Myths of welfare reform

Paul Henman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In Australian welfare reform debate, a range of approaches and policies has been advocated. Regardless of their diversity, I argue that the debate has an unnecessarily narrow framework resulting from the widespread acceptance of at least three welfare reform myths. First, is the idea that the current system is anachronistic and in disrepair. Instead of this narrow focus on welfare policy, I argue that the welfare reform debate must be widened to include other domains of public policy to involve a 'joined up' approach to addressing poverty and disadvantage. The second myth is that welfare recipients need to be the focus of policy attention. Policy reforms focus on changing the behaviour of recipients and their communities. Because structural changes underlie increased benefit receipt, such reforms will only have minimal consequences. The third welfare reform myth is the false notion that the current welfare system lacks obligation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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