Wedge politics and welfare reform in Australia

Shaun Wilson, Nick Turnbull

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The election of the Howard Government has marked a paradigm shift in welfare policy with the implementation of far reaching reforms around the concept of mutual obligation. At the same time, there has been media speculation about the Government's use of 'wedge politics' to sustain its political agenda with respect to welfare and other policies. Wedge politics, however, is yet to receive detailed analysis in Australian political science. We define wedge politics to be a calculated political tactic aimed at using divisive social issues to gain political support, weaken opponents and strengthen control over the political agenda. The purpose of this paper is thus twofold: to develop a definition of wedge politics and to investigate how the Howard Government's welfare reform agenda might be understood as an example of such politics, drawing out its longer-term implications.

LanguageEnglish
Pages384-402
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
Volume47
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001

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welfare
reform
politics
political agenda
political support
social issue
speculation
tactics
political science
social policy
obligation
election
Welfare Reform
paradigm
Government
Political Agenda

Cite this

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Wedge politics and welfare reform in Australia. / Wilson, Shaun; Turnbull, Nick.

In: Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 47, No. 3, 09.2001, p. 384-402.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

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