March 09, 2007 | Graham

Dusting-off the 1980s agendas

Brian Burdekin, author of the 1989 Our Homeless Children, Report of the National Inquiry into Homeless Children, claimed yesterday on AM that youth homelessness leads to an increase in mental breakdown and substance abuse. This assertion was not questioned by the interviewer, and contradicts what I would have thought was the case. Does anyone have any evidence one way or the other?
Burdekin was launching some sort of “independent inquiry” into homelessness, but he already seemed to have views as to what the inquiry should find. Apparently it’s the Federal Government’s responsibility to solve the “problem” because the states won’t or can’t.
Burdekin says that there are 20,000 children living on the streets. This has got to be a gross exaggeration, and gives some pointers as to where he is heading. Last time I checked there was a total of just more than 20,000 Australians of all ages in the ABS category “Improvised dwellings, sleepers out”. Of these half were indigenous, mostly in the Northern Territory. There was in fact a total of 12,531 Australians under the age of 25 in this category, and 7, 143 of these were under the age of 18. So, an overstatement by a factor of 200%.
One of the problems that Kevin Rudd faces is the potential for all the old Hawke and Keating darlings to re-appear in an election year plugging their personal agendas in what looks like an attack on the current federal government. If Rudd appears to be a re-run of Keating he will have problems against Howard.

Posted by Graham at 9:40 am | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Brian is right. Homeless kids get depressed, mal-nourished, end up having to sell their bodies for sex, get street diseases, and feel generally alienated. To cope they numb themselves down with substances and alcohol. There are tons of social work, psychological and psychiatric studies on this – go to the libabry and read.

    Comment by Barfenzie — March 12, 2007 @ 9:53 am

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