Australia politics/economics/social welfare Essay Example

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How did the Howard Government changes to the welfare state impact on social and community services? Give examples.

Based on the public choice theory, the lobby groups which are self-interested benefits greatly from the welfare state by manipulating the redistributive process. In regard to these, the welfare state and its related services function in the interest of the social workers who are well paid to administer the services as opposed to working in the interest of the disadvantaged in the society for whom they are supposed to serve. The changes made by the Howard government have impacted on this issue greatly by withdrawing funding to some of the welfare advocacy groups and at the same time limited influence as well as access to other government funded interest groups. There have also been changes in the charities tax status which has impacted greatly on the social and welfare services.

Based on neo-liberals laws which preserve the minimum wages likely rob the less skilled and the disadvantaged workers in the society access to employment opportunities. Thus, they advocate for an elastic labour markets devoid of minimum wages and awards. The changes made by the Howard government such as the introduction of work choices framework reduced the working conditions and wages of the less skilled employees. Additionally, the Howard government also introduced the Australian Fair Pay commission, based on the framework the unskilled workers and disadvantaged in the society should not expect a pay rise since the minimum wage is more likely to fall with time or if it grows the growth with be at a significantly slow rate.

The idea of welfare dependency supposes that the welfare programs funded by the government tend to produce poverty in preference to relieving it. Based on these, the people depending on the welfare programs are seen as addicts and they not in any way dissimilar to those who depends on drugs, gambling and alcohol. Thus the argument that the government needs to discipline and motivate welfare recipients and re-integrate them with conventional social values for example a stable work and self reliance. The individuals dependent on welfare programs should be given the opportunity to choose between welfare and employment in a society where income security is seen as a privilege as opposed to an entitlement or a right. The changes implemented by the Howard government aimed at eliminating the alleged incentives of welfare dependency. With time the young people, disabled claimants and the single parents will be left with no option but to take up nay available jobs irrespective of the salary being offered. This is aimed at reducing the amount the government spends on the welfare programs since though they may be supported the support will be lower.

Neo liberals also have a  dependable obsession with turning around the modern shift of taking back welfare provision to the private charities, families and churches. The Howard government favoured greatly the provision of welfare services by private charities that are well known for taking much consideration of the moral causes of poverty rather than addressing the structural causes of poverty. The Howard government placed the charities at the centre of various government projects. When coupled with the various incentives to enhance business involvement in welfare provision and funding, the Howard government and the policies they have implemented indicates that they have eroded the traditional roles and responsibilities of the welfare state and services in Australia. All these aspects shows that the Howard government has little interest when it comes to making use of the welfare state and services in promoting greater equity and reducing poverty.

Explain the meaning of the concept of mutual obligation adopted by the Howard Government. Discuss the usefulness of mutual obligation as a principle for addressing unemployment.

Mutual obligation is a term that is closely associated with the stigma of welfare dependency. In it most simplest level, mutual obligation as defined through the words of Prime Minister John Howard is the idea of requesting individuals to give back something to the society in return for the assistance offered in their time of need. The Australia government further defines it using the terms below “that it is always reasonable and fair to ask the unemployed individuals in the society to take part in activities which plays an essential role in improving their employability and at the same time make contribution to the society in response for the payments of unemployment benefits”

In relation to the perspective of welfare assistance in Australia, Mutual obligation is used as principle of addressing unemployment by making use of the concept that the welfare assistance offered should entail some return responsibilities. Up to now, in Australia this idea means that the unemployed job seekers of the youth allowance and new start need to persistently endeavor to improve their competiveness in the current labor market. This can be done by seeking to improve one’s skills so as to be able to be seen as the most probable candidate by organizations seeking to recruit. This can be done by advancing ones education and participation in voluntary programs and this will be essential in improving ones skills in their chosen field of operation. The principle of mutual obligation also addresses the unemployment issue by encouraging people under the welfare program to assertively seek work opportunities and in due course give back something to the society that supports them. A good start for the job seekers is to engage in the accepted mutual obligation activities such as engaging in part-time paid work, part-time study, voluntary work and working for the dole but the list is endless.

Another way in which the mutual obligation principle sets out to reduce unemployment is based on the strict measures and guidelines in choosing those who are eligible to receive the welfare. Based on these those who do not qualify for the welfare will be forced to take up the low-paid work since it will be the only remaining option for them. Though the mutual obligation principle seeks to address the issue of unemployment government need to be more involved since the short term cost of solving unemployment may be high, the long term cost of supporting the ongoing welfare dependence is far more unpleasant propositions.

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