Posts tagged Social Welfare
What behavioural insights can tell us about the inadequacy of Newstart

Behavioural insights teams around the world have demonstrated that understanding the quirks of human psychology can help policymakers more effectively respond to tricky problems in fields as diverse as energy consumption, organ donation, recycling, healthy eating, and tax compliance. But what about using behavioural insights to move people off of income support? In today’s blog, Dr Katherine Curchin (@KatieCurchin) of ANU explores how behavioural science can help us think about the poverty trap created by the inadequate rate of Newstart. This post draws on her chapter on 'Behavioural public policy and poverty' in the Routledge International Handbook of Poverty out in October 2019.

Dr Curchin will be sharing her insights at the upcoming Power to Persuade Symposium, contributing to a panel on “The use of evidence through a gender lens.” Register now for 10 October 2019 at the beautiful Melbourne Museum.

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Eligible for what? ParentsNext exemptions and the troubling tale of outsourced social security decision-making

Continuing her series of original posts on Australia's employment services system, Dr Simone Casey (@SimoneCasey) explores the implications of outsourced decision-making in social security through the lens of the ParentsNext program. Dr Casey is an affiliate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute (@FutureSocialAU).

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Welfare 'activation' policies are counterproductive

Continuing her series of original posts on Australia's employment services system, Simone Casey (@SimoneCasey) of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute (@FutureSocialAU) discusses harm caused by the Targeted Compliance Framework (TCF) for income support on people in living in precarious financial situations. Her previous posts explore issues related to welfare conditionalityParentsNextmutual obligation; 'work first' activation of jobseekers; the growing presence of automation in Australia's welfare system and Work for the Dole.

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Do the Hustle: How I make ends meet as a single parent

The Coalition’s stance on income support is “the best form of welfare is a job.” For many people on The Newstart Allowance, however, one job doesn’t cut it. In today’s analysis, the insightful Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady) takes us through her tax return to demonstrate how Welfare to Work policies incentivise decisions around employment, education, income support and debt for single mothers.

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What Australians think about poverty - and how it can change (part 2)

Maiy Azize explains the important lessons of Anglicare Australia ‘s recent study of attitudes towards welfare and poverty for how anti-poverty advocates can use language effectively. Boldly stating our support for all people in poverty, as well as focussing on their strength and resilience are two key recommendations.

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Does tree-shaking work? Evidence based policy and welfare conditionality

This article from Dr Simone Casey explores why Australia’s Mutual Obligation requirements are so demanding and whether this is based on evidence about what works. It asks why critical research evidence has not received more attention from Australia ‘s activation policy makers. She argues that lack of engagement with critical social research is a limitation which hampers social justice efforts and reflects disregard for social suffering, and says there is plenty of room for stronger engagement with participatory policy design approaches. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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As safe as houses? Comparing Liberal and Labor platforms on women’s safety

With the federal election campaign in its final days, people are heading to polling booths to vote in Australia’s next government. In today’s federal election series, Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@susanmaury) and Laura Vidal (@lauraemilyvidal), both of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, break down the Government and Australian Labor Party’s policies for improving women’s safety, providing both a comparison between the platforms and commentary on how the plans fall short. Today’s piece on women’s safety is the second in a two-part series from the @GoodAdvocacy team. You can read Part 1 on economic security here.

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Putting people with disability at the heart of the government agenda

Improving the policy response for people with disabilities is a critical need for women, who make up the majority of people with disabilities in Australia while also facing reduced access to services, greater rates of poverty and increased experiences of violence. In today’s federal election piece, we share an analysis of the party platforms for Liberal Party, the ALP and the Greens which was conducted by People with Disability Australia (@PWDAustralia). You can access their analysis on their website here, as well as more detailed statements on social security, employment, the NDIS and preventing violence.

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How the Sustainable Development Goals can help change the way we evaluate Federal Budgets and election platforms

Election season is on us again, and Twitter feeds and daily news updates are full of potential elected leaders making policy promises and giving warnings about how the opposing parties won’t be able to bring us the Australia we need.

But how do we know what the Australia we need is? Depending on political leaning and personal values, this is going to vary from voter to voter. But when deciding on which policies to support, it can be useful to try and have a framework by which to evaluate platforms and the societies they are wishing to create. Megan Weier suggests that, if we want an Australia in which there is a ‘fair go for all’ (the classic Australian dream), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a useful benchmark to look to.

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ParentsNext - Activating why? Activating how?

In today’s post, Dr Simone Casey takes a close look at the underpinnings of ParentsNext, a widely-criticised program that aims to encourage eligible parents to plan and prepare for employment by the time their children start school. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute and this post draws on her research into resistance in employment services and the construct of the welfare subject

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Creating a crisis for people on income support? Psychology says bad idea

With recent inquiries into many aspects of the Coalition government’s welfare reforms, including jobactive and ParentsNext, a more foundational question is raised: What is the point of aggressive and austere policies? In today’s piece, Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (@GoodAdvocacy) employs a psychological frame to examine why putting people into crisis is counterproductive.

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“I should be able to provide that”: How Welfare-to-Work Affects Low-Income Single Mothers’ Food Provision

With the recent release of the jobactive inquiry report and the current inquiry into ParentsNext, today’s policy analysis could not be more timely. Natalie Jovanovski provides a summary[i] of research she conducted with Policy Whisperer Kay Cook into how current Welfare to Work policies inform single mothers’ food provisioning practices, and the consequent impacts on mental and physical health for both the mothers and their children.

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ParentsNext doesn’t get much right – but it could with some meaningful co-design

This week the Senate Inquiry into ParentsNext, including its trial and subsequent broader rollout published its first round of submissions. This follows months of public scrutiny after the program’s national rollout in July 2018. Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) and Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) summarise Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand’s (@GoodAdvocacy)’ submission to the inquiry and suggest an alternative approach.

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The same old story: How Newstart fails single mothers at every turn

Popular policy analyst Juanita McLaren (@DefrostedLady) shares her latest roundabout journey back to applying for the notoriously low Newstart Allowance and the attendant headaches that has involved. Juanita’s story is a case study of the myriad ways that the government’s policies fail to appreciate the complexities of everyday life and the difficulty of balancing viable employment with raising children as a sole parent.

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Looking at the Australian Social Security System through a Trauma-Informed Lens

The Cashless Debit Card Symposium was held at both the University of Melbourne and the Alfred Deakin Institute on Thursday, the 1st of February 2018. The Power to Persuade is running a series of blogs drawn from the presentations made on the day. In this piece, Katherine Curchin from Australia National University uses a trauma-informed lens to assess the effectiveness of the Cashless Debit Card to address the social issues it was introduced to address.

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The mounting human costs of the Cashless Debit Card

The Cashless Debit Card Symposium was held at both the University of Melbourne and the Alfred Deakin Institute on Thursday, the 1st of February 2018. The Symposium attracted attendees from a range of backgrounds, including card-holders, representatives from community organisations, academics based at a number of Australian universities, Labor and Greens senators, and various other interested parties. A mix of presentations and panel discussions generated productive conversations around issues including the experience of being subject to the Cashless Debit Card (CDC), settler-colonial relations and the CDC, a rights-based perspective on income management, the consumer and banking implications of the CDC, income management and the social determinants of health, and perspectives on moving beyond current framings of welfare in Australia. Additionally, the Symposium featured a panel discussion on behavioural approaches in policy making. This is the first of several blogs that the Power to Persuade will publish based on the papers presented on the day. We kick off with an overview by Elise Klein, the organiser of the Symposium and a leading researcher into its harmful effects on communities and individuals. This paper is drawn in part from an article that ran in The Conversation; you can read it in its original form here.

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‘Compliance’ welfare a road to destruction

The Federal Coalition Government has introduced a range of cuts to welfare payments, and accompanying this there has been an increasing focus on compliance. Compliance requirements are often onerous and unrealistic for people receiving welfare, and in addition seem designed to strip recipients of their dignity and agency. In today’s post Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand briefly reviews some of the compliance initiatives, suggests possible world views that are driving these changes, and provides a brief review of the consequences. Note: Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand is part of the newly-formed Treating Families Fairly campaign, organised by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

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A Universal Basic Income may be a good idea, but... we will still need social security that works

The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is gaining traction in Australia and around the globe. While a UBI has the potential to lift people and communities out of poverty, Michael Fletcher from the Aukland University of Technology warns us that it is not a panacea; government still needs to provide comprehensive services and tailored support. This policy analysis originally appeared on the New Zealand web site Briefing Papers, and can be viewed here.

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