Centrelink

DISINGENUOUS METHODOLOGY

A drug and alcohol treatment centre in a town trialling cashless welfare cards since March 2016 says the card is not working to halt substance abuse, with those in the program still finding a way to access drugs and alcohol.

Nine papers report that SA Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council chief executive Scott Wilson said there had been no drop in the number of people coming into the centre at Ceduna, South australia, contradicting government claims surrounding the success of the trials. Wilson also accused the government of using “disingenuous” methodology to reach its conclusions. He said the most effective part of the trial was the accompanying funding for social services, arguing the card itself does not boost employment.

NSW DONATION SCANDAL: REDUX

NSW Liberal minister John Sidoti is facing an illegal developer donation scandal ($), as it was revealed that Chinese property developer Ming Shang  had donated to the Liberal Party at a “dinner with the candidate” fundraiser, The Daily Telegraph reports. The banned donation was uncovered in an investigation into Sid­oti’s business interests, which also found that he failed to declare $580,000 in annual rent on properties in which he held an interest.

Elsewhere, Liberal MP Gladys Liu has denied links to the Chinese government, telling Sky News that she cannot recall” being on China Overseas Exchange Association councils, after the ABC yesterday revealed records indicating she was previously a member of two chapters.

Correction: An early edition of this morning’s Crikey Worm mistakenly stated that Shang had donated a $70 million property development to the Liberal Party. It should have stated that Shang was in business with Sidoti on a $70 million development when he made a donation to the party.

NO SURPRISE THERE

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019 report has revealed that Australians are increasingly less likely to own their home ($), with housing experts warning the trend is unlikely­ to change, The Australian reports.

The biennial snapshot of national wellbeing found that home ownership rates have fallen for each successive generation since WWII, with ownership rates way down for those in their 20s and 30s. Home ownership rates have also dropped for those in their 50s, down from 80% in 1996 to 74% today. In slightly happier news, the report found the proportion of employed people working more than 50 hours per week was steadily dropping, now sitting at 13.2%, or just above the 12.6% OECD average.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I don’t know if climate change is manmade.

David Littleproud

The minister responsible for drought and natural disasters refuses to acknowledge a link between human-induced climate change and the bushfires currently raging across Queensland and NSW.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Strong winds to calm overnight as bushfires continue to tear through northern NSW

Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank

Stampede in Iraqi city kills dozens of pilgrims

WTO on brink of crisis due to inaction over dispute-settlement reforms, Birmingham warns

Secure jobs needed to avoid a descent into Trump-style populism, new Labor senator says

ABC chair Ita Buttrose says AFP raids on media organisations damaged Australia’s reputation

Deadly pig disease African swine fever tests found positive in The Philippines

Sydney in the top 15 cities for surveillance levels

NSW Health backs plan for early warning system on drugs

Murray-Darling Basin crisis: no water to flush rivers ($)

‘Racist’ decision bans Chinese students from running in university election

Foreign students rise to half of master’s enrolments

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses ordered to destroy confidential records

“A body representing the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia has written to all elders of the group ordering them to destroy confidential records, including notes taken by elders investigating child sexual abuse, in an instruction that has enraged survivors of abuse inside the secretive Christian sect. In a letter obtained by INQ, dated August 28, a body called the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Australasia) instructs elders to destroy so-called judicial hearing records and certain congregation notes. ‘We ask that each elder check his personal computer, or hard copy files, and even his meeting bag, to ensure that no confidential correspondence is retained outside the congregation’s confidential file,’ the letter states.”


Looking at the who, what, and why of lobbyists

“In a quiet part of Parliament House, a lobbyist leans back into a couch and explains to INQ that lobbying isn’t the dark art many think it is. He wanted to remain anonymous because he said there was no purpose to him being in the media. While according to him nothing sinister goes on, he says some lobbyists did go to bars where staffers hung out and made informal representations — ‘but it’s not something I do’. And, true, go to a bar in Canberra’s inner south on Wednesday nights, where political staffers and politicians knock off after work on sitting weeks and down a few drinks, and you might be able to spot a lobbyist or two chatting to the mostly white, mostly male, and mostly socially awkward decision makers.”


Disappearances, overdoses, secret deportations: the truth about border control

“One night in September last year, about 20 Sri Lankan asylum seekers were quietly spirited onto planes and deported. Unlike the Biloela family, whose case has elicited a groundswell of public sympathy, there were no protesters on the tarmac or dramatic, last-ditch legal battles. Instead, it was just business as usual for Australia’s border protection regime where, according to activists, lives are being upended by a system designed and built on hard-nosed bureaucratic pragmatism.”

 

THE COMMENTARIAT

Yes, the best form of welfare is a job. But …Angela Jackson (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Prime Minister Scott Morrison is right that the best form of welfare is a job. He is also right that one aim of welfare should be “helping people to become self-sufficient“. However, an increasing body of evidence says that his refusal to increase the rate of Newstart directly threatens this objective. Because while taking drugs may not help you get a job, neither does living in extreme poverty.”

It’s going to cost us to point in the right direction ($) – Michael Shoebridge (The Australian): The ugly fact facing the government is that, even with these steps, the defence budget committed to in 2016 will not secure Australia in the strategic environment of renewed great power competi­tion, technological change and a more assertive China. This term of government is the time to face this reality, even with the emerging global economic headwinds and competing priorities for money wafting their way towards the Treasurer’s and Prime Minister’s desks.”

I never thought I’d see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis? Dr Joëlle Gergis (The Guardian): These days as a climate scientist, the line of separation between the research I do in my professional life and the events unfolding in the world at large is growing ever thinner. The extreme events that our community has been talking about for decades are now becoming part of our lived experience, season after season, year after year across the entire planet. What we are seeing play out now is much faster than many of us ever imagined. Barely a week after sweltering through an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author meeting discussing the UN group’s sixth global climate assessment report during an unseasonable European heatwave, it’s been surreal to return home to find much of Australia’s eastern seaboard engulfed in unprecedented bushfires crisis. In spring.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Minister for Families and Social Services Ann Ruston will launch the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare biennial report.

  • Alcohol and drug experts will meet with politicians in Canberra to discuss funding and planning.

  • Friends of the Biloela family stuck in detention on Christmas Island will go to Parliament House with more than 250,000 signatures supporting their release.

  • The High Court will deliver a judgment in the matter of Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue v the State of Victoria, over legislation aimed at keeping him in jail.

  • CHOICE, the Australasian Furnishing Association, medical experts and parents will be calling on parliamentarians to act on unsafe products posing risk on Australian store shelves.

Sydney

  • eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant and CEO of Netsafe New Zealand Martin Cocker will host their third trans-Tasman online safety conference, bringing speakers and guests from around the world to discuss online safety and education, artificial intelligence, and ethical tech.

  • Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Pat Sparrow will give a talk on meeting Australia’s future aged care demand.

  • Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, will present “When (and why) children are smarter than adults, and AI too”, as part of Sydney Ideas.

Melbourne

  • Out for Australia will host a Q&A on LGBTIQA+ mental health in the workplace.

Darwin

  • The Charles Darwin College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society will host “Meeting the Challenges of the Future for SE Asia & Northern Australia”.

Brisbane

  • The Queensland Department of Education will host a constitutional convention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Gold Coast, Queensland

  • Queensland’s inquiry into aged care, palliative care and voluntary assisted dying will investigate the quality and safety of aged care at the now closed Earle Haven nursing home at Nerang.