Today's post by Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability, examines hurdles the NDIS faces in NSW in offering people with disabilities - particularly those "on the fringe" who are vulnerable and marginalised - choice and control over the services and support they need. This piece was originally published on the NSW CID blog.
Homelessness is a rising problem in Melbourne, and escaping family violence is the single biggest reason that women and children experience homelessness. For many homeless children and young people, though, the problem is masked by high rates of couch surfing. In today’s blog post, Shorna Moore of WEstjustice and Kathy Landvogt of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand share preliminary findings from a couch surfing report due to be released by WEstjustice in 2017. This blog is based on an article that recently ran in Parity.
It seems appropriate to interrupt our normal programming in light of todays events. I, like most people I know, am shocked beyond words. But a few have begun to find words. A friend posted this powerful message on Facebook:
This is a time for anger, not despair. Such abject self destruction can only be countered with committed creation. I don't know where America goes from here - a fetid bandage has been ripped off to reveal huge gaping wounds and about the best I can say is, well, at least now we can see them. But in this country or my own, tomorrow is when my activism starts, not ends.
The exploitation of migrant workers in Australia is widespread, with current systems failing to stop the abuse. The WEstjustice Community Legal Centre Employment Law Project seeks to address this by consulting with newly arrived and refugee community members, leaders and organisations, and collaborating with community partners to improve employment outcomes. Project Lead Catherine Hemingway (@cathemingway) shares this summary of the Project's key findings and recommendations, to be released in an upcoming report: Not just work: ending the exploitation of refugee and migrant workers.
n an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Campaign for Australian Aid, along with 36 signatories, have called on the Australian Government to take meaningful action to fight domestic and global poverty.
The Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference hosted recently in Melbourne by the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) included a session on applying a human rights based approach to person-centred service delivery. It asked:
- What role can or should disability advocacy play in a landscape of person-centred service delivery?
- How do we make sure that mainstream services are accessible to people with disability?
- What will best practice look like?
Advocacy for Inclusion CEO Christina Ryan was a panelist at the session and delivered this address to open her contribution, which included a big challenge to all community service organisations in the room.
Today we present the final blog post from Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum. Hannah Gissane (@hannahgissane) from the Equality Rights Alliance (@ERAAustralia) discusses the role of feminist networks in advocacy. She covers a brief history – or herstory – of women’s networks in Australia, including the ERA. She then discusses networks as influencers, capacity builders, and movements, concluding that networks help women reach out to each other for support, exchange of knowledge, growth, and to generate the energy needed to do the difficult but essential work of advancing equality.
At this year’s Prevalent and Preventable Conference organised by the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) and Our Watch, there was a dedicated stream to exploring intersectionality within the Australian context, in relation to responding to, and preventing violence against women, specifically those who have been ‘minoritised’ by the dominant social groups. Intersectional theory is by no means new, however its more centralised inclusion in the violence against women discourse is. Many feminist and critical race theorists have long suggested and warned that ‘culture talk’ in relation to violence against women is a double-edged sword – whilst it may obscure gender-based domination within communities, it also highlights the importance of cultural considerations for contextualising oppressed groups claim for justice, for improving their access to services, and for requiring dominant groups to examine the invisible cultural advantages they enjoy.
This blog piece provides a reflection of the intersectionality stream and is posted as a Storify by the Women's Policy Action Tank.
As an egregious abuse of human rights and an often hidden form of violence against women and children, forced marriage needs very specific policy responses. Currently, the major response is a legal one, requiring police intervention. Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand has been a key driver in increasing awareness of its prevalence in Australia, through conducting research (The Right to Refuse) and helping to establish the Victorian Forced Marriage Network. Good Shepherd’s Kathy Landvogt explains why a criminal response, while important, is not adequate.
The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Human Services has released its interim report, and Policy Whisperer Paul Smyth identifies the social services sector as leading the match – but is there scope to carry this important conversation to completion? Together with Eleanor Malbon and Gemma Carey, Paul led a coordinated response to the Inquiry in the form of the report Social Service Futures and the Productivity Commission.
In today’s post, James McDougall examines Australia’s inconsistent record of promoting the rights of children. He argues that instead of simply reacting to policy failure, we must coordinate planning, effort, knowledge and resources across jurisdictions to improve the wellbeing of all young Australians.
In this post, author and disability advocate Dr Peter Gibilisco offers a perspective on the role of affirmative action as a policy approach to promote inclusion of people living with disabilities. This post originally appeared on the Pearls and Irritations blog.
A new research report, Poor housing quality: Prevalence and health effects, has found that a growing number of Australian households living in poor quality and unhealthy housing are doubly disadvantaged—by the quality of their housing and because policy makers in Australia do not acknowledge the health effects of housing.
In the article below, report authors Emma Baker, Andrew Beer, and Rebecca Bentley outline the need for urgent action, warning that otherwise we risk becoming "a nation scarred once again by slums, reduced life chances and shortened lives."
Concurrent with The Power to Persuade 2016 Symposium, we are running some accompanying blog posts. In this post, Graham Brown details lessons learned in enabling disenfranchised communities to influence policy.
In today’s post, Summer May Finlay makes the case for a facilitative approach to policy influence and change for people whose voices are silenced. Specifically, she calls on the feminist movement in Australia to ally with rather than speak on behalf of Aboriginal women. A Yorta Yorta woman, Summer specialises in health policy, qualitative research and communications, and is a popular blogger with Croakey. She is speaking at Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum on 16 August. You can follow Summer on Twitter @OnTopicAus