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Brotherhood of St Laurence - Working for an Australia free of poverty Brotherhood Update - Research and policy update from the Brotherhood of St Laurence

October 2019

The Brotherhood of St Laurence mission is to pursue systemic change for a fairer, more compassionate and just society.

This issue of Brotherhood Update features a working paper about social security, research about young adults' life chances, and a radio interview about mature age employment.

Our Brotherhood Talks continue, with podcasts including lively discussion about the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and insights about refugees' experiences globally and within Australia.

Please share Brotherhood Update with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.

RESEARCH Principles for social security

Part of wheel diagram showing components of a fair society

Australia's social security system is ill equipped to respond to technological, demographic, environmental and geopolitical challenges. This working paper proposes five indivisible principles for a system that contributes to a just, fair and compassionate society.

Dina Bowman, Danielle Thornton and Shelley Mallett argue that social security needs to be reframed as being there for ‘for all of us’, emphasising the unpredictability of life events such as becoming disabled or experiencing a health downturn, becoming a carer, or experiencing family violence. Principles from Australia’s past and from overseas provide food for thought.

We aim to start a wider conversation about how Australia can enable economic security for all.

Read the paper Reclaiming social security for a just future: a principled approach to reform (PDF, 313 KB)

Podcast NDIS: What’s working, what’s not?

Four panellists at NDIS talk

In this two-part Brotherhood Talks podcast, RPC head of Inclusive Communities, Amanda Pagan, leads a discussion on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The expert panel comprises 

  • Professor Bruce Bonyhady, Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne, and an architect of the NDIS as inaugural chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Karen Dimmock, CEO of the Association for Children with Disability
  • Samantha Connor, disability rights campaigner and convener of NDIS Grassroots on Facebook
  • John McKenna, disability advocate, NDIS recruiter and podcaster.

Access NDIS: What’s working, what’s not? Part 1

Access NDIS: What’s working, what’s not? Part 2 (Q&A)

Access other Brotherhood Talks

RESEARCH Getting to work, not always straightforward

Pedestrians at busy intersection

In our longitudinal Life Chances Study, interviews with 37 young adults in their mid-twenties reveal how they are unevenly affected by changes in the labour market and in post-compulsory education.

Read the report by Dina Bowman, Malita Allan and Iris Levin, Getting to work: insights about the transition from education to employment from the Life Chances Study, Stage 11 (PDF, 327 KB)

Journalist Gay Alcorn interviewed several Life Chances participants for her article Dumb luck, nurturing, hard work: how class does not always dictate fate in The Guardian.

PODCAST Insights about and from refugees

Panellists at Brotherhood Talk on refugee issues

Brotherhood Settlement Manager Joseph Youhana has recently taken part in meetings of UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency) and the UN Human Rights Council. He joins a panel who share from their rich professional and lived experience in this Brotherhood Talks podcast, Refugees in 2019: responding to record high levels of displacement.

Brotherhood Executive Director, Conny Lenneberg, draws on her extensive international development experience in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, while RPC Principal Research Fellow Dr Dina Bowman explores the labour market landscape in Australia.

POLICY Do less harm in Centrelink processes

Undue emphasis in our social security system on compliance and conditionality is counterproductive and causes harm to individuals, their families and the wider society. The Brotherhood argues for a principled approach, and independent ethical oversight of automated processes related to income support payments.

Read our Submission to the Senate inquiry into Centrelink's compliance program (PDF, 1 MB)

MEDIA Mature, skilled and looking for work

Older jobseekers can spend as long as three years unemployed, with serious consequences for their financial situation and psychological wellbeing. Dina Bowman was interviewed about the Brotherhood’s research on Radio National Life Matters.

Listen to Mature, skilled and looking for work

POLICY Tackling climate change in Victoria

Climate change threatens all Victorians, especially households and communities that are already vulnerable to stressors such as poor health, unemployment, low income and inadequate housing. The Brotherhood argues that responses to climate change should be designed to reverse these harms and promote social equity.

Read our recent submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into Tackling Climate Change in Victorian Communities (PDF, 198 KB)

Find out more about our work on equity and climate change.

AWARD Parliamentary Library Fellowship announced

Shaun Lean MP, Maria Mupanemunda and Colin Brooks MP

Photo: Parliament of Victoria

We're delighted that Maria Mupanemunda, from the Work and Economic Security team of the Research and Policy Centre, has been appointed as the 2019 Parliamentary Library Fellow. 

The library fellowship enables researchers to contribute to the development of public policy. It also gives Victorian MPs and staff access to the latest research and ideas on issues that matter to their constituents.

Photographed here with the Parliament's presiding officers, Shaun Lean MP and Colin Brooks MP, Maria will investigate the ways that social procurement opens employment opportunities for people experiencing labour market disadvantage.

Read Maria's paper on Social procurement (PDF, 318 KB)