Aspect September 2018

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Beware of the ambit claim

Kasy ED 4_pref

Many observers of politics are familiar with the ‘ambit claim’. It has become a well-worn tactic in many of the political battles we’ve seen in Canberra.

It goes like this.

One party makes an ambit claim – a proposal so extravagant that it couldn’t possibly be accepted.

After some compromise, the ambit claim is watered down. The proponent secures some important wins, but concedes just enough ground to appear moderate and accommodating. 

Somehow, the proponent emerges from the saga seeming reasonable and gracious. And stranger still, those working against the ambit claim emerge grateful for the outcome. They may even welcome it.

I have been reminded of this tactic as we prepare for changes to electoral laws that are due to come before parliament next month.

The first set of changes proposed by the Government would have forced any group to register as a political campaigner if it spent more than $100,000 on “political expenditure” in a three-year period.

Political expenditure was defined as: “The public expression of any views on an issue that is, or is likely to be, before electors in an election (whether or not a writ has been issued for the election).”

In other words, any comment on any policy issue at any time could be considered electioneering. Every charity that employed someone to analyse issues like aged care, homelessness, disability, living costs and virtually any other issue was likely to end up classified as a political campaigner.

On top of that charities and community groups would have had to force their donors to sign statutory declarations, no matter how small their contribution. Many people would have found this strange and intrusive. It certainly would have put an end to age-old practices like rattling the donation tin at church events.

All of this would have created a set of requirements so complicated that some groups would have been forced to hire new staff just to manage their compliance. Others would have stopped speaking out altogether, deterred by complicated administrative requirements and huge penalties for getting it wrong – miscalculating the date that you become a ‘political campaigner’ would have cost  up to $50,000 per day in fines.

This was the ambit claim.

After a year of pushback, we’re left with a new set of changes.

Under the latest version of the law charities and community groups might still be blocked from using international philanthropy to fund advocacy, even if it is for a charitable purpose. Some of the new clauses still conflate issues-based advocacy with electioneering. This is at odds with charity laws which protect our right to encourage voters to consider particular issues, such as housing or social services, and to rank the policies of parties. 

Talk of statutory declarations is gone. But the onus will be on the charity or community group to check the citizenship status of many donors, either by providing copies of their passport or birth certificate, or by providing details consistent with the electoral roll.

And for large charities and organisations, there is a requirement that they disclose the political affiliations of their senior staff. This move would make many staff uncomfortable – and it’s hard to imagine that this information wouldn’t be used to discredit those organisations.

This, we’re told, is the sensible compromise.

But if we look past the ambit claim, it’s clear that civil society has taken a major hit.

If passed the new laws will have major implications for all community groups, including charities. They will allow the Government to audit much of the advocacy work and income sources for our sector. And they will send a message to the public our motives are somehow impure.

Whatever the fate of this Bill, not-for-profits and charities will continue to face many lines of attack: On our tax deductible status, on our capacity to advocate, and on our right to speak without being attacked or dismissed.

In the face of it all, we must not stop asking: Why, when there are so many corrupting influences on our public debate, is civil society being targeted so relentlessly?

And as this Bill has taught us, we must not allow ourselves to become sidetracked by ambit claims.

National Office News

National Office News: National Conference, Anglicare Australia National Awards, and more

Courage in Kindness: Anglicare Australia National Conference 2018
Anglicare Australia’s National Conference was held at the Stamford Grand in Glenelg from 16-19 September 2018, bringing together more than 250 people from across Anglicare Agencies. Our theme, Courage in Kindness: Driving Change in Work and Community, allowed us to explore our work and our mission. As Anglicare Australia Network members, we work in hundreds of communities across Australia responding to the needs of people in need of care.

The event began with the Anglicare Australia Annual General Meeting and a CEO Forum, which was addressed by The Hon Dr Gary Johns, Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. His address provided our CEOs with an important opportunity to discuss the direction of the ACNC and the future of the charity sector with Dr Johns. This was followed by a an opening service and welcome reception at St Peter's Anglican Church in Glenelg, which featured a digeridoo performance and an address by Father Andrew Mintern.

0010Delegates began Monday morning with a Greeting Ceremony conducted by Karl Winda Telfer, a Senior Kaurna Custodian. It featured a Yellaka dance and cultural sharing group, held on the lawn area on the beachside of the hotel. Many delegates participated by bringing a leaf or a small stick to place on the spirit fire of peace.

The conference formally began with a keynote address by Dr Rebecca Huntley. At a time when politics seems increasingly negative and our society increasingly divided, Dr Huntley’s address reminded us that we are more fortunate than we think, and have more in common than we know. Delegates were also treated to a complementary copy of her book Still Lucky, and Dr Huntley was kind enough to sign copies for delegates. Her address helped set the scene for the conference theme of Courage in Kindness.

Other keynote speakers included Kate Hillman, Professor John Pollaers, Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan, David Pearson, Associate Professor Alwin Chong, and Debra Saffrey-Collins who delivered the John Roffey Lecture. Many touched on the same themes of courage, kindness, and how we work together to advance our mission.

0045More than 40 workshops were offered over the three day period, and evaluations noted that some of these were so well-prepared and thorough that they could have been standalone keynote addresses in themselves. The workshops explored how Anglicare Australia Network members work towards our shared goals, how we collaborate to improve our work, and how we support each other as we advance our mission.

The conference was closed with a dance performance by the Dusty Feet Mob. The Dusty Feet Mob are an Aboriginal dance group from Port Augusta, South Australia aged between six and thirty-one years. Their performance was deeply moving, and many delegates told us that they found themselves in tears.

We thank all of our delegates and speakers for helping make the conference a success. As Father Stuart Soley said in his final blessing, “consider how you will hold fast to what is good. Take home thoughts and wisdom shared and use them to work with courage and kindness.”

More information on our keynote speakers is available in the Anglicare Australia Conference Program. Workshop presentations are available to download here, along with the keynote presentations.

Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence
0049The Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence, sponsored by Telstra, recognise outstanding services, projects and programs provided by the organisations of the Anglicare Australia network, as well as individual volunteers who have made a significant contribution.

The reception and ceremony for this year’s awards were held on Monday 17 September 2018 at the National Wine Centre. The awards were compered by Anglicare Australia Chairperson Bishop Chris Jones and presented by Robert Morsillo of Telstra.

0052We had an extraordinary breadth of contribution across our four categories of Innovation, Excellence, Partnership and Volunteer Achievement. The 2018 winners were:
- Highly Commended in the Excellence Category: Anglicare North Coast’s 3Es to Freedom Program
- Highly Commended in the Excellence Category: AnglicareSA Housing
- Winner in the Excellence Category: Anglicare NT’s headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program
- Highly Commended in the Innovation Category: Anglicare WA’s Human Centred Design Program
- Winner in the Innovation category: Amana Living Arts Festival
- Joint Winner in the Partnership Category: The Samaritans Foundation’s Kempsey Women’s Refuge
- Joint Winner in the Partnership category: Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT’s Ashmont Community Resource Centre
- Joint winners in the Volunteer Achievement category: Jan Stevens of AnglicareSA and Doug Philpot of Anglicare Sydney.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Telstra, and our 2018 judges:
- Mr Robert Morsillo, Senior Adviser for Digital Inclusion at Telstra
- Ms Claerwen Little, National Director of UnitingCare Australia
- Mr Brian Babington, CEO of Families Australia

We will run a series of profiles on the winners and highly commended entries in the Anglicare Australia Review and forthcoming issues of Aspect.

Information on all of the nominees is available in the Anglicare Australia Awards Booklet.

Ian Carter AM recognised with the Inaugural Burgmann Award by Anglicare Australia
0064In addition to the Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence, a new award was created to recognise outstanding contributions to our network. The Inaugural Burgmann Award for significant contribution to the Anglicare Australia Network was awarded to Ian Carter AM, who has served as CEO of Anglicare WA for 24 years.

Ian was involved in founding Anglicare Australia, and serves on the Anglicare Australia Council.

In addition to his service to Anglicare Australia, Ian has led the Anglicare WA over a remarkable era as it evolved to a leading community service provider for WA’s most vulnerable people.

More information about Ian Carter, who will step down from his role at Anglicare WA in 2019, is available in the August edition of Aspect.

Stronger Together: Annual General Meeting and Annual Report
The 22nd Annual General meeting of Anglicare Australia was held at the conference. Congratulations to Jeremy Halcrow who was elected as a council member for another three year term. Congratulations also to Sandra Hills, Stephanie Buckland and Suzi Christensen who were co-opted to the council.

The council is the governance body of Anglicare Australia and made up of senior leaders from around the membership. In addition to skills and attributes that are sought in council members, t is balanced to ensure diversity in gender, geographic location, service type, and organisational size.

Anglicare Australia’s Annual Report, Stronger Together, is also available online after being accepted at the Annual General Meeting. The Annual Report provides an overview of our priorities and how they have informed some of our flagship projects, including our Jobs Availability Snapshot, our State of the Family Report, our Rental Affordability Snapshot, and other research projects Anglicare Australia has undertaken in the last year.

It also showcases the work of the Network, our impact in media debates, and our role in influencing social and economic policy.

Our Annual Report is available here. More information about the Anglicare Australia Council is available here.

Chairs Network launched at Anglicare Australia National Conference
A new network for the Chairs of Anglicare Australia members held its inaugural meeting at the Adelaide conference.  Bruce Linn, chair of Anglicare SA convened the meeting and it was attended by about ten member organisations.

The group will meet throughout the year by teleconference and again face-to -face at the 2019 conference in Perth.

Their agenda will cover items of specific and unique interest to Anglicare Australia above and beyond the normal governance activities and duties of boards. This includes issues such as governing for vulnerable people, the reputation of members as a shared resource, and governing church related bodies.

Given the subject matter the network is for Chairs only at this stage.  If your Chair hasn’t yet signed up, please send their contact details to [email protected]. We will ensure that they get invitations, minutes and the terms of reference for this group.

With the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse identifying governance as a vital part of how vulnerable people are supported in organizations, this group will help Anglicare Australia members further their conversations and development in leadership and governance.

Anglicare Australia responds to news of a Royal Commission into aged care
Anglicare Australia has provided input into the Terms of Reference for the proposed Royal Commission into aged care. Our submission calls for a close examination of the needs and expectations of older Australians, their families and the community with regards to aged care. We also called for an exploration of ways to improve quality, staffing, and wellbeing across the sector.

This feedback echoes comments made by Executive Director Kasy Chambers on the day of the announcement of the Royal Commission. Speaking to The Australian, said the Commission should look at “promoting wellbeing, instead of just preventing mistreatment”.

“That means confronting a major challenge: funding the system so that everyone has access to the care they need, without compromising quality,” Ms Chambers said.

Anglicare Australia’s submission is available here. Our comments in The Australian are available here.

Changing the conversation on intergenerational poverty
Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Intergenerational Welfare.

Our feedback was that the inquiry incorrectly frames a symptom as a cause, and is therefore an unhelpful beginning. Anglicare Australia recommended that the topic be recast as “The persistence and impact of intergenerational poverty and trauma” - this echoes our media advocacy on these issues.

We also called on the committee to consider the recommendations from our previous research, including our research papers on living on low incomes, Going without, and the inequitable rise in the cost of living under current government policy, Living Standard Trends in Australia.

Anglicare Australia’s submission is available here.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

First Nations Staff Network and National Reconciliation Network hold inaugural meetings
0093The Anglicare Australia First Nations Staff Network and National Reconciliation Network each held their inaugural meeting at the national conference in Adelaide. The networks have released a joint statement seeking to build on the achievements of this conference in prioritising and including First Nations people, for example through key note and workshop speakers, the Greeting Ceremony and dance performances, gifts for speakers made by Aboriginal artists, a local Aboriginal artist contribution and high attendance at the conference by First Nations staff from across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

These networks have further discussed measures to ensure that matters relating to First Nations people and reconciliation are prioritised during Anglicare Australia conferences, and that conferences engage in important and pressing national conversations such as constitutional recognition. Our hope and aim is to continue to build on the achievements of the 2018 conference, to ensure that future conferences continue to be welcoming for our First Nations staff, and that the whole network can benefit from deep and growing respect, relationship and engagement with First Nations people.

Click here to read the statement. Please contact [email protected] for more information about the First Nations Staff Network, or [email protected] for more information about the National Reconciliation Network.

Chris Jones celebrates 20 years at Anglicare Tasmania
Bishop Chris Jones has been recognised for twenty years of service as CEO of Anglicare Tasmania.

chris jones-2“Anglicare has a mission and it does drive what I do all the time,” he says, reflecting on his two decades in the role. “It’s all about delivering on the things we need to make Tasmania better, to bring about fullness of life for all people”.

As CEO, Chris has been a relentless advocate for affordable housing and utilities, gambling reform and improved support services for people experiencing disadvantage. Chris, who also serves as Chair of Anglicare Australia, says community service and social justice require a long term view.

“I have a view that Anglicare is here for the long haul,” says Chris. “Of course along the way, I would like us to so change the world that we don’t have homelessness, that we have improved mental health services and better support for people with disabilities. Anglicare has always been – and always will be – here to help make a positive difference for Tasmanians”.

Home Stretch campaign celebrates another win after Victorian announcement
The Home Stretch campaign has welcomed the Victorian Government’s ground breaking announcement that it will commit $11.6 million to extend foster care to 21.

Paul_McDonald-290The historic move will see 250 young people provided with care through to 21 years. The announcement follows a concerted campaign over the past two years by more than 5000 individual supporters and 200 community organisations to make it 21. The campaign is led by Anglicare Victoria.

Home Stretch chair and Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald welcomed the funding to implement the Home Stretch reforms.

“This is a landmark decision that will make a real difference to the lives of young people who have lived in foster, residential or kinship care. It is the most important reform in this area for many years,” Mr McDonald said.

More information about the announcement, and Home Stretch campaign, is available here.

Amana Living recognised at ACSA National Awards
Amana Living has been recognised at the 2018 Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) National Awards. The awards recognise excellence in aged care.

Amana Living's won in the Innovation in Service or Design category for their Dedicated Staffing Model.

Amana awardThe model was developed after Amana Living piloted a new staffing model to enhance the quality of care in its residential care centres, while delivering greater efficiencies. The Dedicated staffing model is a person-centred approach involving direct care staff supporting the same group of residents during each shift.

It allows greater continuity of care, encourages deeper relationships between staff and residents, and delivers better health and wellbeing outcomes. The model has now been implemented at all Amana Living residential care sites.

More information about the awards is available here. A presentation on the Dedicated Staffing Model, delivered by Amana Living and at the Anglicare Australia National Conference, is also available here.

Anglicare NT secures support from stimulus program
Anglicare NT has secured new support from the Northern Territory Government stimulus program, announced in September.

Anglicare NT manage a youth accommodation complex of four two-bedroom units, which assists young people experiencing homelessness learn skills to help them obtain a private rental.

One of the main outcomes Anglicare NT wanted from its stimulus works was an updated and re-concreted basketball court.

“The basketball court request was part of our strategy to provide spaces for young people to have fun, get active and be connected to one another,” said Anglicare NT’s Jemma Wood.

The Anglicare NT units were also repainted, and new kitchen benches were installed as part of the stimulus work.

“Anglicare NT is thrilled that the stimulus funding has helped create the type of environment that we believe will give young people the best chance at a bright future,” Ms Wood said.

More information about Anglicare NT’s youth accommodation work is available here.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Social Action Research Centre, AIHW, and the Productivity Commission

breaking-the-cycle-front-cover-e1536293849249Breaking the Cycle
Social Action Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania
This examines the complexities of assessing and supporting parenting capacity in the context of parental trauma, specifically through the experiences of parents who have had repeat child removals. The report is available here.

in-limbo-front-coverIn Limbo
Social Action Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania
This report looks at the complexities of assessing and supporting parenting capacity in the context of poverty and homelessness, specifically through the income and housing challenges faced by families post child removal. The report is available here.

AIHWOlder Australia at a glance
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
This report provides an overview of this diverse and growing population group through a range of topics. These outline older people’s demographic characteristics, health status, and service use. The report is available here.

PCRising inequality? A stocktake of the evidence
Productivity Commission
This research paper aims to contribute to an informed discussion in Australia by bringing together and taking stock of the latest and most complete evidence measuring the prevalence of, and trends in, inequality, economic mobility and disadvantage across Australian society. The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

New consultations and grants

Consultation on Human Rights and Technology
The Australian Human Rights Commission is calling for submissions responding to the questions in the Human Rights and Technology Issues Paper. This may be of interest to Anglicare Australia members working on digital inclusion, or with older people navigating technology.

Submissions close on Tuesday 2 October 2018. More information is available here.

Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is conducting this inquiry, which aims to identify broad systemic issues relating to the implementation and operation of the Scheme. After 30 June each year, the committee reports to Parliament on recurrent issues that have arisen and offers recommendations intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scheme.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

National Disability Agreement Review

The Productivity Commission will review the National Disability Agreement, including by examining progress against the performance framework in the Agreement and the extent to which it has supported improved outcomes for people with disability, their families, and carers.

Submissions close on Friday 21 December 2018. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, September 2018

Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week is a week where all Australians are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas. It was established in Australia as an expansion of the UN's annual International Anti-Poverty Day on October 17. In Anti-Poverty Week will be held from the 14th to the 20th of October. Anglicare Australia is a principal national sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week, and Anglicare WA’s Ian Carter is a national co-chair. More information is available here.

'A Day in the Life': Connecting politicians, senior bureaucrats with financial counselling agencies
Many Anglicare agencies employ financial counsellors – they know already that financial counsellors provide advice to people struggling with bills and debts. But too often key decision makers – our politicians and their advisors or our senior bureaucrats - don't understand the role. That's why Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), the peak body for financial counsellors is putting together its "Day in the Life" project. Visits will be organised between September and November 2018. To find out more, contact [email protected] or call Rita Battaglin 0403 220 777.

Family and Relationship Services Australia National Conference
The FRSA National Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. It will feature a number of highly acclaimed keynote presenters, as well as federal ministers and sector leaders with a focus on delivering the most effective services to children, families and young people. The Conference will be held on the 20-23 November, 2018 at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel. More information is available here.

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