Disadvantage

In the hours before the recent long weekend, when most people’s thoughts turned to families, holidays and grand finals, Labor’s political spin machine was still running on high rotation.

What's the hold up?

And it appears that even the bipartisan goal to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage by providing clean and safe housing for indigenous Australians is not immune to Labor’s political tactics.

On Friday, 28 September, Minister Jenny Macklin wrote to Queensland Housing Minister Bruce Flegg in response to Mr Flegg’s correspondence regarding the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing; a seemingly routine matter.

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  • Ian Matthews says:

    06:40pm | 11/10/12

    Mackiln has shown herself to be just another empty vessel; more interested in retaining power than exercising it for good. Read more »

  • jess says:

    06:16pm | 11/10/12

    No one Aboriginal will unite all Aboriginal people. The language and cultures across the country are too diverse. Read more »

 

This Saturday the self-described “organic” Occupy Wall Street movement will be coming to a capital city near you.

An insightful call for reform. Pic: Paul Toohey

They boldly claim “we are the 99 per cent” - it’s their official catchcry - so unless you consider yourself among the uber rich and powerful, these folks are your new voice.  So they’ll be speaking for you when they wave their glib and nebulous placards declaring “people not profits” and “be the solution”.  (I am not making these up – this is the print-ready poster artwork available on their website.)

Their initial beef was apparently with the financial sector – hence the occupation of Wall Street in protest.  But their list of demands goes beyond the remit of the corporate fat cats and includes free education and a type of Utopian redistribution of wealth.

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  • anonymous says:

    01:48pm | 26/10/11

    Doesn’t The World Already Know How Tony Blair Goes To The Bathroom ? Read more »

  • Dodge says:

    01:50pm | 21/10/11

    Not that tired line of reasoning (again). How painful. To say in fact it was Government (Clinton no less, some 10 years before the meltdown) who caused the GFC is really only manipulating the truth as much as the top 1% of America have manipulated the Government for their own… Read more »

 

It was all over in 30 minutes. Bowls were washed, toasters put away and the lids of the honey jars screwed back on. But the feeling was hard to beat.

You're never too cool for Weet-Bix and honey

Just like every other weekday morning between 8-8:30am, at least 25 kids from the Alexandria Park School in Sydney’s Inner West eat breakfast around a communal table and head off to class with full bellies; a peaceful and warm start to the day.

Lucky kids would do all of this in the comfort of their own homes. But for an increasing number of others, mum and dad are just not earning enough to feed them the most important meal of the day.

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  • HeatherG says:

    11:32am | 21/10/11

    Ronnie, interesting. You may like to re-read what I actually said. Yes, I’ve chosen to get further education, because without it I am, apparently, unemployable in this city as it stands at this moment in time. I chose full time this year—to speed up the process—because I lost my job… Read more »

  • sick of selfishness says:

    08:03am | 15/09/11

    Jade have you considered that rents have more than doubled in the last 5 years?  Many are have to pay 60-80% of their income on rent, all while utilities and food costs have increased rapidly too.  Telling people to move is so simple but doesn’t take into account that it… Read more »

 

We must rebuild for everyone

And if it's rebuilt with federal funds, don't forget the ramps. Image: AP.

I visited a woman recently who - for the last three years - has only left her house once a week. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because she can’t.

Ruth - not her real name - uses an electric wheelchair, and has almost no vision. She lives in public housing and - through a decision driven by crass and uncaring bureaucracy - has been placed in a house which has three steps at the front, and six at the back. She has been provided with a portable ramp, which she cannot put in place without assistance.

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  • Edward James says:

    01:25pm | 13/02/11

    @ Chris. Taxpayers are being bullied by people in positions of power. Several years ago Gosford City Council installed tactile aids in local footpaths incorrectly. They are intended to help visually impaired pedestrians to line themselves up at a right angle to the gutter so they may move straight across… Read more »

  • Chris says:

    08:57am | 13/02/11

    Right Graeme as someone with a disability I am going to agree and disagree with you. Personal housing needs to be accessible. I am not arguing with you. I also believe there needs to be access to footpaths, transport and community buildings which are widely used. I am however fed… Read more »

 

It’s sobering to know that Australia has now joined the ranks of nations lining up to grapple with the obesity epidemic affecting its citizens.

Where did all the happy little Vegemites go?

Equally dismal is the news relating to mental health, that tells us that suicide is now the number one killer of all Australians under 35.

What does this say about the image of ‘the lucky country’ and the land of the ‘fair go’ that we hold so close to our national identity? What has happened over the last decades that has brought us to this point, and most importantly, how can we move forward in creating a healthier Australia?

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  • Robert Smissen of God's Own Country, Rural SA says:

    12:20am | 25/04/10

    It isn’t just junk food that makes people (especially the poor) fat, it is also what they eat at home. Professor Sir C. Stanton-Hicks gathered data for Australia’s then government in the early 30s. Once a family goes past 2 kids & the budget doesn’t stretch, we buy bulk up… Read more »

  • TracyS says:

    01:29pm | 23/04/10

    Sahara, you are absolutely right. Cooking and eating at home is healthier than takeaway. Not only are the meals nutritionally healthier, studies have shown that children in families that sit and eat at least one of their daily meals as a family (around a table, not in front of the… Read more »

 

I was heartened last week to note the launch of the GenerationOne project to address Indigenous disadvantage in Australia and in particular, the approach the campaign has taken towards reaching out to the younger generation to “make a difference in our lifetime”.

Helping to make a difference in

It is certainly not the first time such a grand plan to address the gap between non-Indigenous Australians and Indigenous has been announced, however the backing of high calibre celebrities and notable businesspeople goes a long way towards bringing this idea to the attention of mainstream media – something many similar projects have failed to achieve.

This is an issue that requires the attention of all Australians, however individuals can often feel powerless in the face of such an immense and longstanding disparity, not knowing how one person can make a difference. 

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  • Adam Diver says:

    10:12am | 31/03/10

    No details as to how aor where just new jobs created for a single race. (No racism there). And you don’t have to be solely left and right wing in your ideolgies. Clearly when it comes to one big happy nation of diverse races that get equal opportunity and results… Read more »

  • Eric says:

    12:17pm | 29/03/10

    I think it’s just fine, showing that programmes and money directed to indigineous people are non-racist, and can be applied to white people too! Yay for GenerationOne! It helps everyone! (except maybe asians) Read more »

 

Hidden away in most capital cities around Australia there are troubled suburbs which suffer the afflictions of social and economic breakdown.

The Education Revolution ensures opportunity is for everyone. Picture: Tim Carrafa.

These communities are often populated by a majority of good hearted battlers living alongside a minority of ratbags. These hidden communities are often absent from our national debate partly because the communities lack advocacy skills and partly because the problems seem so intractable.

Often the only time these troubled suburbs are noticed is when the harsh glare of the media descends upon them in response to some criminal incident or to catalogue their social dysfunction.

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  • Michael says:

    10:19pm | 18/03/10

    Must be an election year this year… Read more »

  • acker says:

    05:45pm | 18/03/10

    Should change your your AKA to full of crap….. Slater (stuffed if I know who he is) & Gordon (Peter who voluntarily as President helped save Footscray/Western Bulldogs from AFL oblivion) was the major partner in a Law Firm that was not widely known as ambulance chasing. I think you… Read more »

 

At the heart of the Australian ‘fair go’ is the belief that our society provides every individual with the opportunity to make the most of their lives, regardless of their parental or family background.

Kids from welfare-dependent families struggle on almost every education and health measure. Photo by Oliver Lang.

A commendable ethic indeed, but how real is it in practice?

Are we really giving our children the chance to grow up masters of their own destiny, or are we (unintentionally or not) confining them to tread the same footprints as their parents?

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  • MF says:

    01:25pm | 12/10/09

    My parents were on welfare more or less my entire childhood.  I didn’t want to end up like that, so I worked my ass off at school.  A really average public school for that matter.  I now have a PhD and am working at the upper end of scientific research. … Read more »

  • Rosebud says:

    11:14am | 12/10/09

    Income gap 5 or 7 to 1, working out how a society moves all its citizens forward is key for both developed and developing nations, at their different stages of development.  Surely we have had enough conflicts and wars to teach up that lesson, from the French Revolution to the… Read more »

 

Once upon a time, in a 20th century age of ‘things’, people used to make sense of who they were by what they owned – land, house, car etc.

Barbara Hole and sons at home in Maribyrnong an area ranked by Bureau of Statistics as Australia's most disadvantaged suburb. Pic by Graham Crouch

Today, in the age of communication, people are defined by who they know and what they share.

The phenomenal success of Web 2.0 vehicles such as Facebook and now Twitter (which I was told by a reliable source this week has seen 6,500 per cent growth in users in the last financial year), has demonstrated an astonishing need for people to connect and interact as the basis of their identity and wellbeing.

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  • work home now scam estate says:

    11:10am | 07/11/10

    Disappear Enjoy,article hand major like capacity contract period latter whatever primary totally with drive atmosphere door until meal where where fund play publish basic finance overall spot risk tour forward people than branch there interview module walk glass lawyer smile manager staff visitor code odd state catch sheet can father… Read more »

  • Chrissy says:

    03:47pm | 28/09/09

    Eric you made your point on Elaines article at the time so let it go. It has nothing to do with this one. Sheesh! Great article Elaine. Everyone deserves a fair go no matter what their circumstances. Read more »

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same adage can be applied to women’s equality in society. However, lately it feels like construction has come to a complete halt.

Christina's World, by American artist Andrew Wyeth.

Research released this week by the Australia Institute positioned women as one of the groups hardest hit by the financial crisis in the workplace. While more men had lost full-time jobs than women, women faced worsening underemployment in the form of limited hours and poor pay.

The women hardest hit by this news will be those who can least afford it – struggling lone mothers and women from low-income backgrounds. 

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  • jim says:

    06:25pm | 16/10/12

    Ah Matriarchy. Isn’t is lovely. Read more »

  • Marvin says:

    06:29am | 16/10/12

    You like to tell jokes huh? XD Read more »

 

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