Empowerment and Control in the Australian Welfare State: A Critical Analysis of Australian Social Policy Since 1972

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Routledge, Oct 11, 2018 - Australia - 244 pages
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This book explores the tensions between the competing social rights and social control functions of the modern Australian welfare state. By critically examining the history and rhetoric of the Australian welfare state from 1972 to the present day, and using the author's long-standing research on the Australian Council of Social Service and other welfare advocacy groups, it analyses the transformation from rights-based to conditional welfare.

The Labor Party Government from 1972-75 is identified as the only clear cut example of Australia positively using welfare payments and services as an instrument to promote greater social equity, inclusion and participation. Since the mid-1970s, the Australian welfare state has gradually retreated from the social rights agenda conceived by the Whitlam Government. Australia has followed other Anglo-Saxon countries in adopting increasingly conditional and paternalistic measures that undermine the protection of social citizenship outside the labour market.

In contrast, this text makes the case for an alternative participatory and decentralized welfare state model that would prioritize social care by empowering and supporting welfare service users at a local community level.

This book will be of interest to academics, students and policy-makers working within social policy, social work and political sociology.

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About the author (2018)

Philip Mendes is the Acting Head of the Department of Social Work, Monash University, Australia. He has been a social work and social policy practitioner and educator for over 30 years, with particular experience in the fields of income support, young people transitioning from state out of home care, social workers and policy practice, and illicit drugs. He has numerous publications in local and international journals, and is the author or co-author of 11 books.

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