Centre for Policy Development

Balancing the time budget

Do we really think that money is the most important thing in our lives? The treatment of most issues in the public sphere is based on that assumption: incomes, tax cuts, payments, rebates and interest rates dominate our political debates.

Bronwyn’s no solutions report

There is an urgent need for workable solutions to the many persistent problems which plague children's services in Australia. Unfortunately after an 18-month parliamentary inquiry on ‘Balancing Work and Family', the Federal Government still has not managed to address many issues

What kind of Australia do we want?

Just over a decade ago I delivered my Boyer lectures on how Australia could become a ‘truly civil society’. In 2006 it is probably more realistic to look at how we could achieve more civility. How can Australian society become more equitable, hospitable and generous?

Understanding what the Federal Government means by choice

Neo-liberalism is passé; a set of precepts promoted in the eighties that started failing as a government strategy by the early nineties. Often misleadingly called economic ‘rationalism’ in Australia, neo-liberalism dominated policy agendas just long enough to undermine the welfare state and the idea that the government was an appropriate provider of services.

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Child Care funding – policy proposals for discussion

Suddenly there is interest in child care. A couple of proposals have surfaced from the back bench; one is to increase general family payments so parents ostensibly have more choice; the other is a vaguer set of claims from backbenchers that something must be done.

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Improving the Proposed IR & Welfare Systems for Women

There are many changes in the Industrial Relations (IR) and welfare system that will differentially affect men and women in their work places and homes. Women workers in a range of areas will be disadvantaged because of their domestic responsibilities, the types of jobs they hold, the particular conditions of their work and their different types of workplaces.

Changing child care policy frameworks

There are multiple crises in child care which occasionally hit the headlines. A recent story on some day care centres charging about $100 per day has started a ripple about affordability. The lack of child care places led the Federal minister last weekend to blame the state and territories’ planning, and to praise her government’s increased spending as evidence of good policy; and the PM to mutter about funding nannies.

Defining the role of the state

Policy making is closely related to politics, the polis and the rule of the state. It is usually governments that people target when they want policy change, particularly in Australia where we have traditionally expected them to fix our public ills. We have a long tradition of expecting state involvement in areas such as wage fixing, dispute resolution, utilities, transport and creating fairness.

Dog whistle welfare

The Federal government has offered us a package of welfare changes placing new obligations on certain recipients of social security payments. The rhetoric is impeccable populism, playing into the well known negatives of welfare

How do we define fair?

Can we establish the principles that would frame the development of policies to produce and support a fairer Australia? How do we define fair? We tend to use terms like the public and common good, social justice, fairness and equity but rarely do we define what we mean or, explore which aspects of public/social policy are more or less likely to succeed.

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