16 April 2019

Gay Alcorn has written a detailed and thoughtful overview of Australia’s awful policy response to unemployment and poverty. Low rates of welfare payments, the marketisation of support, invasive and punitive behaviour controls, and vicious dehumanising rhetoric. Jacqui Phillips of ACOSS says, “What we’ve got now is a toxic trifecta, of the lowest unemployment payment in the OECD among some of the harshest conditions in the OECD and one of the least resourced employment system systems, half the OECD average of funding. It’s a nasty combination of policies.” Elsewhere in the Guardian, Greg Jericho uses graphs to highlight how bad Australia performs — and he makes this shocking observation: “A comparison with the OECD nations also shows that our tax and transfer system is not as effective as is others. Prior to the redistribution of taxes and transfers we have the 11th lowest rate of poverty; after taxes and transfers, however, we fall to 19th.” This ought to be a national disgrace.