AUSTRALIA


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Not such a super way to buy your first home

15 Comments
13 April 2017 | Francine Crimmins

Broken piggy bankAs a millennial, I frequently find myself being told to stop complaining about housing affordability. It's all about working harder, saving more and, for goodness' sake, keeping off the avocado. As a young person, I'm concerned about using super, a system which was put aside for our economic welfare in retirement, as a savings account for instant gratification. The government is trying to solve the housing crisis not through direct action, but by encouraging young people into lifelong debt.


Digital solutions to political reform

8 Comments
12 April 2017 | Kate Galloway

People voting using iPhones. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonThere are reasons to be concerned about the capacity of a government to govern in the current brief election cycle, and in dealing with what some describe as a 'hostile senate'. But the networked world we inhabit also calls into question the way in which politicians might be accountable to the public. Rather than focusing on changes to a system of governance derived from a different era, we should be asking what are the implications of emergent technologies on the way in which we are governed.


Easter is the right time to find homes for children

5 Comments
12 April 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Youth Homelessness Matters DaySometimes events coincide happily. At other times the coincidence rings strangely. This year Youth Homelessness Matters Day is celebrated the day before Easter Sunday: desolation confronts happiness, penury plenty, and deprivation plenitude. When events clash most sharply, they may also illuminate one another most brightly. The Easter stories invite deep reflection on home and on homelessness, on finding a home and being made to feel at home.


Waiting for the trickle down effect

16 Comments
09 April 2017 | Frank Brennan

Malcolm Turnbull explains 'trickle up effect' whereby welfare cuts fund corporate tax cutsIn an age of 'budget repair', social policy risks becoming just a sidebar to economic policy which is a contest of ideas about how best to grow the size of the pie thereby providing a slice for 'the deserving poor' without having to redistribute too much of the pie, while 'the undeserving poor' drop off the edge as they would have anyway. For those of us schooled in Catholic social teaching, the so-called 'undeserving poor' are the litmus test of our commitment to the human dignity of all persons.


Marr withers 'White Queen' Pauline

16 Comments
04 April 2017 | Irfan Yusuf

Pauline Hanson on the cover of David Marr's Quarterly Essay The White QueenHanson doesn't pretend to be religious. Her anti-Islam agenda isn't inspired by some rightwing evangelical passion like Danny Nalliah's nor by a conservative moralistic Catholicism like Cory Bernardi's. But she clearly can feel the pulse of many in the electorate who worry about terrorism and national security. Hanson's politics really only work when there is a 'them' for 'us' to worry about. But where does she get this idea that Islam is not a religion but an ideology?


Tackling wealth inequality through justice reinvestment

10 Comments
30 March 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Lady Justice gazes favourably upon restorative justice model. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonAustralia was rated as the top destination for millionaire migrants in 2016 for the second year in a row. Meanwhile the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal high correlations between prison entrance and indicators of entrenched poverty and discrimination. If we want our system for justice to amount to something more than a mirror of our inability to distribute wealth and opportunity evenly, we need to address the undeniable role wealth inequality has in putting people in prison.


Job-sharing could make for a more inclusive parliament

3 Comments
29 March 2017 | John Warhurst

Kate EllisThe announcement by Kate Ellis, the 39 year old federal Labor MP for Adelaide, of her retirement at the next election to be with her young son came as a surprise. Several Fairfax journalists were dismayed. Stephanie Peatling issued a challenge: 'It's not people who should have to change to make their lives fit politics as we know it. It's politics as we know it that should change.' The immediate issue is gender balance, but the wider context is all types of diversity in parliament.


Rethinking and reconstructing youth justice

12 Comments
23 March 2017 | Terry Laidler

Silhouette of boy and barsMany of the kids in the juvenile justice system have been abused, come from dysfunctional families or state care, or have untreated behavioural or mental health problems. Warehousing them in punishing idleness and expecting passive compliance, let alone any recovery, is fanciful. I have begun to think about how we could respond to these kids in a holistic way, with a strong emphasis on prevention and diversion. These proposals relate to current the system in Victoria, but generalise easily.


The misuse of migrant labour in our backyard

5 Comments
23 March 2017 | Sayomi Ariyawansa

Migrant workers attached to supermarket balls and chains. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonIn 2015, Four Corners exposed the misuse of migrant labour in Australian horticulture. It found evidence that the labour hire providers routinely underpaid these workers. Once working on-site, some of these workers were required to work excessive hours and endure unsafe conditions. There is great potential for a licensing scheme to bring a degree of regulation. But there are complex reasons behind the prevalence of migrant worker exploitation in the industry, and a licensing scheme is no cure-all.


Indigenous citizenship rights 50 years after the referendum

9 Comments
22 March 2017 | Dani Larkin

Front page of Abo Call newspaperIn the face of historically low levels of Indigenous representation in our parliaments, the Indigenous caucus between Commonwealth, State and Territory Labor representatives points to some progress. It is aimed at increasing Indigenous voter engagement figures, increasing Indigenous Labor candidacy, and developing strategic plans that encourage Indigenous students to become young leaders in Parliament. Those are all necessary and noteworthy causes. But we have a long way to go.


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