By Philip Mendes
Considers the jobs performed through the main political events, foyer teams and ideologies in deciding upon Australia’s present welfare-related results.
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Extra info for Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies
Unemployment continued to rise throughout the Fraser years. But despite the large increase in the number of unemployment beneficiaries, the government presided over an erosion of real benefit levels — largely through abolition or dilution of indexation. The unemployment benefit for persons aged 16 and 17 years was increased only once between 1975 and 1983, whilst indexation for single people over 18 years was withdrawn in 1978 (Ironmonger, 1980: 34–35). The Fraser Government also tightened the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits; denied payments to people who moved to areas of low employment opportunity or who were stood down as a result of strikes; and increased the waiting periods for school leavers and people who voluntarily left their jobs.
According to Beder (1997), the free-market ideas promoted by the think-tanks have become hegemonic not only amongst conservative parties, but even within traditionally social democratic groupings. They have become publicly accepted as self-evident truths against which there is no other alternative. The Australian neoliberal think-tanks have considerable resources at their disposal. According to Alex Carey, the annual budget of right-wing Australian think-tanks in 1986 was between $6 and LEADING THE B ACKLASH • 37 $8 million — about eight times the entire ACTU publicity fund levied on union affiliates three years later (Carey, 1987: 41).
However, over the last 25 years, classical liberal ideas have enjoyed a remarkable international revival to the point where they can reasonably be described as constituting a new political orthodoxy (George, 1997: 47–48). Their revival has been greatly assisted by an international conglomerate of neoliberal thinktanks generously funded by corporate resources. The term ‘thinktanks’ refers to institutes engaged in the scholarly research of public policy independently of government or political parties (Stone, 1991: 200).
Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies by Philip Mendes