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

Version 2 2024-06-17, 07:46
Version 1 2014-10-28, 09:35
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-17, 07:46 authored by S Parker, R Fopp
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.

History

Journal

Contemporary politics

Volume

10

Pagination

257-269

Location

Oxon, England

ISSN

1356-9775

eISSN

1469-3631

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Taylor & Francis

Issue

3-4

Publisher

Routledge