What’s so good about being nice?

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Nice isn't good; mean isn't bad. There. I said it. You've long suspected my heresy. Now you have proof in black and white. But it's true. Nice isn't good and our unshakeable conviction that it is, is making us bad. Let me explain what I mean. Imagine you're walking down the street and you see a guy manhandling a woman. You have several options. One of your options is to be nice. Nice might do

Good change is not inevitable

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My friend, Good change is not inevitable. It seemed for years that the battle against slavery in the British Empire would be lost. Those who fought to abolish the evil of slavery—men like John Newton, William Pitt, and William Wilberforce—felt at times a sense of the impossibility of the task. They knew that this change would not happen by accident. It must be fought for. And there would be a price to pay. William

When church discipline is sin

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We all know intuitively that there is a line between giving your child a smack and physically abusing him. While we may draw our lines in slightly different places, all decent people understand that there is a line and crossing it is evil. Church discipline is similar, but when it comes to church discipline, where is the line between loving confrontation and abusive harassment? Recent decades have seen a resurgence in the practice of biblical

The Royal Commission: This is a good thing

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Just over a week ago, on 12 November, 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that she will request the establishment of a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, particularly institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Subsequently, a formal website was set up as a hub for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. On 19 November, a consultation paper was published by the Australian Government asking for input on the terms of

16 reasons crime should not be handled in-house

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Ministry means working with people. And people are sinners. So those who are ministering to others will at times find themselves knee deep in messy situations. Unfortunately, these situations often involve criminal behaviour which has never been reported to the civil authorities. Probably the most common instances are child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect) and domestic/family violence. EDIT: Based on some of the comments, I wanted to add a quick clarification here. I am

Three Headlines

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"Puppy nips toddler" . "Dog bites kid" . "Canine savages boy" . One message. Three headlines. The power of headlines Have you ever considered the power of a headline? It sets the tone for everything you're about to read. But every story has three headlines. One that attempts to be objective and straightforward and two that try to influence you—either positively or negatively. Are you skilled to recognise which one you're reading? Do you recognise

Politics

I am unashamedly non-partisan. I swing at the ballot box because I love truth and justice more than any party. Every election is a complex calculus of multitudinous factors and disparate likely outcomes assessed pragmatically with the engagement of my mind, my heart, and my conscience. You’ll see me critique and affirm both sides of politics based on whether I think what they are doing is good or bad, admirable or detestable. I would love to convince you to be a swing-voter too.

Legal reform

The following are some key areas in which I want to see legal reform. These are based on my observations in helping the vulnerable. I have sought to give an indication of the particular jurisdiction I have in mind. That said, I want to see progress on these issues across all jurisdictions.

If I can help you or you can help me progress any of these causes, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Improved protection for tenants of rental housing in Queensland. There is a need for an ombudsman or advocacy organisation that can defend the rights of the vulnerable. Additionally, real estates that violate the rules must be able to be held accountable. Current accountability mechanisms in Queensland are very weak.

Good progress was made in 2021 when Queensland real estates were required to give a reason for denying permission for renters to own a pet. Unfortunately, simply stating that the body corporate forbids them is still a sufficient reason. This leaves a huge proportion of our most vulnerable population unable to gain the significant benefits that owning a pet provides. Especially in regard to mental health, resilience, and general well being.

A number of jurisdictions in the United States of America have a statute of limitations of sexual assault. These laws demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the nature of sexual assaults and cause great harm to the victims of crime. There should be no statute of limitations on sexual assault.

In our attempt to protect the poor from taking on unserviceable levels of debt, Australia has made it very difficult for the poor to obtain even minor levels of microcredit (e.g. a credit card). While for the person with average income, this might seem like a minor inconvenience and a way of protecting the poor, it actually has a disproportionate effect on the poor who often live paycheck to paycheck and for whom small amounts of microcredit can mean the difference between putting food on the table or not.

The Australian government needs to quickly address the issue of the exploding pseudo-credit industry (afterpay, zippay, open pay, lattitude pay, PayPal…). These forms of credit are entirely unregulated to date and often make inaccurate or misleading claims such as that there is no interest. In reality, fees often add up to exorbitant rates of interest in effective rate terms.

Homelessness in Australia is often not a result of gaps in the system, but of the inability of the homeless person to navigate the system effectively. Anyone who has tried to get support through the NDIS or stay connected to basic JobSeeker payments understands that it takes countless hours and enormous emotional energy, persistence, and resilience to effectively navigate our systems for good outcomes. The same is true in seeking medical care. One must juggle one or more doctors, specialists, therapists, counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. This involves getting referrals, booking appointments, recording results, following up with prescriptions, and perhaps other referrals, etc. And of course much of this will need to be redone periodically as plans expire, professionals or patients move, and for other reasons. All of this is daunting for the average person. For someone with serious mental illness, for instance, this may be impossible. They often don’t have the capacity and/or skills to engage a system this complex long enough or effectively enough to achieve good outcomes.

Capacity limitations will often relate to health problems such as memory problems, anxiety, depression, phobias, paranoia, etc. Skill limitations may relate to organisation, time management, routine development, social problems, etc. In either case, the subject (the person who needs help) may find the system too complex to effectively manage and may fall through the cracks.

I am suggesting that Australia put in place a national care system that will maximise the benefit of all the other systems. I’ve referred to it here as personalised care management. I am not the first to come up with this idea. The idea is that each person is assigned one person who helps the subject to navigate the systems that exist. This would involve creating a record of what systems are being engaged and what needs to happen next in that system. So for instance, a health pension recipient needs to have all his obligations mapped out clearly. He needs to have a pathway set out in writing for each problem he is trying to solve. If he starts experiencing pain in his foot, he needs someone to map out a path toward resolving that matter. The pathway will probably start with a visit to the GP. But he will need someone to get the result of that visit to the GP and help map out the next step. Because if that doesn’t happen, he has cost the government for the medical care, but for failure to follow through, will not get the result the system has paid for. This is an example of how personalised care management can make the existing systems much more effective.