Daily News - Wednesday 10 September 2014

Posted 10 September 2014 8:07am

Catholic Church rejects more regulation of charities
Brian Lucas, The Canberra Times

Regulators, like death and taxes, are always with us. Good law advances the common good by balancing the benefits of regulation with the extra paperwork.

On Monday at the National Press Club the CEO of World Vision Australia, Reverend Tim Costello, said that one church denomination opposed the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, because it didn't "want a secular, atheistic regulator in charge". On Tuesday Fairfax Media said he was referring to the Catholic Church and I completely reject that claim.


NFP Survey Warning - Canary in the Coal Mine for Government
Pro Bono News

Not for Profit leaders have called on the Federal Government to heed the findings of a national survey into the attitudes of Australian charities towards Tony Abbott’s first twelve months in office describing the survey results as the 'canary in the coal mine'.

... The survey also confirmed the Not for Profit sector’s support for the Australian Charities and Not for profit Commission (ACNC) which the Federal Government is in the process of abolishing.

Some 82 per cent (compared to 83 percent in the 2013 survey) believe the ACNC is important or extremely important for developing a thriving Australian Not for Profit sector.

Costello said this was a clear message to Minister Kevin Andrews that 'we don't like it’.

"It's time you take us seriously and allow the sector to keep (the ACNC),” he said.


System stymies jobless youth
Cassandra Goldie, The Australian ($)

On this page yesterday, Alan Tudge accused the Australian Council of Social Service of being “blind to welfare dependency” and resistant to any reform other than increasing payments. He tried to defend the Abbott government’s hard-line budget measures, arguing that the dole should not be immediately available for school-leavers.

First, a young person leaving school cannot go straight on to the dole. School-leavers without a Year 12 (or equivalent) certificate are eligible for a youth allowance only if they are in education or training, which they must stay in until they achieve a certain level of qualification.

What the government now proposes is unprecedented, cutting off income support for six months of every year for anyone aged up to 30.


Evidence based Youth Employment Strategy needed, not more ad hoc policy ideas
ACOSS, media release

The Australian Council of Social Service has today called on the Federal Government to bring together key experts to develop a comprehensive Youth Employment Strategy that will work, rather than continuing ad hoc policy announcements which lack evidence or broad support.

The peak community sector body said the Federal Government's training and youth employment packages announced yesterday would provide only a fraction of what's needed to improve the nation's ailing apprenticeship training system and raise the job prospects of young people at a time of growing unemployment.


Technology, teaching and the future of work
Jim Chalmers, The Drum

Ours is a democracy, and we have choices. The economist and writer Tyler Cowen described what it would look like if we get those choices wrong: a society divided into two camps. Those who have the ability to work with machines, and those who are replaced by them.

It is a chilling warning that there are few more important issues for policymakers to grapple with than the impact of the rise of technology on the world of work. The capacity of new technology to create and destroy jobs at the same time is a major catalyst of modern economic and social change. The most important question is whether technological change creates more jobs than it destroys.


Barnardos Australia launches ground-breaking study into open adoptions
Lindy Kerin, ABC

One of the largest adoption agencies in Australia, Barnardos Australia, is embarking on a groundbreaking study into open adoptions, where birth parents continue to have contact with their child.

Barnardos Australia will soon begin surveying more than 210 people who were adopted by the organisation as children over the past 30 years.

It will look at the long-term life outcomes, the age of adoption and the amount of contact with the birth family.


Childcare centres blacklist accredited training organisations providing poor graduates
Alison Branley and Norman Hermant, ABC

Childcare centres have started unofficial blacklists of training providers they will not use because graduate quality is so poor.

There has been an explosion in the number of trainers offering Certificate IIIs and diplomas in childcare after the Government made qualifications mandatory.


Evidence-ignoring family policy in Germany
Klaus F. Zimmermann, IZA

The German federal government recently introduced the Betreuungsgeld, a family benefit paid to parents who keep their one- and two-year-old children at home rather than sending them to public childcare. In August 2014, monthly benefit payments were raised to 150 euros per family.

While this subsidy was celebrated by some politicians as granting “recognition, support and freedom of choice” to parents of young children, sober economic analysis has long proven that the actual effects differ diametrically from the intended purpose. As studies on parental home-care benefits in Norway and the German state of Thuringia have shown, well-meaning is not always well-done.


Violent words, not just deeds, leave a lasting mark on our kids
Jayashri Kulkarni, The Conversation

She showed me the cigarette burns on her arms. Her eyes seemed empty as she slumped in the chair, answering questions with defeated shrugs. Finally she explained that her stepfather had held her down and burnt her arm many times with his cigarette, calling her a “useless bitch” because she had accidentally spilled his beer.

She was 12 years old.


Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children

Interpersonal violence – in all its forms – has a grave effect on children: Violence undermines children’s future potential; damages their physical, psychological and emotional well-being; and in many cases, ends their lives. The report sheds light on the prevalence of different forms of violence against children, with global figures and data from 190 countries. Where relevant, data are disaggregated by age and sex, to provide insights into risk and protective factors.


Domestic violence survivors stay for a million reasons. Janay Rice's is her own
Jessica Valenti, the Guardian

Why did she stay? How could she possibly marry him?

They are questions that victims of abuse are – wrongly – expected to answer every day. They are the questions that Janay Rice (née Palmer) is being asked to answer, again, now that video has surfaced of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice delivering a blow to her head in a casino elevator in February that knocked her into a handrail and caused her to lose consciousness.


Violence knows no gender divide
Gary Johns, The Australian

Natasha Stott Despoja, former leader of the Australian Democrats, freshly minted Ambassador for Women and Girls, and chair of Our Watch (as in Not On Our Watch), has boldly declared that “Violence against women is a national emergency.” She did so on the basis that “one woman is killed almost every week by a current or former partner in Australia”.

... Harm prevention charities are a class of charities that are basically government initiatives in public health that generate public campaigns. These sit on top of the real work of welfare and other professionals and are generally an unwelcome distraction in as much as there is little evidence that they do any good.


Keep violence against women out of the culture wars, says Labor MP
Tim Watts, Facebook

Gary Johns' op-ed on domestic violence in The Australian today is ill-informed and dangerous.

We have to do better than to allow men’s violence against women to become another cheap debating point in the culture wars.


When your loved one drives you crazy!
Rob Minshull, ABC (audio)

Leaving drawers open or the toothpaste lid off. Not stacking the dishwasher properly or always cleaning when the place already seems spotless. Forgetting to untangling clothes before putting them in the wash or breaking wind in the middle of a movie on TV.

Loved ones all have habits that can get under the skin but when did certain acts or behaviour that were once endearing become infuriating? Why do some habits which were not important in the first flush of love transform into the cause of fights and arguments?


Relationships Australia reports men feel under pressure to perform
Jenna Price, The Canberra Times

It's been about five minutes since the Stronger Relationships program was introduced by the Minister for Families, Kevin Andrews.

You know, the one where we get $200 to develop our relationships with the guidance of counsellors. For those interested and, as a disclaimer, my beloved and I used something like this in 1985. It appears to have worked. So far.


Suicide taboos and healing memories
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

Wedneday this week we mark World Suicide Prevention Day. Its focus is rightly on noticing and caring for people who are at risk of taking their lives. But the day also recalls the great pain suffered by many people when their relative or friend takes their own life.


The Price Of Australia's War On Asylum
Nick Riemer, New Matilda

Refugees aren't the only group being damaged by Australia's 'war on asylum'. Our community is being degraded as well, writes Nick Riemer.


Bowen Fronts Final Stage of Inquiry Into Children In Detention
Max Chalmers, New Matilda

Former Labor Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has defended his legacy and stood by the previous Labor government’s decision to settle children offshore and detain them on Manus Island and Nauru.

At today’s fifth Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) public hearing into the detention of children, Bowen told President Gillian Triggs that refusing to send children to the Papua New Guinea-based centre would have incentivised people smugglers to send more children on boats.


Stark figures reveal pain of poverty
Kieran Iles, Bendigo Advertiser

New figures have shown Bendigo to be one of the poorest areas in Victoria.

Statistics released by Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters paint a horror picture of poverty in the region, with families and individuals sharing the pain.


Time for energy retailers to respect customers in hardship

Spiralling energy costs are forcing more people into hardship and are consistently cited as one of the biggest cost imposts on households. Consumer Action’s Problems with Payment report presents the experience of real people finding it hard to pay their energy bills in. Claire Maries outlines the report’s findings and explains how retailers should do more to respect their customers’ needs.


Unaffordable Housing Drives Homelessness: Senate Enquiry
Pro Bono News

Homelessness is on the rise due to a severe shortage of affordable housing, according to a Melbourne housing and homelessness agency.

HomeGround Services Chief Executive Officer Dr Heather Holst gave evidence at the Senate Enquiry into Affordable Housing Melbourne hearing, urging policy makers to take action to increase the supply of affordable housing stock.


Picking at the cross-stitching of the Federation
David Alexander, The Drum

To what extent should the wealthy parts of Australia cross-subsidise other regions in the country?

The release of the Vertigan Review of broadband has prompted an important discussion after it found that removing cross-subsidies outside urban areas would be the best outcome for the economy. The issue is actually much broader than broadband - there is currently unprecedented pressure on policymakers in Canberra to dismantle a number of policies in postal services, telephony and revenue-sharing between states that have been in existence virtually since Federation.


Creating a tax system that is fair to all
Miranda Stewart, the Canberra Times

Looking over the pages of our newspapers you could be forgiven for thinking our tax system is under outright attack. Every day you read about global tax evasion as capital flows offshore, or there are calls for a parliamentary inquiry into multinational tax planning, or we're struggling with declining revenues from our major tax bases, or criticism of administrative and compliance costs for business and individuals.


China's housing market is on the brink of collapse. Should Australia be worried?
Greg Jericho, The Guardian

After a decade of riding on the back of China with little concern about falling off, recent data has many economists worried that the ride is about to get much bumpier.

It’s perhaps not surprising that China is important not just to Australia’s economy, but the whole world’s. But just how important it has become is surprising.


Economic forecaster says RBA’s rates lever powerless to spur on Australia’s non-mining sectors
Kerrie Sinclair, The Courier Mail

Australia's conomy will be stuck in low gear for two years and Queensland faces a recession risk because of its reliance on a mining boom that mostly benefited overseas shareholders, a leading economic forecaster said.

BIS Shrapnel chief economist Frank Gelber also told a Brisbane conference yesterday that lower official interest rates would be unlikely to speed recovery in the non-mining industries hurt by the high dollar that was a side-effect of strong resource commodities demand.

Dr Gelber said Australia won’t return to its long-run average growth pace until 2016 as non-mining industries take time to pick up the slack left by the end of the mining investment boom.


Falling Iron-Ore Prices Transform Western Australia's Prospects
Daniel Stacey, Wall Street Journal

Few places on Earth rode the iron-ore boom as aggressively as Western Australia, where rising prices of the commodity generated huge royalties for the state's government over a decade and gave rise to a raft of new millionaires and billionaires.

Now, Western Australia's prospects are being transformed again—this time by iron-ore prices plummeting to a five-year low.

Moody's Investor Services recently became the latest credit-ratings firm to strip Western Australia of its coveted AAA credit rating, after the state racked up US$22 billion in net debt to fund a massive upgrade in infrastructure that has included new roads and railways. Worried lawmakers are seeking to sell assets worth billions of dollars, ranging from ports to a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. However, analysts say the state's balance sheet will remain stretched unless iron-ore prices recover quickly.

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