Welfare State

Despite a rapid increase in wealth and living standards over the past few decades, more Australians are dependent on the public purse than ever before.  Today, almost one in six working age Australians relies on welfare for all or part of their income.  A growing welfare state means an ever higher tax take is needed, bringing more taxpayers in to the welfare system.  How can government promote individual responsibility and self-reliance, while still providing a safety net?  How can patterns of joblessness and dependency be broken?

Publications

Taking Back Control: Restoring Universalism in the Age of Identity Politics
Amanda Stoker
16 April 2019 | OP170

It can feel safer avoiding conversations on social issues that can be landmines at the best of times. But the longer those who believe in freedom and responsibility sit on the sidelines, the longer we give free rein for others to shape the debate. Where…

Dying with Their Rights On: The myths and realities of ending homelessness in Australia
Carlos d'Abrera
12 December 2018 | RR38

The orthodox understanding of the causes of homelessness promoted by the ‘homelessness industry’ over emphasises the role of economic and social structures. Solutions based on structuralist explanations – such as increasing the supply of affordable social housing – are insufficient to reduce rough sleeping. Such…

Why we should defend capitalism
Eugenie Joseph
28 November 2018 | PP12

Capitalism has become a controversial idea in recent years; yet economic markets and free enterprise are responsible for lifting millions of people out of abject poverty, improving the quality of life around the world, and creating shared prosperity. Capitalism has also proven effective at sustaining…

Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes?
Robert Carling, Terrence O'Brien
05 September 2018 | PP9

This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use…

Why childcare is not affordable
Eugenie Joseph
29 August 2018 | RR37

Childcare fees and out-of-pocket costs in Australia have been growing above inflation in recent years, at the same time that more parents are using formalised childcare to support their participation in the workforce. Childcare has been subject to growing and evolving regulation for many years,…

Media & Commentary

Welfare windfall to linger
Glenn Fahey
16 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

Tapering — rather than topping up — income support is key to sustainably and compassionately backing Australia’s vulnerable households and firms. The defining challenge facing policymakers through the course of…

The ? recovery
Robert Carling
10 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Living standards, livelihoods and business survival are at stake as the pandemic — and government responses to it — wreak economic havoc. This is why there is so much focus…

Call time on emergency measures
Glenn Fahey
03 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

There’s a time and place for emergency income support through the pandemic. But the usefulness of the unprecedented — but nonetheless unsustainable — emergency measures is rapidly expiring. New data…

JobKeeper – or RecoveryPreventer?
Glenn Fahey
01 July 2020 | Spectator

Emergency income support has a time and place in buoying Australians through the pandemic. But the usefulness of the unprecedented — but nonetheless unsustainable — emergency measures is very quickly…

Don’t increase Newstart; first use the money to fight long term unemployment
Simon Cowan
19 September 2019 | Spectator

As the government repeatedly says, the best form of welfare is a job, but when it comes to getting people off welfare and into employment there is a key distinction…