Social Capital

What kind of Australia do we want?

Just over a decade ago I delivered my Boyer lectures on how Australia could become a ‘truly civil society’. In 2006 it is probably more realistic to look at how we could achieve more civility. How can Australian society become more equitable, hospitable and generous?

Improving the Proposed IR & Welfare Systems for Women

There are many changes in the Industrial Relations (IR) and welfare system that will differentially affect men and women in their work places and homes. Women workers in a range of areas will be disadvantaged because of their domestic responsibilities, the types of jobs they hold, the particular conditions of their work and their different types of workplaces.

Dog whistle welfare

The Federal government has offered us a package of welfare changes placing new obligations on certain recipients of social security payments. The rhetoric is impeccable populism, playing into the well known negatives of welfare

Fairness agenda takes a back seat at tax forum

This was the tax forum where the fairness agenda was lost, at least from the government side. This was shown by Wayne Swan’s apparent dismissal of the possibility of funding any welfare payment increases by cuts to the excessive tax concession to the rich

Social and gender equity way down on the tax forum agenda

There will be many men assembling tomorrow in Canberra to discuss the tax system they think we need. There are some women, almost half of the community contingent, but well below in all other categories except the ALP contingent, making maybe 50 out of 187 attendees. The gender imbalance reflects male domination in most top jobs in business and the other organisations that have most of the seats at the forum.

How can the government justify a policy that penalises working sole parents?

Late last year, the United Nations' Human Rights Council expressed its concern that moves to push sole parents onto a lower paid income support may breach our responsibilities under a number of human rights treaties.

Who is damaged by the current superannuation system?

Media stories about possible changes to superannuation tax concessions generally focus on the “dangers” of reducing the unfair benefits of better off super contributors. Most stories come from financial journalists who voice the views of the finance industry, or offer opinion pieces from the various financial institutions that benefit substantially from the current system.

Community has seven months to put inequality back on the agenda

We have 226 days until the election, and are hearing lots of pious statements about having time for some serious policy debate.

What the government wants to ignore about sole parents and jobseeking

It is universally agreed Newstart is inadequate, especially for the long-term support of individuals or families. The government says their solution is for recipients to get a job, but that is not easy or even possible for many Newstart recipients. Of more than 600,000 people on the payment, about half are not even required to look for work because they can’t.

Time is running out to close the gender wage gap

Equal pay was, and still is, one of the key demands of feminists. Basic to any idea of gender equity should be that paid work is fairly rewarded, whether it’s undertaken by a male or female.


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