Social Issues

This category contains 64 posts

Dealing with discrimination

If you are tall, short, fat, skinny, old, young, have red or blonde hair, wear glasses or have some other physical trait, then you have probably been negatively stereotyped for it. How did that make you feel? For most of us, there is at least a fleeting moment where we feel not so good about … Continue reading

Getting Brisbane’s Quarantine Centre ready for the homeless

Politicians from all three levels of government are arguing about Brisbane’s Quarantine Centre being used to house the homeless, and the media and homelessness services have weighed in on the argument as well. The simple fact is that it is not yet fit for the purpose of housing 500 homeless people, and this article will … Continue reading

The Social Model of Disability Affects Us All

The social model of disability is a framework for understanding disability that emphasises the role of society in creating barriers to inclusion and equal participation for individuals with disabilities. It is a contrast to the traditional medical model of disability which focuses on the individual’s medical condition as the cause of their limitations. In this … Continue reading

Kids don’t belong in adult prisons

Sending 13 year olds to adult prison is an appalling idea. Send them to prison, yes, but not to adult prisons. As an ex-prison officer, I saw 18 year olds passed around like a plate of hors d’oeuvres, and come out broken beyond repair. It is sickening that certain politicians and segments of the media … Continue reading

How Australia scammed students into welfare debt

Imagine if the Australian government told people they had to willingly repay their social security entitlements, and also pay interest on it. And imagine if people agreed. Sounds a bit far-fetched? Well that’s exactly what happened between 1993-2003. The Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) was a scam introduced by the Australian government 30 years ago, … Continue reading

Centrelink has a communication problem

My case officer at Centrelink has told me that they are not allowed to send or receive emails and the same rule applies with text messages. Apparently they don’t want to commit to anything in writing. This is compounded by the fact that it is near impossible to get through to them on the phone, … Continue reading

The need for gun control: A personal perspective

Australia has some of the best gun control laws in the world, and we should not change that. I am sickened every time some crazed redneck in the US points to our gun laws as “proof” that America should not have the same laws. What exactly is the point they are trying to make? That … Continue reading

The changing nature of work: Why we need a UBI

The nature of work is constantly evolving and changing, driven by technological advancements, globalisation, and changing societal norms. Traditional jobs are less common, and for this reason, we need a UBI. This transformation is affecting every aspect of the workforce, from the types of jobs available to the way people work and collaborate with one … Continue reading

The Public Trustee is ripping off pensioners

The Public Trustee is supposed to protect people it deems incapable of looking after themselves, but instead they are virtually stealing their money. Take the case of Mark (not his real name), reported by the ABC yesterday. His sister placed him under guardianship, against his will, and the Western Australia Public Trustee now takes 40% … Continue reading

Homelessness in Honolulu

In 2007, I moved to Hawaii in the United States. While it was meant to be a two week visit, it turned into a six month stay. I was surprised to find that even this tropical paradise has its share of social issues, including homelessness. I had travelled to Honolulu with an old friend I … Continue reading

How rent caps can and will work

Rent caps work in many countries around the world and will not lead to a decrease in supply. Indeed, Australia has had rent caps in the past, and it has not had any drastic effect on availability. Rent caps already exist in the ACT, which has been put forward by the Tenant’s Union of NSW … Continue reading

Mutual obligations should be scrapped

Mutual obligations is a punitive system introduced by the LNP government in their dying days as a final swipe at Australia’s most vulnerable. Under the system, jobseekers must complete a range of tasks each month – such as job applications, education or training, or other personal development activities – to meet their requirements. The various … Continue reading

The homeless in Seattle’s Underground City

In 2007, I found myself in Seattle, in the United States. I was meeting with a friend who wanted to tell me about the homeless in the underground city. The following are my observations from that time: Are homeless people living in undeveloped parts of Seattle’s abandoned underground city? From speaking with some of the … Continue reading

Centrelink payments to rise from Monday

Centrelink payments will rise from Monday 20 March, as part of the twice yearly increases driven by indexation. While the rises are welcome, they are still not enough. Single age and disability pension recipients and carers will receive an increase of $37.50 a fortnight, and couples a combined $56.40. The maximum fortnightly pension rate will … Continue reading

Helping the homeless in Brisbane

In 2005 I was in Brisbane, Australia, working for Big Issue Magazine. It was here that I got to help the homeless get off the streets. After returning from China in 2003, I ended up living on the streets in Brisbane for a short while. Then I found The Big Issue, and started selling the … Continue reading

Is superannuation guaranteed?

With Labor introducing changes to superannuation and the LNP promising to repeal those changes, Australians are once again left uncertain about whether they will have enough to retire on. Compounding that issue is the fact that it is now extremely difficult to get a full aged pension. First, let’s look at superannuation. For many years … Continue reading

The perils of being a journalist in China: Guangzhou

On my third trip to China, in 2003, I was teaching university and writing for an English language magazine in Guangzhou. I was also arrested for inciting freedom of speech and dissent. Guangzhou is one of the most populated cities in the world, situated about 120 km northwest of Hong Kong, in the southeast of … Continue reading

Teaching High School in China: Jiangdu

On my second trip to China, in 2003, I was teaching at Jiangdu High School in Jiangsu Province. It was here that I became aware of foreign predators preying on Chinese high school students, infanticide, the Chinese student army and the city’s links to my home town of Goulburn. I was teaching English as part … Continue reading

Campaigning for human rights in China: Huai’an

In January of 2003, I made my first trip to China, to Huai’an in Jiangsu Province. I was contracted to lecture about Aboriginal people in Australia, but it ended up being just as much about campaigning for human rights in China as anything else. In total, I lectured at nine universities and schools throughout Jiangsu … Continue reading

Centrelink’s phone system is not working

“Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line until your call is no longer important to you.” Anybody who has ever tried to use Centrelink’s automated phone system will tell you it doesn’t work. Only Centrelink seem to think it does, and they’re doing nothing to fix it The current system automatically … Continue reading

Managing an Aboriginal Corporation in Tingha

In 2002, I moved out of Queensland to manage the Mrangalli Aboriginal Corporation in Tingha, NSW. This proved quite rewarding, but it wasn’t without it’s problems. Sadly, the corporation no longer exists, for reasons we will discuss later. Before non indigenous settlement the area now known as Tingha was mainly inhabited by people from the … Continue reading

I won my 11 month fight with the NDIS

Yesterday I won my 11 month battle with the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). It was only a small win, but highlights the lack of empathy and bloody-mindedness of those charged with administering the scheme. This was an incredible waste of government time and money, when one considers that the cost that NDIS was trying … Continue reading

Teaching Aboriginal street kids in Rockhampton

Another learning experience I had was in 2001, teaching Aboriginal street kids in Rockhampton. I came to learn the problems these kids faced, and their genuine desire to overcome these problems. This was shortly after I had left Woorabinda Aboriginal Community, where I was running the TAFE at the local high school, and at the … Continue reading

There’s no town like Alice – or is there?

There can be no doubt that the problems in Alice Springs are extreme, to say the least, but similar problems exist on Indigenous, remote and rural communities right throughout Australia. Nor is the problem confined to Indigenous people. It is happening right across the community. Alice Springs has come to the forefront in recent times … Continue reading

Poverty in Australia

Poverty in Australia is a growing concern as it affects more and more people every year. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 3.2 million Australians, or approximately 13.5%, are living in poverty, meaning that they live on less than 50% of the median income. This means that more than one in eight Australians … Continue reading

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