Brotherhood Comment April 2009

Brotherhood Comment April 2009

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ISSN 1320 8632A regul Ar upd Ate from the r ese Arch And policy centreApril 2009Social policy, social democracy and the GFCWhat will be the long-term impact The social democratic approach They informed the universalist of the global financial crisis on also assumes a market economy. welfare reforms of the Whitlam Australian public policy? No less However, in a tradition going years. These fell foul of a major a person than the Prime Minister, back to Marx and T H Marshall, downturn in the global economy. Kevin Rudd (2009), has proposed it emphasises that it is more often Will Rudd’s social aspirations meet that we are at ‘a turning point market failure and inequality than the same fate? We don’t think so.between one epoch and the next, weakness of character that empties when one orthodoxy is overthrown citizenship of substance. States In the 1970s and 80s there was and another takes its place’. need to uphold the economic and a very limited understanding of He identifies the old epoch as social rights of citizens as a basis the nexus between economic and neoliberalism and the new as social of genuine economic and social social policy. Welfare reformers democracy. All of this at a time participation. Here exclusion is did not think in terms of social when the federal government has essentially a problem of inequality. services as an economic investment, been establishing social inclusion while neoliberals considered them as a new framework for welfare. ...

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ISSN 1320 8632
A regul Ar upd Ate from the r ese Arch And policy centre
April 2009
Social policy, social democracy and the GFC
What will be the long-term impact The social democratic approach They informed the universalist
of the global financial crisis on also assumes a market economy. welfare reforms of the Whitlam
Australian public policy? No less However, in a tradition going years. These fell foul of a major
a person than the Prime Minister, back to Marx and T H Marshall, downturn in the global economy.
Kevin Rudd (2009), has proposed it emphasises that it is more often Will Rudd’s social aspirations meet
that we are at ‘a turning point market failure and inequality than the same fate? We don’t think so.
between one epoch and the next, weakness of character that empties
when one orthodoxy is overthrown citizenship of substance. States In the 1970s and 80s there was
and another takes its place’. need to uphold the economic and a very limited understanding of
He identifies the old epoch as social rights of citizens as a basis the nexus between economic and
neoliberalism and the new as social of genuine economic and social social policy. Welfare reformers
democracy. All of this at a time participation. Here exclusion is did not think in terms of social
when the federal government has essentially a problem of inequality. services as an economic investment,
been establishing social inclusion while neoliberals considered them
as a new framework for welfare. Australia’s Social Inclusion Board wasteful spending simply because
What would be a social democratic (2008) has already shown signs of they were provided by government.
approach to social inclusion? a social democratic intent. Its first
principle emphasises the importance Even before the global financial
This question sharpens our sense of universal services: ‘Funding and crisis, a much more integrated
that there are indeed ‘varieties service delivery should promote approach to social and economic
of social inclusion’. Silver has equitable access to universal benefits policy was emerging. Internationally,
characterised social inclusion in and services for Australians in all a new generation of development
terms of three paradigms: solidarity, their diversity …’ This emphasis on economists had rediscovered the
specialisation and monopoly. The universality contrasts strongly with importance of effective social
second and third are of special previous neoliberal preoccupations policy as infrastructure for effective
interest because they correspond with getting people off welfare. operation of markets (Green 2008),
very roughly to ‘neoliberalism’ while welfare state scholars showed
and ‘social democracy’ (see Of course, social democratic policy how big social spending had
Daly & Silver 2008). aspirations are not new in Australia. proven a competitive advantage,
According to Silver, specialisation Continued page 2
(corresponding to neoliberalism)
posits the market as the primary Contents
mechanism for achieving inclusion.
Stemming from the ideas of 4–5Managingtheimpactoftheglobalfinancialcrisisonsocialandeconomicparticipation
Adam Smith and John Locke,
Ageingwell,planningwisely:strengtheningAustralia’sretirementincomessystem 6
it understands the excluded as
Notimelikethepresent:prioritisingpoliciestosupportfamilies 7a kind of ‘underclass’ arising
from the failure of individual 8Globalfinancialcrisisandcorporateresponsibility:regulatingtoavoidapovertycrisis
citizens to achieve independence
T heBrotherhood’sGreenCollarJobsProject:thecaseforaccessible,decent,greenjobs 9and self-sufficiency. As in the
Poor Law tradition, policies B eyondtheclassroom:learningsupportfordisadvantagedstudents 0
for inclusion are a combination
F osteringcivicengagementofdisadvantagedyouth:CommunityServicesLeadershipProgram of paternalistic correction of
bad behaviour and charitable Towardsculturallyinclusivesocialinclusion 2
support for the truly deserving.
Muchmorethanchild’splay:assessingintegratedearlychildhoodinitiatives 3
Evaluatingatargetedchildandparentintervention:HIPPY 4
www.bsl.org.au April2009Continued from page 1 News
Referencesrather than a handicap, in open- Realising a vision for aged care
Daly, M & Silver, H 2008, market European economies
‘Social exclusion and social capital: In April 2002, the Myer Foundation announced it would (Glatzer & Rueschemeyer 2005). A comparison and critique’, Theory invest $1 million provided by the Sidney Myer Fund in
& Society, vol. 37, pp. 537–66. the future of aged care in Australia, through its 2020: Through the COAG human capital
Glatzer, M & Rueschemeyer, D 2005, A Vision for Aged Care in Australia project. Released agenda, Australian economic Globalization and the future of later that year, the report presented images of an aged policy has already accommodated the welfare state, University of care world in 2020. The gaps revealed between current an expanded role for social Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh.
reality (2002) and a desirable future (2020) highlighted investment in improving the labour Green, D 2008, From poverty the challenges ahead as the number of people needing supply. The Rudd government’s to power, Oxfam, Oxford.
care increases with Australia’s ageing population.Keynesian-style economic stimuli,
Rudd, K 2009, ‘The global financial crisis’,
however, represent a much broader The Monthly, no. 42, February, Since then, the Myer Foundation has funded a number potential scope for future social viewed 27 March 2009,
of strategic initiatives to keep attention on key aged <http://www.themonthly.com.au/ intervention. Big spending on
care issues. The Brotherhood of St Laurence has been tm/node/1421>items such as schools and social
engaged by the foundation to track the process of housing in order to boost demand Social Inclusion Board 2008, Social
influence on government policy and assess its impact inclusion principles for Australia, viewed can transform social as well
on practice. The research project will be managed 27 March 2009, <http://www.deewr.gov.au/ as economic infrastructure.
Department/SocialInclusion/Documents/ by Dr Helen Kimberley and the research undertaken
SocialInclusionPrinciplesforAustralia.pdf>. by Astrid Reynolds of McVicar & Reynolds.Wray (2008) recently summarised
Wray, L 2008, ‘The continuing legacy of the ongoing relevance of Keynesian
John Maynard Keynes’, in M Forstater &
thought in terms of this proposition: Understanding homelessness and L Wray (eds), Keynes for the twenty-first
‘Entrepreneurs produce what century, Palgrave, Basingstoke, UK. cognitive impairment
they expect to sell, and there is no
Alzheimer’s Australia, the peak body providing support reason to presume that the sum
and advocacy for people living with dementia, has of these production decisions is
engaged the Brotherhood of St Laurence to conduct consistent with the full employment
a project to build an informed picture of the specific level’ (p.1). Hence there is a need for
needs of people with cognitive impairment (including a permanent capacity to socialise
dementia) who are homeless or have insecure housing. investment to the degree necessary
The work will also involve preparing a practice guide to ensure macroeconomic efficiency.
for housing workers who support these clients.
If the Rudd Government’s stimuli
For more information about either project, contact:prove to be not simply one-off
events for an emergency, but first
Helen Kimberleydecisive steps towards a new more
(03) 9483 1306 regulated approach to managing
hkimberley@bsl.org.audemand, then the possibilities for
an Australian social democratic
approach to social inclusion will
be significantly expanded.
Paul Smyth
(03) 9483 1177
psmyth@bsl.org.au
Published in April 2009 by Brotherhood Comment is published three times a year by the Research
Brotherhood of St Laurence and Policy Centre of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
67 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia The Brotherhood of St Laurence works not just to alleviate but to prevent poverty, focusing
ABN 24 603 467 024on people at the greatest risk at key life transitions. It is a national voice on matters of
disadvantage, understanding that poverty’s remedy lies in integrating social and economic
Telephone: (03) 9483 1183
policy so as to strengthen the capacities of individuals and communities. Its research, service Facsimile: (03) 9417 2691
development and delivery, and advocacy aim to address unmet needs and translate the learning E-mail: publications@bsl.org.au
into new policies, programs and practices for implementation by governments and others.
2April2009 www.bsl.org.auFrom the General Manager
Visitors to our Research and Policy Some reregulation of the financial the Australian Government with
Centre will observe a significant system will be inevitable. Serena numerous community partners,
renovation of our office space. We Lillywhite considers the significance and outlines the findings emerging
are pulling away the old warren of of the crisis for international and from evaluations. Tony Barnett
enclosed work stations and library national corporate responsibility, presents some of the methodological
and opening them up to the air and pointing to the need for forms of issues in designing the evaluation
light. Work amid the renovation regulation which protect vulnerable of the national roll-out of the
offers something of a metaphor for groups from financial exclusion. Home Interaction Program for
the changes to the policy landscape Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY).
wrought by the global financial Critical issues
crisis. As we suggest in our lead High on the 2009 research agenda is Regarding young people, Sharon
article, uncertainty about the our input to the review of Australia’s Bond reports on the present and
long-term impacts of the GFC on taxation and income support potential role of learning support
the overarching policy orthodoxy systems. In this issue Rosanna programs in providing additional
make it impossible to know whether Scutella reports on our latest assistance for students outside
we face fundamental changes or submission regarding retirement school hours. The Community
simply a short-term interruption incomes, drawing on analysis Services Leadership Program pilot
to business as usual. We do commissioned from NATSEM. is another promising initiative to
conclude, however, that in terms of encourage disadvantaged young
social policy, social inclusion will Climate change continues to attract people to learn about and contribute
continue as the organising concept and deserve media attention, actively to their local community
of national social policy renewal. especially in the aftermath of through student-designed projects,
Victoria’s tragic bushfires. A focus as Emily Duizend reports. Janet
In the meantime, much of the action of the Brotherhood’s latest work Taylor’s latest report from the
within RPC has been about coming is green job opportunities, with Life Chances study, analysing
up with an immediate policy an emphasis on ensuring that eight case studies of early school
response to the growing crisis. disadvantaged job seekers can share leavers, has also been released.
This work has been led by Michael the benefits, as Josie Lee explains.
Horn, who in this issue considers Staff news
the likely impacts on employment Under social inclusion we have Several senior staff members have
and especially the delayed effect been fortunate to have the services left us since the last issue: Gerry
on long-term unemployment. of Michael Clyne in thinking Naughtin, Annelies Kamp and
Michael focuses on policy responses through what it means in relation Daniel Perkins. While a loss for us,
required to avert the social exclusion to multiculturalism. Here Michael each has gone on to important and
of people most at risk of losing emphasises the importance of senior roles elsewhere. We thank
jobs or not finding new ones. cultural inclusion as a means to them for all their efforts at the
capitalise on and bring benefits Brotherhood and wish them every
A particular feature of our approach to Australia’s diverse population. success in their new endeavours.
is to avoid the neoliberal fallacy The papers presented at last year’s
that at times like this it makes wide-ranging series of conferences Paul Smyth
good economic sense to disinvest in and workshops on social inclusion (03) 9483 1177
society and put resources into ‘the have been edited and prepared psmyth@bsl.org.au
economy’. Horn’s work highlights for publishing by Arnaud
the economic loss which would flow Gallois. They are now available
from not acting to mitigate long- on the Brotherhood’s website.
term unemployment. Zoë Morrison
points out that we must also be Transitions
concerned with timely measures Brotherhood researchers continue
to protect families and children to investigate and assess ways to
from the serious and predictable maximise social and economic
consequences of economic stress: participation at all ages, focusing
domestic violence, relationship on critical transitions of life. In this
breakdown and ill health. Proactive issue, Nadine Cameron describes
preventative measures make good the purpose of the Communities
economic as well as social sense. for Children initiative funded by
www.bsl.org.au April20093Managing the impact of the global financial crisis on
social and economic participation
We are now witnessing the effects In the 2001 economic downturn, Who will be most affected?
of the global financial crisis on national unemployment increased Certain job seekers are more
Australia. Although the depth of from 5.9% to 7.1%. The number vulnerable to social exclusion and
this downturn is difficult to predict, of long-term unemployed also welfare dependency: those with
experiences from earlier downturns increased but at the same rate, with low skills, poor education and
point to the likely impact on LTU remaining relatively stable as little or no work experience. People
employment and especially on a proportion of all unemployed at without post-school qualifications
long-term unemployment (LTU). 23%. The underpinning drivers of are less likely to obtain and retain
This requires immediate policy economic growth were sufficient work than those with vocational
responses if the goals of the social to prevent the accumulation or tertiary qualifications. Mature-
inclusion agenda are to be realised. of a large pool of LTU. age workers and young school
Noteworthy is leavers are are greater risk of
the significant Australia is in some respects better Poverty levels continued to social and economic exclusion.
lag between placed than the United States, increase during the mid 1990s, in
the decline in
Japan and Europe to weather the part because when the economy Historically, there is a strong
economic activity
slump, due to our lower reliance grew again, most of the jobs correlation between English and the peaks in
on exports, a healthier banking were not full-time, but part-time language proficiency and unemployment
sector and resilient housing sector. and casual. The erosion of work obtaining paid work. Migrants and long-term
However, business confidence is at skills increased social exclusion from non-English speaking unemployment.
record low levels—on a par with and harmed productivity. backgrounds experience higher
the 1990–91 recession, rather levels of unemployment.
than softer downturns such as Anticipating the trend
in 2001 (NAB 2009). And the Long-term unemployment correlates In Australia’s last recession, the
interconnectedness of national very strongly with poverty and unemployment rate of Aboriginal
economies is ever increasing. social exclusion. An effective social and Torres Strait Islander people
inclusion agenda should therefore reached almost 28% (March 1994)
In spite of the Australian anticipate the upward trend in LTU compared with 10.6% for the rest
Government’s welcome stimulus by implementing both preventative of the community (ABS 2000).
packages and the earlier tax cuts, and ameliorative policies in time This compares with recent (2007)
the depth of the international to minimise social exclusion. unemployment rates of 14%—just
recession, the level of job losses over three times that of the non-
and high levels of personal debt The current rate of unemployment Indigenous population (ABS 2008).
will lead to rates of unemployment is 5.2% (seasonally adjusted,
and long-term unemployment February 2009), with long-term Particular industries are likely to
closer to those in past recessions. unemployment at 72,000 be harder hit by this downturn
persons or about 14% of total and there will be a differential
Lag in long-term unemployment unemployment (ABS 2009). impact on regional and rural
In recent submissions to the communities—especially those
Australian and Victorian Assuming two quarters of negative dependent on single industries.
governments (BSL 2009a, 2009b), or zero growth in 2009, the
we compared unemployment trends peak of LTU is likely to occur in Impact of economic downturns
from the 1990–91 recession and late 2011. The timing depends While the earlier trajectories of the
the more recent 2001 economic on the extent of the downturn, USA and the UK into recession have
slowdown. Noteworthy is the which in turn depends on the had a dampening effect on economic
significant lag between the decline effectiveness of both international confidence in Australia, they have
in economic activity and the peaks and Australian responses. also led to a stronger Australian
in unemployment and long-term Government policy response.
unemployment. The unemployment The Brotherhood’s current
rate nationally reached almost assessment indicates that Of great concern is the prospect of
11% in 1990–91. The peak in unemployment will reach 8% increasing joblessness, the primary
long-term unemployment (over (860,000 persons). Assuming a cause of poverty and exclusion. The
52 weeks) occurred two years subsequent peak in LTU at 30% experience, especially of longer term
later in mid-1993, at 36.5% of unemployment, we may expect unemployment, can lead to social
of unemployed persons. that LTU will almost quadruple isolation, relationship conflict, poor
to 260,000 by late 2011.
4April2009 www.bsl.org.auhealth, depression and anxiety— creation strategies and measures maintain social connections;
and increased pressure on families. to mitigate the impact of job losses but additional assistance will
on households and communities. be required, including increased
Lengthy periods of unemployment benefits for the unemployed to pay
also result in loss of skills and In a tight labour market, supply- for basic needs, emergency relief and
confidence to take up work side factors addressed through housing assistance, and financial
opportunities as they reappear. active labour market programs support to ensure retention of child
Productivity is reduced as and employment assistance care for job-seeking parents.
unemployed people either drop will have limited effect. A more
out of the labour market (at interventionist approach is A multidimensional response is
least temporarily), engage in needed to support disadvantaged essential. Let us learn from the
A more futile job search activities or job seekers with transitional experiences of past recessions
interventionist transfer onto pensions. employment pathways that include and act now to minimise the
approach is real work experience and accredited extent of social exclusion.
needed to support
Policy responses training. This should include
disadvantaged
The Australian Government has measures to enable the development Michael Horn job seekers with
implemented two packages of of social enterprises. The focus (03) 9483 2496 transitional
measures to boost household must be on sectors with long-term mhorn@bsl.org.au employment
consumption and moderate growth prospects, for example pathways that
Referencesthe downturn. The package environment and climate change. include real work
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2000, experience and late last year focused on a
Labour force characteristics of Aboriginal accredited training.one-off stimulus to spending Additional capital spending on and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2000,
through $8.7 billion payments infrastructure such as transport occasional paper, Cat. No.6287.0, ABS,
to low-income pensioners and and health is required. But just as Canberra.
families. Importantly, the second important are substantial increases —— 2008, Labour force characteristics
stimulus announced in February in recurrent expenditure in human of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Australians: estimates from ($42b) included a substantial services (education support, children
the Labour Force Survey, 2007, investment in job retention through and families, youth, disability and
Cat. No.6287.0, ABS, Canberra.vital infrastructure spending in aged care). This will lift service
—— 2009, Labour force, Australia, February education and social housing. quality and effectiveness up to
2009, Cat. No. 6202.0, ABS, Canberra.international best practice, and
These packages will have will also stimulate jobs in labour- Anglicare 2008, Increasing hardship demands
long term change, media release by Dr Ray some effect on protecting jobs, intensive sectors, with stronger
Cleary, 15 October, viewed 29 January 2009, depending on households’ increased multiplier effects for the economy.
<http://www.anglicarevic.org.au/index>.consumption (rather than saving
Brotherhood of St Laurence 2009a, Policy their one-off payments or paying off While the costs of some key
recommendations to the Australian debt) and on the multiplier effects household budget items, including
Government for an effective response to the
of the infrastructure measures. petrol and mortgage payments, economic downturn, BSL, Fitzroy, Vic.
have fallen over the past year,
—— 2009b, Submission to the Victorian However, overseas trends point to and the Australian Government
State Budget 2009–10: Building capacity
a deeper recession than Australian has given one-off payments to and preventing social and economic
economists have predicted. For particular groups on low incomes, exclusion: proposals in response to the
example, the UK unemployment there are already signs of increasing economic downturn, BSL, Fitzroy, Vic.
rate has risen to 6.5%, with over financial hardship leading to National Australia Bank (NAB) 2009,
2 million people out of work for the higher demand at community Monthly business survey & economic outlook
first time since 1997 (ONS 2009). services (Anglicare 2008). – January 2009, viewed 22 March 2009,
<http://www.nab.com.au/wps/wcm/connect>.
The Brotherhood’s scenario As the loss of jobs accelerates, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2009,
Labour market statistics March 2009, for unemployment reaching impact on new home purchasers
viewed 19 March 2009, 8% and LTU at 30% of total and private renters will lead to
<http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ unemployment now seems quite higher levels of housing crisis
pdfdir/msuko309.pdf>.
conservative, but shows the and loss of homes. Preventing job
urgency of developing a more losses for low-income households
comprehensive suite of measures. should be a priority to enable
These should include further job them to retain their housing and
www.bsl.org.au April20095Ageing well, planning wisely
Strengthening Australia’s retirement incomes system
Australia needs policy frameworks average worth of more than $1.6 incomes system (voluntary savings
that will ensure all its citizens have million). Much of their wealth is the and investment), particularly capital
adequate incomes to enjoy their family home, which is not assessed gains tax concessions. Progressive
retirement years. The Brotherhood in determining eligibility for the ‘lifelong savings’ schemes should
of St Laurence has argued in recent pension. Kelly (2009) also finds be examined, possibly building
submissions (BSL 2008a, 2008b, that home-owning age pensioners on a reformed superannuation
2009) that the overall system have greater other assets and higher scheme, for goals including
needs to be made more equitable: income flows. Thus pensioners who ongoing learning and housing.
people on lower incomes need own their home are typically much
access to an adequate, sustainable, better off than those who do not, Rosanna Scutella
state-funded age pension (pillar 1) both in having secure housing and (03) 9483 1324
targeted to those most in need, and in having other income and assets. rscutella@bsl.org.au
tax incentives for both compulsory
Referencesand voluntary savings (pillars 2 We therefore recommend that the
Brotherhood of Laurence 2008a, Pension and 3) need to be better targeted to excess value of owner-occupied
reform for all: submission to the Pension
those on low and middle incomes. housing above a certain threshold, Review of measures to strengthen the Pensioners who
say $1 million, be included as an financial security of seniors, carers and own their home
Income support payments asset in determining eligibility people with a disability, viewed 20 February are typically much
2009, <http://www.bsl.org.au/pdfs/The first urgent issue is the for the Age Pension. The pension better off than
BSL_subm_pension_review_2008.pdf>.inadequacy of many income would then be reduced at the those who do not,
Brotherhood of Laurence 2008b, support payments, which are current asset test withdrawal rate. both in having
Towards a progressive tax system: below generally accepted living secure housing and
submission to the review of Australia’s in having other standards (FaHCSIA 2008). In The current system also sets up an
future tax system, viewed 30 January
income and assets.particular, allowance payments incentive for people to reorganise 2009, <http://www.bsl.org.au/pdfs/
and rent assistance have not their assets to qualify for a part BSL_subm_tax_review_2008.pdf>.
changed in real terms, even though pension—often not so much for the
Brotherhood of St Laurence 2009,
costs of food, energy and rent pension itself, which may be small, Strengthening Australia’s retirement
have been rising more than the but for concessions. To discourage income system: submission to the review
of Australia’s retirement incomes system.overall CPI. Groups most affected this, the government should
include the unemployed, single introduce a universal age concession Department of Families, Housing,
pensioners and income support card for everyone over 65. This Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs (FaHCSIA) 2008, Pension recipients renting privately. will have an initial cost, but long-
Review background paper, prepared term savings are expected as fewer
by J Harmer, FaHCSIA, Canberra.Immediate action should therefore people apply for the pension.
Kelly, S 2009, Reform of the Australian include increasing the single
retirement income system, NATSEM pension base rate to 66 per cent Superannuation and savings
research report, prepared for the Brotherhood
of the couple rate and increasing We also recommend replacing of St Laurence, NATSEM, Canberra.
the rate of Rent Assistance, with the current tax concessions for
associated increases for other income invested in superannuation
income support recipients. This can with a comprehensive income
be partly paid for by tightening the tax treatment. This will improve
income test for the Age Pension. vertical equity and, by taxing
superannuation investments
Treatment of assets more in line with other savings
While many pensioners struggle and investments, also improve
to make ends meet, some age horizontal equity. The revenue
pensioners are actually quite savings (in 2007–08 estimated
wealthy. In research commissioned at $26 billion) can then be better
from NATSEM by the Brotherhood targeted to build the asset base of
of St Laurence, Kelly (2009) those on low to middle incomes.
shows that 13.8 per cent of people
receiving the Age Pension are among Finally the Henry Tax Review must
the wealthiest household group examine other inequitable and
in Australia (with a minimum net inefficient tax measures affecting
worth of almost $719,100 and the third pillar of our retirement
6April2009 www.bsl.org.auNo time like the present
Prioritising policies to support families
We have always known that Indeed, the broader international Parental leave is just one example.
poverty and deprivation impact context shows the impact a marked Overall, the GFC provides
on families and children in financial downturn has on families more reason for concern for the
fundamental ways, and with the and children. The 1997–98 welfare of families and children,
global financial crisis (GFC), the Asian crisis saw a decline in birth and more reason for social
impacts of unemployment and rates, an increase in malnutrition investment and policy finesse.
reduced economic resources will be under the age of five, and a rise
heightened and more widespread. of up to seven per cent in child Zoë Morrison
In policy terms, this means that the mortality rates, but as stated at the (03) 9483 1385
GFC is a time to prioritise families UNICEF conference in Singapore zmorrison@bsl.org.au
and children, rather than disinvest. in January this year, the impact
Referencesof the GFC will be much larger
ABC 2008, Maternity leave may be casualty Parents under pressure (ABC 2009). Recommendations
of financial crisis: Swan, news report
Reduced family income entails less at that conference included 5 October, viewed 26 February 2009,
economic resources to purchase cash injections to families and <http://www.abc.net.au/news/
children’s services, fund peer appropriate maternity leave policies. stories/2008/10/05/2382413.htm>.
These economic
activities, and take advantage ABC 2009, ‘Concern financial crisis could circumstances
of educational and development Investing in support for families cause poor children to suffer’, news item also mean that
7 January, viewed 26 February 2009, opportunities for children, all of In summary, now is not the time implementing paid
<www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/which can negatively affect health to shirk from existing, proposed parental leave in
stories/200901/s2461209.htm>.outcomes and cognitive development or additional funding for families Australia is more
Australian Research Alliance for Children (ARACY 2008) and a person’s well- and children. Cash injections important, not less.
and Youth (ARACY) 2008, ARACY report being and life outcomes overall. are a start; but with increased
card on the wellbeing of young Australians: demand, local, state and federal
technical report, prepared by The Allen
Unemployment and economic funding will need to be boosted for Consulting Group for ARACY, Woden,
difficulties can affect families and services such as family relationship ACT, <http://www.aracy.org.au>.
children in insidious ways. The counselling, domestic violence
Benson, M & Fox, G 2004, ‘Concentrated
stress of parental unemployment services, child protection services disadvantage, economic distress, and
is passed onto and absorbed by and mental health services. violence against women in intimate
relationships’, in B Fisher (ed) 2005, Violence children, creating an environment
against women and family violence: less conducive to healthy childhood These economic circumstances
developments in research, practice, and development (Shonkoff & Phillips also mean that implementing paid
policy, US Department of Justice National
2000). Research has also established parental leave in Australia is more Institute of Justice, Rockford, USA.
that family violence increases in important, not less. The Australian
Shonkoff, J & Phillips, D 2000, From
households experiencing economic Government has suggested that neurons to neighborhoods: the science of
strain. Couples in which the male the GFC might provide a reason early childhood development, National
has experienced two or more not to introduce the 20-week Academy Press, Washington DC.
periods of unemployment, for paid parental leave scheme, as Waldfogel, J 2007, ‘Meeting children’s needs
example, have notably higher rates recommended by the Productivity when parents work’, Focus, vol.25, no.1,
of violence against women than Commission, in the May Budget University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute
for Research on Poverty, pp. 63–66.couples in which the male has this year (ABC 2008). Yet, if we
more stable employment, and this are speaking of the welfare of
is particularly marked in already children and families in difficult
disadvantaged neighbourhoods economic times, research shows
(Benson & Fox 2004). that parental leave is associated
with lower infant mortality, better
In increasingly difficult economic maternal and child health, lower
times, family and children’s services maternal depression, and more
are needed even more, but there immunisation (see Waldfogel 2007).
will be extra pressure on existing Obviously this is not a policy on
services, including child care. For which to further procrastinate,
example, in the United States, given Australia’s extraordinary lag
forced closure of childcare centres behind the rest of the world, and it
has occurred due to reduced is particularly important this time.
parental ability to pay fees.
www.bsl.org.au April20097Global financial crisis and corporate responsibility
Regulating to avoid a poverty crisis
The global financial crisis (GFC) job losses’ (such as those from Investment and the OECD
has focused attention on the need Pacific Brands factory closures in Guidelines for Multinational
for robust regulatory frameworks, Australia) but the knock-on effect Enterprises have been useful,
and a governance culture that throughout production networks. but their implementation must
values transparency, disclosure and Job losses, and a threat to fair and be more stringent. A new Global
accountability. Two key questions decent work, are the real impact Standard for business behaviour
arise. Firstly, what impact will of the GFC. What began as a has been proposed by the OECD
the likely rush to re-regulate have financial crisis is rapidly becoming Secretary-General (Gurría 2009).
on those most disadvantaged? a jobs and poverty crisis.
The remedy will Secondly, what impact will Corporate responsibility fosters
need to be binding the crisis have on corporate Devising a new system social dialogue at enterprise,
and innovative responsibility policy and practice? Concern is growing over the fairness sectoral and national levels. To
regulation that and sustainability of the sort of be most effective, businesses will
does not further
An unexpected benefit of the GFC globalisation we have had prior to need to support comprehensive
disadvantage
may well be the recognition that the financial crash (ILO 2009b). economic stimulus packages. A those already
nation states must play a greater In this context, the International focus on job preservation, job experiencing
role in ensuring the regulatory Labour Organization’s Decent creation and protecting employee poverty and
framework protects against Work Agenda provides a relevant entitlements will be central to social exclusion.
adverse corporate practices, and in policy framework, promoting sustainable recovery and growth.
particular, irresponsible lending. job creation, expanded social
Further, the limitations of voluntary protection, social dialogue and The current economic downturn
corporate responsibility mechanisms rights at work (ILO 2009a). provides an opportunity to
are evident; yet this may provide rethink values, business models
the necessary incentive for greater It is critical that a ‘new’ global and governance. Responsible
enforcement of national laws financial system is established lending and investment and
and international standards, and that guarantees stability, security the decent work agenda have
coherence with voluntary tools. and fairness. For example, access never been more important.
to mainstream, affordable and
The remedy is not as simple as appropriate financial products Serena Lillywhite
‘more regulation’. It will need to be and services must be safeguarded; (03) 9483 1379
binding and innovative regulation remittance mechanisms for slillywhite@bsl.org.au
that does not further disadvantage migrant and seasonal workers
Referencesthose already experiencing must not be constrained; and
Gurría, A (OECD Secretary-General) 2009, poverty and social exclusion. microfinance initiatives to alleviate
The need for a global standard, remarks
poverty must not be overlooked or delivered at the G7 Finance Ministers Dinner,
Regulatory deficiencies undermined. We need an equitable Rome, 13 February 2009, viewed 17 March
affect the poor and sustainable recovery. 2009, <www.oecd.org/document/50/
0,3343,en_2649_201185_42184370_1_1_1_1,00.The regulatory cracks highlight
html>failures both of internal governance Where next for corporate
ILO 2009a, Economic crisis response in financial institutions and of responsibility?
must support jobs, SMEs, vulnerable external oversight to recognise Despite fiscal constraints, now
sector, ILO meeting concludes, press and respond to risks. more than ever is the time to invest
release 23 February, viewed 4 March 2009,
in responsible business policy <http://www.ilo.org/asia/info/public/pr/
The impact will be felt most and practice. Notwithstanding lang--en/WCMS_103257/index.htm>
by those already experiencing their limitations, abandoning
ILO 2009b, Unemployment, working poor
disadvantage, ‘simply because voluntary mechanisms would be and vulnerable employment to increase
they have less to lose’ (Kinley counter-productive. Rather, it’s dramatically due to global economic crisis,
press release 28 January, viewed 4 March 2009, 2008). The least developed time to ensure these ‘soft laws’
<http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/states are at risk of reductions become more normative, not as
Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/ in foreign direct investment and an alternative to national laws
lang--en/WCMS_101462/index.htm>
overseas development assistance. and international standards,
Kinley, D 2008, Re-regulating global finance Globally, dramatic increases in but as complementary tools to
with the poor in mind, paper provided to unemployment, working poor encourage good business conduct.
Lillywhite, contact <d.kinley@usyd.edu.au>.
and precarious employment are Instruments such as the United
expected—not just ‘first tier Nations Principles of Responsible
8April2009 www.bsl.org.auThe Brotherhood’s Green Collar Jobs Project
Making the case for accessible, decent, green jobs
In early 2009, the Brotherhood’s experience component due to the of owner-occupied houses have
Equity in Response to Climate likely increases in unemployment full insulation, compared with
Change program embarked on a and in the difficulty of obtaining 27 per cent of private rental
new phase: promoting ‘green collar’ work due to the global financial properties (DHS 2008).
job opportunities and training crisis. It also highlights the
and skills development to ensure prospects for creating green In response to this announcement,
that disadvantaged job seekers employment in social enterprises. the Brotherhood has been working
and long-term unemployed people with government to improve
can join the green workforce. We are also organising a high profile the Low Emission Assistance
Disadvantaged forum ‘Victorian – the Green Jobs Plan for Renters, so that it more
Australians, Green collar jobs are roles in many State: Creating a green, prosperous, effectively targets low-income
including those industries that aim to alleviate and socially inclusive Victoria’, households, includes other energy
who have been environmental problems. They in partnership with Environment efficiency measures, supports
long-term
include jobs that help to reduce Victoria. This forum will inform a social enterprises in delivering
unemployed, must
energy consumption, decarbonise report on how to make Victoria a the service, and is accompanied not miss out on
the economy, protect and restore leader in green collar jobs. Another by a national accredited training the benefits of
ecosystems and biodiversity, and major aim is to encourage the scheme for household energy these employment
minimise all forms of waste and Victorian Government to establish efficiency retrofitting. openings.
pollution (White & Walsh 2008). a Green Jobs Taskforce to address
the skills and training needs for Josie Lee
A growing field new or reshaped roles emerging (03) 9483 2493
Such jobs are a significant area of in response to climate change and jmlee@bsl.org.au
employment growth. Globally, green climate change mitigation policies.
Referencesmarkets are projected to double
Department of Human Services (DHS) 2008, from US$1.4 trillion per year in Insulation rebate impact
Victorian Utility Consumption Household
2008 to US$2.7 trillion by 2020 As part of its February Survey 2007: final report, prepared by Roy
(UNEP 2008). The United States announcement of a further Morgan Research, <http://dhs.vic.gov.au/
Government recently committed economic stimulus package, the __data/assets/pdf_file/0008/307358/
VUCHS-2007-Final-Report.pdf>.$500 million to green jobs training, Australian Government committed
and billions to green projects, to insulating 2.2 million owner- Lee, J 2009, Green jobs in a changing
climate: sustainable employment, skills as part of its economic recovery occupied homes at a cost of
and training for disadvantaged job package. Policies that respond to $2.7 billion. It also committed to a
seekers: background paper, Brotherhood climate change, such as Australia’s Low Emission Assistance Plan for
of St Laurence, Fitzroy, Vic.
Carbon Pollution Reduction Renters, with the insulation rebate
Rudd, K (Prime Minister) 2009, Energy Scheme and Mandatory Renewable for rental properties increased from
efficient homes – ceiling insulation in Energy Target, and policies that $500 to $1000 (Rudd 2009).
2.7 million homes, media release 3 February,
support energy efficiency provide <http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Release/2009/
significant opportunities to increase This welcome initiative will media_release_0783.cfm>.
prosperity though job creation generate green collar jobs. These
United Nations Environment Programme
and re-training. The Brotherhood include jobs requiring modest skills, (UNEP) 2008, Background paper on green
believes that disadvantaged which means that disadvantaged jobs, UNEP, Nairobi, viewed 12 March 2009,
<www.unep.org/labour_environment/PDFs/Australians, including those who job seekers can benefit. Also, the
Green-Jobs-Background-paper-18-01-08.pdf>.have been long-term unemployed, rebate goes some way to meeting
must not miss out on the benefits the objectives of our proposed White, S & Walsh, J 2008, Greener
pathways: jobs and workforce development of these employment openings. National Energy Efficiency
in the clean energy economy, Center on Scheme, but has limitations. It
Wisconsin Strategy, The Workforce Alliance
Lee (2009) addresses the does not specifically target low- & The Apollo Alliance, Madison, USA,
opportunities for supporting income households (although viewed 12 March 2009,
disadvantaged job seekers to obtain such households will benefit), <http://www.greenforall.org/resources/
greener-pathways-jobs-and-workforce-training and work experience in and it is skewed too far towards
development-in/download>.green jobs through Australia’s supporting home owners, whereas
new employment services system, private renters are least likely to
which is to be implemented in have insulation and yet are most in
July 2009. The paper recommends need of the benefits. For example
doubling the funding for the work in Victoria, some 80 per cent
www.bsl.org.au April20099Beyond the classroom
Learning support for disadvantaged students
Students from low socioeconomic Additional benefits include reduced Partnerships. Though these suggest
status (SES) backgrounds face risk behaviours, peer friendships scope to resource LSPs within
educational disadvantage. A and the availability of role models a more flexible and inclusive
forthcoming BSL review of learning or mentors. Such supports ease education system, federal education
support literature suggests they the transition through school, spending to date has largely been
are less likely to enjoy school or while LSPs can provide essential directed at measures such as
complete Year 12, more likely to skills for tertiary study and the testing, professional standards, and
be low academic achievers and workplace (Bond forthcoming). school-based trades education.
become unemployed. Low parental
education affects the importance The number of LSPs has grown The irony, given the national social
placed on homework and the significantly over the last decade. inclusion agenda, is that current
capacity to assist, while lower Typically, community-based LSP policy treats educational reform as
parental workforce participation sessions provide around 2 hours synonymous with school reform.
limits the careers information and of learning assistance for primary This approach is unlikely to help
networks available to children. or secondary students with unmet the 10–15 per cent of young people
Low SES students are also less learning needs. Community LSPs poorly engaged in education.
likely to participate in academic like the Brotherhood’s Homework
or other activities like sport or Centre represent a place-based In the Brotherhood’s view, the
creative arts due to costs or lack approach. Located in the Fitzroy 90 per cent student completion Out-of-school-
of transport (Bond forthcoming). Library near public housing, tutors rate (Year 12 or equivalent) will hours learning
focus on the local needs of students only be achieved by addressing the support programs
For these reasons, out-of-school- and their families, with support tail of educational disadvantage. (LSPs) that provide
hours learning support programs from a community liaison worker. catch-up learning,
homework (LSPs) that provide catch-up The centre’s proximity to the estate Inclusive education must reach
assistance, tutoring learning, homework assistance, is an advantage and the students, beyond school to embrace
or enrichment tutoring or broader educational who attend eight schools, draw alternative learning opportunities
activities in a and enrichment activities in a support from friends and older and improve commitment to
well-resourced and well-resourced and supportive students within their community. education, enable catch-up with
supportive study
study environment are of great The library venue is a welcome the curriculum and strengthen
environment are
value for disadvantaged students. change from the classroom, and attainment. Research demonstrates of great value for
An evaluation of four Melbourne provides cultural and practical the benefits of LSPs and a growing disadvantaged
Citymission LSPs found that their resources like reference books number of NGOs are seeking students.
largely disadvantaged participants and computers, often lacking in to partner with schools in their
attend because the education disadvantaged households. delivery. This presents a strong
system cannot meet their needs, case for governments to fund LSPs
and that without support they A strategic approach for all disadvantaged students.
are at risk of early school leaving, International recognition of the
underemployment and low-skilled, value of learning support for Sharon Bond
insecure work (Pate 2008). The disadvantaged students may be seen (03) 9483 2495
related 2007 survey of 33 LSPs in in the United States’ 21st Century sbond@bsl.org.au
disadvantaged suburbs found that Community Learning Centres and
Referencesthree-quarters identified significant the United Kingdom’s Extended
Bond, S (forthcoming), Engaging benefits for students. The three Schools Program. In Australia
disadvantaged students (working title),
broad dimensions of benefit were: LSPs’ potential was noted in the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Fitzroy, Vic.
Labor Party election policy on • academic outcomes (school Horn, M & Fewster, D 2007, A profile literacy and numeracy and in the retention, improved grades, of learning support programs in
2007 COAG agenda put forward north-west Melbourne, Melbourne engagement in learning)
by the Victorian Government, Citymission, Melbourne.
• social and personal development which has itself funded some
Pate, A 2008, Learning support
outcomes (improved self-esteem, sector coordination and refugee- programs: ‘A chance to experience
language skills and cultural focused programs. The latest success’: an evaluation of four Melbourne
adjustment) Citymission learning support programs COAG education reform agenda
for children and young people, commits to Low Socio-Economic • family or community gains Melbourne Citymission, Melbourne.Status School Communities and (improved relationships with
Literacy and Numeracy National parents) (Horn & Fewster 2007).
0April2009 www.bsl.org.au