News digest – Tuesday 20 September 2011

Newspoll: "Labor’s primary vote has sunk to a record low of 26 per cent and Tony Abbott continues to lead as preferred prime minister", reports Dennis Shanahan in the Australian. Latest poll results here.

Senate inquiry backs DSP reform: "The Gillard government’s plan to save cash by tightening eligibility for disability pensions has received the nod from a Senate parliamentary inquiry, but welfare groups and a dissenting Greens senator have slammed the move" reports AAP.

Senate committee agrees with major church providers: In its majority report, a Senate inquiry into changes to the disability impairment tables agreed with a major church providers’ recommendation that the federal government can play a lead role in addressing employment of people with disabilities.

Blind to mother’s love: For the past five years Mark Dadds "has been working with children referred to his Sydney clinic for sustained rages, continual aggression, calculated violence and, occasionally, cruelty to animals." According to Dadds and his colleagues: "Aggressive and emotionally cold children literally do not see the love in their mother’s eyes".

Is the welfare state a ‘bad mother’? Conservative anti-welfare rhetoric depicted the welfare system as "an enlarged maternal system, spawning offspring that were not only a drain on the public purse, but who were also seen to constitute a threat to society through their links with rising crime, juvenile delinquency and myriad other social problems" writes British researcher Julie MacLeavy.

Ex-carers want help moving back into workforce: Lynn Motta cared for her disabled son for 33 years. When he died she found herself "looking for work in a marketplace she had never been part of." She wishes she’d had more help.

Financial abuse of elderly Australians spikes: "The financial abuse of elderly Australians is getting worse with a growing number of cases and an increase in the amounts of money involved" reports the ABC’s Rachel Carbonell. Most often it’s family members who are the perpetrators.

In aged care, good motives aren’t enough: "A while ago, there used to be the argument that a religious organisation did not require government intervention or oversight, because they did it for God and their motives were more pure than those of governments", says professor Hal Kendig.

"And so for a long time, voluntary organisations resisted regulation. Historically they would say we know better than the politicians and we know more than the governments. And maybe that is true in some respects but in the end, it’s public money."

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