Parents...Next: The Ongoing Neoliberalising of Australian Social Security

Lydia Hamer, Kieran Tranter

Abstract


Over the last three decades, social security reform in Australia has increasingly moved to a model of welfare conditionality. A neoliberal agenda has led to Australian social security changing from a model of universal entitlement to mutual obligations. This has led to criticisms that Australian social security increasingly blames and penalises recipients for their economic marginalisation while deemphasising structural barriers obstructing labour market participation. ParentsNext, a compulsory pre-employment program for select Parenting Payment recipients, continues this trajectory. This article argues that ParentsNext has had, and will continue to have, a detrimental impact on recipients. The program through outsourcing, use of the Targeted Compliance Framework to penalise non-compliance and the program’s one-size-fits-all approach continues the neoliberalist agenda in Australian social security. Women with young children are ‘next.’ This article concludes that ParentsNext true purpose is ideological. Its actual effect is to punish and harm vulnerable women and children by subjecting them to the whims of private providers and the data producing requirements of the social security machine without any substantive attempt to overcome structure barriers to achieving economic security.


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References


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