Daily News - Wednesday 25 June 2014

Posted 25 June 2014 8:14am

Our young should be the G20's top priority
Dan Tehan, The Drum, ABC

Youth unemployment, an inability to sustain youth entrepreneurship and a skills deficit are hindering the ability of young people across the world to have the same opportunities as previous generations. This will have severe and long-lasting effects on our economies creating a pincer movement on growth and productivity.

... Unless we act now, our children will be left aghast at an older generation that has been given so much and yet passed on so little. We cannot afford to create a lost generation.


Demand driving childcare industry boom
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Childcare is booming with over 800 new services opening in the past six months.

Since November, 840 services have opened bringing the total across the country to 14,425, ­according to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority National Register.

Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page said the new figures were a positive indication that the sector was in a relatively strong position.


We need to rethink child care subsidies
Samantha Page, The Drum, ABC

Early childhood education and care must be both high quality and affordable if we are to achieve the dual objective of supporting women's participation in the workforce and amplifying children's development for long-term educational and productivity benefits. We should not have to choose between quality and affordability - both are important.

... What we really need is a new, streamlined government subsidy system. The Early Learning subsidy, developed by Professor Deb Brennan at the Social Policy Research Centre, proposes a merger of the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate into one means-tested payment. The scheme covers a large percentage of the daily fee for low income families and reduces for higher income families. If paid directly to services, parents will get a better idea of how much they pay for care, and it will contain out-of-pocket expenses.


Childcare affordability in Australia
Ben Phillips, NATSEM (via APO)

The 35th AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Child Care: Affordability in Australia provides unique research into the affordability of child care in Australia. The report provides an overview of the industry in Australia, trends through time, international comparisons and a regional perspective on child care costs and affordability. The report finds that child care costs have increased dramatically over the past 10 years but due to government benefits we find that the out-of-pocket costs remain well contained for families but at a significant cost to the Government.


Families, policy and the law: Selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia
Australian Institute of Family Studies

The collected essays in this book seek to explore some of the complexities that confront both those who frame social policy and those involved in the legal systems that intersect with child and family issues. This introductory chapter sets out the themes and issues addressed. This book narrates not only historical perspectives and current views, but points to some of the challenges for future directions in policy and law relating to the protection and wellbeing of children and their families in Australia.


A heavy burden: Divorces and obesity
The Economist

To the dismay of many social conservatives, the marriage rate in Western countries has gradually declined since the end of World War II. But, as this newspaper has reported, fewer marriages could mean stronger ones; divorce rates have now also started to drop. In 2011, fewer than 100,000 British children saw their parents getting divorced compared to almost 150,000 back in 1999. This could in part be a good thing. It has been suggested that divorces can increase crime and lower children's educational attainment. In addition, a paper that was recently published in the British Medical Journal proposes that divorces may also be linked to obesity.

The authors conducted a government-sponsored study with over 3,000 nationally representative third-graders attending some 120 primary schools across Norway. The relationship between divorces and obesity was mind-boggling: compared to children with married parents, individuals whose parents were divorced had a 54% higher probability of being overweight and were 89% more likely to be abdominally obese.


Overnight stays: kids and divorced parents
British Psychological Society

A book published this week suggesting children whose parents are separated should not stay overnight with their absent mother or father for fear of it damaging them has sparked a media debate.

Dr Penelope Leach, a British Psychological Society Fellow and author of 'Family Breakdown: Helping children hang on to both their parents' claims that such sleepovers can cause emotional and developmental damage for the under-fours in particular.


A poisoned pen jeopardises dads’ time with family
Karen Brooks, The Courier Mail

The notion that sleepovers with dad are potentially damaging for kids is an erroneous generalisation.

Ian Maxwell of the charity Families Need Fathers said Leach’s position went against “common sense”.


Penelope Leach denies her new childcare book is an attack on fathers
Sarah Boseley and Joanna Moorhead, The Guardian

The childcare guru Penelope Leach has defended herself against charges that she sides against fathers in her new book, which suggests overnight stays with an absent parent damage very small children.


Tune In Now - Toolkit for Homelessness Workers
Pro Bono News

A guide about depression and anxiety for people who work with homeless men has been launched nationally.

The toolkit, called Tune In Now, was created by Homelessness Australia in partnership with Blueboat, with funding from beyondblue.


NSW - Homeless service faces end as funds dry up
Nadine Morton, Wester Advocate

A missed funding grant could force the closure of the Bathurst Women’s Housing Program and push 18 struggling families onto the streets.

Along with 79 other homelessness services across the state, the Bathurst Women’s Housing Program (BWHP) was unsuccessful in a tender for the NSW Government’s Going Home, Staying Home program.


Centacare welcomes new director Andrew O'Brien
The Chronicle

Social services group Centacare Toowoomba has welcomed a new executive director after the resignation of Barry Sheehan.

Andrew O'Brien will take over the reins of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba agency.

Bishop Robert McGuckin was full of praise for Mr Sheehan, who held the top job since 2007.


Budget cut to Reclink program deals devastating blow to disadvantaged
Beau Donelly, Sydney Morning Herald

Jane and Daryl Bolton don’t know how to break the bad news. They’re dreading the conversation they’re about to have with their 34-year-old daughter, Lisa, who has an intellectual disability. The one activity she looks forward to every fortnight, a community art class, is being cancelled next week.

“It’ll have a huge impact on her emotionally,” Ms Bolton says. “It may seem insignificant to some people, but it’s not to her. It’s going to be very difficult to explain to her why this program can’t continue.”

Lisa’s art class is one of dozens of activities for vulnerable Australians being axed at the end of the month, after Reclink Australia’s $560,000 federal funding was scrapped in the budget.


Is it possible to predict who will benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?
BPS Research Digest

The rise of CBT has been welcomed by many as safe, effective alternative to drug treatments for mental illness. However, there are also fears that CBT has grown too dominant, crowding out other less structured, more time consuming forms of psychotherapy.

The fact is, CBT doesn't work for everyone. Precious resources could be better managed, and alternative approaches sensibly considered, if there were a way to predict in advance those patients who are likely to benefit from CBT, and those who are not.


Labor announces it will try to block billions of dollars of welfare measures
Louise Yaxley, PM, ABC

Labor's caucus finalised its position today on budget welfare changes.

It will back some Government savings measures; including changing the income limit for the primary earner for Family Tax Benefit Part B from $150,000 a year to $100,000 a year. That gives the Government a saving of more than a billion dollars.

But the Labor leader Bill Shorten says the ALP will try to block nearly $11 billion of welfare measures.


Labor, Greens take aim at budget
Paul Osborne, AAP

Billions of dollars in federal budget savings are at risk after Labor and the Greens finalised which Abbott government cuts they will oppose and support.

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten won't yet say how Labor would fill the savings gap beyond scrapping the $22 billion paid parental leave scheme.


Mining boom policies dig a hole for economy
Ross Gittins, Brisbane Times

Apparently, the end of the age of entitlement applies to poor people, not to big corporations. And that’s true for foreigners, not just locals.

As Ian McAuley, of the University of Canberra, has pointed out, we’re slashing our planned spending on foreign aid because we can no longer afford such generosity, but by abolishing the mining tax we’re being very generous to big foreign mining companies.

This makes sense?


Equality does not happen by accident
Greg Jericho, The Drum, ABC

About the only people dealing with economics who seem oblivious to concerns of inequality are those in our own government.

... As is clearly seen in the USA, when governments have in place measures which actively encourage inequality, that rise is turbocharged. In the USA over the past 30 years, falling real minimum wages, the cutting off of people on federal unemployment benefits for austerity purposes, a largely privatised healthcare system that favours the rich, and a higher education system which saddles students with massive levels of debt, as well as a tax system that massively works in favour of the wealthiest, have all seen inequality zoom.

And in Australia, we have a government that appears to envy the USA in all these areas.


US - The Stunning Resurgence of Progressive Christianity
Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Huffington Post

Groups like Nuns on a Bus, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, The Cana Initiative, Moral Mondays, Faithful America and many others are consistently witnessing to injustice in visible -- and reportable -- ways. Now, when the mainstream media is looking for a Christian to comment on a story, they have a powerful progressive set of voices to chose from.

None of this is to say that the hardline religious conservative voice and influence has vanished. There are many on the religious right who still find traction on issues such as the contraception mandate, rallying against science and climate change, and perceived threats on religious freedom. However, these voices no longer control the narrative of what Christians care about, and the perception of a Christian conservative opinion monolith has been shattered.


Does a 'religious left' threaten Abbott?
Rob Burgess, Business Spectator

The term ‘religious right’ is frequently used by the left to identify its political enemies – figures such as Prime Minister Abbott, Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison are frequently lumped under that banner.

The term ‘religious left’, by contrast, is virtually unknown. A website search of The Age and The Australian newspapers reveals that the more left-leaning Age uses ‘religious right’ about eight times as frequently as its competitor. It really is a left thing.

... Church groups and the Greens have already worked closely together on environmental and asylum seeker issues – yesterday AAP reported that "nine religious leaders have been charged with trespassing after a sit-in at the office of federal Liberal MP Jamie Briggs in a protest against holding children in immigration detention centres.”

If domestic social issues are added to that list, the almost non-existent term ‘religious left’ may start to make more of an appearance in papers.

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