Daily News - Tuesday 7 October 2014

Posted 7 October 2014 7:59am

NDIS could hit mental health community hardest
Emma Kelly, The Canberra Times

Canberrans living with a mental illness could be among the hardest hit by the territory's transition into the National Disability Insurance Scheme as support agencies warn the changes could leave scores of vulnerable people failing to meet new eligibility criteria.

As Mental Health Week encourages the community to engage with an "invisible" area of health this week, a number of organisations are concerned about changes to funding, the viability and quality of mental health services and the capability of some of the community's most vulnerable people to adjust to sweeping reform.


Calls for Government to focus on mental health prevention strategies
Eleanor Hall, The World Today, ABC

A mental health researcher from Melbourne University's School of Population and Global Health is calling on the Government to shift its mental health spending to focus far more on prevention strategies.

Professor Anthony Jorm warns that despite an increase in mental health services in the last two decades, the mental health of the population has not improved, and he says Australians have the second highest use of anti-depressants in the OECD after Iceland.


What can parents do about their teenagers' mental health?
Philip Batterham and Alison Calear, The Conversation

Mental disorders are debilitating and often emerge in adolescence. Identifying these problems and intervening early helps reduce their impact on social, emotional and academic function, which, unheeded, can continue into adulthood.

But very few parents or teachers are qualified to assess mental health. And the substantial overlap between mental health problems and “usual” teenage behaviour makes any intervention more complicated.


Abbott’s cuts claim a scalp in day care
Kathy Sundstrom, Sunshine Coast Daily

One unshine Coast day care provider has already been forced to close its doors due to changes in federal funding.

Sunshine Coast Family Day Care, which is run by Centacare, will close its doors permanently on December 19.

The Catholic service has employed 54 educators and provided care to 385 children on the Sunshine Coast.

A Centacare spokeswoman said the government funding changes and the "competitive nature of childcare services within Australia" forced the closure of its Caloundra and Daisy Hill schemes.


Detention of children equals abuse say doctors
Liv Casben, AM, ABC

LIV CASBEN: As of the 31st of August this year, there were 869 children in Australian immigration detention facilities and offshore processing centres.

Now in a study of Australian paediatricians about their knowledge of refugees and asylum seekers, there's been this conclusion.

DAVID ISAACS: What we found was that most paediatricians felt that putting children, asylum seeker children in mandatory detention constituted child abuse. That's 80 per cent of paediatricians felt that was the case, because to imprison anyone without trial, indefinitely is abusive. But to do it to a child in particular is even more sinister.


Australia's treatment of refugee and asylum seeker children: the views of Australian paediatricians
Elizabeth J M Corbett, Hasantha Gunasekera, Alanna Maycock and David Isaacs, Medical Journal of Australia

Australia's response to refugees and people seeking asylum is a matter of national debate. We sought to determine the knowledge and attitudes of paediatricians about refugee and asylum seeker issues (both onshore and offshore).

... Australian paediatricians considered mandatory detention a form of child abuse and strongly disagreed with offshore processing. There is a clear need for education about practical issues such as current health screening practices and Medicare eligibility.


For the young, owning a home is ever further out of reach
Tony Nicholson, The Age

Like many parents, I wonder whether my children will ever be able to get a toehold in the housing market.

Thirty years ago I was a social worker and, with my schoolteacher wife, we bought our first house within 10 kilometres of the Melbourne CBD. Mortgage interest rates were higher than today and our incomes were relatively modest, yet we could afford the $73,000 price tag for a three-bedroom detached house in the inner west.


ACT - Public housing tenants fear for their safety
Matthew Raggatt, The Canberra Times

The ACT's public housing authority has defended the behaviour of its tenants, while sending a reminder any anti-social behaviour could lead to eviction after residents' fears led police to increase patrols in one southside complex.

Complaints about a threat of violence and drug use by tenants in one apartment at the Kurralta Court public accommodation in Waramanga have prompted monitoring by ACT Housing in addition to the police attention.


Victoria - Labor commitment to upgrade rooming house
Richard Willingham, The Age

A rooming house for Melbourne's most down and out will be given a lifeline to improve services if Labor wins the state election on November 29.

The Gatwick private hotel in St Kilda provides accommodation for some of society's most vulnerable people, but has a notorious history of violence.

It has been run and owned by sisters Rose Banks and Yvette Kelly and is a valuable service, past and present residents say.


Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It. Why Is This Widely Denied?
Maia Szalavitz, Pacific Standard

When I stopped shooting coke and heroin, I was 23. I had no life outside of my addiction. I was facing serious drug charges and I weighed 85 pounds, after months of injecting, often dozens of times a day.

But although I got treatment, I quit at around the age when, according to large epidemiological studies, most people who have diagnosable addiction problems do so—without treatment. The early to mid-20s is also the period when the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for good judgment and self-restraint—finally reaches maturity.


Income regime ‘helps money management, reduces substance abuse’
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

The majority of people who volunteered for income management were positive about the regime, ­reporting lower stress levels, marked improvements in their ability to manage their money, a reduction in the use of substances such as alcohol and improved child wellbeing.

Two reports evaluating voluntary income management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of South Australia and trials in five mainstream sites across Australia have emboldened the Abbott government to continue with the regime in some form after it expires next July.


UK - ‘Poverty Porn’ undermines the welfare state
Dan Silver and Kim Allen, British Politics and Policy, LSE

At their annual conference, the Conservatives announced that if elected next year they plan to issue those on benefits with pre-paid cards for food so they don’t ‘waste it’ on items such as cigarettes or alcohol. This is the latest in a long line of measures which suggest that current welfare reform is based upon the notion that people in poverty are to blame for their circumstances.


NZ dole recipients get 'brush teeth' SMS

Beneficiaries are being told to brush up on their oral hygiene as part of a New Zealand government text message campaign slammed as degrading by advocacy groups.

The country's health ministry is sending regular text reminders to young Work and Income clients urging them to brush their teeth, and asking whether they've brushed today.


Backlash forces Abbott government to back down on dole changes
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

A widespread backlash has forced the Abbott government to back down from its draft plan to force unemployed people to apply for 40 jobs a month in order to receive the dole, and settle for the current requirement of 20 applications a month.

The government has also abandoned its plan to shift the power to punish recalcitrant jobseekers to job agencies and decided to leave it with Centrelink.

The Coalition will today reveal its final plan for the $5.1 billion job-placement system that will be rolled out next year, after receiving 60 submissions in response to its contentious draft.


There is no 'right' to help yourself to the taxes of others
Peter Kurti, Centre for Independent Studies

This week a parliamentary committee accused the Abbott Government of violating international human rights obligations because it wants to limit the hand out of tax-payer funded welfare benefits.

Welfare changes included in the May Budget set tough conditions for the payment of unemployment benefits to people under the age of 30. Failure to meet those conditions by hopeful recipients would mean no social security payments for six months.


Income inequality’s sick joke: A rising tide only lifts luxury yachts
Sean McElwee, Salon

For a long time, the right has argued that we shouldn’t worry about inequality because the true concern is the reduction of poverty. Conservatives also maintained that higher levels of inequality were unimportant because “a rising tide would lift all boats,” and high levels of inequality propelled the economy forward. New research by Branko Milanovic and Roy van der Weide decimates these myths. Milanovic and van der Weide find that inequality doesn’t fuel growth for the whole economy, but rather, just the rich.


Harmony and religious freedom in anxious times
Tim Soutphommasane, Speech to Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference

Someone once said to me that the vehicle of social progress is like a car on a steep incline. You have to keep your foot on the throttle to prevent yourself from rolling back down the slope.

We should be under no illusions about the task of maintaining our multicultural society today. We must keep our foot on the throttle of tolerance. We must not slide into discord and division.


Show your workings on social investment
Emma Tomkinson, The Mandarin

Social impact investing is delivering real public good. But one architect argues we’re doing the projects a disservice by publishing and pursuing misinformation.


Don't Save the Charity Commission
Helen Andrews, Centre for Independent Studies

Just a few months ago, the Centre published a paper explaining why the ACNC is not the right regulatory model for the not-for-profit sector and should be abolished, but perhaps it is time for a refresher.

In 2012, the Gillard government created the ACNC as a regulator for Australia's charities, modelled after similar commissions in the UK and New Zealand. From the beginning, the ACNC was a solution in search of a problem. Australians' trust in the charity sector was high by international standards, charitable donations and volunteering rates remained similarly high, and what little fraud existed was well-covered by existing laws.


There’s nothing charitable about these tax dodges
Judith Sloan, The Australian ($)

As the saying goes, people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones.

So when the Tax Justice Network puts out an error-riddled and highly misleading report about the amount of company tax that isn’t being paid in Australia but should be paid, it’s only appropriate to redirect the torchlight on to the members of the TJN. And who are the members of the TJN? They are a motley crew of various rent-seekers who — wait for it — don’t pay tax, even though some of them undertake substantial commercial activities.


The ‘dark side’ of capitalism: why the Pope is highlighting inequality
Bruce Duncan, The Conversation

Pope Francis has emerged as one of the most important voices on the global stage about the need for a stronger moral dimension in economic policies. This has caused some upset in business and financial circles.

Prominent US political commentator Keith Farrell responded by accusing Pope Francis of being overly influenced by Marxist ideas that “the rich have only gotten rich at the expense of the poor”.


Reformers to Pope Francis: 'Don’t wait for the bishops'
Inés San Martín, Crux

A Catholic reform group meeting in Rome this week – a group that says it represents more than 100 organizations around the world — had a simple message for the Synod of Bishops that opens Sunday: “Listen to us.”

... John Buggy from Australia, one of the founders of this group, said he’d like to get a message to the pontiff.

“I’d ask him not to wait for the bishops to catch up because he’s going to be long and truly dead before that happens,” Buggy said. “You’re the pope. Be the pope and tell them what to do.”


Pope Francis gently shakes the foundations of the Catholic Church
Mary Gearin, AM, ABC

Pope Francis is gently shaking the foundations of the Catholic Church.

He's called a rare gathering of bishops and lay Catholics in Rome to debate the Church's attitudes on contentious moral issues like divorce, contraception and homosexuality.

The extraordinary synod is just the third such meeting in modern times.

It could lead to profound change and as it began, the Pope called on bishops not to place 'intolerable moral burdens' on believers.


Catholic press struggles to earn trust
Tim Wallace, Eureka Street

Last month Australia’s longest-running weekly newspaper, The Record, won a design excellence award. It was, however, somewhat belated recognition for the Perth Catholic newspaper, established in 1874, from its peers in the Australasian Catholic Press Association. The last edition of the paper rolled off the presses in July.

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