Social Policy

Redeeming Inequality:

Inequality – my thesaurus offers eight synonyms of the word. Four simply describe it, while four signal negative feelings and perceptions; discrimination, unfairness, inequity, disproportion. None express inequality as a material or monetary difference, yet these popular definitions are core to the current use of the concept – as offering an explanation for all the problems of the dominant neoliberal paradigm.

Cashless welfare unsuccessful and unwelcome

As I am writing this, with the radio on, Christian Porter, the cabinet minister in charge of welfare, is announcing the local government area of Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales as the first site for his welfare recipient drug trial. This is the latest foray into increasingly conservative, paternalistic changes to our welfare system, already one of the meanest in the OECD.

Author and academic Eva Cox in the Saturday Paper

A small card dangles from sticky tape on her front door, on which her name is scrawled in swift cursive: Eva Cox. Inside the house, tacked to one of the bookshelves that line the narrow hallway, is a fabric poster. In bright red lettering it reads: FEMMO – STIRRING THE PENIS POT. Bustling around her cluttered kitchen, Eva jams the bunch of lavender I’ve brought into a glass jug. “I love lavender,” she says, and I agree. She fetches napkins and a knife for the cake.

The state of Australia: welfare and inequality

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers to take a broader look at the State of Australia; our health, wealth, education, culture, environment, well-being and international standing.

Creeping spread of income management must be challenged

One of the bizarre bipartisan policy overlaps between the Coalition and Labor is in the area of income support known as welfare payments. Labor has been seen as the party that cared about the poor and disadvantaged, but the former ALP government adopted and extended a range of the Howard government’s paternalistic and punitive measures.

Too little too late on Newstart, Bill and Albo — you had the evidence to act

Labor leadership contenders Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese had the evidence proving their cuts to Newstart were unfair. Their support for increasing parental support now is cold comfort.

The belated acknowledgement by the two Labor leadership contenders that cutting single-parent payments had been a mistake is sad — they should have fixed it a few months ago while they still had the power.

The Major Parties' War On The Undeserving Poor

Punitive controls over welfare and cuts to payments have featured during Labor's time in office, because they agree with Abbott - poverty is caused by dysfunction, not exclusion.

Income management: more evidence-free policymaking?

It seems the Coalition will expand the compulsory income management scheme, which has little evidence backing up its worth.

For a brief moment, it looked as though the Coalition would be better than the ALP on welfare policy. It appeared that the new government would listen to evidence for policy changes in its newly retitled Social Services portfolio.

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