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Canberra’s Wellbeing Report – Worthless Says Steven Bailey

By 10 July 2014 16

Steven Bailey - Profile Pic

I think most Canberrans would agree that poverty is the anathema to any just society – especially ours. I also believe that most Canberrans understand that poverty is a form of social humiliation that leaves people not only hungry or homeless but unwanted and uncared for.

According to a recent OECD report, entitled OECD Regional Wellbeing, the ACT experiences the highest levels of wellbeing compared with the other states and territories of Australia. The report ranks and scores 362 regions across the member countries of the OECD based on ten indicators such as employment, health, and income. The danger of reports such as these is that they serve as simplistic analyses that appeal to the lazy minded and socially apathetic.

Please understand that I appreciate the need for such reports as well as the data that composes them, and that my opposition to this report is not based in self-righteous anti-intellectualism; in fact quite the opposite. My opposition to this report is twofold. The first is intellectual and the second is humanitarian.

What arrogant methods of inductive reasoning have resulted in the report claiming the word ‘wellbeing’? The report is a comparative study of ten indicators of living standards, and is only useful in determining the allocation of funds and policies. Why on earth the authors assume that they can determine my entire sense of contentment in life is beyond me. In fact, just reading the title lowers my sense of wellbeing immediately.

My second point is a little more tangible than the last.

Nothing ruffles my feathers more than when it is suggested that people who live in Canberra are somehow less human than other Australians. Poverty and pain exist in the ACT, and to think that someone’s adversity is somehow diminished in the context of an overall affluent society is an intellectual impoverishment.

There are six-hundred homeless people in Canberra, and hundreds more who will never admit it. There are thousands of people looking for work knowing that many Canberrans are paid more in sick leave than the annual income of Newstart and Austudy. There are artists, students, workers, and tens of thousands of us who are not the most educated and highly paid in the country.

It is easy to be forgotten in Canberra, and, for some, Canberra can be a lonely place. Rather than be guided by simplistic statistics, let us be guided by a sophisticated sense of humanity afforded to all Canberrans – especially those in need.

Our newest contributor Steven Bailey is the First Officer and Team Leader of The Australian Sex Party – Canberra. Through theatre, music, education, and politics, Steven believes we can make stronger communities and a better world.

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16 Responses to Canberra’s Wellbeing Report – Worthless Says Steven Bailey
#1
VYBerlinaV8_is_back11:04 am, 10 Jul 14

It’s a comparative report based on a series of factors. It’s not saying Canberra is perfect. For a lot people living here, though, life is pretty damn good compared with most other places in the world.

#2
cmdwedge11:16 am, 10 Jul 14

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

#3
Steven Bailey12:15 pm, 10 Jul 14

cmdwedge said :

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

G’day mate, what does the Google say? I could just let you know now if you like.

#4
watto232:21 pm, 10 Jul 14

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

It’s a comparative report based on a series of factors. It’s not saying Canberra is perfect. For a lot people living here, though, life is pretty damn good compared with most other places in the world.

Agreed life in Canberra is very good, but i think in general we do think about others. there is strong support for a better refugee policy in Canberra. We do lose focus of how good life in general here is when it comes to traffic and driving, and many other simple day to day things.

#5
Masquara6:45 pm, 10 Jul 14

Through theatre and music? I think he joined the wrong party by mistake. There is an “Australian Arts Party” currently being registered, Steven. The Sex Party has no chops in the arts & culture scene.

#6
Walker11:38 pm, 10 Jul 14

Masquara said :

Through theatre and music? I think he joined the wrong party by mistake. There is an “Australian Arts Party” currently being registered, Steven. The Sex Party has no chops in the arts & culture scene.

Not sure if it does or doesn’t, but it’s not there implied the party, as such, does or doesn’t. That part refers to Stephen.

I then might expect that if that’s what Stephen believes, then that’s something he brings to his party. But this seems somewhat a digression anyway.

#7
housebound7:13 am, 11 Jul 14

If you’ve ever tried to look at indicators of wellbeing for yourself, you’ll know it’s a really hard thing to do. Just getting the social scientists to agree on a set of measures is challenging enough in itself. Poor Steve shouldn’t take it so personally. And if he thinks we’re doing it tough here, maybe he should move to somewhere with a seriously high unemployment rate.

For all the critics out there, shocked at the idea of a wannabe pollie writing something, at least it’s a change from a certain former MLA.

#8
astrojax12:29 pm, 11 Jul 14

Steven Bailey said :

cmdwedge said :

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

G’day mate, what does the Google say? I could just let you know now if you like.

and the subscript at the end of the article would have been quicker than google, too. luckily cmdwedge isn’t likely to be running for election any time soon [well, let's hope not]

i’ve a question for you, though steven: if ‘wellbeing’ isn’t a term of which you’re fond in this context, with what would you replace it?

#9
Wilco3:41 pm, 11 Jul 14

While walking across Hobart Place in Civic last Monday morning at 8.00am in zero degrees temperature on the way to work, I came across a person curled up in what passed for a sleeping bag on the concrete floor of the shelter opposite the entrance to the AMP Building.

I say ‘person’ because it wasn’t possible to discern the gender of the unfortunate occupant of the sleeping bag.

I was confronted by this but, like the Priest and the Levite in the Parable, and everybody else hurrying to find warmth in nearby offices and coffee shops, I passed by.

But the encounter remains in my mind. In the current asylum seeker debate, the issue of homelessness and accommodation for those who sleep rough in Australia seems to have faded from the media gaze. Yet there are some 105,000 homeless people in Australia (2011 Census), of whom some 14,000, for reasons associated with poverty, violence, substance addiction and poor mental health, sleep rough.

Where in Canberra can homeless people, especially those sleeping rough, go for help?

#10
Steven Bailey4:30 pm, 11 Jul 14

Wilco said :

While walking across Hobart Place in Civic last Monday morning at 8.00am in zero degrees temperature on the way to work, I came across a person curled up in what passed for a sleeping bag on the concrete floor of the shelter opposite the entrance to the AMP Building.

I say ‘person’ because it wasn’t possible to discern the gender of the unfortunate occupant of the sleeping bag.

I was confronted by this but, like the Priest and the Levite in the Parable, and everybody else hurrying to find warmth in nearby offices and coffee shops, I passed by.

But the encounter remains in my mind. In the current asylum seeker debate, the issue of homelessness and accommodation for those who sleep rough in Australia seems to have faded from the media gaze. Yet there are some 105,000 homeless people in Australia (2011 Census), of whom some 14,000, for reasons associated with poverty, violence, substance addiction and poor mental health, sleep rough.

Where in Canberra can homeless people, especially those sleeping rough, go for help?

Hello, a good place to go is the community Contact information Centre in Civic. They point people in the right direction. The great problem in the ACT is that there we simply just don’t have enough housing. In Hackett just around the corner from me is the Samaritan House Men’s Shelter – They’re run by really great people. St John’s Care at St John’s Church (Constitution Av.) is also a great place for people to go just for the basics. You make a good point: that it really must be difficult for people to know where to go. A centralised agency funded by a partnership between existing charities and Government is really what people need – that is, less scattered information and more tangible services for people experiencing crisis.

#11
Steven Bailey5:03 pm, 11 Jul 14

astrojax said :

Steven Bailey said :

cmdwedge said :

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

G’day mate, what does the Google say? I could just let you know now if you like.

and the subscript at the end of the article would have been quicker than google, too. luckily cmdwedge isn’t likely to be running for election any time soon [well, let's hope not]

i’ve a question for you, though steven: if ‘wellbeing’ isn’t a term of which you’re fond in this context, with what would you replace it?

I didn’t want to go into it too much in the article in fear of sounding pedantic, but here I go: The report could just be called ‘Ten Indicators of Wellbeing in OECD Regions – A comparative Study’. I don’t have a problem with you or me being presumptuous, but I do have a problem with good academic work being given presumptuous titles. In the world of real information, and by that I mean scholastic endeavour and the like, things should just be called what they are.
Throughout the Romantic period in music you might be aware that there was a ‘great’ debate on whether composers should give their pieces a title or not. On one side you had the Beethovenians and on the other you had the Brahmins (I think that’s the spelling). They never met each other of course. Brahms gave his music creative titles; Beethoven didn’t: Symphony no. 1 in C, Symphony no. 2 in D, etc. I’m more of a Beethoven kind of guy when it comes to important work. Important work doesn’t need to be sold to me, and the importance will sell itself. Snappy titles and marketers just P me off and make the worlds a little more superficial than it needs to be.

#12
Masquara5:47 pm, 12 Jul 14

Is this the same Steven Bailey who was running for the Bob Katter Party last year?

#13
milkman8:32 pm, 12 Jul 14

Steven Bailey said :

astrojax said :

Steven Bailey said :

cmdwedge said :

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

G’day mate, what does the Google say? I could just let you know now if you like.

and the subscript at the end of the article would have been quicker than google, too. luckily cmdwedge isn’t likely to be running for election any time soon [well, let's hope not]

i’ve a question for you, though steven: if ‘wellbeing’ isn’t a term of which you’re fond in this context, with what would you replace it?

I didn’t want to go into it too much in the article in fear of sounding pedantic, but here I go: The report could just be called ‘Ten Indicators of Wellbeing in OECD Regions – A comparative Study’. I don’t have a problem with you or me being presumptuous, but I do have a problem with good academic work being given presumptuous titles. In the world of real information, and by that I mean scholastic endeavour and the like, things should just be called what they are.
Throughout the Romantic period in music you might be aware that there was a ‘great’ debate on whether composers should give their pieces a title or not. On one side you had the Beethovenians and on the other you had the Brahmins (I think that’s the spelling). They never met each other of course. Brahms gave his music creative titles; Beethoven didn’t: Symphony no. 1 in C, Symphony no. 2 in D, etc. I’m more of a Beethoven kind of guy when it comes to important work. Important work doesn’t need to be sold to me, and the importance will sell itself. Snappy titles and marketers just P me off and make the worlds a little more superficial than it needs to be.

I’m not clear. Are you genuinely worried about some obscure report, or using this as an excuse to campaign?

#14
gazket9:28 pm, 12 Jul 14

OECD is this another European body that tells us in Australia how it should live and what we shall do ?

Who cares what they say. Just like the UN they should sh*t in their own backyard and stop cr*&ping in ours.

#15
Masquara10:27 am, 13 Jul 14

milkman said :

I’m not clear. Are you genuinely worried about some obscure report, or using this as an excuse to campaign?

Looks as though the Sex Party have decided that they needed to recruit someone the direct opposite on all fronts to last year’s Deborah Avery! From a purveyor of sex toys who calls her would-be constituents “chickie” and swears at them, to a classical musician, admirer of Bob Katter’s agrarian socialist policies, and gentleman farmer! Definitely a change for the better.

#16
Steven Bailey11:06 am, 14 Jul 14

milkman said :

Steven Bailey said :

astrojax said :

Steven Bailey said :

cmdwedge said :

I was just about to ask ‘which party are you running for at the next election’ but then Google sorted that out for me.

G’day mate, what does the Google say? I could just let you know now if you like.

and the subscript at the end of the article would have been quicker than google, too. luckily cmdwedge isn’t likely to be running for election any time soon [well, let's hope not]

i’ve a question for you, though steven: if ‘wellbeing’ isn’t a term of which you’re fond in this context, with what would you replace it?

I didn’t want to go into it too much in the article in fear of sounding pedantic, but here I go: The report could just be called ‘Ten Indicators of Wellbeing in OECD Regions – A comparative Study’. I don’t have a problem with you or me being presumptuous, but I do have a problem with good academic work being given presumptuous titles. In the world of real information, and by that I mean scholastic endeavour and the like, things should just be called what they are.
Throughout the Romantic period in music you might be aware that there was a ‘great’ debate on whether composers should give their pieces a title or not. On one side you had the Beethovenians and on the other you had the Brahmins (I think that’s the spelling). They never met each other of course. Brahms gave his music creative titles; Beethoven didn’t: Symphony no. 1 in C, Symphony no. 2 in D, etc. I’m more of a Beethoven kind of guy when it comes to important work. Important work doesn’t need to be sold to me, and the importance will sell itself. Snappy titles and marketers just P me off and make the worlds a little more superficial than it needs to be.

I’m not clear. Are you genuinely worried about some obscure report, or using this as an excuse to campaign?

It’s not an obscure report. I apologise if my response was too long-winded. What I am concerned about is that people may view it as an excuse to overlook the hardships that many people experience in Canberra. That’s pretty much it really.

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