Daily News - Tuesday 5 August 2014

Posted 5 August 2014 8:30am

Churches call for social safety net

Church groups are calling for the government's welfare reforms to include a social safety net strong enough to support every person in need.

Submissions to the independent review of Australia's welfare system close on Friday, prompting church leaders to urge the reference group to keep an adequate safety net in place.

... The joint statement was issued by Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia, The Salvation Army and UnitingCare Australia.


Tasmania - Homeless youth neglected
Georgie Burgess, The Examiner

A critical report into the state's management of homeless youth has found much more needs to be done to reduce the problem.

The report, Reducing Youth Homelessness released yesterday by Anglicare, interviewed 22 young people experiencing homelessness and made 27 recommendations to the state government.


A rural financial counsellor says the 'Aussie battler' notion is no longer realistic when wading through farm debt
Olivia Garnett, ABC

Chris Wheatcroft, chief executive officer of the Rural Financial Counselling Service WA, says most grain farmers are looking at a season with a reasonable production and therefore reasonable profit.

“There are a few areas that are still hanging out for the next rain, but it will always be like that.

“There are a few areas where it’s a bit too wet at the moment, but as they say, it’s always better to make money from mud than dust.”

Mr Wheatcroft says the underlying myth of the 'battler survives' was very true ten or more years ago.

In today's environment, however, he says the notion of battling through is causing farmers not to recognise the risks they're exposing their businesses to.


Victorian laws to put neglectful parents on notice
Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, ABC

The Victorian Government is putting neglectful parents on notice with new laws designed to make it easier for foster carers to become permanent carers to the state's most vulnerable children.

The parents of children placed into state care will have to prove within a year that they can properly care for their children or risk their children being placed into permanent care with other families.


Review Starts on Jobs for Young People with Disabilities
Pro Bono News

A scoping project to review national programs and create better employment outcomes for young people with disability after they complete school is now underway.

The project, which received funding from The Pratt Foundation, will be conducted by Children with Disability Australia (CDA) - the national peak body that represents children and young people with disability.


Bashing dole-bludgers overlooks the facts
Catherine Yeomans, WA Today

Australia is in the midst of a debate about fairness. Unfortunately it’s happening in the absence of facts. Whether it’s changes to income support, work for the dole or income management, recent proposals are seemingly based on the idea that there are “lifters and leaners”, and that cracking down on the latter is the solution. They are based on the claim that Australia’s welfare system is spiralling out of control, despite the evidence to the contrary.


Andrew Forrest is wrong: welfare spending is not out of control
Greg Jericho, The Guardian

The release of the Forrest review into Indigenous training and employment contains numerous interesting recommendations to improve Indigenous employment opportunities, but his recommendation for welfare provided through income management for all welfare holders is based on what has become a persistently false view of social security in Australia.


Andrew Forrest’s approach to welfare seeks to punish rather than provide solutions
Paul Syvret, The Courier Mail

The loudest proponents of austerity, budget cuts and welfare restrictions tend to be those in society already in a position of privilege; those who wield the most wealth and power.

Tough love is the right medicine apparently, especially if it applies to others.

In this respect I don’t doubt Andrew Forrest’s genuine concern for the welfare of indigenous Australians and a real desire to improve opportunity.


Income management: how 'classical liberals' learned to love the nanny state
Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian

Last month, Coalition backbenchers demanded the abolition of cigarette plain packaging laws, claiming the measures were symptomatic of Labor’s “addiction to nanny state policies”. Other nanny state policies that have drawn the Coalition’s ire in recent years include workplace bullying codes, mandatory poker machine pre-commitments, and bans on smacking children and smoking in cars.

Denouncing the nanny state is the irritable mental gesture of our time, the automatic conservative response to any state-backed project, which makes Tony Abbott’s response to Twiggy Forrest’s plan to quarantine welfare payments all the more remarkable.


Welfare 2.0? Abbott, Forrest and the “Healthy Welfare Card”
Chris Chew, Practical Ethics

The Healthy Welfare Card is the centerpiece of a new cashless system proposed by Forrest, to encourage responsible spending, reduce welfare fraud, administration costs, and increase financial inclusion. Future welfare payments, he envisions, will be directed to an account at a nominated responsible financial institution, presumably one of the Four Pillars of Australian banking. The Healthy Welfare Card is the direct debit card linked to this banking account, but with a twist – spending on “alcohol, gambling products, illicit services and instruments that can be converted to cash (such as gift cards) and…activities discouraged by government, or illegal in some places, such as pornography” will be restricted, presumably by prohibition of certain retail outlets or at the point-of-sale. The card will be usable at all Australian retail stores that accept VISA or MASTERCARD via EFTPOS facilities (except for the aforementioned), but will not permit the withdrawal of cash.


Government's mean policies will have reverse effect on family stability
Jenna Price, WA Today

I am honestly tired of the Hockey narrative which talks about the sacrifices his family made to send him to a private school. This kind of casual elitism doesn’t even recognise that you have to be making the money to make the sacrifice.

This government is taking money away from families who already have burdens, who already feel stress. This budget, with the ideology of class warfare behind it, targets the disadvantaged.

It would be no surprise if there was an actual spike in divorce if these changes get through – the opposite effect of the one intended, I’m sure. Because nothing creates stress in a relationship like the lack of money. And nothing creates divorce like stress.


Budget debate must be about our future
Chris Kenny, The Australian ($)

To win the budget debate, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey need to change it.

They are stuck in a fairness argument they invited upon themselves but can never win.

Labor MPs must be pinching themselves. Somehow the budget is being judged by whether the reduction in tax dollars going to individual welfare recipients is equivalent to extra tax imposts on those funding welfare.

This is an inane way to assess policy that aims to reduce reliance on welfare and increase opportunities for people to become self-reliant and net tax contributors.


Letting a good PPL be buried in the name of fairness
Paula Matthewson, The Drum

In some ways, the PPL represents everything the Government has done wrong in formulating and selling the budget. It's a poorly conceived policy that was peremptorily delivered with no attempt made to explain or build support for it.

The PPL was doomed from the start by being seen as a ploy by the new Opposition Leader at the time to counter what was emerging as Tony Abbott's "women problem".


Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm rules out backing PPL, Direct Action, in talks with Joe Hockey
Karen Barlow, ABC

The Federal Treasurer's round of cross-bench diplomacy is in trouble, with Joe Hockey battling to get support for some of the Government's signature budget measures and policies.

Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm says he has told Mr Hockey he will never support the Abbott Government's Direct Action climate change policy, nor the $5.5 billion paid parental leave (PPL) scheme.


Government still struggling to win backing for its budget and key policies
Louise Yaxley, PM, ABC

LOUISE YAXLEY: On the budget itself, David Leyonhjelm broadly backs the Government's strategy to reduce spending.

But he is firmly opposed to some of the specifics, including cutting people under 30 off unemployment payments for six months.

DAVID LEYONHJELM: I'm not going to be supporting six months with no money if nothing is done about getting people into work.


Winners and losers
Tom Iggulden, Lateline, ABC

Joe Hockey's attempts to sell his budget hit two stumbling blocks today. Treasury numbers released under Freedom of Information suggested the poor will lose more than the rich if all Budget measures pass through the Senate. And, as he continues to search for support, at his latest meeting with the crossbench senators he was told to go back to the drawing board.


Pope Francis and the New Values Debate
John Gehring, Time

During the three and a half decades that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI led the Catholic Church, a network of influential U.S conservatives — the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus of First Things, George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute and Robert George of Princeton University — filtered church teaching through an ideological prism that baptized the Iraq war, made an idol of unfettered markets and radically narrowed Catholic identity to a scorecard that aligned neatly with the Republican Party’s agenda.

In tandem with Pope John Paul II’s hardline episcopal appointments, these Catholic intellectuals and activists played a decisive role in pushing the American hierarchy to the right.


Pope Francis: ‘Put the Needs of the Poor Ahead of Our Own’
Carl Bunderson, National Catholic Register

At Sunday's Angelus address at the Vatican, Pope Francis called on those receiving his message to care first for the poor before concerning themselves with their own wants and needs.

“Jesus teaches us to put the needs of the poor ahead of our own,” he said Aug. 3 in St. Peter’s Square. “Our needs, even if legitimate, will never be so urgent as those of the poor, who lack the necessities of life.”

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