The Federation Press

Social Security Law and Policy

Overview

This book explores the legal meaning of the radical new laws which have transformed the social security system in the last decade.

It analyses legislation and case law and lays out the legal principles and concepts, which underpin the sweeping reforms, culminating in the ‘welfare reform’ package announced in the 2005 Budget. It also explores the policy foundations of these reforms and key administrative changes, such as the creation of a privatised ‘job network’ and of Centrelink as a ‘payment agency’ .

This book also explores the tension between traditional ‘protective’ functions of social security and the contemporary focus on ‘activation’, reciprocity and ‘capacity-building’, and the extent to which social changes have altered the form of Australian welfare. It reviews the history and transformation of the welfare state, the ideas about the nature of poverty and need, and the policy choices to be made.

Detailed case studies are made of the law and policy affecting key groups such as the unemployed, people with illness or disability, and sole parents, as well as the administration and review rights of welfare recipients, and the workings of income and means tests.

Reviews

This book is a wonderful source of information for both the novice acquiring an overview on the essential elements of the Australian welfare system and for those more adept in the subject area, updating their knowledge with the latest information on welfare reform, policy and ideology. For legal practitioners wanting to enter this specialised area of law and policy, the book provides an excellent entry point. It has a simple and accessible layout; the chapters and sub-chapters are well defined; and the table of cases, legislation and bibliography are extensive and, essentially, easy to navigate. - Hearsay, September 2007

Professor Carney has provided a text which, if its cover was black and gold, might be called “Social Security for dummies”. It is not an annotation of the various Acts but identifies in a simple and succinct way the various rights and entitlements for those entitled to NSA, YA, SA, DSP, CP and many other allowances. If you don’t know the meaning of these acronyms, you qualify as a person who will benefit from studying this book. If you do know their meaning, you will also benefit as you will have more information at your fingertips than you could imagine. ... This book will be of immense value to practitioners no matter the extent of their experience in the topics covered by it. - BJM, Law Letter No 92 (Tasmanian Law Society) Winter 2006 53

There can be no doubting the dramatic changes to the Australian social and economic environment since the Howard government came to power in 1996 and the extent of the upheaval of Australian social welfare policy and law that has ensued. ... Carney’s study is free of polemics and rhetorical passion, presenting instead a thorough and remarkably neutral account of changes and the political and social views of those who engendered it and those who opposed it. Interwoven with factual description and analysis is a thoughtful introduction to the theoretical literature which seeks to record and explain the changes in Australia and abroad. - Richard Krever, Law Society Journal (NSW), Vol 44/6, July 2006, 74

Table of Contents

Preface/ Abbreviations/ Table of Cases/ Table of Legislation

Fundmental issues in social security
The history and values of Australian social security
The definition and scale of poverty
Meeting poverty: some Policy choices
Citizenship of third way?
Equity and need: means testing
Towards neoliberalism: income support for the unemployed
Income support for disability
Income support for sole parent families
Whither law and the (neoliberal?) welfare state

Bibliography/ Index

Of interest...