Social Welfare Experiments in Australia: More Trials for Aboriginal Families?
University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law
August 1, 2010
Journal of Social Security Law, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 164-197, 2010
University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 10-15
This article addresses contemporary welfare-payment reforms simultaneously being trialled in selected parts of Australia that signify dramatic shifts in public policy. Several different measures, motivated by the idea of mutual obligations, operate on the premise that managing or withholding welfare support payments can engender behavioural change in adults. Federal and state governments claim that these social-engineering experiments are necessary to prevent child abuse and neglect, enhance school attendance rates and tackle social disorder in Aboriginal communities. This article examines the catalyst for the trials and their theoretical foundation. It draws attention to the commonalities between past and present approaches to Aboriginal wellbeing and evaluates whether the measurescan be regarded as contrary to international human-rights law, in particular, the obligation to provide social security without discrimination.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Aboriginal wellbeing, international human-rights law, social security, welfare payment reforms
Date posted: August 1, 2010