By Philip Mendes
Considers the jobs performed via the main political events, foyer teams and ideologies in opting for Australia’s present welfare-related results.
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Extra info for Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies
The failure of the Fraser Government to match its neoliberal rhetoric with results and reduce the welfare state angered advocates of small government, and created the context for the emergence of the anti-welfare New Right in Australia (Garton, 1990: 168–69). We discuss this political development in greater detail in Chapter 2. L A B O R TA R G E T I N G : 1 9 8 3 – 1 9 9 6 The Hawke/Keating Governments were characterised by a persistent philosophical tension between an economic policy dominated by free-market objectives, and a social policy based at least in principle on the promotion of social justice.
The objective of the program was to ensure that these families would be better off in employment than claiming a social security benefit (Cass and Whiteford, 1989: 287–88). 24 • AUSTRALIA’S WELFARE WARS Other initiatives included the replacement of the means test for pensions with an income test which resulted in an increase in the number eligible for some pensions; the extension of the handicapped children’s allowance to include a new category for the needy and marginally handicapped; the extension of the supporting mothers’ benefit to supporting fathers; the provision of automatic changes in the rates of pensions in accordance with changes in the consumer price index; and the assumption of financial responsibility for sole parents in the first six months of eligibility, which had previously been a state function.
He also says it is better to have ‘working poor’ than ‘unemployed poor’. 42 • AUSTRALIA’S WELFARE WARS Critics of labour market deregulation argue that there is no evidence to prove that it would lower unemployment. Moreover, even if successful in reducing unemployment it may cause new problems such as wages below poverty level and the likelihood of increased inequality (Ramia, 1995: 44). As former Victorian Council of Social Service director, Rob Hudson, has noted, the absence of adequate minimum wages in the United States means that many employed people are unable to afford housing and are forced to live on the street.
Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies by Philip Mendes