Posts tagged welfare reform
Vital signs. Our compulsory super system is broken. We ought to axe it, or completely reform it

The newly announced inquiry into Australia’s retirement income system comes 25 years after the introduction of compulsory superannuation. In today’s blog post Richard Holden, Professor of Economics at UNSW, discusses fundamental problems with the current system, and that what is needed in Australia is a retirement income revolution.

This post originally appeared in The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

Read More
Blunt mechanisms fail to move unemployed people into viable employment

Despite the government’s commitment to and investment in a Welfare to Work strategy to incentivise people into employment, many people are languishing on the extraordinarily low Newstart Allowance for long periods of time. What exactly is going wrong? In a submission to the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into sustainable employment for disadvantaged jobseekers, Sue Olney (@olney_sue) of the Public Service Research Group (@PSResearchG) at UNSW Canberra provides a brief but comprehensive outline of why current levers seem to be falling well short of government targets. You can read the full submission in its original format here.

Read More
How ParentsNext is Harming Survivors of Trauma

Punitive policies presume there is nothing stopping people from changing their behaviour other than recalcitrance. Research indicates, however, that many people who are subject to compliance welfare have multiple and complex barriers to aligning with government-identified outcomes. Today’s analysis by Katherine Curchin (@KatieCurchin) from the Australian National University explains how the ParentsNext program aggravates trauma, causing more damage than good for women who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Read More
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.

Read More
Supercharging discrimination: The Targeted Compliance Framework and the impact of automated decision-making

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty is preparing a report on the human rights impact of the introduction of digital technologies in social security systems. The Human Rights Law Centre made a submission to the Special Rapporteur focusing on Australia’s social security system and how technology is increasingly being used to target and punish people, especially single mothers, through programs like ParentsNext. Monique Hurley (@monique_hurley) from the Human Rights Law Centre (@RightsAgenda) summarises their submission, focusing on the gendered impacts. The full submission is available here. More information about the Special Rapporteur’s report is available here.  

Read More
New wave conditionality and social supervision

In today's post, Dr Simone Casey (@simonecasey) discusses the ethics and efficacy of recent developments in welfare conditionality in Australia. This continues her series of posts examining topical issues in Australia's employment services system - ParentsNext; mutual obligation; 'work first' activation of jobseekers; and the growing presence of automation in Australia's welfare system. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

Read More
Thanks for asking… Mothers say ParentsNext puts parents last

With the outcome of the recent federal election, the Coalition’s ‘pre-employment’ program known as ParentsNext looks set to continue indefinitely. While a recent Senate Inquiry found the program to be deeply flawed and often harmful to participants, the program is not without its defenders. In today’s piece, Ella Buckland (@EllaNBuckland), who has become a strong advocate for women who are enrolled and is leading a petition to have the program made voluntary, writes about her own experiences and those of other mothers who are on the program in an effort to set the record straight on the program’s merits.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
Snakes and ladders: The experience of single mothers on Welfare to Work

Single mother households are the most disadvantaged household type in Australia. The Welfare to Work policy is intended to help single mothers engage with employment, increase their self-reliance and improve their financial security. Today’s post summarises a new report by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand that is being launched at the ACOSS National Conference. Authored by Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady), Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) and Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah), it is titled “Outside systems control my life”: The experiences of single mothers on Welfare to Work, and draws on in-depth interviews.

Read More
For women and children fleeing violence, timely and effective social security support is vital

Last week, an important research report was launched by the National Social Security Rights Network. Entitled "How well does Australia’s social security system support victims of family and domestic violence?", author Sally Cameron lays out the many and complex ways the welfare system too often increases women’s financial insecurity following a separation due to domestic violence, and in the process compounds trauma. Today’s blog post provides a summary of the main findings from the report.

Read More
What counts as work and income for parents in the new economy? An opportunity lost in the roll out of the new Child Care Package

Today the government’s new Child Care Package is being rolled out. While it may be a positive for middle-class families who earn their incomes in a ‘traditional’ manner, the implications for families in more precarious employment is not so clear. In today’s post, Kay Cook (@KayCookPhD) of Swinburne University walks us through the new package and what it means for workers who are increasingly reliant on precious employment.

Read More
Women, welfare, and a policy of economic abuse

The increasingly punitive welfare policies of the Coalition government have been explored from a range of angles here, but today’s post provides a framework for understanding them. Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand suggests that government welfare policies fit the definition for economic abuse.

Read More
By all means raise the rate, but while we’re at it…

With a majority of Australians supporting an increase to the Newstart allowance (current below the poverty line), the #RaisetheRate campaign has been taken up by many in the lead-up to Federal elections. In today’s blog, Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand argues that, while raising the rate is the right thing to do, it’s also important to strengthen the other policies that govern differing aspects of financial security. This is particularly so for single mothers, who are often victims of both punitive government policies and post-separation economic abuse from former partners.

Read More
Contracted employment services: obligations placed on single parents fails to help many

Since the early 2000s successive Australian governments have required single parents with school age children who are in receipt of income support payments to at a minimum engage in some form of planning to return to paid work or part-time paid work or education/training. Over time these “activation obligations” that have been placed on single parents have become more onerous. Currently the government requires parents in receipt of Parenting Payment Single to seek a minimum of 30 hours of paid work per fortnight once their youngest child turns six.

Read More
No roses (or support) for the ‘undeserving’: Deconstructing how Australian policy punishes single mums

While planning their own Mothers’ Day celebrations in lieu of the absent fathers, Emily Wolfinger (@Ewolfi10) and Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand reflect on the devaluing of caring work in social policy and its implications for women parenting alone.

Read More
Financial inclusion, basic bank accounts, and 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 Power to Persuade is running a series of blogs drawn from the presentations made on the day. In this piece, David Tennant of FamilyCare Shepparton and Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand assess the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) as a tool for promoting financial inclusion, and find it comes up well short. ​​​​​​​

Read More
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.

Read More