At least 20,000 Centrelink debts were either wiped or reduced in a nine-month period, newly released figures show, The Guardian reports.
The data, tabled in parliament this week, confirms what was already known about extent of problems with the so-called “robo debt” system.
It shows 7,456 debts were reduced to zero and another 12,524 were partially reduced but not wiped entirely, between July last year and March.
For the first time, the data gives a geographic understanding of where debts were issued. It shows high numbers of inaccurate debts in areas of western Sydney, Bundaberg, Mackay, Toowoomba, the New South Wales central coast and around Cranbourne in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringes.
Victoria Legal Aid’s executive director of civil justice, Dan Nicholson, said the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups were less likely to have appealed.
“I think on the face of it, it’s a shocking number of wrong debts to be alleged but in fact the most concerning thing is the very large number of people who would not have challenged their debts, and would now be paying back debts that were wrongly or unlawfully raised against them,” Nicholson said.
“We know those people are most likely to be the most disadvantaged in the community, and therefore the people that it may affect the most.”
The human services minister, Alan Tudge, has insisted the system is capable of calculating debts fairly. He pointed to to the ombudsman’s report earlier this year, which made a string of criticisms of the system but found it was able to accurately raise a debt, so long as it was provided with the proper information.
Criticism of the system began just before Christmas last year. From July last year, the government introduced a new way of clawing back debts from welfare recipients.
Kevin Dynon, one of the first YCW footballers to make the grade as an AFL footballer, died on 8 September 2017.
Recruited from Kensington YCW, Kevin joined North Melbourne VFL (now AFL) side in 1943 at the age of seventeen.
“A former captain, club Hall of Fame member and Victoria representative, Kevin Dynon will be remembered as a true North Melbourne great,” the NMFC website says.
“Tall for a centreman of his time (179cm) and very solid (85kg), Dynon’s dynamic mix of strength and skill was a feature of the North sides that made the finals in 1945, 1949, 1950 and 1954,” an excerpt from The Shinboners book reads.
“After missing three seasons from 1944-46 becaues of the war, Dynon returned to North as skipper in 1947 – “the youngest leader in club history at the time at just 21,” the club says.
“Demoted after winning just four games at the helm, he remained unperturbed and continued to play at a high standard helping North to a preliminary final in 1949 and a Grand Final in 1950,” the NMFC site continues.
In 1952 and 1953 he was re-appointed captain and went on to play 149 games across 12 seasons.
Kevin died on 8 September, which is regarded as the foundation day of the Australian YCW, which was in turn chosen to honour the birthday of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
More than 110,000 young people from around the world have responded to an online survey posted by the Vatican secretariat for the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in 2018.
“In the roughly three months it has been online, more than 110,000 young people have responded to the questionnaire,” says Synod secretary-general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. “It’s a significant number considering the absolute novelty of the initiative, and one that is bound to increase in the coming months.”
The response rate, he said, “demonstrates the great desire of young people to have their say.”
Meanwhile, twenty people under the age of 35, along with 70 theologians, priests and academics are meeting from September 11-15 as part of the preparatory process for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, faith and vocational discernment,” Catholic News Service reports.
Several young people participating in the seminar urged the Vatican and the bishops themselves to be opening to listening to youths talk and ask questions about love, sex and sexuality.
Therese Hargot, who leads sex education programs at Catholic schools in Paris, told the gathering September 13, “it’s surprising we are looking at politics, economics, etc., but not at sexuality and affectivity, which are very important topics for young people.”
Ashleigh Green, an Australian delegate to the seminar, said that going around Australia in preparation for the synod she found that “a lot of young people feel like they cannot talk about issues that matter to them” in most church settings.
However, Cardinal Baldisseri told the seminar that Pope Francis wants the synod in October 2018 to not just be about young people, but with young people, assuring they have a voice.
Although they were sometimes perceived by priests as “Young Christian Wreckers”, the YCW in Australia was “a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes” where it was adopted, writes, Jim Madden in his 2012 book “Eucharistic Blues: Reviewing the Mass Exodus,” published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
“Through the YCW many young people developed a genuine Christian mentality by internalising the beliefs and values of their faith,” Madden writes. “They developed their acceptance of what the Church believed and practiced because it really became what they had convinced themselves that it was what they believed and practiced.
“Their living faith and their association with the clergy made them valuable assets to have around parishes, not just for when they were members of the YCW but for the rest of their lives. Some members tried to further their apostolic endeavours through entering a seminary, monastery or convent and others became faithful spouses and caring parents in loving and fruitful Christian marriages.”
Madden also credits YCW pioneers of the implementation of the decrees and decisions of Vatican II.
YCW leaders “were conspicuous among the people who were willing to undertake many of the new ministries these decrees implied,” he says.
The movement’s doctrine was based on an image of the Church “as the Mystical Body of Christ.”
“This doctrine emphasised the communitarian nature of the Church and the responsibility of everyone to actively engage in the work of spreading the gospel message.
“It carried the message that all members were part of the crew of the good ship ‘Church’ and had a vital role to fulfil”
In particular, “the Church was not like a big bus being driven to heaven by the bishops and priests on which lay people were passengers simply paying their way.”
On the contrary, via Cardijn’s YCW method “young people would be trained to see, judge and act in a Christian manner.”
Nevertheless, a perceived “similarity to Marxist methods” made some bishops and priests “suspicious of the movement and its aims”
Other critics of the movement felt that “by considering the meaning of the gospels and their application to life, (YCW leaders) were making their own religion.”
“This implied that they were forsaking the authority of the Church in religious matters and replacing it with their own authority,” Madden notes.
“Perhaps there was even a sneaking fear that if the movement became widespread and captured the hearts and minds of the majority of young people of the day that the clergy and the hierarchy could become redundant,” he notes.
Nevertheless, “in parishes where the movement was adopted and fostered by clergy, especially younger priests, it became a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes.”
“The primary value of the movement was in the formation of its members,” Madden concludes.
Patrick Keegan, president of the YCW International Bureau, during the late 1940s and early 1950s, delivered this speech at the opening of the YCW Interntional Congress held at Braine l’Alleud, near Brussels, Belgium on 5 September, 1950.
The YCW International exists. We have come from different parts of the world, because we are resolved to sustain, assist and make possible everywhere the complete development and liberation as Christians and as workers, of all the young workers of the world.
It is a privilege for me to welcome 450 delegates, and others from countries in the world. There has been great sacrifice to enable all of us to come here. In one factory the workers collected money to send their delegate. It is therefore with great emotion that I welcome you here, in the name of the International YCW, and I would now like to present the delegates of the different countries:
Since the last international Conference in Montreal in 1947 we have made great progress throughout the world. We have seen the rise of the YCW in new countries. Three important examples of this are:
1) Germany, which brings to the International the pledge of the cooperation of the millions of young workers of this nation;
2) The USA, bringing to the International YCW a promise of the support of the working youth of the new world.
3) Japan – In this country we see the life of our movement bringing to the International that promise of deep and profound contact with the young workers of the East.
We see now in the great continents of India and Africa the transition from agrarian and simple conditions, to the beginning of a highly concentrated industry. One hears and reads of thousands of young people leaving their tribes for the first time in their life, and entering with a simplicity unknown to the Western World, a system in which they are looked upon primarily in terms of production. The barbarities carried out during the rise of industrialism in the western countries are now shamefully repeated in countries where industrialisation is just beginning.
To these young workers, the YCW sends its message of confidence and hope. In this Study Week, there will be special sessions where the methods of the YCW will be studied in relationship to its expansion in these countries. Our responsibility in these areas where working people now feel and desire freedom is very great. We have a great responsibility as delegates of the YCW of our country at this International Conference. The main purpose of this Conference is as follows:
1) The study of the situation of the young worker in the world, and how best the YCW in each country can bring a solution. This means that we must know clearly the fundamentals of our great movement, and be prepared to study the adaptation of methods of the YCW to different countries and different continents.
2) To create and strengthen a solid, deep unity, friendship and solidarity between the YCW of the different countries. To reinforce the unity between national YCWs in order that in every country we may better solve the problems and needs of the young workers which now are not only on a national plane, but also on an international plane.
3) As a result of our studies to prepare a Manifesto which will be presented to international institutions, organisations and anywhere else where the needs of the working youth must be represented and studied. From this Conference thousands more of the young workers of the world must be assisted to understand their vocation and mission in the world of work.
At the base of all our work we place ourselves with a childlike simplicity at the service of Christ’s Church, knowing clearly that there is no true solution to the young workers unless that solution be totally Christian, totally apostolic – taking its mission from the Church of Christ’s apostles, and giving itself completely to the redemptive mission of Christ’s Church.
We know very well that the YCW International exists. Therefore it is with great joy, pride and confidence that I wish to greet one of our friends who, during these days of work, represents among us the authorities of the ILO, which itself is so interested in the problem of the working youth in the world today. The real International depends for its strength on every member, on every leader in each local section in each country. There is no International YCW if there are no local sections of young workers who work with all their effort to transform the environment of their neighbourhood, the environment of the work; and be of service to their comrades – the young workers of their districts.
When we look at the YCW International, we must see very clearly that its future hope rests in the local sections – rests in the local leader and the members who carry out the repeated, deep, slow and humble work of penetration in their own environment, in their factories, in their neighbourhoods. The strength of the YCW International rests on the leaders of our local sections, giving their comrades that profound service that springs from our mission of charity.
The union of our International does not lie in words, large meetings, or in an administrative staff alone – but it exists in the spirit of the YCW – a spirit that knows no frontiers. It exists in each member end leader in the local section being profoundly conscious that all young workers, without a single exception, regardless of their colour or race, are called to be sons and daughters of God. It exists in their work, and in their action to transform the situations of life that in any way contradict this profound and vital truth.
Therefore as a result of our work at this International Conference, we must return to our countries, intending to found and to build more local sections where the young workers of our districts will discover the meaning and purpose of their life.
To conclude: the International YCW springs from the desire of each national YCW to come together and place their efforts on an international plane; because the problems of the young worker are no longer national, but international. By its very nature, the YCW could never remain confined to any- one country, and during this study week we must discover the best means in spite of all language difficulties, to bring to the young workers of the world a message of liberation, a means to discover their vocation and mission; a movement which will answer their needs and answer the real problems of their lives. Each one of us, having the spirit of pioneers, will use this study week to do everything to further equip us to win, to recruit and to make new apostles of the young workers of our countries.
From our meetings this week, we must go out consumed with a desire to bring the message of Christ to all the young workers, bearing in mind that we are responsible before God and the whole working class to bring to each young worker a sense of his value, his dignity and his vocation.
In spite of all the difficulties in our own countries, in our local sections – this meeting here is a proof that the YCW will not fail in its mission to the young workers of the world.
France’s University Formation Group (GFU), which allows young men to combine secular and seminary studies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary, La Croix International reports.
This is a made-to-measure pathway for students who wish to become priests but without abandoning their existing studies. It was launched fifty years ago this year under the auspices of France’s Mission Ouvrière (Worker Mission) and the Catholic Action movements.
“At that time in 1967, the number of seminarians was in free fall and the bishops had decided to close down the minor seminaries,” recalls Fr Emmanuel Goulard, superior of the GFU seminary.
“The seminary was therefore founded as a place of discernment and initial formation for students while they continued their university studies,” he explains.
This was a specifically French innovation that has continued to develop over the course of the last half century.
There were around one hundred such students during the early 1980s when Lille vicar general, Fr Bruno Cazin, who is also a medical doctor, took this path.
Now there are seventeen GFU students across France with four or five new students beginning the program each year.
Fr Cazin, a specialist in hematology [the study and treatment of blood], is convinced that the pathway continues to offer great value.
“It was while working in a hospital that I really came to understand Christ and the Gospel and that is why I stayed,” he explains.
“The GFU pathway also allows students or young professionals to test their vocation by sharing the daily life of people.”
To sum up, an extra muros seminarian fully combines seminary and student life until, after completing their engineering, philosophy or other secular studies, begin the classical theological studies leading to the priesthood.
Founded with YCW members from the Raiwaqa neighbourhood in Suva, the group made a strong impact during its time.
“Back in the late 1980s, Rootstrata was ahead of its time with hard hitting songs that encapsulated the feelings of unemployed and dejected youths looking for a way out of their predicament in the notorious suburbs of Raiwai and Raiwaqa,” wrote Ernest Heatley at the Fiji Times.
The lyrics of the group’s hit song, People of the world unite, shows strong YCW – and Bob Marley – influence.
“Your life is worth more than all the gold,” Freddy sings in a phrase that echoes Cardijn’s famous axiom that “every young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world.”