Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'Precariat' generation missing out on Australian lifestyle

The story below is probably correct.  It is one of many stories that report on the unemployability of many young people today.  And where lies the blame for that?  Squarely on the Left-dominated educational system with its emphasis on saving the planet and glorifying homosexuality.

 Kids are encouraged to embark on studies that lead nowhere.  Take the kid used as an example below.  What did he do his degree in? "Contemporary music". Making money as a musician has always been a grind.  It's an oversupplied market. I knew a lot of musicians once and they were all usually "skint". 

My son shows how it can be if you have useful skills.  He was "headhunted" during his very first job interview by a member of the interviewing panel and given a job immediately.  So what are his skills?  He is an IT professional.  He is at ease writing multiple computer programming languages.  And such skills don't necessarily take long to acquire.  I learnt to program computers in the FORTRAN language from a course that consisted of just 4 mornings.

Young Australians have fewer opportunities for full-time work and affordable housing, creating a new "precariat" social class lacking security and predictability, according to a new book.

Jennifer Rayner, author of Generation Less: How Australia is Cheating the Young, said policies skewed towards the older generation dramatically increased disparities between the young and the old.

This, she said, had placed an "enduring handicap" on those born from the 1980s onwards.

"There have always been gaps between younger people and older people in Australia, and that's true everywhere because young people are starting out in life, because they haven't had as much time in the workforce," Ms Rayner said.

"But over the last 30 years in Australia what has happened is that all of those gaps are getting wider.

"What the data shows is that young people are going backwards compared to the people the same age 15 years ago."

Less than one in 30 young people reported being underemployed in the 1970s. But that figure now stood at about one in six, Ms Rayner said.

The number of young people working casually also jumped from 34 per cent in 1992 to 50 per cent in 2013.

Over the same period, the percentage of people working without entitlements in their 40s and 50s barely moved.

Unless policies around housing and the casualisation of the workforce changed, the disadvantage would become entrenched, Ms Rayner said.

"The fact that all of these trends and factors are ganging up on young people means that their experience of being an Australian is basically different from other generations," she said.

"The [youth] are currently part of the precariat and they will find themselves locked in there as they grow older, if these trends continue, and if nothing changes in their circumstances."

Ms Rayner said instability affected the material and emotional wellbeing of the young.

Something that 26-year-old Sam Johnston knows only too well. Mr Johnston moved to Melbourne in 2015 with his girlfriend Edie after a year travelling overseas.

He failed to find full-time work, but a bachelor's degree in contemporary music and a graduate diploma in education from Southern Cross University in NSW means he has a debt of about $30,000 "hanging over his head".

Mr Johnston said he "gave up" looking for full-time work in the "depth of winter" and was now focused on his gigs, which were easier to get. He also volunteers as a teacher's aide and tutors students to gain experience.

But the lack of income and the absence of a community in the new city has taken a toll.  "I had a bout with depression last year which lasted nine months," Mr Johnston said.  "I am still on antidepressants now, which is coming to a close very shortly."

Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley said the book's finding was consistent with the institute's research.

"There is a real danger of a generation that will be less well off than its parents," Mr Daley said.

"You can see it in an older cohort that has much more wealth than their predecessors, whereas wealth in younger households is not going up very fast.

"You see it in incomes, you see it in ... very rapidly falling rates of home ownerships."

Several factors, including rapidly falling interest rates, an age-based tax, welfare, and superannuation system geared towards older workers, were responsible for the situation, Mr Daley said.


April 1 premium rises prompt half a million angry Aussies to quit health insurance

This is bulldust.  A rise of $2 per week for a single person is a problem?  What can $2 buy you these days?  I can't think of anything.  It won't even buy you a custard tart in Woolworths

A PREMIUM rise three times the inflation rate has unleashed consumer rage on health funds with more than half a million people planning to quit their cover.

Premiums will rise by around $200 a year for a family and around $100 a year for singles on April 1.

And almost half of all health fund members plan to shop around to find a better deal a Galaxy poll commissioned by health fund iSelect has found.

More than 530,000 Australians told the survey they planned to ditch their insurance altogether, a move that could increase pressure on public hospitals.

Families and couples who already have hospital only or extras only (as opposed to combined health cover) are the most likely to quit their health fund.

One in five or 215,000 couple and families with hospital only or extras only are considering dropping their cover, the survey found.

“It’s possible these households have already pared back their cover as premiums have risen in recent years but this latest increase may be the tipping point that means they can simply no longer afford it,” iSelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden said.

Health Minister Sussan Ley has approved a 5.59 per cent premium rise that is more than three times the inflation rate.

Some health fund products are rising well in excess of this amount, Bupa’s Top Hospital with $250 excess is rising by 8.5 per cent and Medibank’s combined hospital and extras package for families by 9.5 per cent.


'Hard to watch': Afghans react to $6m Australian film aimed at asylum seekers

A movie commissioned by Australia’s immigration department to deter Afghan asylum seekers has had its premiere on local TV, seeking to reinforce a widely held view that unauthorised travel to Australia is not worth the risk.

The Journey is a lavish production depicting hopeful asylum seekers who meet tragic fates crossing the Indian Ocean.

Underwritten by $6m in Australian taxpayers’ money and filmed in three countries, it was shown on Friday on two channels in Afghanistan, the world’s second-largest source of refugees and migrants in 2015, after Syria.

“It was hard to watch. It made me very upset,” Ali Reza, an 18-year-old tailor said about the film. “I know they were actors, but these things really happen to Afghans.”

Put It Out There Pictures, which produced the film for $4.34m, says on its website the movie aims to inform audiences “about the futility of investing in people smugglers, the perils of the trip, and the hardline policies that await them if they do reach Australian waters”.

Judging from the responses of scores of young men who spoke to the Guardian, that goal was largely achieved.  “It was a good movie,” said Mostafa Ebadi, 23. “It showed the lies smugglers tell passengers before leaving.”

Mohammad Tawab, 23, said he had been particularly moved by scenes of refugees languishing in an Indonesian prison. For Yama Taheri, who was playing football in a downtown Kabul park, the most disturbing sequence was one in which three brothers drown. “It made me think that if I try to go with friends, this will be our destiny,” he said.

Before the current Syrian conflict forced millions to flee that country, Afghanistan was by far the largest producer of refugees in the world for more than three decades. Neighbouring countries Pakistan and Iran hosted most of the displaced Afghans, but Afghans were also the largest national group who sought to reach Australia by boat.

Almost all Afghans who have reached Australia by boat have been found to be refugees legally requiring protection. Each year since 2009, between 96% and 100% of Afghan asylum seekers have had their claims for refugee status upheld.

But in recent years fewer and fewer Afghans have set their sights on Australia. Harsher asylum policies and warning campaigns have deterred many. The vast majority of Afghan asylum seekers in 2015 went to Europe, with more than 150,000 to Germany alone.

For three years Daud Hossaini, 42, planned to join his brother in Australia. As asylum policies tightened, he hesitated, but retained hope that the forthcoming federal election might bring change. But on Friday, after seeing the movie, he finally buried his hopes of moving to Australia.  “If I die on the way, what’s the point of going?” he said.

Lapis Communications, who promoted and adapted the movie to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, denied they were producing government propaganda.  “The backers of the film are credited, that is neither hidden or denied,” said Sarah-Jean Cunningham, director of operations and business development. “More importantly, the ideas and values around the film are grounded in addressing a very serious and tragic issue – with the ultimate objective of saving lives.”

Cunningham denied the fee earned by Lapis – $1.63m – was excessive. “The cost is reflective of the extent of that significant scope of work,” she said.

However, not everyone bought the message. As security worsens and employment becomes scarcer, Afghans will continue to leave. Humayoon, 29, who saw part of the movie before rushing off to a wedding, said he was only staying in Afghanistan as long as he had a job.  “If I can’t feed my family, what am I supposed to do?”


Federal Labor party MPs Lobby Sydney University To Maintain  Antisemitic "Centre"

Pressure is mounting on the University of Sydney to back away from planned changes to its Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), with Federal Labor MPs writing to the University and urging it to reconsider.

In a letter seen by New Matilda, three Federal MPs and four of their state counterparts have implored the institution not to “downgrade” the Centre into a mini-department.

The CPACS is headed by Associate-Professor Jake Lynch, and has campaigned outside of the classroom on a number of issues. Lynch and others involved in the Centre are concerned the changes to its structure will threaten that side of its operations.

So too are Federal MPs Melissa Parke, Maria Vamvakinou, and Laurie Ferguson, who along with state MPs Paul Lynch, Julia Finn, Lynda Voltz, and Shaoquett Moselmane have signed a letter protesting the restructure and sent to the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Barbara Caine.

“CPACS’s efforts to promote debate on issues like accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka, West Papua, Palestine and human rights generally provide the Australian and the global community with a sophisticated, alternative voice on topical and difficult issues, as reflected in acclamations for CPACS’ work by the likes of Dr Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” their letter says.

The letter goes on to urge the University to reconsider changing the Centre’s status.

“It cannot be good for our democracy and academic reputation to attenuate such voices. It would be particularly disturbing if a prestigious institution like Sydney University, by the simple expedient of withdrawing resources from CPACS, is seen to supress reflection and debate on important, even controversial, matters.”

The move follows similar action from NSW state Greens MPs, who wrote to the University earlier in the week warning the changes to the Centre could look like a ‘politically motivated attack’ to the broader community.

After being contacted for comment today, a spokesperson for University said they did not comment on correspondence with MPs. The University has previously argued the changes to the Centre are due to falling enrolments, but that has been disputed by Lynch.

Lynch has previously been the subject of controversy thanks to his support of the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions campaign. MPs who signed the letter, including Federal members Melissa Parke and Maria Vamvakinou, have been among Labor’s most outspoken supporters of Palestine.


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