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Rolling Back The Australian Welfare State

2323 words - 9 pages

Since the Howard government and the liberal party came to power in Australia, the welfare state has been rolled back and conditions for obtaining state assistance have greatly expanded. This has been due, in part to the Commonwealth government's attempt to reduce their financial commitments to the Australian people coupled with an ideological shift towards individual responsibility and privatisation .The citizenship theory, which underpins the social welfare system in Australia, and its underlying principles have been rolled back. The citizenship theory posits that the welfare state is bound by a conception of what a "full member of the community" is and the promotion of necessary rights to protect and sustain that social membership . Citizenship theory provides that citizens have a social right to welfare, which the community is obligated to provide . The three major policy goals of the welfare state and citizenship theory have been equality, altruism and needs based welfare rights which have begun to be rolled back through welfare reform policies as opposed to the 2003 commonwealth budget.Although there are roll backs in welfare state funding evident in the 2003 budget, including:· The Government decision to repeal the Student Financial Supplement Scheme .· Indigenous Parenting and Family Wellbeing payments have been reduced .· Centrelink Service Delivery for child support has been reduced .· Payments in relation to disability assistance have been reduced .· Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) expenditure has been reduced by a massive $98 million .A comparison of the 2002-2003 and the 2003-2004 commonwealth budget expenditures by function clearly highlights that Social Security and Welfare, Education and Health expenditure have all increased from 2002-2003 expenditures :· Social Security and Welfare expenditure has increased by $3.692 Billion· Education expenditure has increased by $818 Million· Health expenditure has increased by $1.991 BillionWhile it can be seen that the welfare state expenditure has increased, consideration must be given to the fact that the main driver for growth in the welfare state expenditure is the indexation of welfare payments . So while demand on the welfare state has also increased, the ongoing effect of indexation of payments has been the predominant factor in expenditure increase.So if it is evident that the welfare state funding has not been rolled back , the question remains, how and why the welfare state has been rolled back?To answer this question one must look towards the commonwealth government social policy.Social policy in relation to welfare reform has been centred around an ideological shift towards individual responsibility, mutual obligation and privatisation of the Australian welfare state.A historical analysis of the welfare state is probably the most effective aid in pinpointing how and why the welfare state has been rolled back, if...

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