This book explores the tensions between the competing social rights and social control functions of the modern Australian welfare state. By critically examining the history and rhetoric of the Australian welfare state from 1972 to the present day, and using the author’s long-standing research on the Australian Council of Social Service and other welfare advocacy groups, it analyses the transformation from rights-based to conditional welfare.
The Labor Party Government from 1972-75 is identified as the only clear cut example of Australia positively using welfare payments and services as an instrument to promote greater social equity, inclusion and participation. Since the mid-1970s, the Australian welfare state has gradually retreated from the social rights agenda conceived by the Whitlam Government. Australia has followed other Anglo-Saxon countries in adopting increasingly conditional and paternalistic measures that undermine the protection of social citizenship outside the labour market.
In contrast, this text makes the case for an alternative participatory and decentralized welfare state model that would prioritize social care by empowering and supporting welfare service users at a local community level.
This book will be of interest to academics, students and policy-makers working within social policy, social work and political sociology.
Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part 1 The rise of the Australian Welfare State; Chapter 1. The wage earners welfare state and the Rediscovery of Poverty; Chapter 2. The social democratic Whitlam Labor Government 1972-75; Part 2 The anti-welfare backlash locally and internationally; Chapter 3. The decline of Keynesianism, the revival of classical liberalism and the alleged welfare state crisis; Chapter 4. The conservative Liberal-National Party Coalition attempts to roll back the welfare state 1975-1983; Chapter 5. Labor retreats from social democracy and adopts targeted welfare, the Hawke and Keating governments 1983-1996; Chapter 6. The Australian neoliberal campaign to cut welfare: The role of think tanks, the media and corporate lobby groups; Part 3 The new convergence around conditional welfare; Chapter 7. Restoring self-reliance and the work ethic and saving taxpayers funds: The Liberal-National Party Coalition’s approach to social welfare 1983-2018; Chapter 8. Labor accepts welfare conditionality 1996-2018; Part 4 Rejecting the neoliberal consensus: Welfare policy dissent and alternatives; Chapter 9. Case studies of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Australian Greens; Chapter 10 Towards a participatory welfare model; Conclusion; Index