Daily News - Wednesday 14 January 2015

Posted 14 January 2015 6:35am

Future of Govt Special Advisor on NFPs Unclear
Pro Bono News

The man hired to help the Federal Government achieve its goal of abolishing the national charity regulator, the ACNC, appears to have parted ways with the Department of Social Services.

The employment of former advisor to the US Congress and right wing commentator, Ted Lapkin, as a special advisor to the Coalition Government on the Not for Profit sector is unclear after the recent Federal Ministerial reshuffle.

The former Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews hired US-born Lapkin to assist with the Government’s reform plans for the sector including the abolition of the charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Pro Bono Australia News has been told Lapkin is no longer working in the Department of Social Services because the new Minister, Scott Morrison has brought all his own people across to the new portfolio.


Commission denies flaws force abandonment of disabled children
Steve Holland, WA Today

The Disability Services Commission has denied that serious flaws in the system exist after it was revealed that elderly carers had been advised to abandon their adult children with disablities in respite care.

Di Shepherd, a former board member of the Disability Services Commission, had advised an elderly couple struggling to get full-time care for their adult child who has Down syndrome to leave her in a temporary facility and not return to pick her up.

A WA parliamentary inquiry heard last year that many more face similar concerns.

But Disability Services Commission Director General Dr Ron Chalmers has refuted the claims revealed by Fairfax Media last month.


‘Breeder’s licence’ a path to poorer society
Greg Melleuish, The Australian ($)

There was a long history in the West since the end of the 19th century of a desire to sterilise what were described as the ‘‘unfit’’. It was part of a popular movement which was based on the idea of eugenics, or the use of science to ‘‘improve the race’’.

Of course eugenics was discredited by the lengths to which it was taken in Nazi Germany, which sought to exterminate all those who were deemed unfit. But it is forgotten that eugenics was originally a doctrine of the Left who believed in what might be described as a perversion of liberalism, the idea that ‘‘progress’’ would lead to the creation of ‘‘better people’’. It was popular in many Western countries, many of which practised sterilisation of the unfit in the first part of the 20th century.

Strangely enough eugenics was not simply a secular movement. There were many liberal Protestants who were avid eugenicists, such Samuel Angus in Australia. Movements to sterilise the unfit largely occurred in countries where Protestantism was dominant.


UK - Plans to privatise child protection are moving at pace
Ray Jones, The Guardian

During 2014, the government continued to move forward with the marketisation and privatisation of children’s social services, including child protection investigations and assessments.

Following considerable public opposition in May to initial proposals, the government issued a revised regulation. It does not stop private sector companies from getting contracts to provide child protection and other children’s social services. What they will now have to do is set up a not-for-profit subsidiary to provide the services. Money can then be made for the parent company by charging its subsidiary for management, administration and estates services at a cost determined by the parent company. This is how the big companies such as G4S and Serco, which thrive on government contracts, will be able to generate their profit. Some have argued this will not happen. How strong are their arguments?


14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Conference, 29 March to 1 April 2015 | Auckland, New Zealand

Kia ora koutou

We are delighted to invite you to attend the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (ACCAN 2015), in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand from 29 March to 1 April 2015 at the Rendezvous Grand Hotel. ACCAN 2015 is being organised by the Australian Institute of Criminology in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development.

The over-arching theme is Cultural responsiveness in a multi-agency world which recognises the complexities of child abuse and neglect and the need to engage across sectors, agencies and professions to best prevent and address child maltreatment. The conference is a unique opportunity to engage researchers, policy makers, practitioners and others from New Zealand, Australia and internationally.


Violence in the home is never a private matter
Darren Chester, Sunday Herald Sun

Retrieving my bag from the boot of a taxi at the airport, I paid little attention to what appeared to be a minor argument between a young couple nearby.

“Just a little domestic,” I thought to myself. And then he punched her in the face, hard enough to knock her to the ground.

As she hit the footpath, he proceeded to kick the car door several times and run off. By the time I was by her side, she had regained her feet, wiped blood from her mouth and was surveying the damage to her car.

She refused any assistance, declined my offer to call police and then it dawned on me: she wasn’t crying, shocked or even surprised.


Beating your partner is a crime, not an illness
Julie Bindel, The Guardian

What stops a man from beating up and raping his female partner? According to research published today, it is not sanctions imposed by the criminal justice system, such as prison or probation, but attending a course with other abusers.

“Domestic violence perpetrator programmes (DVPPs): steps towards change”, by the feminist academics Liz Kelly and Nicole Westmarland, is based on interviews with men who attend programmes that aim to re-educate them about their behaviour to improve the safety of women and children.


Move to allow $50 notes in Canberra poker machines withdrawn after revolt
Kirsten Lawson, The Canberra Times

Facing a revolt from Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury and opposition from the Liberals, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has reversed the move to allow $50 notes in poker machines, backing down on the change made in the days before Christmas.

Mr Barr announced the backdown at 6pm on Tuesday, one day after The Canberra Times revealed the change, and just hours after Mr Rattenbury told him he would move to overturn it on the next assembly sitting day.


WA plan to hit fine defaulter welfare ‘unfair’
Sonia Kohlbacher, The Australian ($)

A West Australian government plan to raid welfare payments and increase jail time for fine defaulters will unfairly affect people on low incomes, according to a lobby group.

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said he would examine the option of compulsorily deducting payments for unpaid fines from welfare recipients and extending jail time to make imprisonment a less appealing option.

WA Council of Social Service chief executive Irina Cattalini said the approach was unfair and would target the poor.


Families gain help with truancy
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

A new “family case-based” approach will be rolled out to help Aboriginal families that have tried everything in their power to get their children to school but are still failing, with commonwealth ­bureaucrats ordered to leave their desks and spend time in remote communities to provide tailored support.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion told The Australian he had told his department that it needed to change its focus to one that involved on-the-ground interaction, concluding that they were too removed from Aboriginal communities.


Steps added on path to home of their own
Andrew Burrell, The Australian ($)

A unique scheme that gives Aboriginal people who hold down a job and send their children to school the chance to own their own home will be expanded across Western Australia’s chronically disadvantaged Kimberley region.

The government-backed program — hailed as a huge success by local leaders — is designed to encourage Aboriginal people to escape social housing and move into affordable rental properties that they can ultimately buy.

It has been trialled in the east Kimberley town of Kununurra, where 40 families are renting houses under the scheme and 23 of them are in the process of ­applying for home loans. The first loan offer was recently made to a scheme participant — a single mother with four children.


Job creation not keeping up with demand
Belinda Merhab, The Age

Strong migration and a sluggish economy mean it's going to become harder for Australians to find jobs.

Australia's unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at its 12-year high of 6.3 per cent when official jobs figures for December are released later this week.

The economy is expected to have added 5,000 jobs, according to an AAP survey of 13 economists.

But the number of jobs being created is not enough to keep up with demand, meaning more pain for job seekers in 2015 as unemployment ticks higher, economists say.


RSL attacks the Abbott government over Diggers' pay and veterans' pension
Noel Towell, The Canberra Times

The Returned and Services League has accused the Abbott government of breaking more election promises over Australian Defence Force pay and pensions for veterans and war widows.

The RSL's national board has passed motions "deploring" the below-inflation wage deal forced on the nation's 57,000 sailors, soldiers and air force personnel, and changes to the indexation of some military pensions.


Anti-Islam is the new Anti-Catholicism
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street (24 Sept 2014)

I was delighted to read in Eureka Street Ruby Hamad’s passionate protest that she and other Muslims should not constantly be called to account for the vicious behaviour of IS. Still less to be stigmatised until unnamed Muslim leaders disowned it. I was disconcerted to see so many Eureka Street readers appeared to agree with the demands against which she protested.

Both Ruby’s complaint and the responses to it reminded me of the attitudes taken to Catholics in an earlier generation. The popular charges against Catholics were honed in the Great War and particularly by the referenda on Conscription. They combined suspicion of anything Irish in the aftermath of the 1916 Uprising and more traditional judgments of Catholics on the basis of their beliefs and practices. The case went something like this.


Pope Francis: To Care for the Poor is Not Communism, It is the Gospel
Gerard O'Connell, America

A new book on the social teaching of the first Jesuit pope has just arrived in bookstores in Italy. “Papa Francesco. Questa economia uccide” (Pope Francis: This economy kills) is the title of the book co-authored by Andrea Tornielli, the coordinator of Vatican Insider, and Giacomo Galeazzi, the Vatican correspondent for the Italian daily, La Stampa. (I am a sometime contributor to Vatican Insider.)

The 228-page book written in Italian (published by Edizioni Piemme Spa Milano) brings together and analyzes Francis’ talks, writings and other interventions on the economy, poverty, immigration, social justice and the protection of creation. One chapter summarizes his talks and actions in this broad area before he became pope, but most of his interventions come from the period since his election as Bishop of Rome on 13 March 2013.

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