Daily News - Wednesday 4 June 2014

Posted 4 June 2014 8:21am

Hopes and fears on couples program
Alex Druce, The Examiner

Family health advocates are eager to see the rollout of the federal government's $20 million relationship counselling voucher program, with hopes that the 12-month trial will be as successful as a similar initiative tested in Tasmania 15 years ago.

However, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is yet to say which service providers will be eligible to accept the $200 vouchers, with some fearing that experienced private practitioners will be excluded from the program.


Take a deep breath to rescue your relationship when tensions rise
Herald Sun

Modern life is stressful. From frantic careers to financial worries, caring for children to making time for your spouse, sometimes it can all seem like too much.

It’s little wonder, then, that we’re more highly strung than ever before. Recent research found that one in five women confesses to feeling anxious most or all of the time.

But here we will teach you easy tricks to beat stress and anxiety — and show you how to easily master mindfulness, the stress-busting technique gaining global popularity.


Is this the blueprint for Australia's new welfare system?
Harrison Polities, Business Spectator

It’s set to be the next issue shaping the political debate in Australia and our government is turning its gaze across the Tasman, borrowing aspects of New Zealand’s welfare policy for its reforms.

Little has been detailed about our Kiwi neighbours' relatively new social support system. The most controversial factoid about it -- that it forces welfare recipients to pass drug tests to receive payments -- made headlines yesterday, but that’s about it.


Don't copy our welfare cuts, New Zealand experts warn Australia
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

The government has been warned off taking too much inspiration from New Zealand’s welfare system with Kiwi academics saying the safety net has developed big holes and the country has “enormous” issues with child poverty.

The government commissioned Patrick McClure to review the welfare system last year with a discussion paper and report due in coming weeks. The social service minister, Kevin Andrews, has repeatedly referenced the New Zealand welfare system as a place to draw ideas from when it comes to reforms.


Way paved for disability services

The Department of Social Services (DSS) has released an Information Paper on the proposed procurement process for the delivery of employment services for people with a disability.

The Department is seeking comment from stakeholders on the draft selection criteria contained in 2015 Disability Employment Services - Disability Management Service Tender Industry Information Paper before the Request for Tender, scheduled for release in July.


UK - I rescued George Osborne's cat and put homelessness on the map
Kate Jones, The Guardian

I have helped many homeless people over the years through my work at Thames Reach, but this is the first time I have helped a cat. And not just any old cat.

Rescuing George Osborne's cat, Freya, has put me at the centre of a media storm in the past 24 hours. Little did I know that this simple act of kindness towards a distressed animal would help put the problems of homelessness in London on the map.


We won't fund refugee advocates: Morrison

The Refugee Council of Australia has been told it will not get the $560,000 over four years it was allocated in the May federal budget.

Mr Morrison says he decided to pull the money in the past fortnight.

"It's not the government's view that taxpayers' funding should be there to support what is effectively an advocacy group," he told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.


Memo to Scott Morrison: Why Taxpayers Should Fund Advocacy
Joyce Chia, Pro Bono News

Here we go again. Last week, the Refugee Council of Australia had almost a quarter of its funding cut by the Minister for Immigration, despite having been allocated that money in the Budget.

The Minister defended the decision by saying that it was the Australian Government's view that taxpayer money should not fund advocacy. This is of course the same line we heard during the Howard Government, and a line we have heard repeatedly under the current Government as it has cut funding to community organisations and peak bodies month after month.


Lack of Certainty Takes Toll on NFP Planning - NSW Report
Pro Bono News

A lack of certainty in NSW’s community sector is affecting community organisations’ ability to deliver crucial services, new research shows.

The research, from the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Council of Social Service NSW, and conducted by UNSW’s Dr Natasha Cortis and Dr Megan Blaxland, explores the characteristics of community services and the trends in their experiences working within the sector and with government.


Charity Regulator Moves on Senate Evidence
Pro Bono News

The charity regulator, the ACNC, has moved to correct what it says are key factual errors made by some of its opponents at the Senate inquiry hearing into the Coalition Government’s Repeal Bill.


NSW - Women in Prison Advocacy Network makes final bid to avoid closure
Julie Power, Sydney Morning Herald

Alice Burwood's 10 years behind bars for credit card fraud and theft cost taxpayers more than $1 million - about $113,000 a year - in total.

Now a $4000-a-year mentoring program that has kept the 38-year-old clean, honest and alive for the past three years looks set to close within weeks because its funding has dried up entirely.


UK - Charities should be more open to taking on ex-offenders, says CEO
Alice Sharman, Civil Society

Youth charities should welcome people with criminal records as they can make some of the best youth workers, says the chief executive of Step up to Serve.

Speaking at the Hay Festival, Charlotte Hill said that charities and voluntary groups should be more open about taking on those with criminal records as they have valuable life lessons to share. She also said that these organisations should worry less about Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.


Abbott still doling out stereotypes about the unemployed after 18 years
Sally Young, Sydney Morning Herald

I met Tony Abbott once. Eighteen years ago, in 1996, but I have never forgotten it. Mr Abbott was a newly minted parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. I was a 21-year-old working at the Commonwealth Employment Service in Preston, at what was called a "Youth Access Centre" where young people came to look for work.

Mr Abbott came up and, in a friendly, hushed conspiratorial tone, said: "Tell me, how do you cope with all these young people with their earrings in their nose and green hair, and get them a job?"


Clive’s budget?
Antoinette Abboud and Joel Pringle, Overland

The inability of the major parties to find a social coalition big enough to provide the authority to govern has allowed the canny Clive Palmer to exploit the rejection of politics as usual. Sensing the popular mood, in his budget response Palmer has somehow combined traditionally left-wing issues with his business interests.

The Voice of the People is a property and mining speculator calling for free education and universal health care, casting himself as the defender of struggling pensioners and refusing to negotiate with the government because, as he explains, ‘we don’t like them’.


Senate's odd couple quickly form a voting bloc
Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald

The Abbott government faces a new hurdle in the Senate, with Family First and the Liberal Democratic Party forming a ''voting bloc''.

David Leyonhjelm, the New South Wales senator-elect representing the Liberal Democrats, has revealed he will vote in alliance with South Australia's Bob Day of Family First when the new Senate sits from July 1.


Senator-elect plans to separate Clive Palmer from his team
Joanna Heath

New libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm plans to help the government pick off senators allied to Clive Palmer on certain issues, giving Tony Abbott a way to reduce the erratic billionaire’s influence over Parliament.

... Mr Leyonhjelm said he believed the government was just beginning to grasp the potential of working with him and Mr Day, but it was still too preoccupied with how to deal with Mr Palmer’s grandstanding.

However, such an arrangement may not always work in the government’s favour, with Mr Leyonhjelm saying he would also try to convince the PUP ­alliance senators to oppose the paid parental leave scheme.

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