Social policy in Australia

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Question 1: Who is most likely to live in poverty in Australia? What are the primary causes of poverty identified in your readings for this week?

Poverty is defined looking at the people’s incomes, levels of employment, law gross domestic product and lack of basic personal needs such as food shelter and clothing. Australia is always regarded as a country, which is characterized by comprehensive welfare system, social equality, equal right and has very little poverty level. Ireland (2015) states, “And yet, research released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Tuesday finds that 4 to 6 per cent of Australians – that’s between one and 1.5 million of us – live in poverty, with little hope of escaping it.” People think that Australia has a very strong economy and is able to provide most of the services to her citizens such as good schools to all the citizens and high-class hospitals. The real data depicts that those attitudes do not help this country to reduce the level of poverty encroaching in this state (Ireland 2015).

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Who is likely to live in poverty in Australia?

Women constitute a group that is likely to live in poverty in the country. Research indicates that men are better off when it comes to poverty level compared to women. About 13% of women in Australia are affected by poverty compared to men whose percentage is about 12% (Baum and Duvnjak, 2013). The most affected category among women is the single parents since they have children that greatly depend on them. Men control most of the property owned by families putting women at risk of poverty.

Aboriginal people are also among those at risk of poverty. The first people, Aboriginal, according to the historical records of Australia are most likely to live in poverty than the non-indigenous residents. The indigenous people experience low income than their counterpart’s non-indigenous people. They are being discriminated in work and mining areas hence, they have little or no employment.

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Primary causes of poverty

Unemployment

Unemployment in Australia is caused by discrimination of some people in the job market, social exclusion and gaps in education. Some people do not get proper education due to poverty in Australia, which in turns affects their employment in the job market (Saunders, 2006). Those who are not employed cannot afford proper basic commodities due to low income. Lack of income is one of the major causes of poverty in Australia.

Politics

Politicians in Australia are not putting more effort to reduce the level of poverty in the country. They are good at promises that there would be no Australian child who will languish in poverty in the near feature but they are defeated to put their promises into practice (Peel, 2003). The issues or policies concerning poverty eradication has been gradually been eliminated from the country’s reform agenda. The Australian Labor government in power considered adopting more efforts on social integration rather than on poverty.

Welfare Dependency

Welfare is an important aspect where people are suffering. However, the provision of constant welfare to the indigenous people by the government has increased welfare dependency (Baum, Frank &Duvnjak, 2013). This welfare practice has affected the indigenous communities negatively contributing to their alcoholic nature and lack of desire to pursue education or employment to get good income. Most people get lazy and do not want to work because they understand that they will be under government’s welfare.

Question 2: If paid work is becoming increasingly precarious in Australia, what are the implications for social policy and the welfare of the population?

Paid jobs are becoming unsecure to most of the population in Australia in that there is an introduction of multinomial logit regressions through HILDA calendar analysis. This analysis determines those who are employed, the skills required for the job, those who are moving from one job to another and level of education (Watson, 2008). This issue makes migrants, those with little or no skills and the uneducated to be vulnerable due to the poverty that they face. There is an increase in law wages, which are associated with low skilled personnel due to lack of proper education caused by high levels of poverty. Low wages prevent people from satisfying their needs such as the desire to educate their children, good health services and to meet their basic needs effectively.

Discrimination is also an issue. There is a lot of corruption and discrimination in the job market in Australia. The research depicts that migrants and the non-English speaking groups, in general, are disadvantaged in the job market. Women are also another group that is being discriminated interims in the job market with around 58 percent (Perkins, Scutella and Flatau, 2008). Some individuals may spend year’s unemployed without ever gaining entry into jobs.

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The unstable paid jobs would increase crime rates due to poverty. There would be increased mental and physical health problems due to alcoholism to relieve stress. The Australian minimum wage is 672.70 Australian dollars per week (Moase, 2013). Unstable employment would boost the community overdependence on social welfare, and community reliant on social crimes such as terrorism. Another implication is that it would increase government budget in trying to help those who are unemployed rather than using the resources to create more employments for the citizens.

Unemployment is one of the issues that contribute to poverty. Research indicates that more than fifty percent of the Australians are unemployed especially young people. Most of the unemployed young individuals live below the poverty line. This makes them devout their energy into criminal deeds. The unemployed in Australia are known to receive ‘Newstart Allowance’ (Saunders and Wong, 2013). Social policy should seek to address the needs of the unemployed. This can be done by ensuring that welfare targets the unemployed by giving them a monthly earning to ensure that they fend for their basic needs. The importance of social policy is to ensure that the population benefits. Targeting the unemployed ensures that societal problems, such as crime are sorted.

Social policy should seek to reduce poverty. This can be done through job creation and sensitizing the population to seek self-employment opportunities. The population does not have to depend on employment to survive. People can start their own businesses, even if the businesses are small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that will help them earn an income and sustain their families. Social policy can help by sensitizing the population by providing ideas for small businesses and encouraging government support through funding so that the groups that are at risk of poverty, such as women and youth are helped to start or grow their own businesses.

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  1. Baum, F. and Duvnjak, A., 2013. The politics of poverty in Australia. Social Alternatives, 32(1), p.12.
  2. Moase, G., 2018, ‘Why Australians deserve a universal minimum income’, The Guardian.
  3. Forstater, M., 2015. Working for a better world: Cataloging arguments for the right to employment. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 41(1), pp.61-67.
  4. Peel, M., 2003. The lowest rung: Voices of Australian poverty. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Perkins, D., Scutella, R. and Flatau, P., 2008. Introduction to the special issue on low paid work in Australia, realities and responses. Australian Journal of Labor Economics, 11(1), p.1.
  6. Saunders, P. and Wong, M., 2013. Examining Australian attitudes to inequality and redistribution. The Journal of Australian Political Economy, (71), p.51.
  7. Saunders, P.G., 2006. A perennial problem: Employment, joblessness and poverty. Social Policy Research Centre.
  8. Watson, I., 2008. Low paid jobs and unemployment: churning in the Australian labour market, 2001 to 2006. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 11(1), p.71.
  9. Ireland, J. (2015, April 21). One million Australians living in poverty – it’s just not good enough. The Sydney Morning Herald.
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