Home' Policy Magazine : Policy Vol 32 - No 3 Contents 57
POLICY • Vol. 32 No. 3 • Spring 2016
years at its end), young people who received less
parental affection than their peers were more
civic-minded as adults than their peers who had
experienced high parental warmth and support.
One of the reasons the researchers gave for this
finding was that young people who had close
relationship with their parents tended to be more
insular and to only care about people within their
In Australia, there are a number of successful
Indigenous people who have overcome personal
hardships and gone on to play a key role in helping
disadvantaged members of their community. For
example, Anthony Cavanagh, CEO of Ganbina—
one of Australia’s most successful Indigenous school-
to-work transition programs—was abandoned by his
mother and homeless at the age of 13. Even though
few of his male relatives could read and write and
no-one in his immediate family had ever finished
high school, Anthony says education ‘saved him’.
With all the turmoil in his life growing up in an
abusive home, education was his only ‘constant.’
Another Indigenous leader who sees education
as the gateway to opportunity is Waverly Stanley,
founder of Yalari, a scholarship program that
identifies Indigenous children doing well at
primary school and provides them with the
opportunity for an education at some of the best
boarding schools in Australia. Waverly’s own
experience—one of his teachers recognised his
potential and helped him to attain a scholarship
to attend a boarding school for his high school
education—inspired him to help improve the
educational outcomes of other Indigenous
Currently, the federal government is considering
using data analysis to try and ‘crack the back’ of
long-term welfare dependency.
than taking a deficit-based approach that looks at
the factors that lead to people becoming welfare
dependent, the government would be better off
focusing on the factors that have enabled people
to break free from the cycle of intergenerational
welfare dependency. We should not assume that
just because children come from disadvantaged
backgrounds that their future is written in stone.
While many children from abusive backgrounds
do struggle to overcome the tragic circumstances
of their birth, others, such as Daniel, go on to
lead very successful lives. Key to being resilient in
the face of adversity is believing that you are the
‘orchestrator of your own destiny’. The best way
to help disadvantaged children believe this is to
showcase positive stories of success.
1 Maria Konnikova , ‘How People Learn To Become
Resilient’, The New Yorker (11 February 2016), http://
2 As above.
3 As above.
4 Parul Sehgal, ‘The Profound Emptiness of Resilience’, The
New York Times Magazine (1 December 2015), http://
5 Commonwealth Department of Education and Training,
‘Student Resilience and Well-Being’, https://www.
6 Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department,’
Resilient Australia Awards’,
7 Sehgal, ‘The Profound Emptiness of Resilience’.
8 Konnikova , ‘How People Learn To Become Resilient’.
9 As above
10 As above.
11 As above
12 As above.
13 This section is based on a personal interview and Fifty
Unsung Business Heroes: Great Australian Success Stories
(Purpose Publishing, 2015), https://unsungbusinessheroes.
14 Marie K. Pavlova, Rainer K. Silbereisen, Mette Ranta
and Katariina Salmela-Aro, ‘Warm and Supportive
Parenting Can Discourage Offspring’s Civic Engagement
in the Transition to Adulthood’, Journal of Youth and
Adolescence (June 2016, epub ahead of print), http://www.
15 Quoted in Tony Featherstone, ‘The Power of Knowledge’,
Company Directors Magazine (Australian Institute of
Company Directors, March 2016), pp. 18-19.
16 Yalari website, ‘How It All Started’, http://www.yalari.org/
17 Matthew Doran, ‘Federal Government Aims to Use Data
Analysis to Crack Long-term Welfare Dependence’, ABC
News (25 July 2016), http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-
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