Know a community group that wants to make some noise?

For the past six months I’ve been lending out my marquee to community groups. It’s been very popular, and has been used to assist causes as diverse as motorcycle awareness and the Mount Rogers Explorer Day. Now I’ve got a small public address system which I’d be happy to lend to any community group that needs a bit of amplification. It’s simple to use, operates off a rechargeable internal battery (or mains power), and it comes with a microphone. It’s ideal for addressing small gatherings - indoor or outdoor. Phone 6247 4396 or email me at Andrew.Leigh.MP<AT> to book either the marquee or the PA system for your event.

And while I'm talking about community groups, I’m also opening up a spot in my newsletter, the modestly-named Leigh Report, as a noticeboard for organisations that are seeking to expand their membership. It could be an appeal for volunteers or it could be a shout out to like-minded Canberrans who just don’t know you exist. Email the contact details of your organisation and a one-sentence summary of who in the community you’re trying to reach to Andrew.Leigh.MP<AT> and I’ll try to include it in the next newsletter.
Add your reaction Share

More Information > Less Infections

I've written and spoken before about the power of information to improve public services. So it's beaut to see that the MyHospitals website will from today contain information on hospital infection rates.
Add your reaction Share

ABC 24 Capital Hill

My video from my latest Capital Hill appearance with Kelly O'Dwyer, hosted by Julie Doyle.
Add your reaction Share

Sky AM Agenda

Here's my latest Sky AM Agenda appearance with my regular sparring partner Mitch Fifield. Kieran Gilbert's the host this time.
Add your reaction Share

Using pork barrelling to learn something about fiscal policy

In today's SMH, Peter Martin has a neat write-up of my Economics Letters paper with Christine Neill, which exploits Howard Government pork-barrelling to estimate the impact of fiscal stimulus on job creation. We find that the cost per job amounted to $10,000 to $31,000 over a three-year period.
Add your reaction Share

Next Community Forum

Just a reminder about my community forum tomorrow night. The main focus of the forum will be Labor's plan for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, but I'll also be happy to take questions on any other local or national topics, from tax to terrorism, roads to refugees, postboxes to polio.

Details, details...
Venue: Belconnen Community Services, Swanson Court
Time: Tuesday 25 October 6.00-7.30pm

I hope to see you there. And in the event you can't make it along, here's a complete list of my coming mobile offices and community forums.
Add your reaction Share

Open Australia Reopens

Due to a change in the way Hansard was formatted, Open Australia (main site, my page) has been out of action for several months. I'm pleased to say that this spunky interface for following parliament is now back online.
Add your reaction Share

Teacher Merit Pay

On Mon 14 Nov, 6-7pm, I'm giving a talk on 'The Economics and Politics of Teacher Merit Pay' at the Grattan Institute in Melbourne. Here's a summary:
The debate over merit pay can be summed up as follows: economists like it, voters love it, and teachers are divided. Can merit pay be made to work? Andrew Leigh MP will discuss these issues with John Daley, Grattan's CEO.

Looking across the international evidence, Andrew Leigh surveyed three sets of data that are relevant to answering this question: impact studies of teacher merit pay schemes, evidence on teacher attitudes to merit pay, and surveys of attitudes in the general public to merit pay. Looking at the existing merit pay plans, one is struck by the fact that they their incentive schemes are often very complicated, and most estimates are of short-run effects (so do not capture selection into the teaching profession).

Teacher attitudes are mixed, with new teachers more open to merit pay than their more experienced colleagues. US surveys find that voter support for merit pay is high and rising. I conclude with ten suggestions for future research on teacher merit pay.

To RSVP, click here.

(Incidentally,  Grattan is presently looking for a fellow to work in its cities program. If you liked Ed Glaeser's book, you should consider applying.)
Add your reaction Share

Positive Coaching

The New York Times has a great blog post on the new Positive Coaching Alliance. Some snippets:
youth sports has come to emulate the win-at-all-costs ethos of professional sports. While youth and professional sports look alike, adults often forget that they are fundamentally different enterprises. Professional sports is an entertainment business. Youth sports is supposed to be about education and human development. ...

As a father of an 8-year-old who has happily regained his love of soccer thanks to a very positive coach, I can attest to the value of its teachings. Research has found that youth attrition rates are 80 percent lower for children whose coaches practice positive coaching (pdf, p.11). ...

P.C.A. encourages parents to let go of winning and concentrate on life lessons. “There are only two groups of people whose job is to win games,” says Thompson. “Coaches and players. Parents have a much more important job: to guide their child’s character development.”

What works best is helping children understand that they control three key variables: their level of Effort, whether they Learn from experiences, and how they respond to Mistakes. ...

Because there are so many opportunities to fail in sports, it is a gold mine of teachable moments. “If a child misses a big play, it’s a perfect opportunity to talk about resiliency,” explains Thompson. “‘I know you’re disappointed and I feel bad for you, but the question is what are you going to do now? Are you going to hang your head? Or are you going to bounce back with renewed determination?’” ...

One technique, adopted by many, is teaching players to “flush” their mistakes. Using a hand gesture that mimics flushing a toilet, a coach can signal from the sideline and players can signal to each other. “So the kid looks at the coach and the coach goes: ‘Flush it.’ The teammates are saying: ‘Hey, Flush it, we’ll get it back.’ “The single most important thing we do is help coaches teach kids not to be afraid to make mistakes,” he adds. ...

The key is not to withhold criticism, but to deliver it in a way that is helpful. If the child is angry or sulking or defensive, she’s not going to be listening very well anyway. “When you ask people to focus on mastery, it’s not soft,” notes Thompson. “And screaming at a kid is not tough. That’s just a lack of impulse control.”
Add your reaction Share

Community Organisations

Two local organisations - Al-Anon and the ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association - have asked me to let people know a bit more about them. Details over the fold.

There’s no silver bullet for ending addiction. One of the most iconic programs – AA’s Twelve Steps - works for around 10 percent of individuals with addiction problems. There’s a temptation is to say that it ‘only works for around 10 percent’, but any program that works at all is not to be disparaged (perhaps for that 10 percent AA is the perfect fit). AA has its detractors, but dealing with addiction is not a one-size fits all proposition.

Perhaps AA’s success rate would be higher if the role of its sister organization, Al-Anon, was more widely recognised. Al-Anon was founded by Lois Wilson, who was married to Bill, one of the co-founders of AA. Bill Wilson was an alcoholic who found a way to beat his addiction through mutual aid and a working knowledge of the ‘science’ of addiction. The religious experience that accompanied Bill’s detox certainly didn’t hurt either, and AA does place emphasis on surrender to ‘something higher’, but that something higher needn’t be spiritual, it might just as easily be a stable family or the future of one’s children.

Which brings me back to Al-Anon and Alateen. Lois Wilson was ideally placed to understand how an addict’s behavior could send shockwaves through the lives of his or her family and friends. Lois saw how behavioral patterns of an addictive personality could develop from and reinforce complex co-dependent dynamics within a family or a group of friends. She saw the benefits that could come out of providing the families of alcoholics with the same kind of mutual aid and support offered by AA.

Ideally the programs are coupled. The majority of participants in Al-Anon meetings are the spouses of individuals attending AA. Statistics seem to suggest that problem drinkers are more likely to recover if their partner or a member of their family is attending Al-Anon meetings. Just as importantly, though, a partner or family member attending Al-Anon is likely to be happier, both during and after the program, than one who isn’t.

Al-anon is open to all family members and friends of alcoholics. Alteen operates on the same principles but is geared to the needs of the children of alcoholics.

You can find out more about the principles of the organization, how meetings work, and what sorts of things are discussed at Al-Anon’s website. If you think an Al-anon meeting could help you, check the website.

ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association

Were you in National Service? The ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association would love to hear from you. The ACT Branch was formally incorporated in 2010 so that the National Association would have a voice in the nation’s capital.

The membership of the National Servicemen’s Association continues to grow, as more ex-National Service personnel discover the organisation and take up the opportunity to form friendships with like-minded contemporaries. The Nashos conduct many military and social events, and try to cater for the interests of both members and their partners.

If you’d like to learn more about the organisation or if you’d like to become one of the Nashos in Canberra, visit their website or email nashos <AT> 
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter


Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.