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Divided Welfare? Tax funded Welfare In Australia's Targeted

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  • Fri 31 Oct ’14, 12:30pm – 1:30pm


Old Government Buildings, 15 Lambton Quay, Wellington Show map


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Having shared similar social policy settings during much of the twentieth century, Australia and New Zealand experienced quite different processes of economic restructuring during the 1980s and 1990s. Australia's more consensual politics led to both a more progressive tax structure – maintaining a higher top marginal tax rate and successfully introducing a capital gains tax – while also extending a model of targeted social assistance.

Australia's family and aged pension payments stand out internationally as a highly progressive, cost effective model for assisting low and middle income earners without stigmatising access or linking payments to work obligations. Yet alongside this highly redistributive system of payments, Australia has also developed a rapidly expanding set of tax expenditures, often covering similar areas of social provision.

Our paper outlines these two components of Australian social provision and proposes a model for understanding the political dynamics that sustain it. This suggests useful points of comparison with the New Zealand experience we hope to explore in discussion.

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