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Articles on Social policy

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In 1872, John Gast painted ‘American Progress,’ showing trains and roads spreading across the American West. John Gast, Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons

Infrastructure spending has always involved social engineering

Government investment in roads, railroads and other public services has always involved social programming, both for good and for ill.
A crossing guard stops traffic as students arrive at École Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Student achievement depends on reducing poverty now and after COVID-19

Comprehensive early childhood education, mental health support, internet connectivity and post-secondary funding are part of reducing the consequences of poverty so all students may excel.
The marriage equality debate raised questions of religious freedom that have yet to be resolved. Danny Casey (AAP)/Shutterstock

The Coalition’s record on social policy: big on promises, short on follow-through

The government is spruiking its commitment to religious freedom and freedom of speech, as well as its successes on tackling inequality. Its record, however, leaves much to be desired.
The Department of Human Services approach to social security fraud prosecutions has become less punitive in recent years. Julian Smith/AAP

Why prosecutions for welfare fraud have declined in Australia

Despite a public focus on punitive approaches to welfare fraud, the number of social security fraud prosecutions has fallen in recent years.
The Cashless Debit Card trial disproportionately targets Indigenous people, despite what the government says. AAP/Richard Milnes

As costs mount, the government should abandon the Cashless Debit Card

That the Cashless Debit Card continues to be pursued exposes a dogged obsession with implementing punitive policy at the expense of vulnerable people.

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