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Consumer Family and Citizen Empowerment
 Public policy and social innovation for empowerment

    March 2010 Issue:

    Editorial2010 The Year for Change
Tony Fitzgerald Power but little glory in polluted politics
Paul Collier Still standing ...
    Erik Leipoldt NDIS - Everything About Us Without Us
Towards Good Lives Why Believe in Miracles?
West Belconnen Health Co-op opens its doors
    Just Stoelwinder
Medicare choice? Insights from the Netherlands
Consumer-Centred Health Care National Conference 22-23 March 2010
    Street by Street, Suburb by Suburb April 21/22 2010
May 2010 Parental leave | child care | work and family
Leadership Development Program for Families June Intake
Volunteer  Three roles available with the Centre for Civil Society
    Organising by Federal Electorate Become involved in your area


    Editorial 2010 The Year for Change    

    In our last Update, we reported on the
    launch of Paul Collier's candidature for the
    South Australian Upper House as part of
Dignity for Disability's campaign for
    political representation.

    On Tuesday 9th March, Paul Collier died following a brain haemorrhage. For
    someone who suffered spinal injuries in a motor accident travelling to his
    21st birthday party some 25 years earlier, this might be regarded as
    extremely unlucky.

    But as we report below, Paul is unstoppable in death as in life, for his name
    will still appear on the ballot paper when South Australians vote on Saturday
    20th March.

    This is what we said about 2010 as the Year for Change in our last issue:
    "Anne Manne is a Melbourne writer on feminism,
    motherhood, child care, family policy and work, and has
    just published a memoir of her childhood in Bendigo.

    So This is Life. Scenes from a Country Childhood
a young girl's emerging sense of love and care in
    a fragile poverty-bound household following a tumultuous
    marriage breakdown.

    Paul Collier is an Oxford-trained historian, now a
    quadraplegic, caring for an ageing mother in Adelaide. In early November
    Paul launched
Dignity for Disability's campaign for political representation
    in next year's South Australian state election. What does D4D want? Paul
    says "More than half of the disability dollars in the SA budget are spent on
    employee salaries, with a 33% increase in employees
    earning more than $100K in 2009. With more than 4,500
    staff we still hear that people with disabilities are still not
    receiving basic services and are not allowed to even
    shower more than twice a week".

    Both Anne and Paul are in a hurry. Both have spent many
    years following the care trail and probing its dynamics. Anne's 2005 book
Motherhood: how should we care for our children? and her 2008 essay
Love and Money: the family and the free market generated two
    resounding and unambiguous insights:

    The first is that those who care for loved ones, at home and without
    reward, constitute a kind of shadow poverty-based care economy

    The second is more profound and more radical in its implications: both
    neo-liberalism and left/feminist managerialism require this shadow
    care economy as a foundation for, and constituent component of,
    their own worldview.

    As Anne puts it "In the neo-liberal era, the more you devolved care on to
    others, the more you increased your competitive edge." Doing it yourself
    meant taking yourself out of the world of work, recognition, status and

    "The neo-liberal revolution, with its emphasis on employment for all and
    competitive striving in the marketplace, occurred simultaneously with two
    other significant social movements. The first was de-institutionalisation of
    the mentally ill and the severely disabled. Care in the community is a
    humane ideal, but it costs money and time. The second was the feminist
    revolution; women joined the workforce in growing numbers.

    Existing ideas of delivering care represent exhausted positions. The
    conservative vision is nostalgic: female self-sacrifice in the private realm,
    supporting men in the marketplace. Neo-liberals want women to work but
    don't want to alter the workplace to help them do so. Their answer is to
    transform care into a profitable commodity and sell it in the market. The
    results are cheap-as-chips ABC Learning-style corporate care or a low-
    waged, largely female servant class for the affluent."

    For Anne and Paul, it is clear where this analysis leads: a new political
    paradigm which places relationships and care at the centre, with the market
    and state harnessed to support these relationships rather than undermine

    And they are equally clear about the political method required to achieve this

    "So let's imagine another ad. It is next year's election campaign. This time
    the face is not a sleek master of the universe such as [Patrick] Dempsey
    but a careworn one, the mother of a disabled child. She leads the
    successful new Carers Party, now poised to hold the balance of power in the
    Senate. She wants a New Deal for the care sector. The slogan is: "No one
    giving or receiving care will live in poverty by 2015

    The time for passive detachment is

    It's time to start organising.

    Paul is determined that people with
    disabilities and carers will be public
    players in shaping the next South
    Australian government.

    Anne is determined to lead our march on the national stage from the
    shadows to the balance of power.

    With Tasmanian and South Australian state elections due in March 2010,
    a Victorian state election in November, and a federal election likely between
    July and September, Anne is keen to hear from people wanting to get active
    and make the difference."

    This is how ABC TV in South Australia reported Paul's death - CLICK HERE
    to view the footage

    "Paul, even in his death, will do more for people with disabilities in this state
    than the current government has done," says fellow candidate Sam Paior.

    "He is unstoppable".

    Paul's courage in challenging the machine men who control our politics is

    Will 2010 be our Year for Change?

    CLICK HERE to tell us your views. 

    Tony Fitzgerald  Power but little glory in polluted politics

    Tony Fitzgerald is a former Australian judge, who

    presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry into political
    corruption in Queensland in the 1980s.
Despite the
 culture change in state politics that resulted from his
    work, there is so much more work still to do.

    "A harmonious civil society rests on essential pillars,
    such as individual freedom, non-discriminatory equality,
    and the rule of law. As Chief Justice Earl Warren of the US Supreme Court
    pointed out years ago, law ''presupposes the existence of a broad area of
    human conduct controlled only by ethical norms and not subject to law at

    That aphorism sits uneasily with the realities of 21st-century Australian

    However, until official misconduct becomes egregious enough to overcome
    community cynicism and generate public outrage, few Australians seem
    troubled by, or even interested in, structural and systemic flaws in our
    political process and public administration...

    Communal inertia is also magnified by Australia's anachronistic, rudimentary
    political system, which is based on flawed assumptions that democracy is
    synonymous with majority rule and that, because MPs are elected,
    parliamentary decisions express the popular will. The first proposition
    disregards the fundamental democratic prohibition on the majority
    oppression of individuals and minorities. The second ignores the realities of
    modern party-political decision-making, with rigid party discipline ensuring
    that, with few exceptions, MPs vote as directed.

    Voters are little more than observers of a substantially rule-free contest who
    are entitled, indeed compelled, to choose one or other of the established
    political parties to govern every few years.

    The community is ill-served by this growing transfer of power from the public
    to the dominant political parties and the parties' disinterest in ethical
    constraints and resistance to oversight and accountability, even by
    independent anti-corruption bodies. Without satisfactory legal and ethical
    fetters, the political process, like all human constructs, can be, and is,
    manipulated and exploited to advance personal and group interests.

    A political class has evolved which is interested in little but the acquisition
    and exercise of power. Careerists with little or no experience outside politics
    learn their craft in party administration, politicians' offices and supporters'
    organisations before party pre-selection and entry to Parliament.

    Decisions favouring special interests are common. "Media management"
    insults and confuses the electorate, which is denied the comprehensive
    accurate information which is essential to the proper functioning of

    These short-term political practices and tactics risk serious social
    problems. Public figures are role models and their standards percolate into
    the community. Social capital and social cohesion built on integrity and trust
    are easily dissipated as the population increases, communities become
    larger and more diverse and economic disparities widen. People who
    consider themselves powerless outsiders readily become disillusioned,
    cynical, apathetic and disengaged and lose trust in government, the integrity
    of its process and decisions and even fundamental institutions.

    Principled leadership is essential to preserve our confidence in and support
    for each other."

    CLICK HERE to read the full text of this article. 

    Paul Collier  Still standing ...  

    Paul Collier's name will remain on election ballot papers for the South
    Australian poll on Saturday 20 March. His friends and families are urging
    South Australians to vote for him so they can carry on his work.

    Dr Collier's votes will flow to D4D's number two
    candidate, Kelly Vincent.

    Political experts believe this could be the first time a
    person's name has appeared on a South Australian
    ballot paper after their death.

    CLICK HERE to view ABC TV footage

    To assist Paul's campaign on Saturday, contact
Fim Jucha.

    Erik Leipoldt  NDIS Everything About Us Without Us

    Erik Leipoldt acquired quadriplegia in 1978 - the
    result of a diving accident. Since then he has been
    active in disability advocacy at various levels
and is
    leading a campaign by people with disabilities for a
    critical assessment of the proposed National
    Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Erik opposes
    the NDIS proposal in its current form.

    "A national no-fault disability insurance scheme (NDIS) has a lot of merit in
    principle. But the NDIS, as it has now been shaped and is reflected in the
    Productivity Commission's feasibility study towards it; in the Disability
    Investment Group's (DIG) report; and in the conduct of the NDIS campaign
    itself, has become part of the problem for people with disabilities.

    This NDIS has real potential for a further disablement of many people with
    impairments. That is because of the values framework in which NDIS is set,
    and because of its processes to date, which make it clear that NDIS is,
    primarily, about getting people with disabilities off the government's balance
    sheet as an economic liability. In its rhetoric NDIS places the interests of
    people with disabilities central. Analysis of its substance reveals it puts
    them last.
    CLICK HERE to read the full text of this article.

    Towards Good Lives  Why Believe in Miracles?

    Erik Leipoldt is Convenor of Towards Good Lives for people with disabilities
    in Australia. He outlines in this article the reasons he says NDIS appears
    both appealing and disabling at the same time:  

    "So, here is the smoke, and the mirrors:
  • Tapping into real desperation and frustration;
  • Tapping into a popular disability movement idea;
  • Presenting the problem as a "broken service" problem;
  • The correct rhetoric applied to disabling concepts;
  • The appearance of a grass-roots advocacy action;
  • A well-planned marketing campaign;
  • Apparent wide support at all levels;
  • Complexity presented by experts."

    CLICK HERE to read the full text of this article.

    "NDIS is presented to us in ways where much of the rhetoric masks its
    actual substance and real purpose. It broadcasts the message that all this
    is for our interests, but when looking deeper, it is not so. These dynamics
    are, in effect, helping us to pull the wool over our own eyes. At this point,
 substantial amendments of the inquiry's terms of reference, in ways
    suggested by us, can begin the long journey towards regaining some trust.
    Trust that is essential in building a genuinely rich and sustainable framework
    that is in our interests.   

    Please take action, write to the Minister, Bill Shorten, to request a change in
    the terms of reference now. April is too late. The consultations will then start
    under terms of reference that exclude issues that are most vital to us. The
    result will be decades of further market/medical model-driven disability
    services, services that now take no responsibility for the mess they
    themselves say the system is in. But they want more money anyway!"

    CLICK HERE to read the changes to the Productivity Commission's Terms
    of Reference
proposed by
Towards Good Lives.

    West Belconnen Health Co-op opens its doors

    On 20th January 2010, the West
    Belconnen Health Co-op opened its
    doors in Canberra, as a health service
    owned by consumers and community
    organisations, with a philosophy of
    integrated, holistic person-centred care.

    Westgate Health Co-op (formerly South
    Kingsville Health Services Co-op) has
    been operating in the western suburbs of
 Melbourne since 1980. It is a co-op of
    8,000 members employing GPs, dental
   and allied health practitioners. Its surgery
    waiting rooms display the message
    "where the practice is owned by the

    As Australia's governments search for
    better models of health care organisation
    and delivery, health co-ops are flourishing
    around the world as structures able to
    join consumer ownership and
    empowerment with preventative, integrated health care.

    CLICK HERE to register your interest in the co-op model in health and its
    development and extension throughout Australia.

    There are 9 co-op hospitals in Australia. And 58 co-op pharmacies.

    The co-op model will be explored in workshops at the Consumer-Centred
    Health Care National Conference in Melbourne on 22-23 March 2010.

    CLICK HERE to register.

    Just Stoelwinder  Medicare choice? Insights from the Netherlands   
    Just Stoelwinder was born in the Netherlands and grew up in
    Western Australia where he trained as a specialist
    physician.  For 17 years he was the CEO of Melbourne's
    Queen Victoria Medical Centre and the foundation CEO of
    the Monash Medical Centre and Southern Health. He now
    holds the Chair of Health Services Management, School of
    Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University:

    "The future design of the Australian health care system is under
    consideration. Because Australia has a good health care system, one option
     is to leave it as it is - just tweaking a bit at the margins.

    Some people argue that there are stress points in public hospitals and argue
    for a transfer of responsibilities from the States/Territories to the
    Commonwealth, or a shift of financial support from private health insurance
    into the public hospital system. Others see the complexity and
    fragmentation of the system as a problem, especially for those with chronic
    disease, and argue for pooling of all government funds to be
    administered by regional or State/Territory bureaucracies.

    These options would take us in the direction of a ‘national health scheme’
    with its bureaucracy and politics - the current problems of State/Territory
    health systems writ large. They do not deal with more fundamental
    challenges facing health care, with its inevitable growth in demand and
    supply, and the intergenerational issues ahead. If such a significant reform
    is to be contemplated, it is important to look at other options.

    The Netherlands, which spends about the same per capita on health as
    Australia, has just implemented major reforms that aim to address
    “durability, solidarity, choice, quality and efficiency” of their health care
    system. If these are also our aspirations, can we learn from the Netherlands

    The essence of their reform is:

    • to have full health insurance coverage for the population, but in such a way
    that individuals have a direct appreciation of the overall cost of the health
    care system by making identified premium payments;

    • to create a competitive market between health insurers so that individuals
    will have the choice to trade-off premium price, additional benefits and
    service; and

    • through a sophisticated risk equalisation arrangement, to create incentives
    to reduce benefit outlays, including through chronic disease management.

    In brief, the new Netherlands system:

    • Is funded 50 per cent by an income related contribution (7.2 per cent of
    salaries and 5.1 per cent of other income to a maximum of €31,231) paid
    into a central fund, and a community rated nominal premium charged by
    competing health insurance funds for those aged over 18. The Government
    contributes to the central fund for those aged 18 and under and provides
    low income earners an income related rebate to offset their nominal

    • Consumers choose their fund once per year. Significant information
    resources are provided to assist them in this choice.

    • Funds receive a risk-adjusted payment from the central fund for each
    member they enrol. This adjusts for chronic disease and socio-economic
    risk factors so that insurance funds are incentivised to recruit all consumers
    and engage in active purchasing of health services on their behalf.

    Australia’s health care system could go in three broad directions:

Incremental evolution of our current system – it has served us well,
    however this will remain complex and fragmented with inevitable patchwork
    initiatives to solve the inherent problems of managing chronic disease. It
    does not position us to deal with the consequences of an ageing population,
    the babyboomers, and the inevitable cost increases of health care
    technology – all burdens that will have to be resolved within the political

    • A move towards
a ‘national health scheme’ – this is advocated by many
    ‘reformists’ who would like to see more funding for public hospitals, less
    support of private health insurance, and integration of public care and
    funding at the Federal, State/Territory or some new regional health authority

    The conceptual model for this approach is the National Health Service (NHS)
    in the United Kingdom. This might integrate the public health care services
    but would fail to link the private system, unless the intention is to abolish
    that altogether. It would mean that operational and policy issues would be
    drawn into the political/bureaucratic framework with a dominance of special
    interests in a process of adversarial politics – the dynamics that have been
    evident in State/Territory health care politics and policy on issues such as
    waiting lists, Emergency Department demand and problems of safety and
    quality. These would be writ large in a further move in this policy direction.

    • A move to
a consumer choice model – such as has been articulated in
    this report, learning from the Netherlands experience.

    The relative issues associated with these three strategic directions are
    summarised in this table:




reform of current


Move towards a ‘national health


Medicare Choice

  Coverage of Medicare mandate






Linkage of public and private funding


Public only




Linkage of public

and private







Incentives for

prevention and

chronic disease


Possible through



On public side only











Political at policy

and operational

level with and

some market


bureaucratic at

policy and

operational level

Market at

operational level and some political at policy level




involvement in

durability of the



Depends on

political leadership


Depends on

political leadership

Direct on insurance

market place


Such a scheme (Medicare Choice) could be implemented in Australia,
    based on the principles outlined by Richard Scotton a decade ago. [See
    Scotton R. Managed competition: the policy context. Melbourne Institute
    Working Paper No. 15/99. 1999. Available here and Managed competition in
    health care. Productivity Commission Workshop 2002. Available

    The benefits of such a reform would be to link both public and private
    financing and create incentives for prevention and chronic disease
    management. It would give consumers choice and flexibility in trade-offs
    between price and benefits in the short term. It would give them a direct
    stake in the long-term durability of the system by making explicit the growth
    in its cost through the price of their chosen health insurance product...."

    CLICK HERE to read the full text of this article.   


    Consumer-Centred Health Care National Conference 22-23 March 2010

    Melbourne 22-23 March 2010
    Angliss Conference Centre

    Key themes include:

    Commonwealth reform initiatives: driving change
    Organising and empowering health consumers
    Medicare Select: opt-in health plans
    Self-care and self-management in heath
    Consumer-directed aged care
    Consumer-centred innovation in mental health
    Consumer-centred innovation in drug and alcohol rehabilitation
    Consumer-centred systems
    Consumer-centred funding arrangements
    Chronic illness consolidated budgets
    Capitation-based payment systems
    Health brokers, care co-ordinators, health infomediaries
    Community engagement in health reform
    Partnerships between practitioners and consumers

    CLICK HERE to register

    CLICK HERE for more information.

    Street by Street, Suburb by Suburb 21/22 April

    This national conference on 21/22
    April 2010 aims to deepen the
    community building and social
    inclusion agenda across

    Register Here

    CLICK HERE for further information.

    This conference builds on the July 2009 National Conference on Natural
    Neighbourhoods, Real Communities
adopted a number of initiatives for
    national development and
 coordination of key community building strategies.
    Implementation and development strategies
for these initiatives will be
    explored in detail. They include:

  • Street by Street
  • Neighbourhood Power
  • Circles of Support 
  • Key Ring Supported Living Networks
  • The Sharehood
  • Neighbourhood Cultural Exchange

    CLICK HERE to participate in the Community Building National Network.
    There is no cost.

CLICK HERE for information on the Community Building National Network.

    May 2010  Parental leave | child care | work and family

    National Summit of Parents Families and Carers
 Awakening the Voice of Families:  Services Policy and Politics
    Melbourne 24-25 May 2009 

    Call for Contributions

    Papers and presentations are invited from parents, siblings and carers;
    support agencies; service providers; policy makers; researchers;
    governments and community leaders on parents, families and carers in
    services, policy and politics in Australia.

    Contributions are invited which address these themes in the following three

    1. Services

    Family experiences, case studies, innovation proposals and reform
    proposals in the areas of:

  • Families and social relationships, isolation and connections
  • Supports for children, families and carers
  • Person and family-centred funding arrangements
  • Health care and families
  • Disability, ageing and social support
  • Families and schools
  • Families and child care
  • Indigenous families and communities

    2. Policy

    Perspectives on:

  • Paid parental leave/ living allowance for parents and carers
  • Work and care: should policy favour the paid workforce?
  • Fatherhood, parenting and caring
  • The new debate on institutionalised care - from disability and mental health to child care and aged care
  • Payments to families or payments to providers? - the voucher debate
  • Families and schools
  • How do governments form policy in relation to families?
  • Advocates, brokers and agents for families

    3. Politics

    Perspectives on:

  • Who are working families and who speaks for us/them?
  • The public voice of families - where is it?
  • Ideology in 'family' politics
  • The public invisibility of stay-at-home parents and carers
  • The diversity of family forms and moral conservatism
  • Funded advocacy organisations and 'voice'
  • Shaping the public agenda
  • A parents/carers party?

    Expressions of interest in presenting should be forwarded by 9 April 2010 in
    an email of no more than 300 words to:

    Vern Hughes
    Summit Convenor

    Tel: 03 9824 4713
    M: 0425 722 890

    Register Here    

    CLICK HERE for further information. 

    Leadership Development Program for Families  - June Intake   

    Applications are invited for participants in the
    June intake in the Leadership Development
    Program for Families.

    The Program runs from 1st June 2010 to 31st
    May 2011.

    The Program was initially scheduled to begin
    in February 2010, but coming on the heels of
    the summer holiday season and with school
    and other new year commencements occurring at that time, a mid-year start
    suits many families better. A restructuring of the cost has also been
    undertaken to alleviate reliance upon trusts and funding bodies over the slow
    summer season.

    Applications must be received by 25th May.

    This is a leadership development program for families (parents/ siblings/
    carers) with an emphasis on solving problems and finding and sharing

    Eligible participants must meet four criteria:

    1. have a family member with challenges (disability, mental illness, chronic
    illness, aged frailty, addictions, etc);
    2. are searching for living solutions for their loved one in social support,
    accommodation, meaningful paid or voluntary work, or financial security;

    3. have experienced obstacles, frustration, and powerlessness along the
    way; and

    4. want to play a leadership role in assisting other families in developing
    solutions, through both public policy change and social innovation.
    Participants are required to nominate two key challenges that they are facing
    at the start of the program, and the whole group will undertake a shared
    search for solutions to these challenges as they move through the year.
    The program will consist of: 
    1. Three residential weekends for vision, learning and skill development (July,
    January and May);
    2. One three day tour of arrangements/models;

    3. Online learning program with a focus on key case studies and models;

    4. Shared group input into two nominated challenges facing the participants
    over the course of the 12 months;

    5. Access to telephone and online support and advice in seeking solutions
    for two challenges over the 12 months; and

    6.Occasional forums, dinners and meetings.

    The cost comprises a Participation Fee and Event Fees.

    The Participation Fee of $990 includes:

    - resource materials and access to an online learning program;
    - online networking connections throughout the program; and
    - access to unlimited telephone support over 12 months in seeking solutions
    to two nominated challenges.

    The Event Fees includes:

    - accommodation, meals and incidental costs for each of the residential
    weekends and tours, set for each weekend/ tour; and
    - meals and incidental costs for occasional forums, dinners and meetings,
    set for each event.

    Transport costs to and from the residential weekends, tours and other
    events, are the participants' expense.

    An online registration form is available here.

    CLICK HERE for more information.

    AGM Season 2009: Credit Union Australia - Are you a member?

    Credit Union Australia (CUA) is
    the country's largest credit union
    with 400,000 members and
    $7billion in assets.

    Unfortunately, it is a credit union
    in name only.

    Nowhere is the loss of identity in our mutual sector more transparent than in
    CUA. It has no vision beyond growth by gobbling up small credit unions. Its
    board members collect a $60,000 annual directors fee for having no vision
    and no agenda.

    It's board excludes would-be reformers by declaring any board nomination it
    doesn't like to be not a 'fit and proper person'. Vern Hughes was the sole
    nominee in 2009, but his nomination was vetoed. Barry Pound had his
    nomination vetoed the previous year.

    As the regulator of credit unions, APRA has it all wrong. It has a heavy touch
    in imposing onerous compliance costs on small co-ops, and has a light
    touch in allowing rogue boards to get away with ripping out member

    We'd like to hear from readers around Australia who are part of CUA's
    400,000 members. We reckon 400 members could organise to push through
    the necessary constitutional and other changes.

    400 members is 0.1% of the membership. We want to hear from you.

    CLICK HERE to register if you are a member.

    And if you know of other members, forward them this registration form so we
    can begin the task to winning back our credit union.

    CLICK HERE for more information on our campaign to reclaim our
    community organisations.



    Volunteer  Three roles available with the Centre for Civil Society

    The Centre for Civil Society is experiencing huge growth in the scope and
    scale of its activities. If you are looking for a volunteer role that is
    intellectually stimulating and practically challenging, we want to hear from

    We have three roles for which we are seeking to appoint volunteers.
    Applicants are invited from all states and territories, for varying time

  • Events Organiser - assisting in the organisation of forums and conferences
  • Writer - mentoring and support is available in writing news and opinion pieces on various topics which fit the Centre's agenda
  • Administrative Assistant - assisting in various administrative, financial and database management tasks

    If you have an interest in any of these roles, please send a CV and the
    names of 3 referees along with a covering letter on your interest in the work
    of the Centre to
Liz Stewart.

    Organising by Federal Electorate
    CLICK HERE to register in your electorate
    (there is no cost).

    On registering, participants will be
    connected to an online forum in their
    electorate, and will receive access to resources and guidelines for local

CLICK HERE for more information. 


    March 22-23 2010: Consumer-Centred Health
    Care: Policy, Innovation and Empowerment

    National Conference

    April 21-22
: Street by Street, Suburb by Suburb
    Community Building and Social Inclusion

    National Conference

    May 24-25: Awakening the Voice of Families: 
    Services Policy and Politics

    National Summit of Parents Families and Carers


We are the only think tank
in Australia committed to a wide-ranging agenda of empowerment of ordinary people and strengthening
of civil society..

Visit our Website

Consumer-Centred Health Care:  Policy Innovation Empowerment
National  Conference

MARCH 22-23 2010



Charles Leadbeater, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher have authored this highly influential Demos Report on Self-Directed Services and Personal Budgets. This small publication is set have a lasting impact on social policy debate for many years to come.

Charlie Leadbeater

Click here
to read Making It Personal.


Click here to purchase this book. $26.95

For purchases, contact
Audra Kunciunas
Tel 03 9878 3477 Email

Click here to purchase this book. $15.95


"The Left and Right have been as bad as each other. The Left has allowed its distrust of markets and endless faith in government to obscure the importance of civil society. The Right has been so focused on replacing the state with markets that it has forgotten how to cultivate a trusting society.

This is the politics of the absurd. The Left identifies with the good society but rarely talks about the mutualism and trust between people. The Right recognises the importance of moral obligation but gives the impression of trusting market transactions more than civil society."

Mark Latham, Mutualism: A Third Way for Australia," 1999.

CLICK HERE to read more. 


Click here to purchase this book. $29.95


Click here to purchase this book.


Click here to purchase this book. $29.95
If you are the proprietor of a small business, please send us your thoughts on how we can support small businesses through our  SMALL BUSINESS SURVEY

If you are caring for a family member at home who has an illness or disability or aged frailty, please click here to participate in our  Family CarERS SURVEY


The Centre brings together people in each federal electorate (150 electorates around Australia) to work locally in engaging our communities and our  representatives in an agenda of respect, empowerment and inclusion.

CLICK HERE to join us




THE number of Australians reporting long-term mental and behavioural problems has risen by 200,000 in the past three years.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday show a 9 per cent jump in the prevalence of mental ill health between 2004-05 and 2007-08, to 2.3 million from 2.1million.

The number of Australians popping pills and potions for depression, anxiety and insomnia has skyrocketed over the same period. The proportion of people using prescription drugs, herbal supplements or vitamins for mental wellbeing almost doubled from 19per cent to 37 per cent.

Of those on medication, antidepressants (72 per cent), sleeping pills (27 per cent) and anti-anxiety medicines (23 per cent) were the most frequently used drugs among adults, the latest National Health Survey found.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics,4363.0.55.001 2009. CLICK HERE for the full report. 


NO CLUE...                  
"The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has developed all sorts of facsimiles of Downing Street-style "strategic policy", "joined-up government" capabilities. The Blairite social policy revolutions that largely failed are being regurgitated by a new generation of policy wonks who have no clue about
how social change happens in the real world."

Noel Pearson

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to read more.


Latest Handout Tally

$6.2b handout to car-makers
$2b Commercial property construction industry
$3.9b Free emission permits to coal-fired electricity generators
$2b Car dealer finance guarantee
$149m GMH 4 cylinder car

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 brings together people in each federal electorate (150 electorates around Australia) to work locally in engaging our communities and our  representatives in an agenda of empowerment of ordinary people.

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Leadership and Capacity in Community Building
National  Conference  

APRIL 21-22 2010


The User Generated State: Public Services 2.0

Charles Leadbeater and Hilary Cottam have written this stimulating report on reinventing public services by using the participation principles underlying Web 2.0

Charlie Leadbeater

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to read The User Generated State. Public Services 2.0