Saturday, May 01, 2010


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pretty fired up about Rudd's tax increase on cigarettes and beer

Bipartisan agreement to defeat dependency

By Jessica Brown

True bipartisan agreement is rare. But it seems we have just that over the issue of Disability Support Pension (DSP). Both Labor and the Coalition tightened eligibility criteria for DSP. Both argue not only that we can’t afford to have an ever-growing chunk of the working-age population permanently on welfare but also that many people who would otherwise be on DSP personally benefit greatly from work.

But the conviction that it is politically difficult to move some of the existing 750,000 disability pensioners back into work also seems to be a bipartisan one.

The result is a system that applies different rules to different recipients. Anyone who applied for DSP after the Howard government announced its Welfare to Work reforms in 2006 was rejected if they could work 15 hours or more a week.

This had an immediate impact on the rate of DSP growth, which halved in the space of one year.

But anyone who has been on DSP since before the reforms – about 600,000 people – can keep their payment until they are assessed as being able to work 30 hours a week.

This means that two people with the same ability to work can be assessed differently depending on what year they applied.

About 1% of disability support pensioners leave the payment for a job each year. Waiting for the number of DSP recipients to fall naturally will take decades.

Applying the 15-hour rule consistently to all DSP recipients would undoubtedly result in a large number being reassessed as able to work and moved onto Newstart allowance.

Of course, any move to reduce DSP numbers must be matched by both a greater effort to help people with a disability to find work and a greater effort to ensure there are jobs available, or the reform will simply result in many disability pensioners joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

But successfully reducing the number of people reliant on DSP will pay dividends for both the wider community and the individuals.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated April 30. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

One African dead in Western Australian street brawl

Sounds like it was a Lebanese Muslim gang versus an African gang. More of that wonderful "diversity" to make Australia proud

Police have raided a Ballajura house and are interviewing five men as they investigate a Mirabooka brawl in which one man died and another was critically injured. Police and sources in the Sudanese community have confirmed the dead man is Asamh Manyan, 20, of Mirrabooka.

Paramedics and police were called to the Mirrabooka riot about 9.50pm. Insp. Neil Blair said police found a group fighting near the corner of Northwood Drive and Australis Avenue. Insp. Blair said two people were stabbed during the violent brawl and a 20-year-old had since died.

It is understood a police officer unsuccessfully performed CPR on the victim. The other man remains in a critical condition in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

A man was handcuffed by police and questioned on the roadside.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said this morning the men were either African or Middle Eastern but the violence was not gang related and there were no racial overtones. He said five people were being interviewed by police.

Sudanese community leader Simon Dang this morning said the man who died was an honest, hard-working student and it was a sad day for the Sudanese community and the community at large. Mr Dang said he was with a group of friends walking to the shop when the attack happened.

“When you lose someone in your family, (the family of the deceased) are very hurt," he said. “(He was) an honest young man who would not be involved in any type of crime. He has died for no reason.”

Supt Mark Gilbert, of the west metropolitan police district which stretches over one-sixth of the Perth metropolitan area and is believed to be the most culturally diverse in Australia, said police had engaged with community leaders to try and identify any underlying problems between various ethnic groups. “It is completely out of character for this area to have people stabbed in a street like this,” he said.

Police raided the Ballajura house earlier this morning. A big section of Australis Avenue was closed this morning as major crime squad and forensic officers searched nearby bush.

Several backpacks remain strewn on the road and about 20 bright yellow evidence markers dot the suburban street as police continue their search.

This morning one witness told how she watched the riot through a window after she heard screaming and shouting about 9.30pm. The 16-year-old Morley Senior High School student, who did not want to be named, lives on Wintersweet Ramble off Australis Avenue. "I just heard like screaming and saw people running around," she said.

She said she watched a group of men brandishing "some sort of weapon". "It was long, but it was too dark to see what it was," she said. "It was too much screaming, I couldn't understand it. It was too hard to make out what they were shouting."

She said her family had lived on the street for about five years and had never experienced anything like it before. "This is like the first time," she said. It's pretty quiet down here. It's kind of worrying ... wouldn't you find it worrying? It doesn't make you feel safe."

Another Wintersweet Ramble resident said he was watching a movie when he heard "a few pops and bangs." "I don't know if they were bottles breaking," the man said. "I had a quick gander out the window but didn't see anything."

He said there wasn't usually any trouble in the area although groups of males were known to walk the streets.

Police inquiries are continuing and the streets have been cordoned off. Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes this morning.


Crazy side effect of do-gooder law

Australian city forced to import sperm from US. Sperm donors should be able to choose whether they will be contactable by offspring

THE QUEENSLAND city of Townsville has turned to the US for sperm donations as Australia faces a critical shortage, the Townsville Bulletin reports.

Queensland Fertility Group, the largest fertility clinic in Townsville, 1300 kilometers from Brisbane, pays more than $700 an ampule for sperm imported from the U.S.

In the past, clinics used to rely on university students who were short on cash to donate sperm but these days not enough north Queensland men, or even Australian men, are prepared to donate.

Infertility specialist Dr Ron Chang attributed this decline to recent changes to the law that mean sperm donors have to be contactable once the child they helped to conceive turns 18.

"All the donors stopped coming forward because they didn't want a knock on the door in 18 years time," he said.

"I think children should have the right to know their biological parents, but it has a knock-on effect."

The shortage has also prompted IVF clinics nationwide to get creative about attracting potential donors.

New South Wales' largest clinic, IVF Australia, launched an online advertising campaign with tag lines such as: "You've got millions to spare, we only need one."


Conservatives get tough on immigration

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has vowed to keep population growth in Australia to below 30 million by 2050 and will more than halve the current immigration rate to achieve it.

And future population targets would be tied to a target range, much like the inflation rate settings determined by the Reserve Bank, set by Cabinet on the advice of an independent commission.

Releasing the Coalition's draft population policy, the federal Opposition Leader yesterday issued a direct challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's "big Australia" policy, claiming it has set a target of 36 million by 2050.

Mr Abbott said he would also, for the first time, make it Liberal Party policy to restrict migrant intake to Australia to a two-thirds ratio of skilled workers to non-skilled workers.

Blog with Tony at midday Friday: Rudd's wrong population target

The Coalition believes it is on an election winner when it comes to immigration and population issues and Mr Abbott yesterday chose the hot point of anti-immigration sentiment in western Sydney to make the point.

"The current immigration numbers are utterly unsustainable," Mr Abbott said. "What we are saying with certainty is that we cannot continue to take 300,000 people a year."

Mr Abbott said that, if elected, the Coalition would also relax the red tape for skilled migrant visas - the 457 visa system - and also would apply a critical skills test to industries to determine if and where real occupational needs existed.

Mr Abbott told The Daily Telegraph his policy discussion paper was a formal rejection of Mr Rudd's "target" of 36 million people by 2050.

That is the predicted size of the Australian population at an annual net migration rate of 180,000.

However, at the current 300,000 figure, Australia's population would be closer to 43 million people.

To achieve a population target of fewer than 36 million people, the current migration rates would have to be virtually halved.

And the Coalition policy would give an expanded role to the Productivity Commission, which would be tasked with setting a population target range that would cover the short, medium and long term.

Population Minister Tony Burke responded to Mr Abbott's policy, claiming the Government did not have a target of 36 million.

"It's a lie," he said. "It's merely a projection from Treasury. It was not a target. Not an ambition. Not a policy."


No comments: