Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Monday, 10 December 2018

Australia 2018: Is long-term rental destroying the wellbeing of low income households?



Across the nation, people who rent are living on insecure tenancies. Almost 9 in 10 Australians who rent (88%) are on leases of a year or less, and are not certain of where they will be living in a year’s time. This impacts a person’s ability to feel part of the local community and establish roots.







The Land, 1 May 2018:

AFFORDABLE rentals on the state’s North Coast are increasingly few and far between, but the continued rise of the Airbnb-model now sees 3000-plus homes sit empty while low-income and government-assisted tenants are shut out. 

Anglicare’s latest Housing Affordability Snapshot says the region’s rental crisis has worsened as property owners in Ballina, Byron Bay, and the Tweed are incentivised to target short-term holidaymakers through web-based booking companies instead of potential long-term renters. 

The Anglicare report, released on Sunday, showed available North Coast rental properties were in steep decline (down from 795 in 2017 to 660 in 2018) with all family groups on income support, and single households on minimum wage, likely to struggle to find housing for themselves and their children.

Clair, A. et al, 24 May 2016, The impact of housing payment problems on health status during economic recession: A comparative analysis of longitudinal EU SILC data of 27 European states, 2008–2010, excerpt:

Transitioning into housing arrears was associated with a significant deterioration in the health of renters…..

Housing arrears is one of the so-called ‘soft’ ways in which housing influences health (Shaw, 2004), especially mental health, alongside the ‘hard’, physical impacts of the infrastructure itself, such as damp, mould, and cold. A growing body of scholarship indicates that people who experience housing insecurity, independent of other financial difficulties, experience declines in mental health (Gili et al., 2012Keene et al., 2015Meltzer et al., 2013Meltzer et al., 2011Nettleton and Burrows, 1998). 

In Australia, analysis of the longitudinal HILDA dataset found that those in lower income households who had moved into unaffordable housing experienced a worsening in mental health (Bentley, Baker, Mason, Subramanian, & Kavanagh, 2011), with male renters faring worse (Bentley et al., 2012Mason et al., 2013).

One has to wonder if being a long-term renter affects quality of life to such a degree that on average renters die earlier than home-owners.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Scanlon Foundation Survey finds that in contemporary Australia racist values are held by a small minority



The Guardian, 4 December 2018:

Australia has not lost faith in immigration. The political narrative has darkened but not the fundamental view of ourselves as an immigrant nation. Most of us remain convinced that we are in so many ways better off for newcomers of all races and creeds who have come in large numbers to our shores.

That is the verdict of the Scanlon Foundation’s 2018 Mapping Social Cohesion Report published on Tuesday. The mission of the foundation is to measure how this migrant nation hangs together. Over the last decade 48,000 of us have been polled to fathom the panics that sweep this country and the steady underlying views Australians have of immigration.

“Immigration is a growing concern,” says the author of the report Professor Andrew Markus of Monash University. “But for media commentators and some politicians it has become an obsession. They are in the business of creating heightened concern, of crisis. But what the survey shows is rather a picture of stability.”

Markus is one of Australia’s leading authorities on the politics of race. This is the 11th report he has written for the Scanlon Foundation. Year in year out his reports show about 80% of us believe immigrants are “generally good” for Australia’s economy and that ours is a better society for the “new ideas and cultures” that immigrants bring to this country. Support for multiculturalism in 2018 stands almost as high as ever at 85%.
 “A number of international surveys that look at Australia, America, Canada, a range of European countries from eastern Europe to western Europe, and also countries in other parts of the world, have a consistent finding that on attitudes to immigration and cultural diversity, Australia is within the top 10% of countries which are open to and welcoming of immigration,” says Markus…..

BACKGROUND


Each Mapping Social Cohesion national survey builds on the previous year and informs the Scanlon-Monash Index (SMI) of Social Cohesion. The surveys have been undertaken since 2007 where the original survey provided the benchmark against which the SMI is then measured.

These surveys provide, for the first time in Australian social research, a series of detailed surveys on social cohesion, immigration and population issues. A prime objective of the surveys is to further understanding of the social impact of Australia’s increasingly diverse immigration program.


While there are significant differences by mode of surveying in the level of strong positive response, as indicated by Figure 35, the balance of opinion remains in large measure consistent. Thus with strong positive and positive responses combined, agreement that multiculturalism has been good for Australia is at 85% RDD, 77% LinA. Agreement with discrimination based on race or ethnicity in immigration selection is at 15% RDD, 22% LinA. Larger variation by survey mode is obtained with reference to some questions on religion: negative attitude (strong negative and negative combined) to those of the Muslim faith is at 23% RDD, 39% LinA, agreement with discrimination in immigration selection on the basis of religion is at 18% RDD, 29% LinA…….

The Scanlon Foundation surveys are of relevance to a fourth dimension, attitudes within the community. All populations comprise people with diverse personalities and views ranging, for example, from the tolerant to the intolerant – from those who celebrate cultural diversity to those who are comfortable only with what they perceive to be Australian culture.

As discussed in this report, the Scanlon Foundation survey findings establish that in contemporary Australia racist values are held by a small minority – arguably most clearly indicated by ‘strong agreement’ with discrimination in immigrant selection policy based on race, ethnicity or religion. Across the two survey modes, ‘strong agreement’ with such discrimination is indicated by 7%-11% of the population. [my yellow highlighting]


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Domestic Violence is still not well understood by all Australians in 2018


On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia.

Depiction of a victim of domestic violence

AUSTRALIANS’ ATTITUDES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GENDER EQUALITY

While Australians’ attitudes to violence against women and gender equality are improving, there are some disturbing trends.

Excerpt from Summary:





Monday, 26 November 2018

Morrison Government looks at women's economic security and domestic violence


This was an Australian Morrison Coalition Government announcement mentioned in the media on 19 November 2018:

“Women experiencing domestic and family violence will now also be able to apply for early access to part of their superannuation to help cover the significant costs of rebuilding their lives….Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loan scheme will help women at risk of domestic violence access finance when they most need it, without high interest holding back their financial recovery into the future. The loans will be able to assist with relocation, essential household items, rental bonds, or, where appropriate, debt consolidation….”  [Australian Government “Women’s Economic Security Statement”, excerpt, November 2018]

Bearing in mind that although the husband’s superannuation entitlements are considered property of the marriage these funds cannot be anticipated ahead of any court sanctioned property settlement in a divorce.


This was the situation in June 2018 according to the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency:
Women comprise 47.0% of all employed persons in Australia; 25.0% of all employed persons are women working full-time, and 21.9% are women working part-time.

Women constitute 36.7% of all full-time employees and 69.0% of all part-time employees.

Average superannuation balances for women at retirement (aged 60-64) are 42.0% lower than those for men.


According to ASFA Research and Resource Centre, in the financial year 2015-16:

* Looking at all females aged 15 years and over the superannuation balance averaged out at $68,499 per person.

* Only 16 per cent of females had superannuation balances of over $100,000.

* When it came to all women aged 30-35 years of age the superannuation balance averaged out at $33,750 per person.

* However, 32.7 per cent of all females in the workforce reported they had no superannuation at all. That’s an estimated 2 million women Australia-wide.

When it comes to that 2 million women without super it is probably safe to assume that; a) the majority form part of the casualised workforce; b) most receive the minimum wage or less; and c) a significant number live in regional and rural areas.

A good many may also be from socially marginalised groups.

Somehow I can’t quite see that a woman being able to access part of her superannuation, or in lieu of super being able to take out a meagre $1,500 interest free loan which has to be repaid, as being of much assistance when fleeing life-threatening violence.

Not while first contact domestic violence services she attempts to access - along with DV emergency accommodation - are so chronically under resourced across the country.

A word of advice to the Morrison Government from Fiona the Bettong; Just shut up about it and fund it - just do your job and fund it - we know your every word is a lie so shhhhh just fund it.

Looking straight at you, Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan. Act like a real man and get domestic violence services in the Northern Rivers region more funding - structured to increase annually - guaranteed for the next ten years. 

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Tweets of the Week


Monday, 19 November 2018

Will a minority Morrison Government be forced to raise Newstart & Youth Allowances?


Depending on where you live in New South Wales the unemployment rate in September 2018 ranged from 2% to 9%, while youth unemployment went from 4% to 24%.

At the same time employment growth was -3% to barely 10%.

Which means that in September there were est. 195,300 job seekers on Centrelink's books in NSW and only est. 82,400 job vacancies available.

Centrelink Newstart Allowance for a single jobseeker is currently $275.10 per week and Youth Allowance is $222.90 per week for a single jobseeker under 21 years of age.

The million dollar question many people struggling on meagre unemployment benefits in rural and regional NSW will be asking themselves is whether Adam Bandt, Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, and Bob Katter will use the increased bargaining power which comes to the crossbench in a minority government to force the government's hand on this welfare payment issue. Or will they turn to water?

Here is where the crossbench stands now.....

The NewDaily, 16 November 2018:

Pressure is mounting on the Coalition government to raise the Newstart rate following unanimous lower house crossbench support for a $75 increase.

The Guardian, 16 November 2018:

The entire lower house crossbench has come out in favour of an increase to Newstart, prompting Australia’s peak body for the community services sector to accuse the major parties of being out of touch.

Bob Katter outlined his support for an increase to the unemployment benefit on Friday, saying it would help tackle malnutrition in Indigenous communities.

His statement follows Rebekha Sharkie calling for an increase earlier this week, while the new Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps committed to raising the payment in a candidates’ survey during the byelection campaign.

Cassandra Goldie, the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, said the “diverse crossbench’s unity on increasing Newstart confirms just how out of touch the major parties are on this issue”.

“When Adam Bandt, Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, and Bob Katter all agree, it’s time to stop talking and act,” she said.

Katter said the payment was insufficient for those in regional Queensland, where the cost of finding a job was high.

“If you’re outside of Brisbane, it’s no car, no job,” he said.

Increasing the dole “would go a long way to enabling First Australians to buy fresh fruit and vegetables”.

“You’ve crucified us with the cost of food, you’ve crucified us with the cost of electricity,” he said. “We can’t possibly live on Newstart.”

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has said the government had no plans to increase the payment – currently $275.10 a week – despite an improved budget position, saying “I don’t think you can all of a sudden go ‘oh, let’s make whoopee’”.

He said earlier this month that the government would be more inclined to increase the pension, which stands at $458.15 a week. The pension was increased during the Gillard government while Newstart was last raised in real terms in 1994.

Labor has not committed to lifting Newstart, but signalled it would use a “root and branch review” to argue for an increase.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A public servant who sees being out-of-step with Australian values as a virtue


Gary Thomas Johns is a former Labor politician and current full-time Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) since December 2017.

At the time of his appointment he was also Director of the Australian Institute for Progress and an Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology Business School.

BuzzFeed News, 25 October 2018:

The boss of Australia's charity regulator has refused to back down from his earlier description of Aboriginal women as "cash cows", while claiming that including an acknowledgement of country in his email signature would make him seem biased.

Appearing before Senate Estimates on Wednesday evening, the head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Gary Johns, was questioned about his recent decision to remove the acknowledgement of country from the commission's email signatures.

Until a few months ago, his own signature and that of some of his staff had included an acknowledgement of country, beginning with "we acknowledge the elders". The practice of acknowledging country is common across the public service.

Johns said he was trying to avoid looking biased, as the commission oversees both Indigenous and non-indigenous charities and he is a "commissioner for all charities".
"It worried me, the term 'we acknowledge', because it refers to the commission," he said. "I took the view that ... using the words 'we acknowledge' imply that the entire commission was, if you like, acknowledging one group of charities and not others," he said.

"The words raise the perception of bias that I'm not treating all charities the same," he said. "I think that's plain on the face of it."

Johns raised the issue with ACNC staff whose signatures contained an acknowledgement of country, but left them the option of changing "we acknowledge" to "I acknowledge". One staff member objected, and Johns says he took no disciplinary action against her.

Labor senator Jenny McAllister said to Johns that the acknowledgement "doesn't in any way speak about charities ... Traditional owners are not charities". Johns said that it "refers to Indigenous people", and McAllister replied that Indigenous people were "people and citizens", not charities.

"To be an Indigenous charity, you need a number of Indigenous people on the board, so to all intents and purposes they are," Johns replied, pointing to the charitable purposes of organisations such as Reconciliation Australia, which he said only apply to Indigenous people.

Johns' appointment to ACNC commissioner in December 2017 was controversial, partly because of his public stance on Indigenous issues.

In a 2015 appearance on The Bolt Report Johns said that Aboriginal women were "used as cash cows. They are kept pregnant and producing children for the cash". He has argued that women on welfare should have to take contraception. He has also criticised Indigenous not-for-profits, describing Recognise, an organisation that campaigned to raise awareness and support for constitutional recognition of Australia's First Peoples, as "the officially sanctioned propaganda arm of the Australian Government" in his 2014 book The Charity Ball.

In his estimates appearance Johns said he had "absolutely not" disavowed those views. "I'm quite public," he said in response to questioning from McAllister. "I've written for 30 years about a whole range of matters. Why would I seek to disavow any of that?"
McAllister asked whether he had done anything to "dispel any perception of bias" that his previous comments might have created.

"No, and I don't need to as the commissioner," he replied……

Shadow minister for charities and not-for-profits Andrew Leigh, who previously started a petition calling on Johns to resign, said it was "disappointing" that Johns had "publicly confirmed during a parliamentary hearing in his role as the charities commissioner that he still holds these opinions". He described Johns as "drastically out of touch with the Australian community".

"What remains to be heard is [the government's] explanation of how he can possibly remain [at the ACNC] given his comments," Leigh said.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Australia is now in the 39th week of 2018....


....and 56 women have died violent deaths to date this year in Australia.


At this rate a total of 69 women will be dead by New Year's Eve 2018.

This is far too many. Far, far too many.

Remember these women when you go to vote in state or federal elections in 2019.

Image from Destroy the Joint

Monday, 15 October 2018

So who do you trust in the Australian media landscape in 2018?


On 9 October 2018 Essential Research released the results of survey questions concerning trust in the media.

Once again public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, were the clear winners across all categories in which they were listed.

Q. How much trust do you have in what you read or hear in the following media?

Total a lot /some
trust

A lot of trust
Some trust
Not much trust
No trust at all
Don’t know
Don’t use
% change

Total a lot /some
Oct 17
ABC TV news and current affairs
62%

19%
43%
14%
9%
5%
10%
-1

63%
SBS TV news and current affairs
61%

18%
43%
14%
6%
5%
15%

61%
ABC radio news and current affairs
57%

17%
40%
17%
8%
4%
14%
-1

58%
Commercial TV news and current affairs
48%

8%
40%
29%
12%
5%
7%
+3

45%
News and opinion in local newspapers
47%

6%
41%
27%
9%
4%
13%
+3

44%
ABC radio talkback programs
44%

8%
36%
22%
10%
5%
20%

44%
News and opinion in daily newspapers
44%

6%
38%
28%
10%
5%
12%
+2

42%
Commercial radio news and current affairs
44%

5%
39%
28%
11%
5%
13%
+3

41%
News and opinion websites
39%

4%
35%
32%
11%
5%
13%
-1

40%
Commercial radio talkback programs
35%

4%
31%
29%
14%
5%
18%

35%
Internet blogs
17%

2%
15%
34%
22%
6%
20%
-3

20%

Overall, there has been little change in trust in media since this question was asked 12 months ago.

The most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (62% a lot/some trust), SBS TV news and current affairs (61%) and ABC radio news and current affairs (57%).

The least trusted were internet blogs (17%) and commercial radio talkback programs (35%).

Q. How much trust do you have in what you read in the following newspapers and news websites?

Total a lot /some
trust

A lot of trust
Some trust
Not much trust
No trust at all
Don’t know
ABC news websites
69%

21%
48%
16%
9%
6%
The Australian
59%

12%
47%
22%
11%
9%
The Guardian Australia website
55%

10%
45%
23%
11%
12%
News.com.au
55%

10%
45%
27%
12%
7%
Sydney Morning Herald
54%

13%
41%
25%
11%
10%
The Age
53%

9%
44%
24%
13%
11%
Nine.com.au
53%

8%
45%
27%
13%
6%
The Telegraph
49%

10%
39%
26%
14%
11%
Herald Sun
46%

8%
38%
27%
15%
11%
Yahoo 7 News website
45%

6%
39%
29%
16%
9%
Courier Mail
44%

6%
38%
30%
15%
13%
Daily Mail website
39%

6%
33%
31%
21%
10%

* Note : Percentages based only on respondents who had read/used each newspaper/website

Overall, among those who have read or used them, the most trusted news sources were the ABC news websites (69%), The Australian (59%), The Guardian Australia (55%) and news.com.au (55%).

The least trusted were The Daily Mail (39%) and The Courier Mail (44%).

Q. Overall, do you think the news reporting and comment on the ABC is independent and unbiased?


Total

Vote Labor
Vote Lib/Nat
Vote Greens
Vote other
Yes
40%

50%
40%
52%
28%
No
34%

24%
43%
23%
50%
Don’t know
26%

25%
17%
25%
22%

40% think that the news reporting and comment on the ABC is independent and unbiased and 34% think it isn’t.

Those most likely to think the ABC is not independent and unbiased were LNP voters (43%), other party voters (50%) and aged 55+ (40%).

As for the general public's attitude to the recent attacks on ABC independence - 36% of survey respondents thought that the Government has too much influence over the ABC, 16% think they have not enough influence, 17% think they have about the right level of influence and 31& did not know.