Social policy

articles 1 to 20 of 45

Gagging clauses in contracts permit purchasers of research to modify, substantially delay, or prohibit the reporting of findings. stallio/Flickr

Governments shouldn’t be able to censor research results they don’t like

Government departments often commission research to help them understand and respond to policy issues. But they impose contract conditions that threaten to undermine the integrity of the work.
Patrick McClure’s recently released review of Australia’s welfare system borrowed heavily from the reform agenda across the ditch. AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia should think twice before adopting NZ welfare model

The claim that New Zealand's investment approach to welfare reform has been “very successful” is at best unproven. Arguably, it is plain wrong.
Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are united in condemning violence against women and children, but both overlook the young people who are victims too. AAP/Lukas Coch

Sidelined and scorned: young people are set up to be soft targets

Responses to family violence by Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten and the terms of reference for Victoria's royal commission fail to mention young people. Such a lack of recognition has dire consequences.
Many services in NSW that previously operated as specialist women’s refuges have been dramatically transformed under recent reforms. shutterstock

The evidence supports specialist refuges for domestic violence

Research about specialist women’s domestic violence and other refuges does not support the claims made by NSW Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton that recent sweeping changes to these…
Osborne will have to do more if he wants to reach targets for social security spending. Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Deeper benefit cuts needed to hit Conservative target

A Green Budget for 2015 was released recently by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The detailed report on social security spending shows that a future government would have to implement much deeper cuts…
Getting the right balance between short- and medium-term ‘fixes’ may well be the most significant challenge for Social Services Minister Scott Morrison. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Shaping 2015: Social services need more than short-term fixes

Scott Morrison’s appointment as minister for social services in late December 2014 has been seen as an important step for the Abbott government as it moves towards its second budget. The tasks he faces…
They might seem similar on the face of it, but they have big differences in social policy. Chris Jackson/PA Wire

New report outlines lessons from the coalition’s social policy record

My colleagues and I marked 100 days to the next general election by publishing a suite of reports comprehensively documenting the social policy record of the current coalition government, as we have done…
Howard-era Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski is the new chairman of the revamped Australian Multicultural Council. AAP/Matthias Engesser

New Multicultural Council signals a broader shift to the right

Late in December, I took a phone call from a young woman working for the Department of Social Services. She had called, she said, because the department was checking its database of contacts, so that the…
Real and sustained engagement with Aboriginal people should be the starting point in rethinking Indigenous welfare policy. AAP/Marianna Massey

Income management doesn’t work, so let’s look at what does

In recent years, Tangentyere Council Research Hub has undertaken data collection in Alice Springs town camps as part of a longitudinal study of income management. The final report of around 300 pages was…
Housing First is a program that offers housing to homeless drug users – regardless of whether or not they’re drug free – with a goal of social recovery. Bryan Guilas/Flickr

Being drug free shouldn’t be a requirement to receive housing

Over the past decade, drug use in the US has risen dramatically, with heroin use reaching epidemic proportions. The country’s policy for combating abuse has involved incarceration, abstinence-only treatment…
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…
In office and in opposition, Gough Whitlam’s advocated for the Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty. AAP/Dean Lewins

Whitlam’s forgotten legacy: a voice for the poor

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam, whose death at age 98 was announced on Tuesday, left significant legacies from his short time in office. Whatever their condition today, many of his government’s initiatives…
The ideology of the market struggles with the society-focused work of community volunteers. AAP/Julian Smith

As our voluntary sector vanishes, we mustn’t just wave it goodbye

Some community welfare sector commentators point to a new order for welfare where the private sector practises social responsibility, states seek to be more entrepreneurial and voluntary community organisations…
Tony Abbott keeps appointing businessmen like Andrew Forrest, who have limited expertise in analysing evidence and developing social policy, to advise the government. AAP/Nikki Short

Forrest report ignores what works and why in Indigenous policy

The Creating Parity report on Indigenous employment and welfare, released last week by mining magnate Andrew Forrest, is in much the same vein as Tony Shepherd’s recent Commission of Audit. Forrest and…
Working out what’s going on isn’t as easy as it looks. Social worker by Shutterstock

Social workers should be paid and trained like doctors

Social workers deal with messy, complex and ambiguous situations where off-the-peg solutions are often irrelevant. Take a mother who wants to feed a hungry baby, but her fridge is empty because she can’t…
While social services minister Kevin Andrews focuses on welfare spending data, there is precious little evidence for the efficacy of his policy approach. AAP/Alan Porritt

When job seekers outnumber jobs 5 to 1, punitive policy is harmful

The prime object of welfare reform should be to increase the well-being of people rather to reduce public expenditure. Good policy should be able to achieve both goals over the longer term. Too many current…
US president Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Bill into law in 1965, one of a suite of policies aimed at ending poverty in America. LBJ Library

How crusade to end ‘age of entitlement’ replaced ‘war on poverty’

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of president Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in the United States. Whatever people might think of Johnson’s actions in southeast Asia, it’s worth pausing to remember his…

Top contributors

More