Brotherhood Comment

Brotherhood Comment


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ISSN 1320 8632A regulAr updA te from the reseArch And policy centreApril 2008Social inclusion down underThe Rudd government’s measures of disadvantage will be relationship between social announcement of a Social Inclusion a prerequisite for a shift to policy inclusion and economic policy. Board suggests new directions in responses based on social inclusion. The early New Labour model social policy. But what is social focused very much on ‘social’ issues inclusion? And how do you do it? Millar’s take on key European in isolation from the economic With little home-grown research, studies emphasises that the agenda. Then in the first iteration our initial bearings must be taken socially excluded are not a new of the Lisbon Strategy of 2000, from the British and European ‘underclass’. Few are excluded social inclusion joined employment experience of the last decade or across all dimensions and for long and growth as central policy so. What we can learn from it? periods of time. Rather she finds goals for member countries; but And how adapt it to our unique a large number moving in and out in 2005, its role was downgraded Australian circumstances? of exclusion, usually because their to a residual of economic policy social mobility is limited to stints success. Daly (2007) suggests Gordon’s account (2007) of the of unemployment and low-paid that economic and social goals development of social exclusion work. Thus, while social inclusion had never been fully ...



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A re gulAr up dAte f rom the rese Arch And p olicy cen tre
Social inclusion down under
The Rudd government’s announcement of a Social Inclusion Board suggests new directions in social policy. But what is social inclusion? And how do you do it? With little home-grown research, our initial bearings must be taken from the British and European experience of the last decade or so. What we can learn from it? And how adapt it to our unique Australian circumstances? Gordon’s account (2007) of the development of social exclusion in the European Union highlights the way it functioned as a political device to re-license governments to act against poverty. The pre -Blair British governments, for example, had opted out of the EU Agreement on Social Policy on the grounds that real poverty no longer existed in the United Kingdom. The EU adoption of the more nebulous term of social exclusion helped ease the way for reluctant governments such as the UK to sign up to the European social inclusion strategy. After Australia’s own ‘poverty war’, the adoption of social inclusion will similarly cut welfare free from the ideological baggage of the 1990s, clearing the decks for a new generation of social policy initiatives. Nevertheless, social exclusion is not simply a politically expedient play on words. It is defined and measured differently from both poverty and deprivation (Saunders et al. 2007). Millar (2007) observes that it shifts the focus of research from static, income-based measures to others which are multidimensional, dynamic, relational and recognise agency. Developing these new 
ISSN 1320 8632 April 2008
measures of disadvantage will be relationship between social a prerequisite for a shift to policy inclusion and economic policy. responses based on social inclusion. The early New Labour model focused very much on ‘social’ issues Millar’s take on key European in isolation from the economic studies emphasises that the agenda. Then in the first iteration socially excluded are not a new of the Lisbon Strategy of 2000, ‘underclass’. Few are excluded social inclusion joined employment across all dimensions and for long and growth as central policy periods of time. Rather she finds goals for member countries; but a large number moving in and out in 2005, its role was downgraded of exclusion, usually because their to a residual of economic policy social mobility is limited to stints success. Daly (2007) suggests of unemployment and low-paid that economic and social goals work. Thus, while social inclusion had never been fully integrated is not simply about welfare to work, in the EU model. Even as a social clearly employment, its retention goal, inclusion was said to be too and advancement must be a focus woolly: it was ‘about everything of the new Australian agenda. and nothing’. In Australia, the National Reform Agenda (NRA) It is when we move from definition presents the key arena in which to and measurement to explanation resolve this issue. If inclusion is not and policy implications that the seen as integral to human capital picture is less clear. The concept’s investment, then anticipate its political ambiguity is notorious. demotion down the policy order. While this versatility may have facilitated its take-up, it has created Second, social inclusion strategies some critical policy challenges. are constructed differently Two are crucial for Australia. according to national welfare regime type. There is a fundamental First, the international experience contrast between institutional and has been unclear about the residual models. In the former, Continued page 2 Contents  ‘It changed my vision of Australia’: outcomes of giving refugees a chance  Responding to climate change: steps to assist low-income private renters  Through school to work: research directions to foster social inclusion of young people  Youth listening to youth: peer research into youth transitions  Raising the bar: responsible business conduct in a globalised economy A lifelong concern: social inclusion and older people  Re-fashioning community engagement: Rotarys PACE project  Helping parents and children learn together:  insights into the pact of a home interaction program im
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Continued from page 1 social exclusion is constructed beefing up mainstream services, as a failure of social institutions albeit with those in greater need to provide adequate ties to bind receiving greater support. individuals to their society, and social inclusion is about social A new cycle is beginning in integration. In the residual system, Australian social policy. Will the the market is taken as the primary social inclusion agenda provide the basis of social order, and welfare or framework to eradicate poverty social inclusion policies are about in Australia? The answer, this alleviating poverty arising from review suggests, will depend on two market failures (Gordon 2007). things. First we must effectively integrate economic and social The importance of this distinction policy in the NRA; and second, is illustrated by the tension in the we must rebuild from below the UK surrounding the policy of quality of our mainstream public ‘progressive universalism’ whereby services so all Australians are all get help but those in greatest guaranteed the opportunity of full need get the greatest support. economic and social participation. As Minister of Communities and Local Government, David Paul Smyth Miliband (2006), observed, some (03) 9483 1177 had seen social exclusion policies as special initiatives targeting people ‘outside the mainstream’. Against Daly, M 2007, ‘Whither EU social policy?’, this poverty alleviation approach, Journal of Social Policy , vol.37, no.1, pp.1–19. he proposed a social integration Gordon, D 2007, ‘History and development model. Better, he said, to reform of social exclusion and policy’, in the mainstream services, to ensure D Abrams, J Christian & D Gordon (eds) the billions we spend through e 2 x 0 c 0 lu 7, s  iMonu lrteisdeisacricphl , i  n W ar il y e ha L nd o b n o do o n k . of social mainstream public services, rather Miliband, D 2006, Socia y l , xclusion: the than the millions in regeneration e programmes, are focussed on nMeixlitb satnedp s MfoPr, wMaridn:i sstpeer eocfh  Cboy mRtm uHnointi eDs aavnidd  addressing social inclusion (p.10). Local Government , Office of Deputy Prime Minister, London, viewed 31 March 2008, Historically, the Australian way <httdp:o//warnclohiavded.coacbei0naeet.opfdfc? d=788>. has been a hybrid of the residual seu/ and the institutional. For twenty Millar, J 2007, ‘Social exclusion and social policy research: defining exclusion’, in tyoeawras,r dtsh te apregnetdeudl uwme lfhaarse ,m woivtehd i ts D Abrams, J Christian & D Gordon (eds) 2007, Multidisciplinary handbook of continuing popularity expressed in social exclusion research , Wiley, London. regular choruses protesting ‘middle Saunders, P et al. 2007, Towards new culnaessq uwievlofcaarle t. hWaitthh et hpeo evidence orse indicators of disadvantage: deprivation and t or are w social exclusion in Australia , SPRC, Sydney. off in targeted regimes (Gordon 2007), a key objective for Australia’s social inclusion agenda ought to be winding back narrow targeting and
Brotherhood Comment is published three times a year by the Research and Policy Centre of the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Brotherhood of St Laurence works for the well-being of Australians on low incomes to improve their economic, social and personal circumstances. It does this by providing a wide range of services and activities for families, the unemployed and the aged. It also researches the causes of poverty, undertakes community education and lobbies government for a better deal for people on low incomes.
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Recent submissions Submissions or statements made by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in the last year include: Response to Review of the ASX Principles of Good Corporate Governance and Good Practice Recommendations, February 2007 Submission on the Education and Training Act 2006 proposed regulations, March 2007 Submissions to the Review of the Victorian Children’s Services Regulations 2007, April 2007 Joint submission to Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading from Brotherhood of St Laurence, Catholic Social Services Australia and National Welfare Rights Network, April 2007 Response to the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme Issues Paper, May 2007 Submission [re] Productivity Commission Consumer Policy Framework, May 2007 Submission to Outer Suburban/Interface Services and Development Committee Parliament of Victoria Inquiry into Local Economic Development in Outer Suburban Areas, June 2007 Submission to National Emissions Trading Taskforce Secretariat: Design for a National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme, July 2007 Sustainable outcomes for disadvantaged job seekers: submission to the Australian Government on the future of employment assistance, February 2008 Response to Australian Government’s First Home Saver Account initiative, March 2008
Published in April 2008 by Brotherhood of St Laurence 67 Brunswick Street Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065 Australia ABN 24 603 467 024 Telephone: (03) 9483 1183 Facsimile: (03) 9417 2691 E-mail:
From the General Manager
challenges of retirement and ageing. He explores key themes that should inform any inclusion framework for this key life transition. Critical cross-cutting issues Other research bridges the transitions. Major work continues on equity and climate change, including a roundtable exploring ways to mitigate the To meet the effects of clicmha taes  cah anrgbeo, na npd of challenge, we have measures su ca rice, developed a work on low-income private renters plan to identify (see Damian Sullivan’s article). an approach to Further research is proceeding social inclusion on the impacts of carbon prices which fits the on various household types Australian context. in rural and metropolitan locations and on an appropriate emissions trading scheme. The important role of service clubs such as Rotary in building community is explored in Sharon Bond’s article on the four PACE pilot projects undertaken by Rotarians in Melbourne. Tony Nicholson’s appointment We are delighted that Tony Nicholson has been appointed by the Prime Minister to lead the taskforce on homelessness charged with developing a White Paper to set a clear plan of action to improve the social and economic participation of people who are homeless. Not only does this appointment recognise Tony’s expertise in this field, but it represents a strategic opportunity to address multiple serious barriers to social inclusion. Paul Smyth (03) 9483 1177
If a change of government changes inclusion theme. The front page the nation, then it certainly impacts article introduces the challenges we on the world of social research and may face in transplanting a very policy including the Brotherhood of European policy framework into the St Laurence. As regular readers of Australian setting. We then present Comment know, for some years we a range of articles representing the have been advocating something like work in our four transition areas. ‘social inclusion’ as a new aspiration to inform a thoroughgoing reform Key transition research of our welfare system. Now it For the early years, the adoption of appears that a new chapter has the HIPPY program by the federal indeed begun and Australia has a government was very welcome once-in-a-generation opportunity news. Fatou Roost and Nicole Oke to reshape its social policy system discuss some early findings from the to fit a twenty-first century social comprehensive national evaluation and economic environment. of HIPPY which will shed further light on ways to ensure that young Many policy research children do not miss out on critical communities—whether in development opportunities. We government, universities, business have also recently published reports or the welfare sector—have on the inclusive role of playgroups been taken by surprise by the and on the challenge of providing government’s adoption of the services for hard-to-reach families. 1 social inclusion agenda. While the Brotherhood has already done From the school to work transition, some work, the prospect of the Michelle Wakeford reports on the federal government taking action collaborative Youth Voice project makes us very aware of how to find better ways to prevent much work is needed to give real young people from dropping out substance to this agenda. Moreover, between school and employment. it is a highly contested concept This innovative project, undertaken and we anticipate competing in collaboration with like-minded interpretations for years to come. agencies, creatively involved young people as researchers. To meet the challenge, we have The findings will inform other developed a work plan to identify research into this transition now an approach to social inclusion led by Dr Annelies Kamp. which fits the Australian context. Topics receiving particular attention The in and out of work transition will include the integration of the featured in the previous issue. social and economic, but in a way This time we focus on refugees of which does not subordinate the working age. Kemran Mestan’s social; averting the exclusionary evaluation of Given the Chance effects of climate change; tackling shows that mentoring combined the geographic dimension; and with training and work placements reconstructing the language of can be decisive in providing refugees mutual obligation. We will also with an entrée into employment develop applied social inclusion and/or educational opportunities. plans relating to the four key transitions of the life cycle. As Gerry Naughtin illustrates, the issue of social inclusion is no Accordingly, we have arranged this less important for people at the issue of Comment around the social other end of their lives, facing the 1 Like almost all our research, these reports can be downloaded from our website, or ordered in printed form.
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‘It changed my vision of Australia’ Outcomes of giving refugees a chance I remember the first time I came volunteered to meet with a refugee Education and employment back from Given the Chance at least fortnightly for 12 months, outcomes I was so happy, my husband said to provide personal support, Some key outcomes of the program bWechaauts eh aI phpaedn ebde etno  vyeoruy  tdoodwayn?.  often relating to employment. For are presented in Table 1. A high I said ‘ I have a new family now’ many refugees, mentoring was percentage of GtC participants  … the most beneficial aspect of the (66%) achieved successful an dSometimes I would be grumpy, program. The following refugee’s employment and/or education nex t hcel awsso?u lIdt  swaay,s  vWerhy einm ips oyrotuarn t comments are representative: outcomes; this compared with to me. It changed my vision of 58% of CALD participants in the Australia … They helped me just We need encouragement and I got it Job Network receiving ‘Intensive because I was a human being. through Given the Chance, through Support customised assistance’ my mentor I got plenty of that. Just (DEW 7). 1 T No-one helped me like this before. encouragement. Just that someone to of GR 200c7i, p.nts he majority believe in you, because I had a lack tC parti pa aimed to find fRreomma rrekfsu lgiekee  pthairst iacirpe acnotsmimn otnh e of confidence speaking with people. ethme pploeryimode notf,  tahned s t1u2d1y .d iTdh siso  isw ithin  BGriovtehnetrhheo oCdhsa npcreo g(rGatmC )c, aflolre dw hich Employment training faa v5o5u%r asbulcy cewsist hr atthe,e  csoammpe aJroibn g a three-year evaluation has recently Some 76 refugees attended GtC Network demographic as above, training courses, which focused been completed. The program and on employment skills like job who had a 41% employment rate the evaluation were funded by the search techniques, résumé writing, (DEWR 2007, p.7). Furthermore, aVnicdt oCrioamn mDuenpiatryt Dmeevnet loofp interview behaviour, and generic aCrAe LmDu cpha lretiscsi pdiasnatds vaas nat aggreodu tph an skills like communication. Refugees reported that their skills refugees in particular, as they eGdtuCc aatiimosn atlo  adnedv eelompp lsooycmiael,n t were enhanced, helping them sduoc hn oats  nseucrevsisvairnigl yt rfaacuem baa. rTriheres  pathways for ef s. Refugees overcome vocational barriers. aim of some participants was to r ugee agrreo ua pp, awrthico uflaacrel yg emnaerrgail naasl iwseeldl Work placements ueinthdeerr teaxkcel uesdivueclayt ioorn i no ra tdrdaiitniionng t, o  To develop understanding of the as specific barriers to employment Australian labour market and working. GtC was able to assist and social inclusion (Taylor 2004). work culture, 60 participants refugees to achieve this, with 48 Ilan cakd odfi trieocno tgon ibsaerdr isekrisl lssu, crhef ausg ees undertook work placements s(t2u2d%y.)  Aofl tpoagrettihceirp a1n4t7s  creofmugmeeesn cing with an employer for about four balasror inerese ds utcoh  oavse rccoopmine g pwarittihc ular weeks. Work placements also built commenced employment or study. trauma and having limited social netawl oerxkpse arinedn chee.l pFeudr trheefrumgeoerse ,g ain Community strengthening . networks (Yost & Lucas 2002) l2o4c work placements directly GtC contributed to strengthening Hence, specialised services are resulted in ongoing employment. refugee and wider communities required to address their needs. in two ways: by helping refugees Program components Table 1 Employment and education outcomes for GtC participants From 2005 to 2007, 222 refugees 2005 to 2007 enrolled in GtC, far exceeding the target of 150 participants. Outcome Number Percentage Upon enrolment, GtC applied a case management approach, Found employment 121 55% guiding refugees into the following Found skilled employment 64 53% integrated support services: Found unskilled employment 57 47% Mentoring Commenced study 48 22% There were 115 participants stu 147 66% matched with mentors from Found employment or commenced dy the wider community. Mentors n=220
1 Job Network employment outcomes are assessed 3 months after the participant leaves assistance, whereas the GtC figures are immediate exit outcomes.
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For many refugees, mentoring was the most beneficial aspect of the program.
Case study*: refugee community engagement Shambu came to Australia to do his comfor table’ and he felt welcome to masters in hor ticulture. During his make as much contact as he needed. studies, he applied for asylum due to In 2005, Shambu commenced persecution in his country of origin. k placement with a He struggled, however, to adjust to a wor Australian culture. After completing community organisation in his study, he faced unemployment professional field, organised by and lacked social networks. the staff at GtC. He repor ted: Shambu was matched with a mentor They rang here a lot and came to see named John, who is a landscape me when I was working, almost every gardener. John wanted to better week, to ensure I was managing well. t refu e fuancde ebrys tagnetdt itnhge i insvsoulevse tdh ian a onge-eosn -His employers were so impressed one situation’ and ‘to do something with Shambu’s performance that they productive’ to help refugees. offered him a fur ther contract to fill the position of a staff member on Shambu’s highest priority was leave, and later an ongoing position. finding employment. He said John Shambu now has the ambition to swkailsls  vreerlya theedl ptfou lo ibnt adienivnegl owpionrgk . be a tertiary teacher. He says: For example, together they did I’m very confident because … numerous mock interviews. volunteering and working has given me The two men regularly spoke on hands-on experience so I’m confident the phone and met up purely that I have very practical experience. to socialise, often having meals So now it looks I’m on the track to be together. Shambu explained a teacher which is what I want to do, that John ‘made me feel very and I think volunteering really helped.
become more involved in the wider Conclusions community and by facilitating The evaluation reveals that GtC the wider community to be more improved refugee employment and inclusive of refugees. Mentoring, settlement outcomes. As Shambu’s work placements, training and story (see panel) illustrates, the employment expanded social program generated tangible networks, building relationships benefits, like employment, as between refugees and non -refugees. well as less tangible benefits, Community strengthening is limited like a sense of togetherness, to by GtC’s small scale. Nonetheless, refugees and the community. by improving settlement outcomes Positive outcomes were achieved of individuals, GtC contributes through case managing refugees, to strengthening refugee and guiding them into a combination non-refugee communities. One of closely integrated components refugee highlighted the intangibles (mentoring, training and work contributing to his increased placements) each one essential to community engagement: refugee social inclusion. For some of the most marginalised people in I’ve gotten a sense of togetherness. our community, this program has I’ve also gotten help with the been the difference between social wider community because when exclusion and successful settlement. you understand the community you get more involved. Kemran Mestan (03) 9483 1370
As a mentor, John also feels optimistic: Ever y time I see him, I’m reminded that he’s ten jumps ahead of me intellectually and professionally. He’s on his way and just having trouble adapting to Australian culture. Thanks to his par ticipation in GtC, Shambu s social networks have expanded. He said ‘I got to meet a lot of people and I didn’t think I was alone anymore’. He is now involved in the parents’ committee at his daughter’s primary school. He has applied his hor ticulture skills to improving the garden at the school, impressing many other parents. John is glad to count Shambu as a friend, and repor ts with pleasure that Shambu has: … this great capacity to do really well because of his drive and determination. Like right now I see him running slowly, but once he star ts moving quickly, there s no slowing him down. * Pseudonyms are used in this account. References Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) 2007, Labour market assistance outcomes , DEWR, Canberra. Taylor, J 2004, ‘Refugees and social exclusion: what the literature says’, Migration Action , vol.26, no.2, pp.16–31. Yost, A D & Lucas, M S 2002, ‘Adjustment issues affecting employment for immigrants from the former Soviet Union’, Journal of Employment Counselling , vol.39, no.4, pp.153–71.
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