Thursday, December 31, 2015

Notes: Tuesday, December 1-Thursday, December 31, 2015

1. Some changes to this blog's sidebar

Just before posting this issue of "Notes", I added a link to What's Up With Francis-Church? to my "Blog links" section, added a link to Catholica to my "Discussion links" section, moved the "News and opinion links" section to between the "Miscellaneous links" and "Magisterium" sections, and deleted the "Posts" and "Comments" sections.

Labels: blogs

2. "The bottom line is we want families to be able to access more affordable child care so they can get to work."

The quotation in that headline comes from the transcript of a radio (2GB) interview by Mr. Ray Hadley of The Hon. Scott Morrison M.P. (Federal Treasurer) on November 30, 2015, downloaded from Mr. Morrison's Ministerial website:

Similarly, the Federal Minister for Social Services, The Hon. Christian Porter M.P., said shortly before Mr. Morrison that
a better allocation of some[ "welfare"], and a modest amount in terms of the total of Family Tax Benefits is to reprioritise that to, generally speaking, to the same families but through another mechanism that is better, more efficiently subsidised childcare so that you engender workforce participation.
[my square-bracketed interpolation,
"Sky News To the Point" interview transcript, November 26, 2015, downloaded from Mr. Porter's Ministerial website:]
See also
  • the Joint Transcript "Joint press conference - Child Care Reforms", dated Wednesday, December 2, 2015, downloaded from the Ministerial website of The Hon. Sen. Simon Birmingham (Federal Minister for Education and Training):

    (That transcript is also available at Mr. Porter's Ministerial website under the apparently mistaken heading "ABC 720 Perth with Simon Birmingham", and also at Sen. Birmingham's personal website, under the heading "Joint Press Conference - Christian Porter", dated Thursday, December 3, 2015 (perhaps the date of its uploading to that website rather than the date of the press conference in question).) In the introduction he gave at that press conference, Sen. Birmingham said that
    Ultimately, we believe it[ (that is, "the Jobs for Families child care reforms")] will deliver better outcomes, lift workforce participation, help encourage more people into the work force, help encourage greater volunteering, help encourage people to study, get greater results from the $40 billion that the Government expects to invest in child care over the next few years, more than $3.2 billion of additional expenditure.

    Our number one focus is overwhelmingly on families and children – supporting families and parents in their working ambitions, supporting children accessing child care to have support for the early learning opportunities it provides. …
    In answer to a question from a journalist about why the reformed child care subsidy still goes to high income—even millionaire—households, Sen. Birmingham said that
    the greatest analysis into Australia's child care and early learning system undertaken in recent years occurred via the Productivity Commission inquiry into child care and early learning. And that inquiry recommended that there should be a floor in relation to child care subsidy that applied to all family circumstances to make sure that there was an appropriate incentive for workforce participation. You have to remember that when you are talking about family income levels it's not necessarily the family income level that matters most to a workforce participation decision in relation to child care; it's the secondary income earner that is often the decision point. And so by putting a floor in relation to the child care subsidy, there is always still an incentive there and some assistance there to help the secondary income earner step in.
    and he expressed similar reasoning in answer to similar questions a couple of days before that press conference; see his answers to the first two questions in the transcript "Interview - RN Breakfast - Alison Carabine", Monday, November 30, 2015:

    and his answers to the first, second, and second-last questions in the transcript "Interview - Doorstop", Monday, November 30, 2015:

    (In fairness, however, see the antepenultimate paragraph of the interview transcript "Interview - Sky News - PM Agenda - David Speers", dated Friday, November 27, 2015, downloaded from Sen. Birmingham' s personal website:
  • the Joint Media Release "Family Tax reform to better support Australian children", dated December 2, 2015, downloaded from Mr. Porter's Ministerial website:

    and also available at Sen. Birmingham's Ministerial website:

    (and at his personal website.)

    This is the first paragraph of that media release:
    The Turnbull Government today introduced the Jobs for Families Child Care package and Family Tax Benefit bills to Parliament to encourage workforce participation and provide a more flexible, accessible child care system.
    [italics in the original]
    and later on, Mr. Porter is quoted as saying that
    It makes sense to redirect the money from the [end-of-year FTB-B ]supplements back into families but in a way that allows parents to re-enter the workforce.
    which is clearly reminiscent of my earlier quotation—that begininning with "a better allocation of"—from him.

    Also of interest in that media release is Sen. Birmingham's mention of H.M.A. Government's proposal "to refer the legislation to the relevant Senate Committee". That committee is presumably the Community Affairs Legislation Committee, and the relevant inquiry is presumably that into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015:

    though I didn't see any mention there of childcare.
  • the opinion piece "Government payment cuts threaten single-income families", by Marcelle Mogg (she "is the chief executive officer of Catholic Social Services Australia"), dated December 27, 2015, downloaded from the Sydney Catholic Weekly's website:

    (That article came to my attention via the version printed under the headline "Payment cuts threaten single-income families", with the same author, on p. 6 in the "NEWS" pages (though the article in question was a "Comment" piece) of the Sydney Catholic Weekly, December 27, 2015, Vol. 73, No. 4807, published by The Catholic Press Newspaper Company Pty. Ltd., and another version is available under the headline "Cuts leave two-parent families in the cold", dated December 16, 2015, at Eureka Street (Vol. 25, No. 24):

    In that article, Ms Mogg writes that
    The Government has provided little justification for moving away from the longstanding policy that family payments are made in recognition of the extra costs that families face compared to others with similar income.

    The disparity means two-parent families will be better off financially if they separated. Is that the kind of incentive we want built into government programs?
Labels: childcare, economic rationalism, economics, family, tax, work

3. More information on the imminent changes to Victoria's Special Religious Instruction programme is available at the webpage "Special Religious Instruction 2016" in the "Curriculum" pages of the "School Policy & Advisory Guide" section of H.M.V. Government's Education and Training website:

See especially the "Overview of Changes" and "Information for Parents" Word documents, both dated November 2015, available for download at the bottom of that webpage.

Labels: education, feminism, G.L.B.T., morals, multiculturalism, relativism, Victoria

4. Two points of interest from the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development inaugural Progress Report:
  • "Stamping out STIs in the Cook Islands", p. 45
  • "Catholic Church supports sexual health program", p. 54
The Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development First Progress Report 2012-2015 is available here:

See also the media release "Progress Report of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development", dated December 7, 2015, available at the Ministerial website of The Hon. Steven Ciobo M.P. (Federal Minister for International Development and the Pacific):

and the prepared text, under the headline "Launch of the Pacific Women Inaugural Progress Report", of a speech by Mr. Ciobo, dated December 7, 2015, available at the same website:

Labels: abortion, contraception, feminism, foreign affairs

5. "“’Nostra Aetate had eliminated any language referring to hope for a conversion,” he[, viz. "Joseph Sievers, a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute and a member of the[ Vatican] commission[ for Religious Relations with the Jews] that produced" "THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE",] said, “but it did not explicitly say ‘we do not want to convert Jews.’ This document wants to make that clear.”"

The quotation, excluding my bracketed interpolations, in that headline comes from the report "New Vatican Document Says Church Doesn't Seek Conversion of the Jews", by Mr. Francis X. Rocca, dated (or at least last updated) December 10, 2015, downloaded from The Wall Street Journal's website:

A similar interpretation of that document, or at least of one of its logical consequences, seems to have been expressed by a well-known Jewish participant in Jewish-Catholic dialogue—see the article "Catholics should not seek to convert Jews: Vatican", no byline (though the stated source was "CATHOLICCULTURE.ORG"), p. 27, the Sydney Catholic Weekly, December 20, 2015, Vol. 73, No. 4806, published by The Catholic Press Newspaper Company Pty. Ltd.—but one apparently well-informed reporter disputes that interpretation, writing that the
claim that the document explicitly says that the church does not want to convert Jews is not accurate.
["The Vatican has said Catholics don't need to convert Jews: What does this mean?", by Florence Taylor, dated December 11, 2015, downloaded from Christian Today's website:]
The document in question is available in English here (though I don't know what the original language is):

Labels: Jews, Roman Curia

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Thursday within the Octave of Christmas, and the feast of St. Sylvester I., Pope, Confessor, A.D. 2015