The mutual obligation policy in Australia: the rhetoric and reasoning of recent social security policy

Parker, S. and Fopp, R. (2004) The mutual obligation policy in Australia: the rhetoric and reasoning of recent social security policy. Contemporary Politics, 10(3-4), pp. 257-269. (doi:10.1080/1356977042000316718)

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Abstract

Since 1997, the Australian Federal Liberal Government has introduced policies which have sought to reduce rates of unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment. The policy, known as Mutual Obligation, increased the expectations on unemployed people in return for their social security payment. At the same time, previous labour market programmes and government assistance schemes were scrapped or privatised. This article explores the justification of the term 'Mutual Obligation' by examining both the language and the underlying principles of the policy. By defining the problem of unemployment in terms of flaws in the previous social security system, the stage is set for the government to introduce policies which remedy those flaws by emphasising self- reliance in favour of government assistance. Further, by invoking notions of fairness and mutuality, the article argues that the term 'Mutual Obligation' masks both the extent and the strength of the obligations imposed on unemployed people.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parker, Stephen
Authors: Parker, S., and Fopp, R.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Contemporary Politics
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1356-9775
ISSN (Online):1469-3631

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