Daily News - Wednesday 26 November 2014

Posted 26 November 2014 7:49am

Noel Pearson takes on the Right's intelligensia
Dominic Kelly, The Canberra Times

Noel Pearson has been embraced by Australian's conservative intelligentsia in the past decade and a half. In the late 1990s he moved from a fairly orthodox left-wing position in which he described the Coalition as "racist scum", to one where he became a prominent critic of the left's approach to indigenous affairs, and accepted the necessity of working with conservatives to bring about positive change. Now with some recent conciliatory remarks, and especially his fine tribute to Gough Whitlam, Pearson seems to be offering an olive branch to the left.

But what about his carefully cultivated relationship with the right? A Rightful Place, Pearson's passionate Quarterly Essay examination of indigenous constitutional recognition, sees him delicately negotiating his way through the toxic culture wars, but leaves the reader with more questions than answers about his "90 per cent strategy" for a reconciled Australia.


Indigenous Grant Round
Nigel Scullion, media release

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today more time would be taken to assess funding applications received under the Government’s $4.8 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).

The Minister said there had been an overwhelming response to the first grant funding round and his Department had requested more time to ensure the assessment process produced the best long-term results for Indigenous Australians and the seamless delivery of services, particularly those provided by smaller Indigenous organisations.


Couples shunning federal cash for relationship counselling
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

An annual scheme offering 100,000 vouchers, worth $200 each, for relationship counselling has failed to hit the mark, with fewer than 7000 couples applying six months after it was launched.

... The federal scheme is being run as a trial but Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has ­ordered that it be watched closely in order to make a case for a much wider rollout. The program was promised during last year’s election campaign as part of efforts to avoid messy breakups and prevent people entering into unsuitable marriages.


We need to do more to help mothers with unwanted babies
Jenna Price, The Canberra Times

Sydney's abandoned baby brings us all together in outrage and despair: how could the mother do this? What kind of society permits this? Why isn't there a better route for women who want to give up their babies?

And most of us consider those questions for a fleeting moment – when we hear the miracle story of the baby who survived for five days in a Quakers Hill drain; or the tragic story of a baby drowned in a toilet.

Joan van Niekerk has spent 25 years looking for the answer to how we should deal with unwanted babies. She too is still looking for the answer.


Victoria - Next state government must prevent kids exiting state care into homelessness, say community groups
Media release (pdf)

An alliance of peak bodies and community organisations are calling on the next state government to do more to prevent the 400 young people who leave state care each year in Victoria from becoming homeless.

In the lead-up to the election the Council to Homeless Persons and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Berry Street and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency have called on Government to invest an average of $13.8m per year over four years in a guaranteed housing fund and the support that will bridge the gap for young people leaving state care.

More than 400 young people leave state care each year to independent living and research shows that more than a third of these young people will end up homeless in the first year, with a lack of affordable
housing the main factor. Aboriginal young people are particularly vulnerable and overly represented in out of home care.


Australia Not Yet an Inclusive Society
Pro Bono News

Compared with the average Australian, people with disability are over four times more likely to experience reduced social and economic participation, according to research organisation, the Summer Foundation.

The Summer Foundation has worked with research collaborators, and international expert, Professor Barry Willer, to develop a tool to measure levels of participation in home, social and productive pursuits (work, study and volunteerism) as well as social inclusion, including the use of electronic social networking for social participation.


High household debt and cost-of-living pressures causing depression, suicide attempts
Zoe Daniel, ABC

Sudden unemployment led to spiralling household debt that drove one Melbourne man to attempt suicide three times, but a new approach to supporting families through financial crisis has helped him see a future.

Tony De Gregorio worked as a cleaner for more than 20 years, and he and his wife built a house in the outer Melbourne suburb of Mill Park.

There they raised three children, but when Tony lost his job a year ago, he lost his will to live.


Depression: A change of mind
Emily Anthes, Nature

Cognitive therapy, commonly known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), aims to help people to identify and change negative, self-destructive thought patterns. And although it does not work for everyone with depression, data have been accumulating in its favour. “CBT is one of the clear success stories in psychotherapy,” says Stefan Hofmann, a psychologist at Boston University in Massachusetts.


UK - Teenagers to use their mobile phones to battle depression
Bill Gardner, The Telegraph

Teenagers suffering from depression will be encouraged to use their mobile phones to help battle the illness, ministers have announced.

The government wants young people to be able to access treatment for mental health problems online through apps on mobile devices.

Norman Lamb, the care minister told The Times that online tools would include cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and peer support.


My child’s world is defined by intense anxiety
Darlena Cunha, The Washington Post

We’re having a problem with dirt lately. Every morning, when my child wakes up to go to school, she can’t make her bed. Instead, she will spend 30 minutes swiping at invisible, nonexistent dirt in her sheets. She’d spend all day doing that if she could. I cap it at 30 minutes.

She’ll sit on the potty for hours if you let her, as if she’s glued to it. Convinced she hasn’t gotten every last ounce of refuse from her body. She can’t put her shoes on. The seam in her sock is too much for her little foot to bear. Her backpack is crooked. She got one less marshmallow than her sister in her Lucky Charms. She needs her headband to keep her hair back, but not actually touch her head.


Drug use twice as high in bush
Dan Harrison, The Land

Australians in remote areas are twice as likely to use methamphetamines, smoke daily or engage in risky drinking as those in cities, according to figures released on Tuesday.

The findings, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, are based on the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which collected data from 24,000 people in the second half of 2013.


NSW - Drought support debate fires up
Roderick Makim, The Land

As the dams dry up and the mercury rises, tempers are running hot in the NSW Parliament over the degree of support available to struggling producers, particularly in the State's hard-hit North West.

Labor says NSW drought support has dried up and farmers are facing "beyond desperate" situations, but Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson says the Liberal-Nationals government is "committed to a system" of ongoing support for drought-affected producers.


Queensland - Rural debt crisis forum to call for drought aid 'action'
Chrissy Arthur, ABC

A north-west Queensland MP says another rural debt crisis summit will help to highlight the desperate need for government action to help drought-affected producers.

The Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter, said a summit would be held in Winton next month.


The family face of drought in the north west of NSW
Emma Brown, ABC

During times of drought it's easy to forget the individuals who often can do little more than sit by and watch their business enterprises turn to dust.

For the Pearses from north west New South Wales, living through a one-in-one hundred year drought is helping them to appreciate the little things.

With two young children to look after Oscar and Susannah Pearse are coping with the heat and the failure of their barley crop.


Digging a money pit
David Leyonhjelm, Farm Weekly

We all know that those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it, and with drought spreading in Queensland and beyond, I wish I could be more confident that people were listening to their history teachers.

Lesson one is that droughts will happen ... The other part of history that I wish we had learned from is that drought assistance programs quickly become a bottomless pit. The Exceptional Circumstance (EC) schemes of recent times gave aid to whole regions for long periods regardless of individual circumstances, gobbling up $2.6 billion on interest rate subsidies alone from 2001 to 2011.

Several reviews subsequently recommended abolishing EC interest rate subsidies, not least because they can have the effect of rewarding farmers who managed their farms badly, and encouraged them to take on debt at the beginning of a drought.


Pope, in France, Urges Europe to Open Its Arms to Refugees
Andrew Higgins, The New York Times

In a major address to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Pope Francis warned that Europe had become too “fearful and self-absorbed,” and that it needed to recover its confidence and give “acceptance and assistance” to people fleeing war and poverty.

Asserting that Europe had lost its vitality and often seemed “elderly and haggard,” the pope took a swipe at technocrats who seek to draw together Europe through rigid rules and regulations, warning that “the great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions.”


Pope's Address to the European Parliament

In my view, one of the most common diseases in Europe today is the loneliness typical of those who have no connection with others. This is especially true of the elderly, who are often abandoned to their fate, and also in the young who lack clear points of reference and opportunities for the future. It is also seen in the many poor who dwell in our cities and in the disorientation of immigrants who came here seeking a better future.

This loneliness has become more acute as a result of the economic crisis, whose effects continue to have tragic consequences for the life of society. In recent years, as the European Union has expanded, there has been growing mistrust on the part of citizens towards institutions considered to be aloof, engaged in laying down rules perceived as insensitive to individual peoples, if not downright harmful.

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