from July next year.

But the Federal Government’s proposed welfare changes go too far in one crucial aspect. I don’t agree with the suggestion that those under 30 who have not previously been employed should live off nothing for six months before benefits kick in.


More than 200,000 Australians aged over 50 now recieving unemployment benefits, new figures show
Naomi Woodly, ABC

More than 200,000 Australians aged over 50 are now on the dole, new figures show, with the number of older Australians receiving unemployment benefits dramatically increasing in the past four years.


New rules for young job seekers an 'aberration'
Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald

Red tape? It's only just begun. Forcing job seekers to apply for 40 jobs each per month will bombard employers with more than 1 million applications per day, every working day of every year.


Ten job seekers per vacancy: a reality check on welfare overhaul
Veronica Sheen, The Conversation

It turns out that the policies for under 30s in the federal budget in May were a precursor to a much wider set of changes affecting unemployed people across the board. These are just now coming to light. While people aged 30 and over won’t have to face a potential six-month wait to receive payments, nevertheless the Newstart unemployment payment is to become a much more conditional payment, with a considerably tougher set of eligibility requirements.


Work for dole schemes no help in finding jobs, says expert
Gareth Hutchens, Anna Patty, Dan Harrison, The Age

One of Australia's most respected workplace economists says there is no evidence that ''work for the dole'' schemes actually work, accusing the federal government of expanding the program for political, rather than economic, reasons.


Work For The Dole Doesn't Work And Never Has
Ben Eltham, New Matilda

Work for the Dole doesn’t work, and the government knows its doesn’t work. But the imagery of punishing dole bludgers is far more important than the facts on the ground.

... The real welfare rorters are elsewhere: in the vast system of job service providers that manage and control the armies of jobseekers.

At any one time, between 700,000 and 800,000 Australians are enrolled. The revenue for job service providers comes almost entirely from the taxpayer.


Will work for the dole increase your chances of getting a job?
James Glenday, 7.30, ABC

Job snobs - that's how the Government is describing people who've been out of work for a long time.

Now it wants to make people work harder for the dole. It's unveiled a $5 billion plan to make the unemployed search for up to 40 jobs a month and do community work for up to 25 hours a week.

Senior ministers claim the move will stop people becoming a burden on the taxpayer. But others say the scheme is unlikely to get people off welfare.


Govt work for dole social disaster: Labor

.. Labor accused the government of writing a recipe for social disaster among young people, warning about increasing rates of homelessness and anti-social behaviour.


More Work Needed on Draft Employment Services Model
Business Council of Australia, media release

"The Exposure Draft for Employment Services 2015–2020 released today makes welcome improvements, but more detailed engagement with industry is needed to address shortcomings in the current system," Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

... “We are concerned about the practicality of asking people to apply for 40 jobs each month in the current softening labour market . It would be better to allow jobseekers to concentrate their efforts towards applying for the jobs they have the best chance of acquiring.

“The proposed increased focus on rewarding job outcomes is positive a step, but some of the outcome payments – such as a payment at 4 weeks employment – don’t match up with what we know about sustainable employment outcomes.


Focus on Jobs
ACCI, media release

On work for the dole, ACCI continues to support the principle of mutual obligation, but reminds the Government that an approach which encompasses work and training as advocated in our Learning to Work document on youth employment released in April will be more beneficial in terms of job outcomes.


More jobs, not just job applications
Anglicare Australia, media release

Commenting on the proposed new employment services model released today, Anglicare Australia’s acting Executive Director, Roland Manderson said he would be pleased if more money were to be injected into supporting people into work but warned that pushing them into low paid, short term work, or merely applying for jobs they cannot win, is not the solution.


One sided obligations will make it tougher for people looking for work: ACOSS
ACOSS, media release

The Australian Council of Social Service today described the Federal Government's proposed changes to job search requirements as one-sided and harsh, with Government investing too little to make a difference and jobseekers expected to undertake activities that will not help them get a job.


Assist people into jobs by funding programs that work
VCOSS, media release

“Work for the dole has a poor track record when it comes to getting people into real long-term jobs and should not be expanded at the expense of programs that work,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“Work for the Dole is a blunt instrument that doesn’t provide the kind of targeted support that has been shown time and time again to be the best way of helping people find and keep jobs.”


Coalition defends employment overhaul as critics warn it’s out of touch
Jared Owens and Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker, formally announcing the plan this morning, said the government aimed “to motivate jobseekers to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a job”.

“It is absolutely obvious that if you’re sitting at home not looking for work, you’re unlikely to get a job,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“It is no one’s interest to have jobseekers languishing on welfare.”


WA - State shuns NW welfare plan
Kate Emery, The West Australian

A radical overhaul of welfare in the East Kimberley backed by a leading WA Aboriginal appears dead after the State Government failed to support it.

Without the necessary legislation, a key plank to allow a panel of community leaders to reward or punish others over responsibilities, such as sending children to school and paying rent, could not work.


UK - Blaming working-class parents for inequality lets our rampantly unequal society off the hook
Jacqueline Close and Stephanie Lawler

Parents are now tasked not just with loving their children, providing care and stability and the rest, but with improving the landscape of our whole society. This logic has underpinned various policies and government-sponsored initiatives to “improve” working-class parents, including the current Troubled Families programme spearheaded by Louise Casey.

Leaving aside the obvious methodological problems with the claims made about the extent and character of (and solutions to) whatever “trouble” means in this context, the Troubled Families initiative rests on the assumption that the problem lies in a lack of skills, rather than a lack of money, time and resources – and that it is the craft of parenting, rather than social inequality, that really matters.


Parenting in America: Choose your parents wisely
The Economist

Government meddling in parenting is politically touchy. As Mr Reeves writes: “Conservatives are comfortable with the notion that parents and families matter, but too often simply blame the parents for whatever goes wrong. They resist the notion that government has a role in promoting good parenting.” As for liberals, they have “exactly the opposite problem. They have no qualms about deploying expensive public policies, but are wary of any suggestion that parents—especially poor and/or black parents—are in some way responsible for the constrained life chances of their children.”


UK - Traditional treatment for depression is not always the answer
Pete Cashmore, The Guardian

In the face of a Tory call for cuts to benefits for those who go without treatment, it is important to know how brutal some methods can be and why refusing them can be valid.


The mistakes that lead therapists to infer psychotherapy was effective, when it wasn't
Christian Jarrett, BPS Research Digest

How well can psychotherapists and their clients judge from personal experience whether therapy has been effective? Not well at all, according to a paper by Scott Lilienfeld and his colleagues. The fear is that this can lead to the continued practice of ineffective, or even harmful, treatments.


Refugees feel welcome despite mental health struggles, report finds
Greg Dyett, SBS

A new study of refugee settlement experiences has found the overwhelming majority of new refugees feel welcome in Australia.

Building a New Life in Australia surveyed 2,400 immigrants in all states and territories and more than 80 per cent felt settling into Australia had been a positive experience.


TACSI’s NFP Ageing Challenge
Pro Bono News

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation has launched the inaugural Innovation in Ageing Challenge in partnership with South Australia's Office for the Ageing offering $100,000 in funding for projects that improve the lives of older people living in South Australia.

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