Daily News - Wednesday 25 September 2013

Posted 25 September 2013 9:03am

Foreign Minister boosts nation's cred with Labor's insurance scheme
Brendan Nicholson, The Australian

Julie Bishop has used the national disability insurance scheme introduced by former prime minister Julia Gillard to boost Australia's credentials in her first speech at the UN.

NSW families get up to $250 power rebate

NSW families could receive up to $250 to help manage their electricity bills under this financial year's rebate, the government says.

State Energy Minister Chris Hartcher on Tuesday called on eligible families to take advantage of the energy assistance on offer.

The rebate, which will rise from $125 on 1 July 2013 to $150 by 2014, is available to households who currently receive the Commonwealth Government's Family Tax Benefit A or B.

Toowoomba - City's dark side where even safe shelter is not assured
Mark Copland, The Chronicle

It was Thursday morning and I get a call from Paul. "Have you got an hour free this afternoon?" he asks.

Paul is a member of Vinnies and I suspect a small part of him wants to show this latte sipping social researcher a bit of the "real world".

Drought policy uncertainty in face of big dry
Cath McAloon, ABC

Professor Linda Botterill, a public policy specialist from the University of Canberra, says governments have been slow to respond to a review of drought policy and have not implemented any substantial new programs.

"The main program that was offered through the national drought policy, the Exceptional Circumstances program, has in fact been wound up."

Centrelink call centre in Cairns sheds jobs
Bianca Keegan, The Cairns Post

Seventeen Centrelink staff in Cairns have been laid off after the Federal Government refused to renew their contracts.

The ethics of paternalism in Aboriginal policy
Callum Denness, Eureka Street

The ethical question posed in first year arts courses is whether the end can ever justify the means; whether the deprivation of one's liberty can ever be considered an ethical response to a problem.

For Aboriginal people, the answer to that question can be found in rates of abuse and alcoholism which have not reduced despite the intervention, or its continuation under Stronger Futures.

The answer can be found in an adult incarceration rate 14 times higher than non-Aboriginal adults, and 31 times higher among Aboriginal juveniles; a life expectancy gap of 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females.

The answer? Paternalism never has, and never will work for Aboriginal people.

Joe Hockey orders ATO to tell taxpayers where their money goes
Jessica Irvine, The Telegraph

In one of his first acts as Treasurer, Mr Hockey will instruct the Australian Tax Office to send taxpayers a personalised and itemised receipt thanking them for their tax dollars and detailing where the money was spent.

The receipts will show, in dollar terms, how much of a person’s tax bill was spent on welfare, health, education and other areas.

Meaning well is no substitute for good policy
Peter Costello, Herald Sun

Governments commission a lot of reports. Some of them actually make a difference. The forthcoming Commission of Audit can make a major difference with the right personnel, careful Terms of Reference, a realistic understanding of what is achievable and a willingness to stretch the boundaries.

After that it is up to the decision-makers. They get to pick and choose what they will implement and so they should. Because, at the end of the day, they will be judged by the consequences.

UK - Welfare reform: 'A Tsunami of fear'
Patrick Butler, The Guardian

We suspected it would be bad, and so it looks. One of the first studies of the human impact of welfare reform on families and individuals tells us that it is making the poorest people poorer and more miserable.

NZ - Welfare cuts for almost 100 fugitives
Isaac Davison, The New Zealand Herald

Nearly 100 beneficiaries on the run from police have had their welfare cut in the six weeks since the policy was introduced, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said today.

The Myth of Executive Stress
Keith Payne, Scientific American

I don’t doubt the sincerity of professionals who say they feel stressed. Everyone feels overwhelmed at times. But “stress” has become a cliché. It is a buzzword so overused that it has come unbound from its scientific meaning. The professional class may be stressed in their way. But the powerless are stressed in the way that kills.

Freedom of speech means freedom to boycott
Chris Berg, The Drum

The Abbott Government says it wants to restore freedom of speech in Australia. It has promised to partially repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. This would be a good thing.

But if, at the same time, the new government imposes new restraints on how private civil society organisations can express their views, it will have done nothing to bring the cause of free speech forward.

Pope says immigrants not pawns on global chessboard
John Allen, National Catholic Reporter

At a time when ferment over immigration reform is reaching a boil in the United States, Pope Francis today called on countries not to raise “insurmountable barriers” to new arrivals and to overcome the “prejudices and presuppositions” that often dominate debates over immigration policy.

Pope tells big business not to worship 'the god of money'
Nick Squires, The Telegraph

Pope Francis, speaking on a visit to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers and improvised for nearly 20 minutes. “I find suffering here ... It weakens you and robs you of hope,” he said, “Excuse me if I use strong words, but where there is no work there is no dignity.”

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