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

Welfare reform beyond decades of dependence, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘double dipping’
Simon Cowan
31 May 2017 | OP156

Recent attempts to reform welfare have focused on the wrong elements of the system. In some cases, advocating tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and single mother payments while simultaneously increasing the scope and cost of family benefits and pension payments. Blaming ‘dole bludgers’ will never…

Fiscal Fiction: The Real Medicare Levy
Jeremy Sammut
07 May 2017 | RR27

The Medicare Levy is, and always has been, a fiscal fiction. The revenue raised by the levy is not ‘hypothecated’ – dedicated specifically to fund Medicare – but goes into general government revenue. Moreover, the amount of revenue raised by the levy accounts for a…

Real Choice for Ageing Australians: Achieving the Benefits of the Consumer-Directed Aged Care Reforms in the New Economy
Jeremy Sammut
09 April 2017 | RR24

The consumer-directed aged care (CDC) reforms are an important opportunity to showcase the benefits of market-based reforms to often sceptical and change-averse members of the public. Given the broader implications, this report warns that the CDC reforms could fall short of their promise and fail to…

MEDI-VATION: ‘Health Innovation Communities’ for Medicare Payment and Service Reform
Jeremy Sammut, Gerald Thomas, Peta Seaton
02 November 2016 | RR21

Health Innovation Communities (HICs) would essentially constitute an Australian ‘Silicon Valley’ for health – hubs for research and development within which the proverbial 1000 flowers will bloom as a plurality of different providers create novel health products and solutions. The good examples and real world…

Society is Broken
Theodore Dalrymple
20 June 2016 | OP146

With experience as a prison doctor and psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple decries the impact of the welfare state and a culture of dependence in society. A phrase such as ‘a broken society’ should not be made to bear more meaning than it has. Societies do not…

Media & Commentary

Towards a circuit-breaker on welfare reform
Susan Windybank
22 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

In a recent post for the Foundation for Economic Freedom, US ethics professor Richard Ebeling revisits the vital role that voluntary associations once played in the United States in providing…

Despair beneath the boab tree
Sara Hudson
11 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

There is a stark contrast between the beauty of the Kimberley and the sense of despair enveloping many of the people living there. The State Coroner is currently conducting an…

Re-thinking homelessness and mental health policy
Jeremy Sammut
04 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The ‘tent city’ blighting Martin Place outside the Reserve Bank of Australia raises important questions about the cause of homelessness. Predictably, Sydney City Council justifies its appalling inaction by arguing…

Whatever happened to incentive?
Robert Carling
28 July 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s freshly invigorated inequality narrative has sparked a debate focused on whether inequality is increasing. The answer is the claim of rising inequality lies somewhere between a…

Even in the age of reality TV, the personal isn't political
Simon Cowan
04 March 2017 | Canberra Times

When Trent Hunter (pictured right) walked to the podium to talk about penalty rates at a Labor press conference last week, his role was clear. He was there to put…