Newstart

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Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has said eight out of 10 income taxpayers go to work to fund Australia’s welfare bill. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

FactCheck: do eight out of 10 taxpayers work every day to pay our $150b welfare bill?

Implying that 80% of Australian income tax goes straight towards the welfare bill overlooks the fact that a large proportion of income taxpayers benefit from social security.
Despite a fall in our rate of child poverty, there is reason to be concerned about recent changes and future trends in Australia. AAP/Joe Castro

Australia bucks child poverty trend but the future looks a lot bleaker

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has just released its latest report card on child well-being in 41 rich countries. In particular, the report looks at the effects of the economic crisis on children…
Anyone who imagines most job seekers have it easy probably hasn’t been out of work recently. Flickr/Florian Simeth

Ten job seekers per vacancy: a reality check on welfare overhaul

It turns out that the policies for under 30s in the federal budget in May were a precursor to a much wider set of changes affecting unemployed people across the board. These are just now coming to light…
Kevin Andrews and the government’s vision for welfare reform depends entirely on whether labour market opportunities will open up to those for whom it has previously been closed. AAP/Gary Schafer

Welfare review fails to understand Australia’s labour market

The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System, led by former Mission Australia CEO Patrick McClure, is a vexed piece of work. Much in it is commendable and even far-sighted, but there…
The government wants young people to be learning or earning, but at some point they should be treated as adults. Dean Lewins/AAP

Earning, learning or confused: mixed signals on jobs for young

When should a young person start getting paid as an adult? It depends on where the money is coming from, according to current government policy - policy that is sending conflicting messages about the true…
The policy idea seems to be that poverty will force young people to work, but what if there are too few jobs? AR Images/Shutterstock

Budget wields big sticks and offers few carrots to young people

In the lead-up to the 2014-15 budget, Australians heard the federal government’s mantra that the “adults are back in charge”. However, the government’s approach to young people has been vague since its…
Treasurer Joe Hockey warned Australians that ‘the age of entitlement is over’ – a promise that certainly came true for young Australians in the federal budget. AAP/Lukas Coch

Young people are now on the edge of our reconfigured welfare state

The 2014-15 federal budget continues the deconstruction of Australia’s post-war welfare state. In fact, the budget takes it a step further, particularly for the young. People under the age of 30 will now…
The government plans to re-introduce work for the dole, but does it work? Shutterstock

Work for the Dole doesn’t work – but here is what does

The Work for the Dole program could again become a core element of welfare policy for the unemployed in Australia, but there is a considerable body of evidence which shows it is unlikely to help people…
Moving some sole parents onto the lower Newstart payments has pushed up the numbers. Alan Porritt/AAPIMAGE

Is ‘unsustainable’ welfare growth really being driven by Newstart?

Social services minister Kevin Andrews has targeted the Disability Support Pension and Newstart, the main payment for the unemployed, for reform, branding the current level of welfare as unsustainable…
Single parents' protests last year at being transferred to Newstart were ignored, and the evidence suggests the move made it harder to get suitable work to support their families. AAP/Paul Miller

An 800,000-plus jobs gap between ‘welfare to work’ and reality

The major missing factor in debates on cutting welfare spending – as has been flagged by social services minister Kevin Andrews – is the limited and falling demand for labour. Labour market figures give…
Despite criticisms that Julia Gillard has overplayed the gender card, the policies of her government have put in place a framework for true gender equality in the workplace. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gender equality at work: the Labor legacy

I was recently phoned by a journalist and asked to reflect on what the Labor government had done for gender equality. I started to jot down a number of reforms on the back of an envelope and surprised…
Looming cuts to expenditure and probable tax increases mean there will inevitably be winners and losers. But just how should these be chosen? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

ALP’s real budget balancing act is picking the winners and losers

The government is facing two options to tackle its budget deficit: significant cuts in government expenditures or increasing taxes to close the gap with spending. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has already…
The government policy which moves sole parents onto lower paid Newstart benefits once their children turn eight has caught the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Flickr/Flickeringerbrad

How can the government justify a policy that penalises working sole parents?

Late last year, the United Nations' Human Rights Council expressed its concern that moves to push sole parents onto a lower paid income support may breach our responsibilities under a number of human rights…
Fairness test: the Federal government has targeted the earnings of single parents while supporting wealthy superannuants. AAP

Current super concessions favour the wealthy - so why aren’t we supporting reform?

It says much about the degeneration of the Australian Labor Party that its priority and target for budget “savings” is poor single mums. In order to save an estimated $723 million over four years, in January…

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