Daily News - Wednesday 15 October 2014

Posted 15 October 2014 7:58am

Recent job losses could lead to more Geelong homelessness, welfare groups say
Margaret Paul, ABC

Job losses in Geelong's manufacturing sector could lead to more people becoming homeless, welfare groups have warned.

The Justice Connect Homeless Law Centre released a report on Tuesday that included interviews and surveys with staff who work in the sector and people experiencing homelessness.

The co-ordinator of the Barwon South West Homeless Network Andrew Edgar said it was likely homelessness would increase over the next few years due to recent cuts.


The ABS data fiasco is the least of our worries on unemployment
Stephen Koukoulas, The Guardian

The debacle of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) being unable to publish reliable monthly seasonally adjusted labour force data does not hide the trend of deterioration in unemployment over the past couple of years.

The most recent labour force data, as published, suggests the unemployment rate has been about 6% for the past three months and the 6.1% unemployment rate for September is the highest in more than a decade. There are no signs in other indicators that suggest this will be the peak in unemployment and there are plenty of unfolding trends that point to the unemployment rate going higher still in the months ahead.

What is most disconcerting at the moment is a lack of policy resolve to do anything about it.


4000 young people join work for dole
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

More than 4000 young people across the country have now been forced to do 15 hours a week of work-for-the-dole activities ranging from hospitality, hairdressing and customer services, with the government declaring some have already been shifted into paid work after working for free.

The Abbott government will today reveal that as of September 30, 4055 people had started a work-for-the-dole activity in the previous three months.


When life gets in the way, you need a second chance
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

Stefen Clark was at the end of the road, caught in a spiral of ­problems.

His licence had been suspended because he couldn’t pay fines. He couldn’t pay the fines because he’d tried to pay his bills. He lost his job at a service station after he received a criminal conviction for theft, which he admits was a catastrophic error of judgment and circumstance.

In isolation each was a blow. Together, they were disastrous.


New Ageing Parent Carer research reveals unmet need
Anglicare Sydney

Many ageing parent carers, aged over 60 years caring for a son or daughter with a disability, are looking after their loved one without a transition plan and with little support, according to a new research study released by Anglicare Sydney.

The study that surveyed 159 carers found the importance of a transition plan arrangement was mentioned by four out of five carers. Yet only 10 per cent of carers surveyed had received assistance with transition planning prior to joining Anglicare Sydney’s program.


Vietnamese asylum seekers to be released en masse into WA community after spike in arrivals
Nicolas Perpitch, ABC

About 50 mainly Catholic Vietnamese asylum seekers will soon be released into the WA community, as last year's extraordinary spike in boat arrivals from Vietnam is processed.

The ABC understood the asylum seekers were being released from Northam's Yongah Hill detention centre this week on bridging visas while they awaited the outcome of applications for permanent residency visas.


Child Removal: How Governments Use Disease To Prove Parental Neglect
Amy McQuire, New Matilda

Scabies can often be mistaken for parental neglect and used as justification to remove children, despite rates of Aboriginal child removal rivalling the days of the Stolen Generations, highlighting the urgent need for a better approach to the underreported health issue, according to a health expert.

Dr Buddhi Lokuge spent two years in eastern Arnhem Land working on a new model to lower and control scabies in remote communities. His experiences in running the East Arnhem Scabies Control Program are chronicled in his new book A Doctor’s Dream: A Story of Hope from the Top End, co-authored with his wife Tanya Burke.

The program was run in conjunction with One Disease, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation and the NT Department of Health, and focused on community relationship and trust building rather than the shame that came from quick fixes.


Welfare Group Brands Twiggy Reforms As 'Cruel, Harsh And Inhumane'
Max Chalmers, New Matilda

A major welfare rights organisation has criticized a review into Indigenous employment parity for going beyond the scope of its terms of reference and handing down recommendations that would result in “cruel, harsh, and inhumane” outcomes.

In a submission to the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review, headed by billionaire mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, the National Welfare Rights Network has argued many of Forrest’s recommendations would have devastating impacts and do little to improve employment outcomes for Indigenous people.

“It is troubling that the Review over-reached its terms of reference by choosing to make extensive and far-reaching recommendations about the design and architecture of the social security,” the submission said.

“This is particularly so, when a parallel process is occurring with the McClure Welfare Review.”


The NT Intervention disinformation campaign – from allegations of child sexual abuse to moral panic
Marion Scrymgour, Crikey

Child sex abuse is only one aspect of child protection. General child neglect and associated social dysfunction was the underlying problem which could have, and should have been focussed on by Mr Howard and Mr Brough. By using paedophilia as the emotive hook for their PR campaign, they indiscriminately and irresponsibly labelled the male population in remote Territory communities as predators of the worst kind. That was the second, again almost immediate, negative impact of the Intervention declaration.


Indigenous affairs -- COAG communique 10 October
Council of Australian Governments

COAG noted Mr Andrew Forrest’s report to the Commonwealth, Creating Parity – The Forrest Review, on his review of Indigenous training and employment programmes. Jurisdictions noted his key finding that a decent education provides a strong basis for parity in employment outcomes.

The Forrest Review makes broad and ambitious recommendations to the Commonwealth on areas of Commonwealth, state and shared responsibility. COAG discussed priority areas and agreed to identify areas that would benefit from bilateral action, with agreements to be finalised by the end of the year.


Housing assistance in Australia 2014

This report presents information on trends and issues in housing policy, housing affordability and housing assistance provided to populations with special needs. As housing and rental affordability declines, the need for housing assistance continues to increase, with 1.3 million recipients of Commonwealth Rental Assistance and over 400,000 households living in social housing. Of those households who were recently provided assistance through social housing, the majority were identified as either homeless or at risk of homelessness.


The Poor Will Always Be With Us: So Says The Book Of Matthew (and Tony)
Ben Eltham, New Matilda

This week is national Anti-Poverty week.

You would barely know it, from the desultory media coverage. Drowned out by the drumbeats of war and terror, the national media has expended little on this pressing social issue, although, as ever, the ABC has been able to devote a small amount of coverage.

For its part, the Abbott government has all but ignored Anti-Poverty Week. The relevant ministers, Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield and Human Services Minister Marise Payne, have had nothing to say about it. Neither has Employment Minister Eric Abetz, nor Treasurer Joe Hockey (although, given Hockey’s gaffe-prone tendencies, perhaps that’s just as well).

And yet, despite a miracle economy in its 23rd year of expansion, poverty is still a serious problem in Australia.


Some words of warning as Team Rich fights back
Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods, The Drum

As advocates for the disadvantaged raise their voice in anti-poverty week, it is heartening to see the rich aren't taking all this talk of wealth redistribution lying down.

While ACOSS released a report showing 600,000 Australian children living in poverty, former Howard minister Amanda Vanstone was penning a moving ode to the contribution of that other oppressed group - the underappreciated rich.

The endorsed think tank for the 1 per cent, the Institute of Public Affairs, has also come out swinging, arguing that wealthy people make us taller and corporate taxation and regulation are the greatest risk to defeating cancer.


From Choice to Voice in Social Service Reform
Paul Smyth, The Power to Persuade

The Federal Government’s Competition Policy Review Panel will be hosting a two day invitation-only conference on October 23-24 in which a major theme will be the further marketisation of social services.

Indicative of the agenda is the prominence among the speakers of Julian Le Grand. As an economist in social policy, he has been a tireless advocate of ‘quasi markets’ and the ‘choice’ agenda in the United Kingdom for many years. With ‘choice’ now being eclipsed by ‘voice’ in that country, Australian governments should really be looking elsewhere for advice on the future of our social services.


Renewing Australian Federalism: What you think are the challenges
Miranda Stewart, The Conversation

There is broad agreement among contributors and punters of the Renewing Federalism Forum that the federation does need some fixing. Some proposed big picture reforms: changing the number of states, or the constitutional framework; a few, but not so many, argued for abolition of states altogether. There is widespread scepticism about the potential for success of any reform. As John Hewson noted in the live forum, we need to find ways to get past short-term vested interests and party politics.


Some complain of spotlight on ‘celebrity issues’ at Synod of Bishops
Inés San Martín, Crux

As the Synod of Bishops on the family enters its final phase, some participants believe too much attention is being given to a handful of what Irish Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called the “celebrity issues,” such as divorce and re-marriage, homosexuality, and contraception.


Cardinal Burke: Synod's mid-term report "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium"
Catholic World Report

Cardinal Burke responded late yesterday to questions from Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about his concerns, his view of the mid-term report, and why he thinks a statement from Pope Francis is "long overdue".

CWR: In what way is information about what is happening in the Synod being either manipulated or only partially reported and made public?

Cardinal Burke: The interventions of the individual Synod Fathers are not made available to the public, as has been the case in the past. All of the information regarding the Synod is controlled by the General Secretariat of the Synod which clearly has favored from the beginning the positions expressed in the Relatio post disceptationem of yesterday morning.

While the individual interventions of the Synod Fathers are not published, yesterday’s Relatio, which is merely a discussion document, was published immediately and, I am told, even broadcast live. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see the approach at work, which is certainly not of the Church.


A New Wind Is Blowing at The Synod on The Family
Gerard O'Connell, America

A new wind is blowing at the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family. A wind that is bringing back ‘the spirit’ and even ‘the letter’ of the Second Vatican Council several synod fathers said. It’s a wind that reveals a clear desire for the Church to dialogue in a fresh, positive and hopeful way with the family as it is in today’s world with its variations and problems and, in this context, with the issue of homosexuality.

Many documents have been written over the years at the midway stage in synods, but I cannot recall any like this in the past two-pontificates that reflect such a fresh, open spirit in the Church’s approach to cohabitation, irregular marriage situations, and to homosexuals. And it does so with a newness of language that is respectful of people and avoids expressions or terminology that are offensive or that ordinary people cannot grasp. Thus, for example the text does not speak of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered”, nor does it use the term “natural law”.

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