Background Briefing Note
for the 'Fair Go - Fair Share' Campaign
Polarisation in Australia
is out finally. Despite a booming economy in recent years, the distribution
of the benefits of this has been unequal and uneven. In fact, the
gap between those doing well from the current economic prosperity
and those just struggling to maintain a decent standard of living
has widened considerably in recent years. A number of recent studies
have illustrated this point graphically:
his recent book Turning Point - Australians Choosing Their
Future, the reputable sociologist, Hugh Mackay, has cited
the following household income statistics:
of Statistics figures tell us that about 50 percent of households
have an average annual income (after tax) of less than $50,000.
But the polarisation of household incomes is graphically revealed
by estimates prepared by Ibis Information Systems. In 1997-98,
Ibis estimated that the top 20 percent of households had an
average annual income of $142,000 and the next 20 percent had
an average annual income of $78,900. The bottom 20 percent,
by contrast, had an average annual income of $12,625. (p.
In The Australian's week-long feature Advance Australia
Where in mid 2000 (June 17-22), the gap between the rich
and well-heeled and the poor, struggling battlers was explored
comprehensively. As part of this feature, an article by Mike
Steketee (June 19, p. 10) provided national figures on the growing
income gap from the highly reputable National Centre for Social
and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).
by NATSEM shows that the numbers of employees in the top earnings
bracket doubled by more than 1 million between 1982 and 1996-97É
full-time employees in this bracket saw their average pay go
up by $299 a week after inflation to $1,488 a week - an 18
percent increase. At the other end of the scale, those in the
bottom band almost doubled in numbers as well to reach 1.1
million. But these full-time employees saw their average real
income drop by $4 to $205 a week.
In other words,
the rise for those at the top was greater than the total earnings
of those at the bottom in 1996-97.
Social Action Office's own research into poverty in Queensland
(People and Places - A Profile of Growing Disadvantage in
Queensland, QCOSS, 1999) revealed a steady increase in the
rates and incidence of poverty in this State over a fourteen
year period. This study showed that on the most recent statistics
available, around 20 percent of households or income units in
Queensland are living below the Henderson Poverty Line (HPL).
The report also identified areas of relative disadvantage across
the State. Building upon an earlier 1995 study, Drawing the
Line on Poverty, this research highlighted the geographical/spatial
dimensions of poverty and disadvantage in Queensland. This reflects
other research which has brought this dimension to socio-economic
disadvantage to attention.
The fact is that socio-economic
polarisation within Australia has a geographical/spatial dimension.
A focus on the gap
between those at the top of the income scale and those at the
bottom can serve to disguise another significant socio-economic
demographic, namely that middle Australia is struggling. While
government assistance to low-income earners, especially families
with children, has offset an even worsening socio-economic inequality,
the situation facing middle-income earners has deteriorated.
data used by Mike Steketee highlights what he refers to as the "hollowing
out of middle Australia":
In 1982, 45 percent
of the workforce was clustered on earnings of between 75 percent
and 125 percent of median earnings. By 1997, that had fallen
to a little over 37 percent.
So, in 15 years, the
number of middle-income earners shrank by 8 percent, representing
544,000 workers. Of course, a significant number of these middle-income
earners moved into the high-income bracket in that period. However,
many also fared negatively and their incomes fell in real terms.
August 1999 the median income in Australia
was $552 per week.
Australian, 17-18 June 2000
The shrinking of middle-income
earners is seen by many commentators as a contributing factor
in the growth of the so-called "working poor" - those
people who are in paid employment but who are near the bottom
of the income scale and being paid incomes which are inadequate
for a decent living. The working poor are clustered around insecure,
casualised jobs with little protection. Such workers are vulnerable
to market forces, cannot rely on the longevity of employment
and have little bargaining power in the workplace.
In a recent report
from NATSEM, the correlation between poverty and poor health was
explored. The Courier-Mail (11 January 2001) headed its
account of this report Poorer in health and wealth.
The findings of this
research revealed that the "health gap" between the
rich and poor in Australia had widened in the last two decades.
Those at the bottom of the income scale, on $27,500 a year or
less (40% of Australians) tend to have poorer health compared
with higher-income groups. This impacted significantly on children
of low-income families who were more likely to suffer from illnesses
such as asthma, deafness and bronchitis.
The report identified
the "working poor", the unemployed and others reliant
on social security incomes as the most vulnerable.
On top of having to
struggle with inadequate incomes and deteriorating heath, the
quality of life of many Australians has been diminished by:
loss of services, both public and private sector services,
especially in rural areas
cutbacks and downsizing of staff in key institutions, again
in both the public and private sectors and impacting especially
in rural and regional areas
the introduction of "user-pays" regimes
in many areas of life which were once freely accessible.
recent edition of The Australian Magazine (6-7 May 2000),
Deborah Hope wrote a feature in which she detailed examples of
"bottom line" economics had reduced the quality of public
and private services - hospital and nursing home staff reduced,
railway staff replaced with technology, closure of banks, cleaning
services in institutions out-sourced and cut back, work overload.
In all, Hope took a long look "beyond the bottom line"
and concluded that:
is everywhere: in our health system, aged care, public schools,
transport, banks, longer work hours. The Australian economy
may be healthy but our quality of life is under attack.
In other words, the
"bottom line" of economic calculus has been given precedence
over social factors which, in many cases, have diminished the
material circumstances of many Australian citizens. In particular,
in the name of "market failure", both private and public
services have been withdrawn or downsized in many parts of the
country. This has exacerbated the growing polarisation between
the well-off and the low-income battlers.
have seen a dramatic polarisation of incomes within
Australia so that now there is a huge social divide
between low-income Australians, battling to make ends
meet, and the well-off. Middle Australia is declining
and a socio-economic polarisation is taking shape.
gap between low-income groups and those in higher-income
brackets is widening. The 'working poor' and the unemployed
are particularly vulnerable to poor health. Children
of low-income families are also vulnerable to long-term
and quality of services has diminished in many parts of
Australia which, for many on low incomes, has diminished
their quality of life.
The tradition of Catholic
Social Teaching began in 1891 with Rerum Novarum (The Condition
of Labour). This has been followed by a series of social encyclicals
and other documents. The Popes have given the lead in the evolution
of this social doctrine but have been followed by statements from
Synods and Bishops' Conferences throughout the world. For example,
Justice in the World, the 1971 Synod of Bishops document,
is a significant affirmation of social justice as a constitutive
dimension of the preaching of the gospel. Similarly, the Australian
Catholic Bishops Conference reaffirmed the importance of the social
gospel in the 1992 document Common Wealth for the Common Good.
In general it can
be said that the encyclicals and documents which constitute
Social Teaching have been written in response to the social,
economic and political issues which have distinguished the
last 110 years.
They represent the "engagement" of the Church with
the modern world. Figure 1 (below) details the major
encyclicals and documents which have emanated from Rome. Consider
and then consider the major historical events which have occurred
in that period. The encyclicals have engaged with such issues
as (i) economic justice; (ii) the rights of workers to wage justice;
(iii) peace and disarmament; (iv) the development debate; (v)
global poverty; (vi) human rights; (vii) racism; and (viii) the
distribution of wealth.
Social Teaching 1891-1991
Novarum (Leo XIII) (The Condition of Labour)
Anno (Pius XI) (The Reconstruction of the Social Order
- 40th year)
et Magistra (John XXIII) (Mother and Teacher - Christianity
and Social Progress)
in Terris (John XXIII) (Peace on Earth)
et Spes (Vatican II) (The Church in the Modern World)
Progressio (Paul VI) (Progress/Development of Peoples)
Adveniens (Paul VI) (Apostolic Letter: Call to Action
- 80th year)
in Mundo (Synod of Bishops) (Justice in the World)
Nuntiandi (Paul VI) (Evangelisation in the Modern World)
Exercens (John Paul II) (On Human Work)
Rei Socialis (John Paul II) (Social Concerns of the Church)
with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation (John
Missio (John Paul II) (Missionary Activity of the Church)
Annus (John Paul II) (One Hundred Years)
Social Teaching has introduced such concepts as "the structures
of sin" and "the option for the poor" and into
the mainstream of theological discourse.
Key principles of
Catholic Social Teaching speak to the issues raised here, notably:
the polarisation in household incomes and a growing health
gap which, in part, reflects a growing incidence of poverty
within the Australian community
the growth of a 'working poor' class
the diminishment of social and community services and their
increasing privatisation which meant that many on low incomes
have difficulty accessing the good, quality services they need
to ensure a decent quality of life.
What follows is a
short exploration of how the principles of Catholic Social Teaching
relate to these issues and how they provide guidance for people
of faith to engage politically with these issues.
Catholic Social Teaching
has always upheld the right to private property. However, this
is not seen as an absolute right. The goods of the earth are meant
by God for all. Pope John Paul captured the Church's position
on this matter when he stated in his 1987 encyclical Sollicitudo
Rei Socialis that:
is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle
of Christian social doctrine: the goods of this world are
originally meant for all. The right to private property is
valid and necessary but it does not nullify the value of
this principle. Private property, in fact, is under a "social mortgage",
which means that it has an intrinsically social function,
based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the
universal destination of goods. (42)
The fact that private
property is under a "social mortgage" means that the
accumulation of wealth by individuals and organisations cannot
continue unabated if others are denied a decent standard of living
with access to an adequate level of income and to good social
and community services.
of Catholic Social Teaching is that of the dignity of the human
person. This underscores the belief that a human life is sacred
and that each person is endowed with a fundamental dignity that
is prior to race, sexual preference, ethnicity, nationality and
personal achievement. Governments and society must do all that
can be done to uphold this dignity and not diminish it. Poverty
impedes human potential and thus diminishes human dignity. Society
must do all it can to eliminate poverty and to ensure that human
beings can live life fully, here and now.
Related to this is
the Church's belief in the dignity of work and the right
of all to be able to engage in meaningful employment and to do
a just day's work for a just remuneration.
Another key tenet
of Catholic Social Teaching is that of the "common good".
The "common good" is based on the notion that the human
person, as well as enjoying individual rights and freedoms, is
a member of society and that this requires a respect for the
needs and rights of others who are also members of that society.
While an individual might pursue his or her interests, this must
be balanced with regard for the wider social good. Governments
are also required to uphold and preserve the common good.
Common Wealth for
the Common Good (1992) summed this up well when it stated
and groups within a society have an obligation to pursue not
only their own interests but the good of all. The governing
and administrative bodies of a society are obliged to safeguard
and promote the common good, as well as the good of the society's
component parts. (p.13)
be 'Catholic' is to take these teachings to heart and, upon reflection,
to enable them to inform action. The issues raised so far suggest
that the socio-economic polarisation taking shape in contemporary
Australia is not serving the common good. Many Australians are
experiencing poverty and unemployment and are struggling to live
an adequate material life while others are reaping the surplus
of an economic boom time. The great socio-economic divide must
not be allowed to become wider. Strategies to bridge the gap must
be developed and implemented.
The issues canvassed
in this Briefing Note so far raise some questions about the priorities
of recent economic and social policy directions. While the need
for good economic management is not disputed, it has become apparent
that elevating market-driven economic policy above all else and
ignoring the social impacts of such a policy approach will give
rise to greater socio-economic division. The facts outlined above
speak for themselves.
When this is set against
the guiding principles of Catholic Social Teaching discussed
above, it can be argued that, in the interests of the common
good, governments now need to do more to address the growing
social divide in Australia. Poverty, unemployment and inadequate
working conditions for working people are not acceptable. Given
that governments are institutions which play a key role in the
redistribution of the nation's wealth, it is timely to make demands
for a policy re-think in a number of areas which are pertinent
to addressing the nation's socio-economic divide. In short, it
is time for governments to claim the notion of the "social mortgage" under
which private property/wealth is held and make a claim on behalf
of the individuals and families struggling to live decently on
While there are many
policy issues that could be addressed in this context, especially
taxation, it is proposed that action be taken up in relation to
three issues which pertain to the policy agenda of the Commonwealth
Government in the lead-up to the next federal election. The proposed
Commonwealth's commitment to the provision of public housing
These issues are proposed
because they relate directly to individual and household income
and have a real bearing on the incidence and rate of poverty in
the Australian community.
needs of the poor
take priority over the wants of the rich;
The freedom of the dominated
takes priority over the liberty of the powerful;
The participation of the marginalised
takes priority over the preservation of an order
which excludes the marginalised.
D Hollenbach SJ, Claims in Conflict, 1979
Housing Assistance for People on Low Incomes
For over fifty years
the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) has been the
basis of agreement between both levels of government about funding
for housing assistance. First signed in 1945, it addressed a
critical housing shortage in the nation in this period after
World War II. As part of the agreement, the Commonwealth provided
funds which were "matched" by each State Government.
The CSHA was renegotiated every five years and over time changed
focus to reflect priorities. In latter years, it has reflected
the need for more targeting of housing assistance for those in
need. It continues to be a key vehicle for funding housing assistance
- especially for the people on low incomes. It is from this pool
of funds that State Governments have provided many of their social
housing programs, including public housing.
The Commonwealth Government
also provides direct housing to people on low incomes through
the Rent Assistance Scheme which is administered by Centrelink.
Rental assistance is paid to people who receive Centrelink payments
and are accommodated in the private rental market. This scheme
has grown steadily for the last fifteen years and now eclipses
the housing assistance funds provided by the Commonwealth via
the CSHA. In 2000-2001 rent assistance is estimated to cost around
$1.5 billion compared to CSHA housing assistance of $948.033 million.
In fact, the Commonwealth's
contribution to the CSHA has been declining since 1996 and, with
the most recent re-negotiation of the agreement, Commonwealth
funds will decline even further, from $957.609 million in 1999-2000
to $929.18 million in 2002-03 (Press Release, Minister for
Social Security, 11 September 1999). Taking all factors into
account, National Shelter has estimated a 13% cut in CSHA funds
in the four year period 1999-2000 to 2002-03. Added to this is
the impact of the GST on housing construction which means that
building a house will cost more and, therefore, that fewer houses
will be built with the funds available. Some compensation is to
be paid to the States but this will only partly compensate for
the increased burden of the GST.
In general, this situation
strongly suggests a preference for housing assistance delivered
through rental assistance in the private rental market rather
than through capital-based public housing.
There are good arguments
to support this policy trend. For example, (i) public housing
stock cannot keep up with the growth in housing need (waiting
lists are already long); (ii) public housing stock requires expenditure
on upkeep and maintenance; and (iii) rent assistance can deliver
housing assistance flexibly to people on low incomes.
rent assistance has very real limitations as a form of housing
assistance. For example, (i) it is not linked to policies that
encourage investors to invest in low-cost private rental housing
so that there is a very short supply of such housing and so, even
with rent assistance, many people on low incomes have to pay an
excessive proportion of their limited incomes for private rental
housing; and (ii) in many States residential tenancy legislation
is inadequate and does not provide long-term security nor protection
from excessive rent increases.
In the end, both rental
assistance and public housing are important forms of housing assistance
for people on low incomes. Each form has strengths and each has
The critical point
is that each must be maintained and improved to provide good housing
outcomes for low-income people:
the diminishment of funds for housing assistance delivered
through the CSHA must be stopped; Governments have a real
role to play in the provision of low-cost housing stock
and this should not be abandoned
the continuation of rental assistance delivered through Centrelink
must be linked to policies and strategies which address
security, affordability and quality of housing issues in the
private rental market.
right to housing should not be interpreted in
a narrow or
restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the
shelter provided by merely having a roof over
or views shelter exclusively as a commodity.
Rather, it should be seen as the right to
in security, peace and dignity.
11(1) UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
A Living Wage
One of the key concepts
articulated by Pope Leo XIII in the first social encyclical Rerum
Novarum (1891) was that of the "just wage". The
exploitation of labour in Europe and the growing revolutionary
fervour of the working classes gave rise to the call for wage
justice for workers. The Pope and his successors have asserted
the rights of labour over capital. They have condemned the exploitation
of human labour and affirmed the dignity of the human person
and the dignity of work.
In 1907, in the famous
Harvester Judgement, Justice Higgins enunciated the notion of
the "basic wage". This established a wage benchmark
for a family man (men were assumed to be the one and only bread
winner at this time) with two children which would enable such
a family to live with a decent standard of living in a civil
society. It also underscored an attempt to redistribute the benefits
of economic growth so that there was some semblance of social
equity across the nation.
The "basic wage"
was the centrepiece of Australia's centralised industrial relations
regimes for decades.
So, at both the Church
and political level, the notion of wage justice was a key tenet
of public discourse.
In the last two decades,
industrial relations in Australia have been slowly decentralised
and deregulated. There has been a growing trend away from permanent,
full-time work to casualised, part-time work. This has been accompanied
by a drop in the number of workers covered by traditional awards
which are negotiated collectively and a move towards individual
workplace contracts. A consequence of this has been the diminishment
of the trade union movement. In some quarters this has been pursued
aggressively and with great hostility directed towards trade unionism
- witness the MUA dispute in 1998.
In summary, collective
bargaining by trade unions on behalf of workers is slowly being
overtaken by individual bargaining in the workplace environment.
It is not intended
to make definitive judgements about these changes in the industrial
relation regime here. This would be the subject of a paper in
itself which would, in turn, draw upon Catholic Social Teaching
in regard to these matters. The intent here is to put that case
for those who are not doing so well from this situation. That
is, the largely unskilled and, consequently, poorly paid workers
who are the most vulnerable in the labour market.
It is on behalf of
these people that the notion of the "living wage" is
promoted. The living wage follows in the tradition of Leo XIII's
"just wage" and Justice Higgins' "basic wage".
The "living wage"
is aimed at overcoming the widening income inequality within
Australia. It is based on the premise that there needs to be
a safety net for low-income workers to ensure a decent standard
of living for such workers and their families.
The Australian Council
of Trade Unions (ACTU) pursued a Living Wage Claim in 1999-2000
and is doing so in 2001. In the 1999-2000 Claim, the ACTU has
argued for a benchmark of $12.00 per hour for the ordinary hours
of work and $456.00 for a 38 hour week. This is the benchmark
minimum wage to ensure a decent standard of living for a worker
and family. Many, including the Federal Government, oppose the
just economy upholds the principle
of paying just wages to all workers.
from: R Blank, Do Justice, 1992
Many opponents of
the living wage argue that this intervention in the labour
will adversely affect employment and hinder employers from taking
on new workers. While there has been considerable debate on
there is no conclusive proof that moderate safety net increases
inhibit job growth. In fact, the ACTU points to evidence from
the USA which suggests that it is macro-economic conditions,
not the minimum wage, that largely determines labour demand,
thus the extent of employment opportunities in the low wage labour
market. (ACTU Living Wage Claim, 2000, p. 89)
In the end, a living
wage safety net will not stop the rich getting richer. It is not
intended to do that. It is intended to provide a very basic safety
net for low-paid workers and to prevent them from getting poorer,
relative to the wider community. It is also designed to assist
such workers to keep abreast of inflation and the cost of living.
The fact that this cause is taken up by the ACTU underscores the
importance of the trade union movement in society. The right of
workers to associate and collectively bargain must be protected.
Similarly, the right of workers to call on a union to negotiate
with them or on their behalf must be upheld. If this advocacy
is lost, where, in particular, do vulnerable, unskilled workers
The living wage is
a social structure which aims to stop low-paid workers from becoming
poorer in a deregulated labour market which generally aspires
to drive wages down. It is a preventative intervention which,
it is argued here, is consistent with the principles of Catholic
Social Teaching discussed above - namely the 'social mortgage'
over private property, the equitable distribution of the world's
goods and the importance of preserving the common good, in particular,
doing all that is possible to eliminate poverty.
Along with tax reform,
the current Federal Government's reform focus has been on welfare,
so-called. With a growing reliance on long-term income support
from Government and a concurrent growth in income support expenditure
as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Commonwealth
Government wants to encourage people not to become welfare dependent.
In 1999, the Government established a Reference Group to oversee
a process of reform. This group has received submissions, written
an interim report and called for further submissions in the lead-up
to presenting a final report to the Commonwealth Government. The
final report was released in July 2000.
While the need to
address the growing reliance on government income support is not
disputed, it would not serve the common good to construct a punitive
income support regime which makes the most vulnerable bear the
burden of reform. It is also important to acknowledge the link
between welfare reform and the income statistics highlighted in
sections 1 and 2 of this Briefing Note and of the discussion on
the Living Wage. Low incomes in paid work are not a great incentive
for people to stay off welfare payments.
The temptation for
government could be to reduce such payments in order to make lower
paid work an incentive. It is not suggested that this is the intention
of the current Commonwealth Government as part of its welfare
reform strategy. This is raised here only to point out that some
in the community do advocate this position and that it has appeal
to some. The logic of reducing income support payments to force
people into low-paid employment must not be given any legitimacy
at all. It must be avoided at all costs because it will have the
effect of further deepening an already growing socio-economic
divide in Australian society.
The Welfare Reform
Reference Group's final report places great emphasis on the need
to ensure that those who are reliant on government income support
are enabled to participate in social and economic activity. Participation
is seen as a way in which people can discharge their part in
a mutual obligation relationship with the wider community - they
offer something back in return for income support payments. This
is the "work for the dole" scheme writ large.
While there is merit
in the notion of mutual obligation and the active encouragement
of and support for people to participate socially and economically,
it is essential that this be entered into freely. It should not
be used punitively, to make people participate or lose their
entitlements. Since the introduction of mutual obligation, the
incidence of so-called "breaches" by Centrelink is alarming. The
Welfare Rights Centre network across Australia and ACOSS have
estimated a 250 percent increase in the number of welfare recipients
being breached in the last three years and, therefore, losing
part or all of their income support. In the last financial year
over 300,000 "breaches" were imposed. The burden of
this fell on almost 200,000 unemployed people and students. Further,
when these are appealed a significant number of breaches are
revoked. Estimates indicate that at around thirty-five percent
of breaches have been overturned. This raises the question of
why they were imposed in the first place and why vulnerable people
have been subject to the stress of this.
Many breaches were
for such minor 'offences' as failing to reply to a letter or being
late for an interview. The penalties take no account of the circumstances
of the people involved - for example, that homeless people, people
with a psychiatric disability and people with low literacy skills
might have difficulty negotiating the complex social security
mutual obligation system!
can be defined as the management of God's household so that
all may have life.
R Blank, Do Justice, 1992
Now that mutual obligation
is to be extended to single parents and disability pensioners
there is a concern that the punitive nature of this policy will
impact even further on the vulnerable.
As well as the stress
this is causing to the people involved, welfare agencies are also
feeling the pressure of having to respond to growing homelessness
and poverty in the community. People have a right to the means
of livelihood and this should be respected.
It is also important
to acknowledge that many, especially the adult unemployed and
young people, have to survive on income support payments which
are 20-30% below the Henderson Poverty Line (HPL). To reduce this
even further or to take it away will create poverty on a scale
not seen since the 1930s.
A further point to
make is that social and economic participation is not possible
if people do not have secure housing. A person cannot participate
In their submissions,
the Social Action Office and the Catholic Justice and
Peace Commission argued to the Welfare Reform Reference Group
that income support must be the key goal of the social
support system and that while participation is laudable if entered
into freely it is a secondary goal.
Consistent with the
philosophy behind the living wage, consideration needs to be given
to a guaranteed minimum income for all Australians.
In summary, welfare
reforms cannot be allowed to erode income support and be used
punitively against the most vulnerable in society.
line of economic calculus has dominated policy discourse now
for many years. It is as if people have had to "fit" into
economic models and serve economic ends. Rather, the reverse should
have happened. The economy should be designed to serve the human
community (indeed, the whole Earth community) and uphold human
dignity and it "fit" within these parameters. This
is consistent with the values and principles of Catholic Social
Hope has reminded us, if we take a good look beneath the bottom
line we will see some situations where both individuals and communities,
in growing numbers, have been abandoned - with comparatively low
incomes, insecure housing, lack of support services and a bleak
time to address these concerns to elected and aspiring politicians.
The three issues raised here do not present the total picture
of growing social inequity in Australia today. However, they touch
on two key matters which, combined, have a significant bearing
upon the ability of people to live decently - namely, the housing
safety net and an income safety net. If politicians take these
matters as seriously as they take macro- and micro-economic reform
we would not be facing the great socio-economic divide which is
emerging in our country today. The socio-economic polarisation
must not be allowed to go unacknowledged by policy makers and
legislators. Steps must be taken to bridge the gap between the
rich and poor in Australia and give everyone a fair go and a fair
of Federation is a good time to set a national socio-economic
agenda that includes a FAIR GO and FAIR SHARE for all!
© Social Action Office
- CLRIQ, February 2001
Council of Trade Unions (2000)
ACTU Living Wage Claim 1999/2000
Duffy M (2000)
"A welfare state of mind" in The Courier-Mail,
Hannon K (2001)
"Poorer in health and wealth" in The Courier-Mail,
Hope D (2000)
"Beneath the bottom line" in The Australian Magazine,
Mackay H (1999)
Turning Point - Australians Choosing Their Future. Pan
Minister for Social
Press Release, 11 September
Reference Group on
Welfare Reform (2000)
Participation Support for A More Equitable Society
Steketee M (2000)
"Pay-packet injustice to get worse" in The Australian,
Thornthwaite T, Kingston
C, Walsh P (1995)
Drawing the Line on Poverty. QCOSS
Social Action Office
and Queensland Council of Social Service (1999)
People and Places - A Profile of Growing Disadvantage in Queensland.
Welfare Rights Centre
Network and ACOSS (2000)
Doling out punishment - the rise and rise of social security
penalties. ACOSS Website
Justice in the World (1971)
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987)
Bishops Conference (1992)
Common Wealth for the Common Good - A Statement on the Distribution
of Wealth in Australia. Collins Dove
This Briefing Note replaces earlier editions which were entitled
(i) Beneath the Bottom Line and (ii) The Growing Gap
Fair Go - Fair Share Postcard Campaign
launched by the Social Action Office in April 2001. The campaign
targetted candidates in the three major parties. If you would
like information about this campaign, please email
here for a Theological Reflection
on Fair Go - Fair Share.