Social Security Journal History of retirement Church and state roles

Social Security Journal
History of retirement
Church and state roles in Australian welfare provision
Love or work – wage or pension
Flexible retirement
Social Security Notes – new policies and programs
Book reviews
Social Security Statistics
Project Notes – new research listings
Details about new books and reports
Selective bibliography on social security issues
SOCIAL SECURITY
JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
 Commonwealth of Australia 1996 ISBN 0 644 36051 8
This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes subject to the
inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for purposes
other than those indicated above require the written permission of the Australian Government Publishing
Service, GPO Box 84, Canberra, ACT, 2601.
The opinions expressed by contributors in the Social Security Journal do not necessarily represent the views
of the Department of Social Security or the Minister for Social Security and, of course, cannot be taken in
any way as expressions of government policy.
The Social Security journal is published twice yearly and contributions are most welcome. Intending
contributors are asked to contact the Managing Editor for an authors' guide on preferred length and style
requirements. Intending authors should note that the guidelines were revised significantly in late 1994 and
that not all styles and formats that were used in previous issues are appropriate guides to the new standard.
As this publication has a widespread readership, it would be appreciated if articles submitted are written in
plain, non-technical language.
Information from authors about forthcoming books and reports on income support and related research is also
welcome. Wherever possible, timely reviews of relevant new works are included in the journal.
Contributions should be forwarded to: The Managing Editor, Social Security journal, Information and Public
Relations Branch, Customer Service Division, Department of Social Security, Box 7788, Canberra Mail
Centre, ACT, 2610. Telephone: (06) 244 6046. Facsimile: (06) 244 7999.
Editor-in-Chief: Dr Jeff Harmer.
Managing Editor: Mr Ian Vandenbergh.
Produced by the Australian Government Publishing Service
CONTENTS
Social Security Journal, June 1996
Major Articles
Professor Sol Encel, 'Retirement ages and pension ages -a complex history'
The Right Reverend Michael B Challen, 'The changing roles of church
and state in Australian welfare provision'
Doug Kentwell, 'Love or work - wage or pension'
Nigel Patterson and Tammy Wolffs, 'Flexible retirement:
Social and economic expectations for older workers'
3
26
32
43
Social Security Notes
Ian Warman, 'Sole Parent Pension reviews'
Cheryl David, 'Best practice and continuous improvement in the
Department of Social Security'
Susan Edgerley, 'The use of market research in developing the
Department of Social Security's customer information products'
Kate Chan and Susan Baker, 'Parenting Allowance'
65
68
76
83
Book Reviews
Old age - an international perspective: The World Bank, Averting the
Old Age Crisis: Policies to protect the old and promote growth
Reviewer: Elizabeth Webb
Don't send them away to die in another country...:
Susan Woenne-Green, They might have to drag me like a bullock:
The Tjilpi Pampa Tjutaku Project
Reviewer: Julia Bourke
Who gets what and why?:
Michael Wearing and Rosemary Berreen (eds), Welfare and Social Policy in
Australia: The distribution of advantage
Reviewer: Philip Brown
Has economic restructuring in Australia improved conditions for women?:
Anne Edwards and Susan Magarey (eds), Women in a Restructuring
Australia: Work and Welfare
Reviewer: Susan Donath
97
101
106
111
iii
Social Security Statistics
Statistical tables:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
Pensioners: Pension type, Australia, December 1985 to December 1995
Pensioners: State by pension type by sex, December 1995
Family Payments: Customers and children by family payment type,
Australia, December 1992 to December 1995
Family Payments: State by family payment type by sex, December 1995
Parenting Allowance (a): State by sex, December 1995
Allowees: Allowance type, Australia, December 1991 to December 1995
Job Search and Newstart Allowees: Summary population, Australia,
December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search or Newstart Allowance: State by
allowance type, December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search or Newstart Allowance (a) by age
and sex, Australia, December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search or Newstart Allowance (a) by activity
test status and sex, Australia, December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search or Newstart Allowance (a) paid in the
fortnight to 15 December 1995 by fortnightly earnings
and sex, Australia
Other Allowees: State by allowance type, December 1995
Partner Allowance (a): State, December 1995
118
120
124
125
126
128
129
130
131
133
134
136
136
Graphs and charts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Age, Disability Support and Sole Parent Pensioners, December 1985
to December 1995
Family Payments by type and State, December 1995
Job Search, Newstart and Sickness Allowance and Special Benefit,
December 1991 to December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search or Newstart Allowance by State,
December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Job Search Allowance by age and sex,
December 1995
Jobseekers receiving Newstart Allowance by age and sex,
December 1995
119
126
129
130
132
132
iv
Project Notes
Editor's note
139
Current and planned research
140
•
•
•
•
•
•
140
141
144
145
147
148
Retirement incomes
Income support for people with disabilities
Income support for families
Labour market programs
Assistance for young people
Income support research - other
New books and reports
152
Income support feedback
162
Selective bibliography on social security issues
167
v
MAJOR ARTICLES
Emeritus Professor Sol Encel, 'Retirement ages and pension ages - a complex history'
The Right Reverend Michael B Challen, 'The changing roles of church and state in Australian welfare
provision'
Doug Kentwell, 'Love or work wage or pension'
Nigel Patterson and Tammy Wolffs, 'Flexible retirement: Social and economic expectations for older
workers'
SOCIAL SECURITY JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
RETIREMENT AGES AND PENSION AGES - A COMPLEX HISTORY
Emeritus Professor Sol Encel
Honorary Research Associate, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Introduction
Throughout history, there have been divergent views about the 'right' age to retire. Institutionalised retirement
at or about age 65 is a very recent historical development, linked with industrialisation, bureaucratisation and
demographic change. Pension schemes and retirement age show wide variations between countries and are
always embedded in a specific political, social and economic context, although the state of the labour market
appears to be a constant factor. There are also wide variations in relation to differential retirement and
pension ages for men and women, and the reasons for differentiation are obscure and confused. The recent
abolition of compulsory retirement by most Australian governments, the introduction of occupational
superannuation across the entire workforce and the equalisation of pension ages, reflect changing views
about workforce participation, ageing, retirement and pension policy.
In the past ten years, the move to abolish compulsory retirement and ban age discrimination has made rapid
legislative progress in Australia. One of the first official reports to recommend in this direction was the
Henderson poverty inquiry (Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, Final Report, 1976:242), but it was not
until 1989 that South Australia amended its anti-discrimination laws to include age, followed shortly
afterwards by Western Australia and Queensland.
The situation at the date of writing (February 1996) is as follows:
Age - date (i.e. date of proclamation) of introduction into antidiscrimination legislation:
•
South Australia - 1991
•
Queensland - 1992
•
Western Australia - 1993
•
New South Wales - 1994
•
Northern Territory - 1994
•
ACT - 1996
•
Victoria - 1996
•
Tasmania - no action
3
Compulsory retirement - abolition (dates given are, again, dates of proclamation)
•
New South Wales - 1990
•
Queensland - 1994
•
South Australia - 1994
•
Northern Territory - 1994
•
Western Australia - 1995
•
ACT - 1996
•
Victoria - 1996
•
Tasmania - no action
At the Commonwealth level, moves to change the law have been afoot since the passage of the Industrial
Relations Reform Act in 1993, which includes a provision that age cannot be used as grounds for termination
of employment. A report by the Public Service Act Review Committee in 1994 recommended the abolition
of compulsory retirement in the Australian Public Service (APS), following an unsuccessful attempt to
introduce a private member's Bill in the Senate in 1992. A report prepared for the Parliamentary Research
Service criticised the Government for its slow response to Parliamentary and outside interest in the issue
(Bennett and Twomey, 1995). However, in October 1995, the Attorney-General announced that compulsory
retirement in the APS would be abolished as part of the enactment of a new Public Service Act in 1996. The
announcement stressed that delay had been due to the need for a suitable workers' compensation scheme
(Johns, 1995).
These legislative acts suggest an important cultural shift, with the effect of detaching the phenomena of
ageing, retirement and pension eligibility from one another, after a century in which they have been virtually
synonymous. Of course, changes in the law are only the first step towards a change in social behaviour, and
are even more loosely related to a shift in social values. Law does, however, influence behaviour, and this is
a good time to reevaluate the historic connections between ageing, retirement and pensionable status, which
are likely to be quite different in the future.
Pension ages - the international picture
Institutionalised retirement is a modern phenomenon, now undergoing intense scrutiny as demographic,
economic, cultural and social factors bring its assumptions into question. In particular, the linkage between
pension policy and retirement age looks increasingly dubious. The introduction of old-age pensions was
closely bound up with the establishment of fixed retirement ages. In many cases, pension age became the
effective age of retirement; equally, assumptions about the proper age to retire have influenced the age of
pension eligibility.
4
The social context of retirement is well put in a recent American study of compulsory retirement:
The range of retirement practices a society can afford is determined by overall labour supply and
demand, productivity, and the dependency ratio. At the same time, a particular retirement policy can
exist only when it is culturally acceptable. Mandatory retirement could not have been so easily
instituted if there was militant opposition by older workers who perceived it as unfair. When there was
serious political demand for its abolition by law, management resistance was not strong. Cultural
attitudes as to whether and when workers should retire seem to have been important in determining
what age-work policies were adopted within the range of the economically possible (Levine,
1988:164).
Because retirement and pension policies are so firmly anchored in a social context, they have varied widely
between societies. A comprehensive picture of current variations is to be found in a report published by the
World Bank in 1994. The report suggests that economics is the most important single factor, although not in
every case. It also underlines curious anomalies relating to differential ages for men and women.
The World Bank Report classified countries in three groups according to GDP per head:
•
over $US8000;
•
$4000 - $8000; and
•
less than $4000.
The wealthiest group comprised 15 countries, including 13 members of the OECD plus Israel and Hong
Kong. The average retirement age for men was 64.3 years, and for women 62.5. Six countries (including
Australia) had differential ages for men and women. Altogether, 11 of the 24 OECD countries had
differential ages.
The middle group of 13 countries had an average retirement age for men of 60.4, and 56 for women. The
commonest differential was 60 for men and 55 for women. The countries involved ranged from Muslim
Algeria to excommunist Poland. Only one country (Malaysia) had a common retiring age of 55.
In the poorest group, the average for men was 57.5 and 55.3 for women. In this group (12 in all), only onehalf had differential ages (World Bank, 1994:371-2).
Apart from economics, the pattern of retiring ages and sex differentials revealed in the World Bank Report is
highly erratic, corresponding neither to geography, politics or religion. Three Muslim countries illustrate this
haphazard character. In Indonesia, there is a common age of 55; in Pakistan, 60 for men and 55 for women;
in Kuwait, a common age of 50.
5
Of the 12 countries in the European Union at the end of 1993, five had differential ages. The differential
varied from three (as in the case of Portugal) to five (Greece, Italy and the UK). Italy, with 55 for women and
60 for men, had the lowest age levels. But the situation is in a state of flux. In 1994,12 countries in the EU
and/or the OECD (including Australia) were planning changes, generally in the direction of equalising ages
at 65. If these changes are carried through, the range of ages will be from 57 in Luxembourg to 70 in Iceland
(Whiteford, 1995).
Contemporary variations in age levels reflect a wide variety of historical circumstances surrounding the
introduction of pension systems and fixed retirement ages, which are reviewed in the following sections. In
the section immediately following, we look briefly at the long history of the concept of old age and the
related concept of the 'right age' to retire.
The right age
In his Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau distinguished between 'natural' and 'conventional' divisions in
society. Attitudes to ageing, and public policies influenced by these attitudes, display a confusing interaction
between the natural and the conventional. This confusion has increased in the past two centuries, as the
boundaries of childhood, maturity and old age have been redefined, while the institutionalisation of
retirement from the work force on the grounds of age has undergone a parallel but separate series of
developments.
Underlying most discussion of ageing and retirement is the concept of the life cycle. For thousands of years,
we have been accustomed to the inevitability of such a cycle, marked by an allotted span of years, a period of
relative inactivity and dependence in old age, and a sharp distinction in the later-life situations of men and
women arising from the cessation of childbearing.
The ineluctability of youth, maturity and decline has preoccupied writers in all cultures since the birth of
literature. Psalm 90, written about 3000 years ago, tells us that the days of our age are threescore and ten, or
perhaps fourscore because of great strength. Likewise, it compares human life to a plant that is green in the
morning, but in the evening is cut down, dried up and withered.
It is not clear why the psalmist should have chosen 70 as the allotted lifespan, since the average expectation
of life at that time was probably less than half that figure, nor did it rise much for many centuries afterwards.
Perhaps he meant to praise virtuous people, whose survival until threescore and ten was a sign of
righteousness, or perhaps it was based on the observation that the minority who survived into what we are
now accustomed to call 'middle age' had a good chance of reaching 70. At all events, the choice of 70 as a
benchmark may be taken as arbitrary and socially conditioned. Even now, we
6
do not know the biological limits of human existence (Comfort, A., 1979; Warner, H. R. et al, 1987).
A later Jewish text, Ethics of the Fathers, designated six stages of life, with old age setting in at 60. Sixty was
also the age prescribed by Thoth, the Egyptian god of medicine, although an earlier Egyptian papyrus of the
3rd millennium B.C. reckoned that men could live as long as 110. The Persians, according to Herodotus, put
the limit of life at 80 (Minois, 1989:19). The Chinese sage Confucius, on the other hand, avoided the
biological metaphor and saw the life course as a continuing accumulation of wisdom (Legge, 1933:35).
Japanese Buddhism uses botanical imagery to describe the life cycle: bare leafless trees, covered with snow,
denote old age. The Japanese also regarded 70 as the allotted span, with 80 being exceptional. At the
medieval court in Kyoto, there was a charming custom by which a courtier who had attained the age of 80
was presented with a specially decorated cane.
The modern concept of retirement - withdrawal from the work force at a fixed age - dates from 17th century
Europe. Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary in 1667 that he would like to retire from his government job and
live on his pension as a country gentleman. One of Pepys' contemporaries, Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson
Crusoe, was a very early proponent of the right to retire at a specified age and to be entitled to a pension. He
chose 50 as the age when people are over the hill (Thomas, 1976:240). The same age - 50 - was also chosen
by a British M.P., Dowdeswell, who introduced a motion in 1772 calling for pensions to be granted to 'all old
persons who had lived frugal and industrious lives'. The motion was adopted by the House of Commons but
defeated in the Lords (Neild, 1898:4).
Within three years, the Prussian kingdom, cradle of European bureaucracy, had picked up the thread.
Discretionary pensions, by which the families of officials could apply for survivors' benefits, were introduced
in 1775. In 1825, this was followed by mandatory retirement and a contributory pension, replaced by a noncontributory scheme in 1871, when Prussia was incorporated in the new German Reich (Kohli, 1987:126).
The reform of the British civil service in 1859 was accompanied by pensions for permanent officials at 65
(Thane, 1978a:234). Napoleon 111 also introduced civil service pensions and proposed a national insurance
scheme.
Bureaucratisation of the governmental system thus provided a model for a new version of the life cycle,
based not on biology but on workforce participation, superimposed on the traditional succession of youth,
maturity and old age. This linkage soon spread to other sections of the population, especially with the growth
of an industrial proletariat which demanded that society should take responsibility for welfare in old age.
Kohli has traced the development of the linkage, which he attributes to the development of industrialisation
in Europe since the 17th century.
7
The life course, he maintains, is to a large extent determined by social rather than biological exigencies. The
life course corresponds not only to a biological cycle, but is chronologically ordered by an early period of
preparation for work, followed by working life, followed by retirement. These stages are closely regulated by
formal rules (Kohli, 1991:35).
The combined influence of biology and social change can also be seen in the development of medical ideas
about ageing, which varied widely until the 19th century. 'Senescence' and 'senility', which originally referred
simply to advancing years, came to have increasingly negative meanings. Texts on geriatric medicine
identified 60 as the age of onset of senile decay. An American physician, Mercier, wrote in 1890 that old age
was a period of decadence and deprivation. In effect, medical authorities now declared that loss of ability in
old age not only could happen but that it should happen. Old people should be expected to become perverse
and anti-social and would, correspondingly, need special care (Chudacoff, 1989:57-8; Haber, 1983:47-8).
Perhaps the most notorious of all medical pronouncements on the subject was made by one of the most
celebrated physicians of his era, Sir William Osler, who repeatedly affirmed that age should give way to
youth. Osler, a Canadian by birth, became a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, and was
appointed to the Regius chair of medicine at Oxford in 1905. In that year, he gave a valedictory address at
Johns Hopkins, in which he endorsed the ideas about retirement expressed in Anthony Trollope's novel The
Fixed Period. The story is a fantasy in which men over 60 retire, and spend the next year in a college for a
period of meditation before they depart this life, peacefully and quietly, with the aid of chloroform. Osler
repeated his view that the 'constructive' or 'anabolic' phase of life was from 25 to 40, a golden period
followed by 'comparative uselessness', and a further period of total uselessness after the age of 60. No one
should work beyond 60, and it would be an 'incalculable benefit if in commercial, political and professional
life, as a matter of course, men stopped work at this age' (Graebner, 1980:3-10).
Osler's remarks were probably made in a semi-jesting fashion appropriate to a valedictory function, but they
made headlines, e.g. 'Dr Osler says all men over 60 should be killed' (Freeman, 1979:48). It is perhaps
needless to add that Osler survived until 70 and was active and creative to the end.
Medical opinion has changed considerably since Osler's time, witness this observation from the British
physician and medical writer, Alex Comfort:
Retirement is unemployment... Only two kinds of folk are really happy conventionally retired - those
who were always lazy, and those who have waited a lifetime to get around to a consuming interest...
Two weeks is about the ideal length of time to retire (Comfort, 1977:183-4).
8
Pensions in Germany
The idea of a national system of retirement pensions, as distinct from schemes applying to restricted groups
of the population, is generally attributed to the German Chancellor, Bismarck. Confronted by economic and
social distress in the newly unified German Reich in the 1870s, and the consequent rise in the strength of the
Social Democratic Party, Bismarck proposed a national system of social insurance covering health, industrial
accidents and old age. His initial address to the Reichstag in 1881 emphasised the need to alleviate the misery
of the masses- Students of the period are virtually unanimous that Bismarck's primary concern was to 'dish
the socialists' rather than social reform. 'Social reform was never to him a passion, always a policy' (Dawson,
1972:121). His program, sometimes described as 'state socialism', recognised the obligation of the imperial
state to undertake measures for the improvement of the working classes (Lidtke, 1966:156). Pinson argues
that the fear of socialism was real and profound among the German upper classes. Bismarck rejected the
policy of crushing the Social Democrats which was favoured by the right-wing parties, and chose 'the
paternalistic approach of trying to take the wind out of the sails of the Socialist propaganda and weaning the
masses from their real leaders to their fatherly ruler and protector' (Pinson, 1954:245).
Bismarck himself, in a statement appended to the Accident Insurance Bill of 1883, advanced the ethical
principles of Christianity as the justification for a program of mass welfare, and stressed the duty of the state
to protect the poor. In a private discussion with his confidant Moritz Busch, he observed that 'anybody who
has before him the prospect of a pension, be it ever so small, in old age or infirmity is much happier and
more content with his lot, much more tractable and easy to manage, than he whose future is absolutely
uncertain' (Hamerow, 1973:256-8).
In drafting his legislation, Bismarck drew on a number of precedents, including retirement pensions in the
civil service, the army, and some industrial firms as well as retirement practices in pre-industrial agriculture
and crafts (Kohli, 1987:130). Some of these had already chosen 65 as an appropriate age for mandatory
retirement and pension eligibility. Bismarck is also said to have consulted his friend Otto Krupp, the
steelmaster, who opined that workers should be laid off at 65. At all events, the draft Bill on old-age pensions
was approved by the Cabinet at the end of 1887, and then published for general discussion. Criticism and
suggestions were invited from public authorities, employers' associations, trade unions and the press, and
'only after this inquest of the thoughts of a nation had been made was a bill submitted to the Diet' (Dawson,
1972:127).
Bismarck's original proposals were more generous than the law as finally passed in 1889 and implemented in
1891. He proposed a retiring age of 65,
9
which was raised to 70. Also, his intention was that the cost should be met jointly by employers and by the
state, whereas the actual law provided for equal contributions from employers and employees, with a fixed
annual contribution by the state, originally no more than 50 marks per year (Dawson, 1912:15).
Contributions were to be approximately 1 per cent of earnings, which was raised in 1900 to a range of 1.5 to
3 per cent (Hentschel, 1983:11).
The final irony for Bismarck was that the scheme was only implemented after he had fallen from office,
following differences with the new monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm.
The Old Age and Invalidity Insurance Act, as enacted, provided a pension ranging from 106 marks to 191
marks, and was granted to 'every insured person who has completed the 70th year of his age, irrespective of
his ability to earn a livelihood, provided however that he does not already draw a pension for infirmity'
(Neild, 1898:304-5). The effect of setting the age of eligibility so high was to bias the system towards invalid
pensions rather than age pensions. In 1899, only one pension in seven was granted on account of age, and by
1910 only one in twelve (Dawson, 1912:20).
The original scheme was concerned essentially to alleviate poverty. By 1913, however, pressure had mounted
to include white-collar workers, and the scheme was extended to them, with a retirement age of 65. Under
pressure from the trade unions during the 1914-18 war, the retirement age for all workers was set at 65 in
1916 (Jacobs, Kohli and Rein, 1991:37).
Another irony about the German case is that it should be taken as a model when its social motivation was so
restrictive. As a recent critic has argued, the insurance principle was designed to maintain the system, and in
no way to reduce inequalities due to hardship. This motivation, he claims, has had lasting negative
consequences for German society (Hentschel, 1983:10).
A more recent discussion observes that the system provides essentially for 'people who could and did work',
and quotes the remark by the Secretary of Labour and Welfare, Norbert Blum, to the effect that 'pension
payments are the retirement wage for lifelong achievements'. The system discriminates particularly against
women, many of whom have not been gainfully employed long enough to qualify (Allmedinger and
Bruckner, 1993:190).
Pensions and retiring ages in Britain
As in Germany, civilian pensions were first introduced into the government bureaucracy. In 1859, the
retirement/pension age for permanent civil servants was fixed at 65. Subsequent inquiries into the civil
service confirmed 65 as the age at which 'bodily and mental vigour begin to decline' (Thane, 1978a:234).
10
The introduction of a national scheme was debated recurrently for the rest of the century, with opinion
divided between contributory and noncontributory principles. Charles Booth, the millionaire philanthropist
and pioneer of social surveys, proposed a universal non-contributory pension of five shillings per week, paid
out of income taxation, and estimated to cost 30 million pounds annually (Booth, 1892). It was dismissed as
'ruinously expensive' (Thane, 1978b:84). In 1908, the Asquith Liberal government introduced old age
pensions at the rate suggested by Booth, payable to 'lawabiding British subjects'. Pension age was fixed at 70
on grounds of economy, which was emphasised by the Treasury. In 1919, a Treasury committee reviewing
the scheme repeated the argument that old age began at 70 (Mendelsohn, 1954:56-67; Roebuck, 1979:423).
However, post-war unemployment led to pressure from the trade union movement to reduce the
pension/retirement age. In 1925, it was cut to 65. In addition, a supplementary contributory scheme was
introduced, also payable at 65 and available to the widows and orphans of insured breadwinners. Neville
Chamberlain, Chancellor of the Exchequer, claimed in parliament that if people over 65 were forced to go on
working, 'they are keeping off young fellows at the other end who are finding it impossible to get work of
any kind' (Roebuck, ibid). This argument, dear to politicians, retains popularity despite ample evidence that
inducing older workers to retire earlier makes virtually no impression on rates of youth unemployment
(World Bank, 1994).
Flexible retirement was advocated by William Beveridge in his landmark report on social security in 1942,
although for different reasons. Beveridge observed that there was no reason to doubt 'the ability of many
people to go on working with advantage to the community and happiness to themselves after reaching the
minimum pensionable age'. His aims included policies of full employment, with a retiring age of 65, but with
the added proviso that 'the conditions governing pensions should be such as to encourage every person who
can go on working after reaching pensionable age to postpone retirement and the claiming of pension'. There
is no evidence that Beveridge's view had much influence on retirement decisions. In any case, unemployment
had returned as a major problem by the 1970s, and early retirement once again emerged as an expedient for
reducing the unemployment figures. The job Release Scheme, introduced in 1977, provided inducements for
employers and employees to promote early retirement, but after some early success it was dropped under the
Thatcher government. In 1982 and 1983, Supplementary Benefits (i.e. a means-tested dole) were extended to
unemployed men over the age of 60 (Atkinson and Sutherland, 1993:137-9).
Britain also provided an interesting - and rare - opportunity for a debate on first principles concerning sex
differentiation in relation to retirement age.
11
In the 1930s, the National Spinsters Pensions Association (NSPA) launched a public campaign to reduce
pensionable age for women to 55 (as for widows' pensions), arguing that single women deserved the earlier
age to compensate for their relatively low wages and their responsibilities for caring for elderly relatives
(Thane, 1978a:286). The government of Neville Chamberlain (now prime minister) appointed a committee of
inquiry into pensions for unmarried women (Le Quesne Committee, 1939).
Florence White, representing the NSPA, pointed out that many women (39.6 per cent) retired at age 60,
compared with small numbers of men. The Act of 1925 was unfair because
women generally have not the same chance of keeping their employment until that age, not being
physically equal to men, and the fact that needs to be stressed is that thousands of women have been
unable to remain in insurable employment, thereby losing all claim to pension rights long before they
reach the age of 65. This in no small degree accounts for the smallness of the number (80 000)
achieving pension age.
Other women's groups, however, were opposed to these changes. The Association of Women Clerks and
Secretaries argued that the pensioned spinster of 55 would undercut other women workers, because her
pension would enable her to accept a lower wage. It was put to the committee that a flood of 175 000
pensioned spinsters would lead to a widespread lowering of wages for women workers. The committee
rejected these concerns, as well as the argument that a woman reaching the age of 55 would be vulnerable to
,ruthless dismissal' by an employer once she had qualified for a national insurance pension (Le Quesne
Committee, 1939:52-3).
In the event, the committee recommended a pension/retirement age of 60 for women, which came into force
in 1940 under the pressure of wartime exigencies. Roebuck, commenting on this decision, notes that age
differentials between husbands and wives were relatively high at the time, and lowering the female age to 60
did not help those cases where the husband had reached 65 but the wife was still under 60 (Roebuck,
1979:425).
It is pertinent to recall the deliberations of the Le Quesne committee at a time when the whole subject of
retiring ages and sex differentials is in a state of flux. Apart from the belief in the 'weaker sex' which now
seems merely quaint, similar questions are again at issue. The topic of retirement/pension ages was reopened
in 1987, when different ages for compulsory retirement as between men and women were made unlawful.
Equalisation of pension ages was thrown open by two directives of the European Commission in 1978 and
1986, calling for the progressive implementation of the principle of equal treatment in social security matters
for men and women. The directives suggest two options: a common fixed age, or a system of flexible
retirement over a range of ages which, the
12
directive claims, would 'eliminate the problem of retirement age' (Bulletin of the European Communities,
1986:2).
In Britain, the European directives were the subject of an inquiry by the House of Lords, which
recommended equalisation within a range from 60 to 70, with 63 suggested as the age most closely related to
the present state pension system (House of Lords, 1989:25). In 1991, the government issued a discussion
document reviewing options for change, and in 1993 it published a White Paper announcing that a common
pension age of 65 would be phased in over a period of 10 years, 2010-2020. The White Paper arguments
included the following points:
•
•
•
•
the role of the sexes in economic life was rapidly becoming equal;
the support ratio' of young to old was decreasing because of low birthrates and the ageing of the
population;
there is an international trend towards higher pension ages; equalisation at 60 would be too costly; and
'international competitiveness' would be hindered if present pension commitments were allowed to
continue (White Paper, 1993).
These arguments are critically examined in a report prepared by the Social Policy Research Unit at the
University of York, which notes that the demographic projections used to support the proposal are unreliable,
that the probability of changes in the labour force had not been taken into account, and that alternatives to the
raising of pension ages had not been considered (Whiteford, 1995).
Australia and the Commonwealth
The ambiguity of the relationship between pension eligibility and retiring age has been evident on more than
one occasion in the history of Australian social policy. One of the 'founding fathers' of the Australian federal
constitution, Sir John Forrest, declared forthrightly that old-age pensions were intended to provide for those
who could not provide for themselves, and not as a retirement fund for those seeking leisure. 'No one', he
declared, 'is to receive an old-age pension unless he is unable to maintain himself' (Unikowski, 1988:8). It
was not long, however, before the pension age and the retirement age came to mean the same thing
(Butterworth and Newton, 1985:46).
The introduction of old-age pensions was stimulated by events in a number of other countries, including
Germany, Denmark, Britain and New Zealand. Thus, Denmark introduced a non-contributory pension in
1891, directed at the 'deserving poor' and available to law-abiding and sober persons at the age of 60 (Neild,
1898:124-6).
13
New Zealand followed suit in 1898, after a political battle lasting two years. The argument turned on a
familiar set of issues - contributory vs noncontributory schemes, distinction between the deserving and the
undeserving, the nationality of eligible persons and sex distinctions. In the end, the pension law provided for
a means-tested, non-contributory pension payable at 65 to both sexes. It was available to British subjects who
had lived in New Zealand for 25 years, and to naturalised persons after five years, but not to Chinese whether
naturalised or otherwise. It was, however, available to Maoris (Reeves, 1902:248-58).
According to Roe, the major stimulus for the introduction of old-age pensions in Australia was the depression
of the 1890s. The legislation established a statutory right to relief from poverty, but nevertheless retained
features of the charitable schemes which proceeded the new laws. The preamble to the first pensions Act, in
New South Wales, declared that it was
equitable that deserving persons who during the prime of life have helped to bear the public burdens of
the Colony by the payment of taxes, and by opening up its resources by their labour and skill, should
receive from the Colony pensions at their old age. (Roe, 1981:27).
The subject was placed on the political agenda by Lt-Colonel J. C. Neild, member for the seat of Paddington
in the NSW colonial parliament, during an election campaign in 1895. In 1896, a Select Committee was
appointed to investigate the matter. The committee recommended against a contributory scheme on the
grounds of its 'coercive... interference with individual liberty... unacceptable to the citizens of a free country
like New South Wales' (Kewley, 1980:32). The committee also believed that the working classes would be
unable to maintain their contributions, and considered that pensions should be granted by the state in
recognition of services rendered. 'Men and women may serve their country in the paths of peace as soldiers
and sailors do in time of war', a dictum which echoes the words of Bismarck commending the pension rights
of 'veterans of labour'.
The specific recommendation of the committee was for a means-tested pension available to both sexes at age
60, with a separate rate for married couples (10 shillings per week for single persons, 15 shillings for
couples). It also recommended an invalid pension to persons who had contributed to a Friendly Society for
this purpose (V & P, 1896:835-6). The pensions were to be financed by taxes on betting, on entertainment,
and on alcohol and tobacco.
When the report was tabled, the colonial government responded by appointing Neild to conduct a
comprehensive investigation into pensions policy in Britain and Europe.
His voluminous report (515 pages) canvassed a number of alternatives, but opted for a non-contributory,
means-tested state pension, closely following
14
the New Zealand precedent. Although he stressed that pensions were a right, and not an act of charity, they
should be restricted to 'persons whose physical, mental and moral conditions are such as enable them to be
safely entrusted with money' (Neild, 1898:449).
On the question of age, he examined two options, 60 and 65. His remarks on this point are especially
interesting:
'Men's capacity for work at any given age varies greatly. Indeed, birth age and physiological age are
often widely apart, and many men of 60 and even older are physically and mentally younger than men
of lower birth age. Advocates of old-age pension schemes differ as to whether the pension age should
be fixed at 60 or 65 years. Perhaps it would be wiser to accept the lower age as, with few exceptions,
people would be unlikely to throw themselves upon the pension fund until necessity compelled
recourse to it' (ibid:58).
The government accepted Neild's recommendation for a non-contributory, means-tested pension. 'Aboriginal
natives' were excluded. The generally racist and xenophobic tone of contemporary politics was reflected not
only in the exclusion of Aborigines, but also of aliens and 'Chinese or other Asiatics, whether naturalised or
not'. Naturalised persons had to wait for five years after their naturalisation (NSWPD, 1900, vol. 107:29513).
The extended parliamentary debate on the Bill was notable for the almost universal agreement that pensions
were a right and not a charity. In principle, an old-age pension was the same as the retirement pension of a
Supreme Court judge - as one member expressed the matter, 'it is only a question of amount'. The debate was
also notable for a number of contributions relating to pensionable age. Some members considered that the
age of 65 was too high. Neild, having recommended 60, now took a more radical line and wished to see a
'necessity limit' rather than a fixed age. In other words, he saw pensions as the logical outcome of retirement
(ibid: 4491-5436).
The situation of women received some passing mention, but they were not generally perceived as being in
dire straits at an earlier age than men.
Other states - Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia - also took action on pensions,
but all the State schemes were superseded by the national scheme introduced in 1909. Under the federal
constitution, the new Commonwealth parliament was empowered to legislate on old-age and invalid
pensions. Nothing happened until 1904, when a Select Committee was appointed, converted into a royal
commission the following year. The commission examined the workings of pension schemes in NSW,
Victoria and New Zealand. It recommended a means-tested pension of 10 shillings per week, payable at age
65, but the qualifying age could be reduced to 60 because of permanent incapacity. Like the earlier schemes,
it had a racist and
15
xenophobic flavour. Eligible persons included 'all natural-born British subjects of a white race', and
'aboriginal natives of Australia, Asia, Africa and the islands of the Pacific' were excluded. Naturalised
persons had to wait three years after naturalisation. The commission emphasised, however, that pensions
were a right and not a charity (Royal Commission, 1906:1441-44).
The Invalid and Old-Age Pension Act of 1908 incorporated most of the recommendations of the commission,
but was less restrictive and implicitly rejected some of the moralistic overtones of the commission's report
(such as penalties for supplying pensioners with alcohol). It fixed the maximum pension at 10 shillings per
week, at a time when average weekly earnings were 55 shillings (Unikowski, 1988:9).
Although the documents of the period do not make this absolutely clear, there is little doubt that the pension
age of 65 was set at that level, rather than 60, because of cost. At the time, the revenue sources of the
Commonwealth were limited by a constitutional provision (the so-called Braddon clause) which required the
federal government to return three-quarters of its revenue (derived mainly from customs duties) to the states
until 1910. Significantly, the pension age for women was reduced to 60 in 1910.
The question of an earlier retirement/pensionable age for women was raised by a number of witnesses during
the commission's hearings. The honorary secretary of the Ladies' Benevolent Society in Melbourne, Mrs
Pringle Jamieson, was opposed to an earlier age for women, on the ground that both men and women over 60
had few chances for employment, other than scrubbing floors for women and casual gardening for men. She
did not, however, favour a pension age of 60 for both sexes.
Daniel Berriman, old-age pensions commissioner in Victoria, considered that women were better off in the
labour market than men. Grey hairs were a bar to a man seeking to earn his living, whereas a woman 'has not
led such a strenuous life as a man in seeking to earn a livelihood, and the duties which she discharges are
frequently so light that she has a better chance of obtaining employment'.
A union representative, William Campbell of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, disagreed, claiming
that women had a harder time in the labour market and became a 'burden' on the community at an earlier age
than men. He suggested that the minimum age for women should be 60 or even 55. Another witness, using
the 'weaker sex' argument, also advocated an earlier age for women, saying that 'they wear more than men
and have not the strength to work'. On the other hand, the Rev. W. H. Bow of the Launceston Benevolent
Society considered that women in their 60s were as able to work as men, but that men retained their health
better (Royal Commission, 1906:1777).
16
Attitudes have changed radically since the beginning of the 20th century, but the differential, once
established, remained in place until very recently, for reasons which are not entirely clear. The effects of
inertia, at both political and bureaucratic levels, should not be ruled out. A paper written for the national
Social Security Review of 1988 suggests two possible reasons: (a) the higher age of males in married
couples, (b) the lower employment prospects for women (Foster, 1988:68). Neither reason seems particularly
cogent. The first implies that married women should give up employment to devote themselves to their
husbands when the latter retire on the pension. The second point could be explained by reverse logic, i.e. the
number of women in the work force falls off after 60 because of pension eligibility.
At all events, recent government policy decisions have reversed the situation which obtained for more than
80 years. The issue of a common retirement/pension age for men and women was canvassed in a paper
prepared for the Social Security Review of 1987-8. The author of the paper examined three arguments in
favour of a common age of 65:
•
•
•
to remove sex discrimination;
to lower the cost of pension payments, or to encourage alternative schemes; and
to maintain labour force participation by women and reduce the incentive for them to become dependent
on social security.
He observed that raising the age of pension eligibility would not, in the short term at least, reduce
expenditure, and that existing inequalities would undercut any benefits. 'A common age', he concluded, 'is
not appropriate until labour force participation, superannuation coverage and the incomes of men and women
are equalised' (Foster, 1988:71).
In 1992, however, the Commonwealth government decided to equalise pension ages, and to raise the age for
women in small steps over a period of 20 years. The first step was scheduled for July 1 1995. In support of
this decision, data were presented to show that superannuation coverage for women in full-time employment
had increased from 40 per cent in 1988 to 88 per cent in 1992, and from 9 per cent to 55 per cent for those
employed parttime. Labour force participation rates (LFPR) for married women aged 45 to 54 increased from
47 per cent in 1982 to 63 per cent in 1992, and for single women in the same age group from 60 per cent to
69 per cent. Projections made by the ABS indicate a LFPR for all women aged 45-54 of 76 per cent by the
year 2005, 10 years before the end of the phasing-in period. As a safety net, provisions were also introduced
for a Mature Age Allowance, paid at pension rates and subject to the same test of eligibility.
The equalisation policy received the support of the Australian Council on the Ageing, which agreed with the
government's view that it would enable
17
women aged 65, with an average life expectancy of a further 19.4 years, to maximise their retirement
incomes (Unikowski, 1993).
The policy was criticised by women's groups, on grounds similar to those advanced in the Social Security
Review. It was also attacked by the largest national body representing pensioners, the Australian Pensioners
and Superannuants Federation (APSF). The APSF's official organ declared that 'the circumstances under
which women's pension age might be moved to 65 require conditions in the labour market and
superannuation entitlement equivalent to those of men'. It also pointed out that women accounted for 76 per
cent of all part-time workers but only 32 per cent of full-time employees, and that their average earnings
were only 85 per cent of male earnings.
Their superannuation entitlements were also significantly less, given that there had been little access to
superannuation in many traditional areas of female employment, and that their duration of labour force
participation was less, on the average, than that of men by eight years. 'For most women', the APSF
concluded, 'the age pension will remain the mainstay of their retirement income for the foreseeable future'
(APSF, 1993).
In New Zealand a number of changes have taken place to the pension scheme since the 1930s. In 1938, the
Social Security Act made pensions universally available at age 65, and a further benefit was made available
to those aged between 60 and 65, subject to an income test. In 1977, the age limit for the universal pension
was lowered to 60. At the same time, a contributory scheme was also introduced, with benefits available at
60.
Since the 1970s, pension policy in New Zealand has been dominated by the country's economic problems,
which have resulted in a complex series of political manoeuvres. In 1988, a royal commission on social
policy recommended that the age of eligibility for pensions be raised to 65 over a period of 12 years from
1995. Other timetables have been proposed by the two main political parties at successive elections
(Koopman-Boyden, 1993a:122-48, 230-54).
The royal commission also noted that public attitudes to ageing were dominated by mistaken notions of
dependency, and that policy should pay much more attention to finding useful employment for older people.
The commission argued that 'old age' was a debatable concept, especially when it was linked variously with
ages 60, 70, or 80. Perhaps, the report added, there were no unique aspects of old age to set it apart from
other age-groups (Koopman-Boyden, 1993b:10-11).
The complicated relationship between pension age and retirement age is also illustrated by the history of
pensions in Canada. There was a long period of ideological resistance to the idea of pensions, despite the
evidence of increasing numbers of impoverished older people. It was not until 1927 that
18
the Canadian parliament passed the Old Age Pensions Act, which provided means-tested, non-contributory
pensions at the common age of 70 to British subjects who had lived in Canada for 20 years. Native Indians
were excluded. At this point, there was no particular nexus between pensions and retirement; rather, the
meagre pension provided (one dollar per day) was directed at relieving destitution.
In 1951, two new Acts were passed. The Old Age Security Act provided a universal (non-means tested)
pension at 70; the Old Age Assistance Act, which reflected a recognition that growing numbers of people
were leaving the work force in their 60s, provided means tested assistance for persons aged 65 to 69. Canada
finally fell into line with many other countries in 1965, when pensionable age was reduced to 65. The new
Canada Pension Plan was contributory, superimposed on the Old Age Security pension and with a
Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Commenting on the 1965 reform, McDonald and Warmer note that pension schemes have had the effect of
institutionalising retirement, with a number of political and social implications:
the government took over primary responsibility for retirement income, the concept of retirement was
separated from the concept of poverty, public pension benefits became a deferred 'wage' to which
people were entitled because of their contributions, and withdrawal from economic activity took place
in advance of physical decline (McDonald and Warmer, 1990:33).
The United States
The history of retirement and pensions in the United States is rather different from the experience of other
countries, and too complicated to summarise here. In this article, we shall be concerned only with the issue of
retirement/pension ages.
The first public schemes were established by state and local government for their employees. In 1920, the
first national legislation, the Civil Service Retirement Act, was passed by the US Congress, providing for
contributory pensions. Under the Act, clerical employees were eligible at 70; railway officials at 62;
mechanics and postmen at 65. A more generous scheme was introduced under the Railroad Retirement Act of
1934, which provided for compulsory retirement at age 65 or voluntary retirement after 30 years of service
(Graebner, 1980:81).
In 1934 also, President Roosevelt appointed a Committee on Economic Security, which produced a plan for
contributory pensions on European lines, with eligibility fixed at age 65. A recent commentator observes that
the decision to set the age threshold at 65 seems to have been partly arbitrary and partly rational. The
majority of existing state old-age
19
pension plans used 65 as the standard age for eligibility, and the most established European programs,
especially those of Germany and Great Britain, also used age 65. The committee... accepted that age
almost without question, and all its recommendations followed from that basis. Alternatives received
only brief attention. President Roosevelt accepted the committee's... proposals without commentary on
the proposed retirement age (Chudacoff, 1989:115-16).
The old-age pension proposal was included in a much larger Social Security Bill in 1935, and the choice of
age 65 was overshadowed by controversy over other sections of the legislation. None of the congressional
committees which dealt with the Bill commented on the matter. Attempts were made from the floor of the
House of Representatives to reduce the age to 60, but were voted down (Cohen, 1957:17-20).
Commenting on this decision from a position of hindsight, Chudacoff argues that the effect was to establish
age 65 as a benchmark for 'old age', and remarks that although 'in all probability neither gerontologists nor
politicians expected that Social Security would rigidify the definition and isolation of old age, the facile
acceptance of age 65 created momentous consequences' (Chudacoff, 1989:116).
After 1945, the Social Security system underwent a number of changes. Eligibility for pension benefits was
lowered to 62 for women in 1956, and for men in 1971. Graebner, author of a standard work on the history of
retirement in the US, attributes the lowered age to a recognition that incentives for older workers to retire
earlier would reduce both unemployment and the cost of private pension schemes. As a result of the growth
of collective-bargaining agreements between unions and private corporations which included pension plans,
the business community reversed its historic opposition to pension schemes involving employer
contributions, and supported lower pension ages and increased benefits under the government-backed Social
Security system (Graebner, 1980:221-2).
Concern about a 'crisis' in the Social Security system because of the increasing 'burden' of old-age
dependency was highlighted during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-81), and in 1983 the Social
Security Act was amended to raise the age of eligibility. Acting on the advice of the National Commission on
Social Security Reform, the US Congress enacted a package of changes to the system, including extensions
of eligibility, taxation of benefits paid to the wealthiest recipients and a phased increase in the age of
eligibility. Persons reaching age 62 after the year 2000 would have to wait until age 67 for their pensions; in
the meantime, the age of eligibility would rise by gradual steps to 65 (Achenbaum, 1986:6). Ultimately,
according to the demographer Samuel Preston, further increases in the 'normal' retirement age may be
necessary, along with higher taxes (Preston, 1993:55-6).
20
Eastern Europe
According to Marxist-oriented writers like Phillipson and Walker, retirement ages in Western societies are
fixed and varied according to the demands of the capitalist labour market (Phillipson, 1982; Walker, 1983).
Unfortunately for this argument, retirement policy in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe and
the Soviet Union has been remarkably similar to their former capitalist competitors. Generally speaking,
pension/retirement ages were 60 for men and 55 for women, except in Poland. Since employment was a
guaranteed right under Soviet communism, pensions were 'closely shaped to labour requirements in that they
were insufficient for many years, driving most pensioners to work' (Deacon, 1992:38).
Coupled with differential ages, the system also discriminated against women because of their labour market
disadvantages. As in other parts of the world, women in Eastern Europe are concentrated in poorly paid
occupations and are subject to early retirement. According to a Czech sociologist, older women were also
disadvantaged because they were constrained to care for their grandchildren and hence had fewer
opportunities to augment their pensions by paid work (Siklova, 1990:196).
Another analysis of recent events in Eastern Europe comments on the existence of a 'pre-retirement bracket',
composed mainly of women around the age of 50, who were virtually unemployable even under communism
and are suffering correspondingly since the collapse of the communist regimes. Once they have qualified for
pensions, they are also more prone to poverty because the contributory system meant that they received
smaller pensions as a result of their lower wages (Einhorn, 1993:138).
In Poland, a contributory system operated through the Institute of Social Insurance. Nominally, women were
eligible at 60 and men at 65. In practice, there were numerous exceptions and women, in particular, were
allowed to retire earlier. Pensions were set at about half the average wage, and persistent labour shortages
made it possible for many pensioners to continue in paid employment (Millard, 1992:141).
In Hungary, the situation differs because of government policies since the 1960s which permitted a semilegal 'second economy' based on private enterprise. Many people were involved simultaneously in the statecontrolled economy and in the private sector. As a result, many people 'retired early' before the official ages
of 60 and 55, and by 1990 this proportion had risen to 19 per cent. They were then able to work in the
informal economy, or as part-time employees in state enterprises, while drawing their pensions (Szalai and
Orosz, 1992:155).
In summary, according to Barbara Einhorn, the link between work history and social security is common to
all East European countries and has not
21
changed since the transition from communism. What has changed, unfortunately, is that inflation and
cutbacks of state-provided services have pushed many pensioners below the poverty line (Einhorn,
1993:138).
Conclusion
There is now a growing body of opinion which stresses the artificiality of fixed retirement ages, and their
anachronistic character in a world where the most rapid rate of population growth is to be found among
people over 60 (World Bank, 1994:10).
Moves to abolish compulsory retirement and to outlaw age discrimination indicate one aspect of
governmental response to the ageing of the population. Paradoxically, however, because of chronic
unemployment, the situation of older workers has become more precarious. A recent report by the ILO, like
the World Bank report already cited, warns about the 'marginalisation' of older workers and the cost to
society of a rapid increase in the number of older, inactive people (ILO, 1995:31). Both the World Bank and
the ILO call for a much more flexible approach, which requires 'an entirely new way of thinking to break
down the traditional tripartition of life made up of preparation for work, work, and retirement' (ibid:54). This
presents a major challenge for social and economic policies in the 21st century.
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Unikowski, I. 1988, Income Support for Older Women, Discussion Paper No. 27, Social Security Review,
Canberra, AGPS.
Walker, A. 1983, 'Social policy and elderly people in Great Britain', in Guillemard, A. M. (ed), Old Age and
the Welfare State, Sage, London, pp. 140-66.
Warner, H. R. et al. (eds) 1987, Modern Biological Theories of Aging, Raven Press, New York.
White Paper 1993, Equality in State Pension Ages, HMSO, London.
Whiteford, P. 1995, personal communication.
World Bank 1994, Averting the Old Age Crisis, Oxford University Press, New York.
25
THE CHANGING ROLES OF CHURCH AND STATE IN AUSTRALIAN WELFARE PROVISION
The Right Reverend Michael B Challen
Brotherhood of St Laurence
The people of Australia expect the Churches to be active in the care of people, whether they are members or
not. This expectation has been formed, not only by the Churches delivering ministries of care over the
centuries, but also by the imperatives contained within the teachings of the Christian tradition. While there is
a plethora of world views in our contemporary, pluralistic society, Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan is
still known and its thrust is still potent. 'And who is my neighbour?... He that is in need... Go and do
likewise.' (Luke 10, verse 29 et seq)
In developing this subject, I need to set some limits. Since I am only qualified to write from the perspective
of Christianity, I will not comment upon the undoubted influence the Jewish Church has exercised over the
centuries in Western society generally, nor that of other religious communities such as Islam, Buddhism or
Hinduism in more recent times within Australia. Furthermore, I wish to acknowledge the less visible but
subtle influence Aboriginal spirituality, notwithstanding its suppression by other peoples, does make upon
the shaping of perceptions and values of Australians generally (especially in recent years). As one whose
Christian awakening, development and deployment has been within the Anglican Church, I must
acknowledge its influence in the selection of material for this article. Finally, while it is tempting and perhaps
useful to consider this matter within a larger time frame, the title requires me to focus on Australia only
following white settlement and more contemporaneously at that.
The Church's practice of care and the consequential interaction with the official instruments of society
inevitably changes over time, whether because of changes in government or Church policy or both. Both
institutions in any case are influenced by the changing social, economic and political circumstances, with the
Church sometimes passively co-operating with the government while at other times acting quite
independently and even at variance to the government.
With the first fleet, bringing almost 1000 settlers whether as convicts, mariners or civil servants, was its
Chaplain, an Anglican priest of the evangelical tradition, the Reverend Richard Johnson. While some
histories regarded this appointment as almost an afterthought, others report that it was the result of direct
efforts of Evangelicals within the English Church
26
pressuring the Prime Minister, to the degree that it was made before a Governor was appointed. Governor
Phillip preferred the Chaplain to preach more morality and less doctrine (Border 1962). So while Church and
State were much intertwined in those first years, the relationship was at the very least ambivalent. In
Tasmania, the 'convict chaplains' and 'religious instructors' were virtually civil servants outside the
jurisdiction of the bishop and an active part of, and means of, social control.
Early in the 19th Century many Christians provided the leadership to establish 'Benevolent Societies' upon
the English pattern to provide shelter, food and support for orphans, destitute women, the aged and infirm.
Their income was substantially from the state governments which extended to grants of land. The
government's 'social policy was based in free market economics with the central concept of the individual
and the family being mutually responsible for each other and with charitable organisations being responsible
for those demonstrably in need' (C.S.V. 1992:2)
It was in the second half of the 19th Century that the main Churches established competing agencies which
generally focussed on emergency relief, children and deserted wives with not only the purpose of providing
basic assistance but also protecting their own from proselytism (ibid p. 4). The well known Wesley Missions,
Salvation Army services, St Vincent de Paul and the Missions to Streets and Lanes (in Melbourne) were
founded at this time. Such community service organisations were providing the bulk of, albeit ameliorative,
care to the needy with considerable government assistance, yet independence. Some might now say that they
were doing the work of government. This pattern of paternalistic and crippling care with the passive
acceptance of government policies and grants is sadly well illustrated by the Churches' missions for our
indigenous people. It was not until the late 1950's that individual Church leaders began to question the
structural causes of the alienation, disempowerment and dispossession of Aborigines and Torres Strait
Islanders.
While at the level of services the Churches expressed their concern in somewhat inadequate amelioration at
the best and generally through a paternalistic mode, there were intellectual movements in Europe which were
far more sophisticated and which were concerned with structural inequality. Within the Anglican tradition
was the Christian in Socialist Union (F. D. Maurice, Charles Kingsley, Brooke Westcott, Charles Gore and
Henry Scott Holland). The stated aims of the Union were to
‘Claim for the Christian law the ultimate authority to rule social practice: to study in common how to
apply the normal truths and the principles of Christianity to the social and economic difficulties of the
times; to present Christ in practical life as the living Master and King, the enemy of wrong and
selfishness, the power of righteousness and love' (quoted by Hollingworth, 1981).
27
Such an outlook and intent led to the rise and fall of various social groups within the Anglican Church over
the next 50 years, attracting such intellectual leaders as R. H. Tawney (1880-1962), Bishop Gore (18531932) and Archbishop Temple (1881-1944). Within Australia, the most notable exponents or bearers of such
thinking were Bishop Borgmann (1885-1967), Gerard Kennedy Tucker (1885-1974) and Archbishop
Sambell (1913-1980).
Comparable but more substantial and sustained social thinking was to be found within the official life of the
Roman Catholic Church as evidenced in such papal encyclicals as 'Rerum Novarum' (1891) and
'Quadragesimo Anno' (1931) and 'Pastoral Constitution and the Church in the Modern World' issued by the
Second Vatican Council (1965).
Within Australia, as a part of contributing to the reconstruction of the nation after the Great Depression and
Second World War, Roman Catholic Bishops adopted the practice of releasing a social justice statement each
September. A convenient review of that social justice tradition has been made by Hogan (1990). The
Australian Bishops most recent and substantial contribution to the structural issues before the Australian
society is their Common Wealth for the Common Good 1992.
A most powerful force in the bringing together of the Churches, other than the Roman Catholic to form the
World Council of Churches in 1946, was the 'Life and Work' movement. This was concerned with the
relation of the Christian faith to society, politics and economics. Key leaders were the Lutheran, Nathan
Soderblom of Upssala and William Temple of Canterbury. This element is such a vibrant feature of the
ecumenical movement that both enemies and friends of the Churches have questioned whether the World
Council during the 1970s had lost either its basis for existence or at least its balance between both the
personal and the social, the spiritual and the material. This issue became especially controversial in its
Campaign to Combat Racism in 1969, especially in South Africa, by which substantial grants for
humanitarian aid were made to the African National Congress and its military arm who were sheltering in
states across the border.
In 1972, the Australian Churches co-operatively conducted an education program on international economic
justice across the country known as 'Action for World Development'. Its aim was to help citizens generally to
understand and respond to the urgency of promoting the economy of socalled 'Third World Countries' by the
transference of skills and capital together with mutuality in trade, rather than maintaining a dependant
relationship of aid. Probably no other ecumenical program since has involved so many people at the local
level.
In more recent years, the Australian Churches and the Australian Council of Churches have from time to time
released common Social justice Statements. The most well-known, and certainly most controversial, was that
of 1983,
28
Changing Australia. Strictly speaking it was a statement with only the authority of the Church's participating
agencies, namely their social responsibilities commissions. It made a critique of contemporary social
circumstances and prevailing social policies in terms of what the commissions regarded as the values of 'the
kingdom of God', stimulating the community and its political leaders to become more responsible for the
provision of services as well as minimising the need for the same by addressing the cause through effective
policies.
In some instances, notably the Brotherhood of St Laurence, a Church agency has involved itself in both
strategies of service delivery and structural critique. In these cases the services have been of an innovative
design and when proven to be effective have become a model to shape public policy and thus bring about
positive change.
However, in recent years the Federal and State Governments of whatever persuasion have been pressured by
economic changes, fiscal constraints and a general assumption to be 'smaller', to withdraw from active
service delivery, to reduce funds for community services, to reduce the variety of supports, tighten up
conditions of access to them and reduce the social wage. Fundamentally, the shift is from a policy of rights to
that of needs. Agencies are required to participate in competitive tendering for a service designed by central
bureaucrats and users of services are increasingly under pressure to pay in part or whole. Politicians and
bureaucrats are saying that Australia cannot afford the welfare state that it had evolved in the period 1950 to
1970 and still compete within Asian economies. It would appear that Australian governments are promoting,
or at least condoning, a policy of residual services.
This dramatic shift in official policies poses critical questions for the Churches in respect of public policy and
service delivery. And while these questions have always been present, they are that much harder for the
Churches to resolve because they, through reflection and action, have developed a more coherent body of
social knowledge and have seen the benefits of that in practice. It is hard to turn back on what you know to
be true and good. The Churches need to address these questions not from the strong position of privilege,
wealth and power of the 19th Century but now only as one community group amongst others competing for
people's allegiances and ears in a very pluralistic and straitened society. Some of these issues are:
•
•
In what way can the Churches act to maintain and strengthen the necessary and just benefits of Australia's
welfare state, especially for those citizens who are threatened by marginalisation as it takes its place in
Asia?
Do the Churches believe our responsibilities as a nation are met adequately by a shift in public policy
from a 'rights' base to a 'needs' base?
29
•
•
•
•
•
On what basis are Church agencies willing to contract with government Departments to deliver
community services to ensure the maintenance of standards, adequacy of care and equity of access to the
services?
Are the Churches willing and able to deliver the appropriate services for those people and in those places
likely to be avoided by for-profit agencies?
How will the Churches maintain an effective and public critique of public policy if they are heavily
dependant upon government contracts?
How will the Churches gather more stable funds for innovative services, independent research and
advocacy?
In what ways should and could the Christian understanding of the person and society affect the purpose
and delivery of a community service?
These questions need to be answered elsewhere. However, in my opinion, the changes that are now occurring
in our social attitudes, social fabric and economy raise not only questions of values but, even more basically,
convictions about the meaning and worth of individuals and their community. I sense that the community at
large is looking for both a context and a lead so that these questions are resolved by consensus. It especially
is looking to the Churches to foster a discussion on such fundamentals of values and convictions. Indeed it
has been given a divine imperative to do so.
The key question therefore is, if this nation is committed to being an inclusive society, what must the State do
to maintain and secure the welfare of all of its people?
While an answer to this question is being earnestly sought, the Churches in addition need to respond to those
people on the edge of society whose needs are not met by any residual safety net. However, any such
essential ameliorative response must not displace the more strategic action of establishing fair and adequate
public policies and programs.
References
ACOSS 1994, Beyond Charity, The Community Services Sector in Australia, Historical Overview, ACOSS.
Australian Catholic Bishops' Common Wealth for the Common Good Conference 1992, Collins Dove,
Blackburn.
Border, Ross 1962, Church and State in Australia 1788-1872, SPcK, London.
Church Agencies 1993, Changing Australia, Dove Communications, North Melbourne.
Community Services of Victoria 1992, Welfare as an Industry.
30
Hogan, Michael 1990, Justice Now!, University of Sydney, Sydney.
Hogan, Michael 1993, Australian Catholics: The Social justice Tradition,
Collins Dove, Blackburn.
Hollingworth, Peter 1981, Christianity and Social Order Sambell Oration 1980, Brotherhood of St Laurence.
Van der Bent Ans 1995, Commitment to God's World, World Council of Churches, Geneva.
31
LOVE OR WORK -WAGE OR PENSION*
Doug Kentwell
Doug Kentwell is a former Director, Child Disability Allowance and Carer Payments, Department of Social
Security
Introduction
Australia invests enormous 'social capital' in the voluntary carer. Unpaid carers of the frail aged, chronically
ill and the disabled are crucial to the viability of the Government's aged care policies.
Should this important and valuable capital be recognised and rewarded from the social perspective of
ensuring basic income support because the carer cannot be otherwise employed due to their caring role? Or,
should it be recognised and rewarded from the labour market perspective because the carer is fulfilling the
requirements of full-time award employment and therefore should receive the award wage with its attendant
conditions? Perhaps economic and social policy considerations will prefer a middle line where both elements
are partly satisfied.
I propose to canvass these issues in this paper. In doing so I must stress that the views presented are a purely
personal perspective and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer, the Department of Social
Security (DSS).
A labour of love
As most people would appreciate, caring varies greatly in the nature of the commitment, the time, the tasks,
and the attendant emotional and physical stress. At times it is almost impossible to catch a break, as you often
need to sleep when the caree is asleep, and you can only shop for food, bank, or fill a prescription, if
someone is available to give you a few hours break.
Sometimes the need to be constantly in attendance or within earshot of the care recipient seems endless, and
when you do get an opportunity to see the outside world it is like emerging from a goldfish bowl. But for the
majority who commit themselves to this kind of life, it is also a labour of love, a natural part of the personal
relationship they had with the care recipient before caring commenced and which they continue to share. To
anyone who has read 'Listen to the Carers' it is both love and work.
*The above article is based on an address given by Doug Kentwell at the Carers Association of Australia
future policy conference, 'Community Care - the next 20 years' on 31 March 1995. Doug Kentwell is a
former carer who has extensive experience in health and welfare administration, having worked at a senior
level in Veterans' Affairs, Human Services and Social Security Health, and the Australian Institute of Health
and Welfare. At the time of this address he held the position of Director, Child Disability Allowance and
Carer Payments in the Department of Social Security.
32
The following chart compares carers by type between the ABS survey 'Ageing and Disability' 1988 with the
ABS survey, 'Disability, Ageing and Carers' in 1993. There appears to be a significant decline in
spouse/partner carers between 1988 and 1993 with an increase in sons and other relatives and friends.
Unfortunately, a direct comparison between these two sets of figures cannot be made because additional
information on disability and handicap was collected in the 1993 survey that identified a greater number of
people in certain categories.
Value of love?
The value of this love can be measured in many different ways, from numerous personal anecdotes, to
empirical costings. For example, the value to the state can be measured by the estimated savings of up to
$1000 per fortnight by not having to institutionalise a care recipient. This is recognised by Government and
is a fundamental element of the aged care reform strategy.
However, in income support terms, it could be argued that the value has been largely taken for granted in that
the economic contribution of the caring role is not recognised. The respective 'activity' obligations of
pensioners in Love or work order to receive their pension, range from the sole parent who must have a
33
qualifying child under the age of 16, through to benefits such as job Search Allowance, with its requirement
to actively seek work, to Carer Pension, with a legislative scheme that implies 24-hour-a-day 'constant' care
of a severely handicapped person.
Fortunately, the 42-day respite provision, the allowance of 10 hours per week for work, education or training,
and the rule that the carer can live adjacent to the caree also implies that the carer can at least have some time
out to eat and sleep. Some additional recompense exists in the form of the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit
(DNCB) administered by Human Services and Health. The original purpose of this benefit was to encourage
home, rather than institutional care. However, time seems to be transforming this purpose to one more
concerned with offsetting the costs of care and symbolic recognition of the caring role.
In hindsight, it appears that the important platform of the aged care reform strategy and the issue of adequate
income support for carers, as distinct from services, were never properly considered in an holistic social
policy context. In the report of the mid-term review of the Aged Care Reform Strategy 1990-91 there is
passing reference to the limited disposable income of carers, particularly after the extra costs of caring are
taken into account. It is also acknowledged that the scope for meeting charges for care services appears to be
very limited. Notwithstanding this, the report also mentions that 86 per cent of carers were reported as saying
they needed no help. The only incomerelated recommendations of the report address the replacement of
DNCB with an indexed means-tested carer support payment to be consistent with other social security
measures. The report also suggests that the possibilities of linking financing of long-term care to retirement
income support be explored. This latter point has been addressed more recently by Economic Planning
Advisory Council (EPAC) in the paper by Ross Clare and Ashok Tulpule, 'Australia's Ageing Society', but
there appears to have been no further movement to reform DNCB.
Until recently, social security never gave any real focus to carer pension, after all, it was initially a benefit
introduced in the early 1980s for male spouse carers as there was no male equivalent of wife's pension.
Husbands caring for their disabled wives at home and who couldn't satisfy the activity test for unemployment
benefit found themselves with little or no income support. However, if they were in hardship, they could get
Special Benefit. Take-up compared to other pension types was so low as to be virtually negligible. Initial
take-up was about 3000.
At this point it must be mentioned that the Department of Social Security (DSS), for legitimate reasons, puts
carers on other pension types where dual eligibility exists. This accounts for the relatively low numbers on
carer
34
pension. The take-up rate started to escalate in 1988 when the spouse nexus was broken, largely in response
to pressure arising from the AIDS epidemic with its growing army of non-spouse male carers. However, the
design of carer pension still reflects its origins as a spouse payment and this is the primary reason for the
pension's lack of flexibility in meeting the myriad number of caring situations that arise today. From 'Listen
to the Carers,' the issue of economic difficulties and poverty is now seen by carers as being at the top of their
priorities.
Social policy in Australia does not compare income support to a wage on the basis that income support is
directed to those in greatest need, which is primarily those with few or no resources apart from their pension
or allowance. It is argued that basing payments to carers on the duties they undertake would be inequitable in
a needs-based social security system.
Contracted or volunteer carers
But change is in the air. The ranks of the so-called traditional female carer are slowly being infiltrated by a
greater percentage of men and the so-called 'contracted or volunteer carers'. Contracted carers are people who
have no emotional or family connection to the caree but who qualify for carer pension, receive full room and
board in the caree's home, and who may receive a top up to their pension paid by the caree or the caree's
family. This may reach $200 per week without affecting their pension entitlement. Workers compensation
insurance is taken out by the hirer. This change is being driven by the interaction of an ageing population
with labour force trends of women entering and remaining in the workforce in greater numbers.
These cases have emerged both through individual initiatives, such as people needing care advertising for a
carer in the paper or posting vacancy notices in their local CES shopfront, and through community options
experimentation, funded by Human Services and Health. They raise interesting social policy questions.
For example, if a carer meets the legislative qualification for carer pension, is it legitimate for DSS to also sit
in judgment on the methods the caree uses to acquire a carer, as well as any additional benefits negotiated
between the caree and the carer? In practice the Department does not, primarily because these areas fall
outside its legislative jurisdiction. However, there is a view that these arrangements, by their semicommercial nature, are inconsistent with the rationale for carer pension, and that case management of all
elements of the caring relationship is necessary to ensure, not only that the eligibility requirements for carer
pension continue to be met, but also that exploitation/abuse of either the carer or the caree does not occur.
35
Whilst exploitation and abuse are important issues that need to be addressed, the bottom line is that supply
and demand are entering the equation. The absence of an emotional or family link between the carer and
caree presents a new perspective, that of employer and employee, with the pension forming part of a de-facto
under-award wage, but with the employee in an industrial vacuum with no formal rules governing the normal
trappings of full-time employment such as hours of work, penalty rates, sick leave, workers compensation,
superannuation, etc.
Where does such a carer stand in relation to the other actors in the welfare mix? This may be best illustrated
by the following 'welfare diamond' (Evers, Pijl, Ungerson, 1994).
Section 1 is the state sector covering both direct payments and services. Section 2 is the voluntary sector
ranging from minimal government assistance to close to full subsidisation. Section 3 is the informal sector
covering familial and other established relationships. Section 4 is the open market with negligible
government involvement and accessible only to those who can afford private care except where the
government may purchase a service for others. The 'contracted or voluntary' carer in Australia currently
stands in sector 2 although one could claim elements of sector 4 are also apparent. The
extent to which there will be shifts in the future will depend on a number of interacting factors, including the
source of the payments, and whether they are direct or indirect, and whether they are targeted to the informal
carer, the contracted or volunteer carer, the professional attendant carer, or the care recipient.
To my knowledge, only two States have introduced attendant care awards: NSW and the ACT. The ACT has
the Community Services (Home Care) Award 1988, and NSW the Miscellaneous Workers Home Care
Industry (State) Award. Both awards are similar in conditions, with the ACT having five classifications
ranging from Companion on $820 per fortnight to Personal Carer on $938-960 per fortnight. Both awards
enjoy the standard 38-hour week and other standard conditions. Some of these may bring a smile to the
informal carer's lips, such as, if an employee is required to sleep over, an additional allowance is payable.
In order to compare the three categories of carers I have set out the direct payments made to each in the
following chart. I have included an indication of the current Federal Government subsidies to nursing homes
and hostels for comparison purposes. Payments are made to the carer in each case either on the basis of
income support or as a semi or full commercial engagement. The most obvious omission is, of course, the
indirect cost of Home and Community Care (HACC) sessional providers and health subsidies generally. The
middle category of the contract or volunteer carer is seen by many as the Australian equivalent of the
controversial emerging trend in Europe of a 'grey' or servant-based economy.
It is obvious that in the Australian context there appears to be little consideration of other options to support
care for the chronically ill or disabled in the home, such as payments to the care recipient in addition to
income support, tax concessions, earnings disregards or care insurance.
37
AUSTRALIA - DIRECT PAYMENTS TO CARERS (OTHER THAN FOR DISABLED CHILDREN UNDER AGE OF 16)
Entitlements
per fortnight
Entitlements per fortnight
Informal (familial) carer
Contract/volunteer carer
Professional attendant carer
Carer Pension (Wife, Age,
Widow B,Sole Parent and
disability Support Pension)
Yes
$321.60
Yes
Rent Assistance (Max. rate, 3
or more children)
Yes
$86.80
No. Not usually
paying rent
Pharmaceutical Allowance
Yes
$5.20
Yes
Pensioner Concession Card
Yes
Low Cost ADLs
No
Other Benefits
$321.60
Wage
Community Services
(Home Care) (Act)
Award 1988
Companion
Respite Care
$820.00
$820.00
Handyperson
$836.60
Yes
Home Help
$836.60
Yes
Personal
Carer
$938.60
•
$5.20
Top-up of
Carer
Pension to
total of
$400 pf
• Room & board
• Workers Comp.
Award
Conditions
•
Annual Leave
•
Hours of Work
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Meal Money
Overtime
Public Holidays
Sick Leave
Travel Allowance
Uniforms
Wage Rates
Holiday Rates
38 (Continued over)
AUSTRALIA – DIRECT PAYMENTS TO CARERS (OTHER THAN FOR DISABLED CHILDREN UNDER AGE OF 16)
CONTINUED
Entitlements
Entitlements per fortnight
Informal (familial) carer
Contract/volunteer carer
per fortnight
Professional attendant carer
Domiciliary Nursing Care
Benefit
Yes
$54.20
No. No
established
relationship
Maximum total
Excluding
rent
assistance
$381.00 pf
Plus room
and board
Domiciliary
Nursing
Care Benefit
$400.00 pf
No. No
established
relationship
Plus award
conditions
$938.60pf
Commonwealth Nursing Home Subsidy in the range of $700 to $1000 per fortnight.
Commonwealth Hostel Subsidy in the range of $300 to $500 per fortnight
39
Overseas payments
How does Australia's position compare internationally? For this I am indebted to a study conducted by the
European Centre in Vienna, 'Payments for Care, A Comparative Overview', (Evers, Pijl, Ungerson, 1994).
This study canvasses the various forms of payments, to the care recipient, the carer, and the contracted or
volunteer carer, across 16 countries in Europe, the USA and Canada. Here are some examples:
In Finland a Home Care Allowance is paid to people who take care of elderly, disabled and chronically ill
patients. The amount paid is dependent on the amount of care the patient needs. An interesting feature is that
it is granted to the care recipient but paid to the caregiver, who must have the consent of the patient.
France has similar circumstances to Australia, in that caring is divided between family carers, voluntary
carers directly recruited by the care recipient, and professional carers. However, informal care in France has a
double function, to meet care needs and to create jobs. The concept of 'family jobs' has emerged in response
to a massive increase in unemployment. This comprises measures favouring the hiring of reduced time
workers by families to take on household tasks to look after children or elderly people at home. The family
'employer' can benefit from a tax reduction corresponding to 50 per cent of the total expenditure up to 25 000
francs per year. The objective is to create up to 150 000 new jobs and legalise black market work in the field
of personal care. At the beginning of 1993, 180 000 new employing households were registered. It is
estimated that 28 000 people have benefited from this scheme. They are organised through the intermediary
of 1725 approved associations.
Denmark has a scheme whereby a child living at home who is severely disabled or has a long term disease is
eligible for a care allowance paid according to the ordinary income of the caring parent (or family member).
Lost earnings are covered whether it is a full-time or part-time job thus equating the allowance to regular
wages. All extra expenses caused by the handicap/illness are covered (e.g. transportation, medicine, special
diet, shoes, etc.). Denmark also has a scheme known as the 'helper arrangement' whereby attendance
allowances are paid to people with severe disabilities living in their own homes who need up to 24 hours
assistance in order to live outside an institution. There are other limiting qualifications but the allowance
corresponds to the wages of a home helper. The cost of the allowance is often more than the cost of
institutional care.
In Flanders, Belgium, there are strict labour laws that apply to any activities performed by a person under the
authority of another, including voluntary work. The activity of the volunteer is qualified as a labour contract
and labour law applies to the relationship, e.g. minimum wages, official working
40
hours, etc. If another person or an organisation is granting board and lodging to the volunteer, this will be
considered to be payment in kind.
In the UK the Government established the 'Independent Living Fund' a few years ago. This is an independent
charitable trust but with limited funding. This fund provides cash help to severely disabled people so that
they can buy-in personal care and domestic support and thus prevent their move into institutional care. The
fund also extends to people not receiving income support but with incomes insufficient to meet their high
care costs (Jackson, 1992).
In Europe, it is reported that economic and social factors are beginning to influence the cultural values about
obligations between family members. There is evidence that this is also occurring in Australia. There are also
signs that carers, particularly volunteer carers, are becoming less altruistic and are beginning to make
demands about their conditions. Carers in Australia are now better organised. It may only be a question of
time before they also become less altruistic in search of greater recognition.
It is becoming widely accepted that quality community care implies an appropriate mix of services. If
Australia considered applying a labour market focus to contracted or volunteer carers, a case management
approach with an area based budget holder may be an appropriate model. However, this would be complex
and would have significant cost implications which may be untenable in the longer term. Such an approach
would need to be carefully trialed on a pilot basis. Similarly, the empowering of the care recipient by
providing cash benefits to allow them to purchase their own services, would, like the UK experience, also
require careful testing.
The future
Australia is looked on with envy by other OECD countries, particularly those already experiencing the peak
in their ageing population. With 50 years still to go before Australia reaches its peak, so to speak, and with
the advantage of the experience of those other countries, Australia should have no excuses for getting it
wrong. Certain support structures are already in place such as the Aged Care Reform Strategy, and the
Superannuation Guarantee Levy. However, there is an understandable reticence towards reform if any
additional cost is substantially magnified as the population ages. Whilst economic growth is a key factor in
the future capacity of a country to meet the demands of an ageing society, economic uncertainty usually leads
to caution and the control or capping of any major growth in benefits.
An immediate compromise in political, social and economic terms might therefore be to retain basic income
support for the carer with official recognition of the value of caring and the costs of care in the form of a care
allowance in addition to the pension. This allowance could subsume DNCB.
41
Such a package could include limited tax concessions for contributions to care by the care recipient or their
family. It could also include strategies to reduce costs of caring, such as subsidised centrally sourced
consumables, and greater financial assistance to purchase aids to daily living.
An essential design feature will need to be flexibility. Flexibility to accommodate the different caring mixes
that are emerging. This would present a challenge to government because the principles of income support
for the individual have, in the past, been conceived along fairly rigid lines. To what extent and under what
conditions an income support payment, with its ancillary benefits, such as the Health Care Card could be
apportioned between serial carers, week on, week off, for example, will need to be seen.
References
ABS 1990, Disability and Handicap, Australia, 1988, AGPS, Canberra, Cat. No. 4120.0.
ABS 1993, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, 1993, AGPS, Canberra, Cat. No. 4430.0.
Commonwealth Department of Health, Housing and Community Services 1991, Report of the Aged Care
Reform Strategy, Mid-Term Review, 1990-91, September, ACPS, Canberra.
Clare, R. and Tulpule, A. 1994, Australia's Ageing Society, Economic Planning Advisory Council,
Background Paper No. 37, January.
Carers Association of Australia 1995, Listen To The Carers, The Many Voices of Care: The National Carers
Consultation to the International Year of the Family.
Evers, A., Pijl, M. and Ungerson, C. (eds) 1994, 'The Welfare Diamond', adaptation for Payments For Care,
A Comparative Overview, European Centre, Vienna. From one presented by Arnold M. Gross 1991, Care for
the Elderly: Israel, in Evers, A. and Svetlik, I., New Welfare Mixes in Care For the Elderly, Eurosocial
Report 40/2, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna.
Evers, A., Pijl, M. and Ungerson, C. (eds) 1994, Payments For Care, A Comparative Overview, European
Centre, Vienna.
Chapter 4 'Payments For Care: The Case of Finland', Sipila, J. and Anttonen, A.
Chapter 10 'Payments For Care: The Case of France', Joel, M. and Martin, C.
Chapter 7 'Payments For Care: The Case of Denmark', Swane, C. E.
Chapter 8 'Payments For Care: The Case of Flanders, Belgium', van Buggenhout, B., Put, J. and de
Cort, L.
Jackson, D. 1992, 'The Future Development of Community Care in the United Kingdom', ISSA, Social
Security Document, European Series No. 18, 'Home Care for the Elderly', Summary of the Proceedings of the
Meeting, extract on the Independent Living Fund, Geneva.
42
FLEXIBLE RETIREMENT: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR OLDER
WORKERS
Nigel Patterson and Tammy Wolffs
Strategic Development Branch, Strategic Planning Division, Department of Social Security
Introduction
This article canvasses the social and economic implications of retirement age - in this article, 'early
retirement' is defined as retirement before age pension age, and 'later' or 'deferred retirement' as retirement
after age pension age. It does so in the context of an older population which is growing in numbers (from 8.5
per cent of the population in 1965 to 12 per cent in 1996 to an expected 21.5 per cent in 2031) (House of
Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies, 1992:12), is living for longer, and has higher
expectations for better standards of living than previous generations. An attempt is made to reconcile the
trend of the 1970s and 1980s towards early retirement, and the growing body of evidence suggesting that in
the 21st century this situation will need to be reversed.
Both the benefits and disadvantages of early and late retirement are explored in this article, with regard to the
impacts on individuals approaching retirement age, and on the wider community. We examine the likelihood,
barriers and incentives of moving towards a society which offers greater flexibility and choice in the decision
of when to finally exit the labour market.
Early retirement - the historical context
Retirement as an option available to all workers has been a development of the 20th century and
industrialisation (McConnell, 1983:334). Since the late 1960s, when almost 80 per cent of 60 to 64-year-old
males remained in the workforce, there has been a progressive move towards earlier retirement. This trend
reached its peak during the recession of the 1980s, and continued beyond, so that between 1982 and 1988
less than half of all males between the ages of 60 and 64 years remained in paid work (Howe, 1991:26-27).
Reducing the supply of labour by offering voluntary early retirement had advantages for employers who did
not have to negotiate large retrenchment packages, for older workers who were able to take advantage of the
opportunity of early retirement, and for younger workers who were not facing job loss at a time of high
unemployment (Tillsley, 1995:134).
43
Earlier retirement was supported by the State in many countries to alleviate pressure on the labour market
and reduce unemployment. This was facilitated through the provision of early old age pensions, relaxation of
eligibility for other benefits such as disability or sickness allowances, extending periods of unemployment
eligibility in countries with social insurance schemes, and through the tax system in relation to early
retirement packages and private pension schemes (OECD, 1995:9).
There has been some recent recognition that the continuing belief that older workers should be the first
casualties of reduced workforce sizes cannot be sustained indefinitely, and that this form of age
discrimination marginalises them into a reserve army of labour, similar to that experienced by women and
migrants. Just as discrimination against these latter groups has become socially unacceptable, it is likely that
the increasing size and lobbying power of the over 40s population will result in increasing pressure against
the marginalisation of older workers (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:162). There has already been some movement
in this direction with recent legislative changes, both at the Federal and State levels, in Australia. For
instance, antiage discrimination legislation was announced in South Australia in 1991 and was followed by
other state governments introducing comparable legislation. The Federal Government introduced the
Industrial Relations Reform Act 1994 on 30 March 1994, prohibiting employers from dismissing an
employee on the basis of age, except where essential for a specific occupation. As a further development, in
June last year the Federal Government announced the abolition of the compulsory retirement age in the
Australian Public Service from 1996.
An era of increased expectations
There has been widespread acknowledgment of, and concern expressed over, the effect of continually
improving living standards on the expanding population of retirees. The 'baby boomer' generation of postwar babies were the first to grow up in a society of ever-increasing consumerism and growing expectations.
This is the generation that is now approaching retirement, and, as Fogarty points out:
If we accept that the formative period (as regards aspirations, career possibilities, environmental
perceptions) is that of later childhood and adolescence, than the generation born... between 1945 and
1955 will present us with the greatest difficulties (1983:24).
Fogarty goes on to postulate that retirees will only be content if their living standards are at least as high as
they were during their early working life. The critical question therefore is: can society produce real incomes
for older people which will maintain their standard of living in retirement?
44
Central to the decision of when to retire (as illustrated in Figure 1), are considerations of:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
the amount of retirement savings (increasingly superannuation) available:
the level of the age pension safety net;
home ownership or housing equity;
the effect of gender;
other safety net provisions (e.g. fringe benefits);
the ability to benefit from both superannuation and safety net provisions;
employment options available, including workplace pressure/ incentives to retire early;
respective values placed on work and leisure activities;
45
•
•
the availability of paid work or opportunities for leisure after retirement; and
the state of health (including life expectancy) of the retiree and her or his dependents.
Superannuation/investment returns
Income forms a crucial role in the retirement decision. The availability of superannuation and other
investments (including private savings, income, real estate, capital gains) to continue to provide for chosen
lifestyles is becoming increasingly important in determining the best time for retirement.
While superannuation coverage of the workforce has increased steadily from 41.6 per cent of all employees
in 1986-87 to 91.5 per cent in 1993-1994 (ABS, 1995a:181; ABS, 1995b) - and continues to do so, it is
becoming apparent that returns from superannuation may not adequately provide for retirement. David Knox
(1995:11-12), in his financial analysis of future superannuation payments in Australia, is able to show that
increased administrative and insurance costs, combined with slower rates of return due to payouts of
retirement benefits to an ageing population, will reduce the rate of return on superannuation investments to
retirees. He warns that the likely investment flow from superannuation funds is expected to peak within 10
years and then start declining to a much lower proportion of GDP. He argues that the problems of available
funds peaking within a decade reflect demographic changes and the retirements of the post-war baby
boomers.
Declining superannuation fund assets have important economic implications regarding national savings and
the supply of investment capital, reducing the ability to fund retirement income for an ageing population
(1995:11-12, 16). Knox concludes that:
.. it is essential that the Government provide additional structures and incentives to encourage
individuals to stay in the workforce for longer periods the recent trend towards earlier retirement needs
to be reversed (1995:23).
He suggests that governments may need to provide employment and investment incentives affecting 55 to
65-year-olds.
Since the early 1980s, there have been nearly two million new jobs. Of these just under 50 per cent have been
part-time positions, representing a trend also evident overseas. At the same time the proportion of people in
full-time employment has fallen. Since 1972 full-time jobs as a proportion of all jobs has declined from
around 90 per cent to less than 80 per cent (ABS, 6101.0, 6203.0). This trend to part-time jobs, representing a
growing proportion of the total labour market, is forecast to continue well into the next century. While it will
be a long time, if ever, before the numbers of part-time jobs equal the
46
numbers of full-time jobs, a growing, sizeable force of part-time workers suggests that it may be much harder
for many people to accumulate retirement benefits which will enable them to continue to maintain the
standard of living achieved during their working life, let alone consider early retirement in the context of
increased longevity.
In addition, there has been mounting pressure on Australian governments to reduce real (if not nominal)
wages, which would have the effect of lowering superannuation contributions proportionately, and is most
likely to affect lower income earners. Wage reductions have been touted as a means of reducing
unemployment, both directly and as a result of moves to increase Australia's competitiveness overseas.
Of further impact on the level of contributions into superannuation funds would be the elimination of penalty
rates, currently on the agenda both overseas (particularly in the US and some European countries) and in
some Australian States (notably Victoria and Western Australia). The impacts of any such reductions in total
take home pay must be seriously considered and accounted for in any calculations of levels of retirement
savings.
Future retirement income may be seen as insufficient. Not only because of lower rates of returns by
superannuation funds, labour market changes and increases in life expectancy but, as previously noted,
because of increases in living standards expectations of the upcoming generation of retirees. Where previous
generations had been affected by depression and war, those coming up for retirement have life experiences of
a post-war boom and rising consumerism (Eversley, 1983:24-25; Johnson, 1983:146-147).
There is also a concern that people may expect the combination of the age pension and superannuation to
provide full or adequate replacement incomes in retirement. The view held by some experts is that it is
important to make the community aware that, for a growing number, superannuation will not be '100 per cent
additional to the age pension, but rather benefits which will largely be in substitution to it' (Fitzgerald,
1995:9). The 'substitution' impact may be overstated - while some retirees will find their accumulated
superannuation significantly reduces or eliminates their age pension entitlement, many will still qualify for a
substantial or full age pension payment.
Further, there are currently pressures to allow access to superannuation funds for socially desirable purposes
(e.g. housing). If this occurs, there could be two distinct effects, which would need to be more fully
investigated. Firstly, the value of benefits on retirement - and hence their contribution to funding a longer
retirement period - could drop significantly. On the other hand, the lower accommodation expenses resulting
from home ownership may mean that household income could be reduced without significant effect on living
standards, i.e. there is imputed income from owner-occupier housing.
47
The social safety net - pressure on Budget outlays
The second critical factor in providing adequate retirement incomes in order to enable an effective retirement
decision is whether governments of the next century can continue to provide age pension payments at
comparable values of today. Will future governments be able to maintain the age pension at around 25 per
cent of average weekly earnings (AWE), let alone increase it to the 30 per cent currently being advocated by
older people's lobby groups?
There has been a marked decline in the number and proportion of older males in the labour force which may,
should this pattern continue, have a significant impact on labour force dependency rates (as shown in Graph
1). The dependency ratio is used to illustrate the capacity to support the nonworking population by those in
the labour force. The graph shows all people aged 0 to 14 years plus people over 15 years who are not in the
labour force compared to all people aged 15 years and over who are in the labour force (House of
Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies, 1992:22-24). The primary reasons for the
decline in older workers may include:
•
•
•
•
•
significant accumulations of retirement benefits, usually in the form of superannuation;
market incentives/pressures to retire early;
inaccessibility to jobs for the older unemployed;
a generally accessible security safety net; and
the generally high value of social security payments.
The budgetary pressures anticipated due to the greying of the population are well documented and do not
need to be repeated in detail. However, it is important to say that there are dangers for government where
structural changes to the labour force, occasioned by long periods of relatively high unemployment, cause
new expectations in the community - such as early retirement - and then frustrate subsequent attempts to
maintain or increase labour supply. The OECD reported that:
By seeking to alleviate short-term problems of unemployment through the encouragement of early
retirement, the latter might have been building up expectations which run counter to longer term labour
market needs and which also exacerbate the longer term financial problems faced by state social
security systems (1995:11).
It should also be noted that it has been shown that in many circumstances, despite contrary beliefs, the
provision of early retirement for older workers has not resulted in increased employment and/or promotional
opportunities for younger workers (Unikowski, 1995:27).
48
Source: Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies 1992,
Expectations of Life: Increasing the Options for the 21st Century, p. 23, AGPS, Canberra.
The statement also needs to be considered in the context of declining birth rates and their implications for the
job market in the next century. A trend to fuller employment is a possible outcome of this factor, reducing but not eliminating - pressures on budget outlays. Others have predicted the need for a future government to
wind back the age pension to a narrower safety net and/or reduce the level of government co-contributions to
superannuation (Fitzgerald, 1995:9).
There may be some suggestion that to reduce the attractiveness of early retirement, the value of social
security payments also needs to be reduced. A reduced safety net may contribute to longer employment
patterns by many older workers, who would continue to work either full or part-time. This is consistent with
research which shows how the permanent availability of basic, taxpayer-funded age pension very
significantly ameliorates the risk to retirement income overall (Knox, 1994). However, any decisions to 'wind
back' payments would have implications for existing labour market participants and pensioners, with the
potential for creating a group of older Australians living in poverty due to inadequate safety net provisions.
This could result in significant economic and social problems reflected in the community as a whole.
49
Gender-related retirement issues
The labour market experience of women differs to that of men and this is reflected in retirement incomes.
Women have traditionally spent fewer years in the workforce, worked fewer hours when in paid
employment, had lower paid positions with lower promotional opportunities, and have had less access to
retirement income than men.
While changes in attitudes are resulting in higher participation in paid work, higher levels of education,
greater workplace opportunities and greater access to private and public retirement incomes for women in
their own right, many women are still working fewer hours of paid employment. And they are more likely to
interrupt or end labour market activities in favour of family or other caring responsibilities. As Jordan points
out:
... changes are poorly understood and their end result unpredictable. They have involved, in effect, a
steadily progressive exchange of full-time jobs occupied by males for part-time jobs occupied by
females. For the most part, the content of jobs in the two categories is different, and it is not that
women have been taking men's jobs but, nevertheless, in some ways they have been securing a fairer
share of available employment although public policy has done little more than respond to events
neither foreseen nor intended (1995:9).
Further, while women have always been eligible for the age pension at a younger age than men - in
recognition of their contribution to work in the home, the lower satisfaction derived from the types of jobs
they traditionally occupied, the general tendency for women to be younger than their partners but wishing to
retire at the same time, and because of the greater likelihood of retired women to be living in poverty - this is
now gradually changing in Australia as a result of a Federal Government policy decision. In the future, age
pension age will be the same for men and women (Hutton and Whiteford, 1995:63; SPRU, 1992:2, 26).
Changes to women's employment patterns and sex roles are recent and many are gradual, and the flow
through effects to women currently approaching retirement age are unlikely to be significant. But, because
they are changing, particular attention must be given by policy makers to ensure that new and relevant issues
for women are continually being addressed. At the same time, issues affecting older women will become
increasingly important, especially in the context of a growing imbalance in the sex ratio of older people. This
will lead to larger numbers of retired women than retired men. This means that any policies relating to the
older population will have the greatest impact on women, and therefore needs to have particular regard for
them (House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies, 1992:18).
50
Effects on fringe benefits
Ryan, in her research into early retirement and optimal retirement age, found that the preference for early
retirement by older workers eligible for an age pension or mature age allowance, was greater. This was due
to the perceived value of the fringe benefits associated with these payments, including pharmaceutical
allowance, rent assistance and the wide range of State and Territory concessions (including transport and
rates) (1995:18). However, where the population receiving fringe benefits expands, the value of those
benefits is likely to contract. For example, the 1993 extension of fringe benefits to all age pensioners has
already led to some State and Territory Governments reducing the range and level of their concessions
(Barber, Moon and Doolan, 1994:136).
Consequently, future Government decisions on the range and value of fringe benefits to be provided, together
with the age pension/mature age allowance, may influence the decision of when to retire. Therefore, these
need to be considered both in terms of an incentive to retire, and also in ensuring the non-erosion of living
standards of age pensioners.
Double dipping
The issues of 'double dipping' is another factor which may influence people's decisions about when to retire.
There has been considerable debate in Australia in recent years regarding the extent of this practice by older
people. Double dipping refers to individuals tapping into the public purse in two different ways: by receiving
tax concessions on their superannuation savings, dissipating their lump sum superannuation benefits
(including to fund early retirement), and then claiming an age pension or greater age pension than they
otherwise would have been entitled to. The extent to which double dipping is minimised is a measure of the
effectiveness of the system in relieving future age pension and concession costs. The available evidence
suggests that it is not widespread in Australia - that is, superannuation entitlements are not generally
dissipated with the intention of establishing age pension eligibility or increasing the size of the age pension
payments (Kalisch and Patterson, 1993:75).
It is important to realise that an important cause for such low level double dipping may be that the average
lump sum is relatively small and does not greatly affect age pension entitlements. Up until 1989 around 70
per cent of lump sum benefits were for amounts under $100 000 and only around 5 per cent were for amounts
above $200 000. Kalisch and Patterson noted that as coverage increases and lump sum benefits are
significantly greater, there may be more scope for double dipping, particularly in the absence of changes to
the preservation age, restrictions on the uses of lump sums and changes which improve the interaction of
superannuation with the pension income
51
and asset tests. Some of the issues have been addressed, with measures introduced from July 1994 which
provide a significantly higher tax advantage to people who take at least half of their superannuation benefits
in the form of an income stream.
During the next century, there may be considerable pressure from workers who resent their tax dollars going
to support an increasing number of retirees who may have dissipated all or part of their lump sum
superannuation payouts and then subsequently claimed an age pension. At the political level a delicate
balancing act may be necessary to satisfy these views.
Fitzgerald addresses this issue and argues that in the context of Government co-contributions alongside
employer and employee contributions:
... it will become intolerable to the electorate if that money is seen to be going directly into lump sums
which are accessed early (and with the first $80 000 or so free of any tax at that point) by people who
then go on to qualify for the publicly-funded pension (1995:10).
Future governments will need to monitor the prospect of double dipping to avoid a greater pressure on budget
outlays for retirement purposes.
Incentives and pressure for early retirement
While early retirement options may have been welcomed by employers in the 1980s as a means of reducing
workforce size with lower costs in terms of payouts to employees and industrial disputes, research suggests
employers are realising that they have lost out to some extent in terms of experience and skills of older
employees (Taylor and Walker, 1995:143-145). At the same time, there is growing recognition that removal
of older workers from the labour market does not necessarily increase employment opportunities for younger
people. Research in the United States suggests that the replacement rate (of older workers by younger
workers) is less than 50 per cent.
Further, many older unemployed people may not actively seek work because they are discouraged by
reduced opportunities, both in terms of actually getting a job and in pay and status. This is supported by
evidence that average duration of unemployment is far longer for workers over the age of 54 years than in
younger age groups, and by evidence of substantial pay reductions for older workers who accepted
employment after displacement from previous occupations (OECD, 1995:38-40, 44).
Ryan (1995:4) maintains that early retirement may involve undesirable social costs, such as the reduced
value of human capital and higher budget outlays on retirement. Implicit in her argument is that early
retirement will undermine the prosperity required to finance it and other social goals. Moreover, Ryan takes a
different stance from Knox, suggesting that as the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) matures, higher
levels of retirement income will reinforce trends to early retirement.
52
Relative value placed on work and leisure
Ryan's research found that attitudes to work and leisure were primary determinants of the age when people
retired. She found that early retirement was attractive to those people with a preference, albeit a moderate
preference, for leisure over work (1995:18).
This preference was enhanced for those people if they were eligible for an age pension or mature age
allowance. However, while the introduction of this allowance from age 60 could make early retirement
particularly attractive to people on lower incomes, its existence is less likely to influence the retirement
decisions of higher income people.
There have been conflicting research findings. Whilst some studies have shown that most people may favour
early retirement as long as their incomes continue to adequately meet their needs (Keating, 1983: 165), and
that finances play the determining role in retirement decisions (McConnell, 1983:337), others have shown
that many workers would prefer to continue working, both for the financial gains and because they enjoy
work or to avoid boredom (Fogarty, 1983:174). In one recent study, DSS market research found that 67 per
cent of 118 pre-retirees expressed interest in deferring retirement - if this were accompanied by a financial
incentive. The main reasons given by pre-retirees for interest in such a plan were the desire to continue
working for longer and having a greater choice of when to retire (Brian Sweeney, 1995:25-26).
A recent study of British retirees revealed:
a great variety of responses which cannot be accounted for entirely by people's ages, background,
experiences or even income levels. There are people in their 50s who welcomed retirement and who
were only obliged to return part-time to the workforce by financial pressures. There were others, well
past the normal retirement age, who could not resist taking up fresh challenges and for whom additional
income was of little concern. There were those who welcomed the opportunity to devote more time to
life-long interests. Others took up entirely new interests and activities. Some were glad to make their
professional and vocational skills available to charities. Others rejected their former occupations almost
completely (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:99).
Other research conducted on behalf of DSS has indicated an acceptance by older workers of the need to retire
so that younger people could be employed, even though they also felt that their age was not a barrier to
productivity (Unikowski, 1995:27).
Transition from work to leisure
There may be a greater inclination to continue longer in paid employment, as a result of later entry into the
labour market (due to longer educational
53
spans), increased life expectancy and improved health, which enables people to maintain active and
productive lifestyles for greater periods. In fact, many retirees are now finding it difficult to cope with their
new circumstances (Fogarty, 1983:180). Surveys have shown an increasing tendency for people to wish to
stay in paid employment for some years after their expected retirement age, with perhaps some reduction in
the number of hours worked (Fogarty, 1983:174).
Increasingly, there has been demand for a transitional stage from full-time employment to full-time
retirement. However, this ideal has not generally been able to be met and has usually meant that:
workers must choose between continued full time employment (during which some pensions benefits
are often lost), part time work for relatively low wages, or complete retirement. Faced with these
limitations many workers choose complete retirement (Encel, 1992).
Many researchers and international bodies (such as the World Bank, OECD and ISSA), suggest that the next
century will be characterised by patterns of greater part-time employment, less full-time employment and
more frequent job changes than has been the case for most of this century. Many workers may also
experience periods of unemployment dispersed throughout their working lives.
There are two important points to be made here if these suggestions are correct. Firstly, as noted before, it
means for many that retirement benefits will be less than if they had been in full-time employment. Secondly,
this changed pattern of employment means there is already an increased amount of leisure time, so that there
may be less reason or desire to retire early. What seems likely to happen is that people will want to gradually
reduce their number of working hours on or before retirement age, and so continue to be active in the labour
force on a part-time or casual basis beyond age pension age.
Commentators are now suggesting a transitional stage results in a greater ability to adjust to retirement,
allowing people to develop new interests and ease out of the structured routine to which they have become
accustomed (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:91). There are, however, obstacles to this transition which need to be
overcome.
Current attitudes (reflecting age discrimination) portray older workers as less productive, with lower
adaptability to change or to learning new skills. Overcoming these difficulties means dealing with current
social attitudes which shape the prejudices of employers. Those groups that have been discriminated against
in employment, such as women and migrants, have had some success through the application of pressure,
supported by antidiscrimination legislation (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:162). Older people form a significant
lobby group and should be able to follow this example, and could expect similar anti-discrimination
legislation, such as that proposed by the
54
former federal Attorney-General in February 1995 (Canberra Times, 15/2/95:5). The lobbying abilities of
older people should be enhanced by the difference in characteristics of later generations of older people to
their predecessors, which are not only physical, but related to other life experiences, and which may
empower them accordingly:
For example, there will be significant differences between those entering old age in the 1970s and those
entering old age in the 1990s. The latter... will be more highly educated and articulate, and better off
financially because of superannuation, home ownership and dual incomes. In particular, the women
among the 1990s cohort will be more socially and politically aware than their sisters of the 1970s
groups, and they will also be used to a greater degree of social and financial independence (House of
Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies, 1992:7).
In addition, much of the argument for early retirement, and the practice of retrenching older workers first, has
been based on prevailing attitudes about the continuing capabilities of older workers, including their abilities
to adapt to changing conditions and to learn new skills. However, evidence suggests that learning capacities
are not reduced as people grow older as long as they are motivated or interested in the subject matter and
believe they are receiving value from the training provided (Johnson, 1983:144).
It has also been generally accepted by employers that there is less value in training older workers in terms of
the remaining period to exercise new skills or knowledge (OECD, 1995:27). However, there is evidence that
the maximum usage of training is likely to be 10 years, which would suggest that 'training a 55-year-old is as
likely to offer as good value as training a 25-yearold' (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:61).
There has been some recent experimentation with the employment of older workers which has proven to be
successful. Two examples from Britain demonstrate strong positive outcomes. The first is a retail outlet
whose entire sales staff are over the age 50 years. This outlet was found to be 18 per cent more profitable
than the average of five similar stores (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:69). The other example is a food retailing
company which ran a recruitment campaign for employees of 55 years and over. The company reported that:
... older workers provide superior customer service. They are less inclined to go absent for trivial
reasons and thus have a better absenteeism record. Also they have a stabilising influence on younger
employees who tend to prefer to go to older colleagues rather than supervisors when they have
problems (Mallier and Shafto, 1992:69).
However, there are few instances where the practice of recruiting older workers is occurring, and most of the
firms in Britain doing so are limiting opportunities to the lower end of the skills range:
55
... it was not expected that they would progress substantially... Some firms explicitly ruled out their
movement beyond first-line supervisory positions (OECD, 1995:40).
Longer participation in the workforce may be due to economic necessity, or it may be due to a need for
feeling valued and the desire to make a continued contribution to society. There may be alternatives to paid
employment to achieve this, but a great deal of development would be required to offer unpaid/voluntary
alternatives which would attract as much value by society as paid work, and which would allow the
continuation of a challenging lifestyle (Johnson, 1983:152-154).
Health as a consideration in retirement decisions
Research has indicated that workers' health, and the physical demands of work on their health, is an
important factor in the decision to retire:
In a study of 145 British male factory workers, eight out of 10 of those who reported 'poor' health
wanted to retire, whereas seven out of 10 reporting 'good' health wanted to continue working beyond
the pensionable age... Those who worked in physically demanding and stressful jobs were more likely
to prefer early retirement (McConnell, 1983:338).
Although there are many more numbers of older people, the ageing process itself may be slowing down. Not
only in terms of people's life expectancies, but in their overall quality of life and in their good health
continuing for longer (White Riley, 1992:26-27), resulting in improved lifestyles, longer periods of
independence and a lower reliance on the health system (Johns, 1983:145). From the social security
perspective, a trend analysis (by age group) of numbers receiving disability support pension should be a
pertinent indicator of these issues in the next few decades.
Health as a reason for retirement is not necessarily limited to people's own physical wellbeing, but extends to
the necessity to undertake caring responsibilities. The possibility of the need to provide full-time care for
partners or parents increases with age and many older workers may feel compelled to leave the labour market
for this reason (OECD, 1995:46).
International developments
The issues we have discussed represent a challenge which is being faced by most industrialised countries.
Accordingly, it is likely that during the next decade, in a similar trend to that overseas, Australia will see a
number of structural changes which will affect people's retirement decisions.
A number of governments overseas have already signalled their intention to increase the age at which age
pensions may be taken. In the US the Government has announced that the retirement age for benefits will be
gradually increased from 65 to 67 commencing from the turn of the century.
56
Similarly, Japan, France and Spain have increased the number of years of (social) insurance required to
qualify for a full pension (OECD, 1995:73).
As well, in some countries where there is a lower retirement or age pension age for women, there has been a
movement to raise that age to the same age of retirement as for men. This process has already started in
Australia, and the UK has announced it too will be raising the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 years.
As a salient example of the likely changes, in 1995 the Australian Federal Government announced the
abolition of the compulsory retirement age of 60 and 65 years for Commonwealth public servants.
It should also be noted that around 12 OECD countries have public retirement arrangements which allow
deferral of benefits beyond the normal retirement age (Table 1). These developments suggest an attempt by
governments to ameliorate current and future pressures on trends in their budgets.
Flexible, later retirement - an alternative
The combined effects of an ageing population with early retirement and a greater life expectancy may be
offset somewhat by factors such as:
•
•
•
•
•
•
compulsory superannuation providing at least partial income support in retirement;
increased female workforce participation offsetting some of the effect of increased numbers of pensioners
(Tillsley, 1995:134);
lower birthrates, allowing some redistribution of resources from the very young to the very old
(Benjamin, 1983:37);
improved health among older people, particularly younger retirees, which may permit longer independent
living arrangements and less strain on health services (Johnson, 1983:145);
improved health meaning longer life expectancy for men, and consequently having the effect of
increasing the number of two-person retired households, once again facilitating longer independent living
(Eversley, 1983:15); and
non-labour force contributions of retirees, such as provision of voluntary services, child care for family
members, etc.
However, account must also be taken of the growing tendency for later entry into the workforce due to
increased duration of education. This means that duration of labour force participation may be even further
reduced to the extent that people, as has happened in some European countries in recent times, may spend
less than half their lives in paid employment. This is bound to place increased pressure on workforce
participants for income support, and health and other services. Alternatively, or more likely in conjunction
with this trend, will be a demand for phased or later retirement, particularly as the efficacy of accumulated
retirement funds assumes greater saliency.
57
TABLE 1: DEFERRED PENSION ARRANGEMENTS
Country
Normal
retirement age
Calculation of
deferral incentive
Maximum
deferral
Austria
male - 65
female - 60
actuarially
increased
to the maximum
allowable
contribution ceiling
Denmark
67
5% every 6 months
for supplementary
pension1
limit of 30%
Finland
65
12.5% per annum
5 years
France
between
60 - 65
after 65 (if contribution
ceiling not reached)
2.5% per quarter
to the maximum
allowable
contribution ceiling
Germany
65
0.5% per month
until age 672
Luxembourg
65
actuarially increased
if 120 months credited
employment at 65
3 years
Norway
67
no incentive
3 years
Spain
65
no incentive
none specified
Sweden
65
0.6% per month
5 years
Switzerland
male - 65
female - 623
actuarially
increased
5 years
United
Kingdom
male - 65
female - 60 (to
be raised to 65)
7.5% per annum
(to about 10.5%
from 2010)
5 years
United
States4
65 (to be
raised to 67)
0.25% per month5
5 years
1
Denmark has a two-tiered system, a flat rate State Pension and a service-related Supplementary Pension.
Only the service-related payment attracts the deferment increase.
2
This limit will be removed by 2001.
3
There is a move towards a common retirement age of 63 or 64 years for both sexes.
4
The US system rewards delaying early retirement by increasing benefit by 0.55 per cent per month between
the ages of 62 and 65 years.
5
.This will gradually be increased to 8 per cent per annum.
Sources: OECD: 1995; Moorman-Scrivener and Terry: 1995.
58
There is a sustainable argument that later, or more flexible, retirement will be the natural outcome of
expected social and labour market changes. Also, the historical notion that 'normal' retirement age is defined
as the age at which an age pension is available will be replaced by an age pension age that is tied to a band
width rather than a specific age, so that the amount of pension is determined by the age of retirement (Mallier
and Shafto, 1992:99). For instance, instead of an age pension age of 65 years, there may be a band width of
ages 60 to 70 years, with younger retirees receiving lower rates of pension than those who choose to retire
later.
While not advocating a return to periods where there were very few years of retirement, and even less healthy
years to enjoy it, the contention of this paper is that the trend to earlier retirement in Australia, evident during
the 1970s and 1980s, is not sustainable in the context of the mix of social, political, economic and lifestyle
factors expected in the 21st century.
Given concerns about the social costs (displacement, alienation, dependency issues, etc.) of early retirement,
it is our belief that future governments will need to examine these in increasing detail and provide incentives
to reduce them, such as later retirement, transitional retirement and/or promoting the value of unpaid work.
Superannuation benefits may fail to provide or maintain standard of living expectations for many retirees.
Moreover, retirees will find that higher benefits are needed to adequately fund a longer retirement phase than
that experienced by their parents or grandparents. There is also a danger that as the ageing of the population
continues to place pressure on available resources to meet the needs of the pension age population, there may
be a temptation to 'wind back' the age pension.
On the other side of the equation, providing jobs for the older unemployed will involve a cultural shift by
employers to recognise the value of these workers. This will be a move away from both facilitating earlier
retirement to reduce workforce size, and the treatment of older workers as a reserve army of labour.
Understandably, due to recent trends to earlier retirement, there has been a lack of research and widespread
discussion taking place about a possible trend to fuller employment in the next century and the effect this
would have when people retire. A trend to fuller employment would have two implications for potential
retirees. Firstly, there would be a decrease in government outlays on unemployment and ancillary benefits
(there may also be a decrease in disability support for injured workers with a movement away from heavy
industrial and manufacturing industries). This would mean that greater resources would be available for
social security recipients including age pensioners. Secondly, full employment and increased demand
59
for labour would give older people the choice of continuing in the workforce for longer and delaying
retirement if they wished.
Whatever patterns develop, the situation is unlikely to be clear cut.
Retirement trends may not continue to reflect early retirement, nor may there be a popular movement towards
later retirement. The reality could be a more flexible, phased retirement age, with greater choice based upon
numerous individual considerations including: financial incentives, lifestyle choice, health, type of
employment and availability of work.
References
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 1992, Retirement and Retirement Intentions Australia, October, Cat
No 6238.0.
ABS 1994, Deaths Australia, Cat No 3302.0.
ABS 1995a, Year Book Australia 1995.
ABS 1995b, Statistical Information Service.
Barber, John, Moon, Gillian and Doolan, Sharon 1994, Targeting for Equity: Final Report of the Strategic
Review of the Pensions' lncome and Assets Tests, Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS),
Canberra.
Benjamin, Bernard 1983, 'Comment on Chapter 2', in Fogarty, Michael (ed) Retirement Policy: The Next
Fifty Years, Heinemann, London.
Brian Sweeney and Associates 1995, Retirement Incomes Initiatives: Phase Three: Customisation of
Payments, research report prepared for the Department of Social Security.
Casey, Bernard 1992, Paying for Early Retirement, journal of Social Policy, Vol. 21, Part 3, July 1992, pp.
303-323.
Eversley, David 1983, 'The Demography of Retirement - Prospects to the Year 2030', in Fogarty, Michael
(ed) Retirement Policy: The Next Fifty Years, Heinemann, London.
Fitzgerald, V. W. 1995, Superannuation: Where Have We Reached? How Far To Go?, address to The Third
Colloquium of Superannuation Researchers, 6-7 July 1995, Melbourne.
Forgarty, Michael 1983, 'The Work Option', in Fogarty, Michael (ed) Retirement Policy: The Next Fifty
Years, Heinemann, London.
Forgarty, Michael 1983, 'Points from the Discussion', in Fogarty, Michael (ed) Retirement Policy: The Next
Fifty Years, Heinemann, London.
Howe, Brian 1991, Better Incomes: Retirement Income Policy into the Next Century, AGPS, Canberra.
60
Johnson, Malcolm L. 1983, 'The Implications of Greater Activity in Later Life', in Fogarty, Michael (ed)
Retirement Policy: The Next Fifty Years, Heinemann, London.
Jordan, Alan 1995, A Generation of Growth in Female Employment, But How Much Change?, Social
Security Journal, December 1995, pp. 78-96.
Kalisch, David and Patterson, Nigel 1993, 'Australia's Retirement Incomes System: "Double Dipping" and
Consumer Attitudes' in Knox, David (ed) Superannuation - Contemporary Issues, Longman, Melbourne.
Keating, Norah C. 1983, 'Comments on Chapter 6', in Fogarty, Michael (ed) Retirement Policy: The Next
Fifty Years, Heinemann, London.
Knox, David M. 1994, 'A Critique of the Direction of Current Superannuation Developments Using a
Microsimulation Approach', in Knox, David (ed) Superannuation: Contemporary Issues, Longman,
Melbourne.
Knox, David M. 1995, Some Financial Consequences of the Size of Australia's Superannuation Industry in
the Next Three Decades, paper presented at the Third Annual Colloquium of Superannuation Researchers,
The University of Melbourne, 6-7 July 1995 (unpublished).
Mallier, A. T. and Shafto, T. A. C. 1992, The Economics of Flexible Retirement, Academic Press Ltd,
London.
McConnell, Stephen R. 1983, 'Retirement and Employment', in Woodruff, Diana S. and Birren Maes E. (eds)
Aging: Scientific Perspectives and Social Issues, Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, Monterey.
Moore, Joanne and Tilson, Barbara 1995, Research Feature: Employment Policies and Practices Towards
Older Workers: an International Overview, Employment Gazette, April 1995, pp. 147-152.
Moorman-Scrivener, S. and Terry, J. (eds) 1995, International Benefit Guidelines: 18th Edition, Mercer,
Melbourne.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 1995, The Transition from Work to Retirement,
OECD Social Policy Studies No 16, Paris: OECD.
Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia 1992, Expectations of Life: Increasing the Options for the 21st
Century, Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long Term Strategies, AGPS,
Canberra.
Reday-Mulvey, Genevieve 1995, Gradual Retirement in OECD Countries, Ageing International, June 1995,
pp. 44-48.
Rodney, Janece and Jackson, Lance 1996, Deferred Pension Plan: A Discussion Paper on Issues Relating to
Deferring Age Pension Entitlement, unpublished.
61
Ryan, Angela 1995, Early Retirement and the Optimal Retirement Age, paper presented at the Third Annual
Colloquium of Superannuation Researchers, The University of Melbourne, 6-7 July 1995 (unpublished).
Social Policy Research Unit, University of York 1992, Women and Social Security in Retirement: A
Comparative Analysis, The Luxembourg Income Study, Working Paper 82.
Taylor, Philip and Walker, Alan 1995, Research Feature: Utilising Older Workers, Employment Gazette,
April 1995, pp. 141-145.
Tillsley, Christine 1995, Research Feature: Older Workers: Findings from the 1994 Labour Force Survey,
Employment Gazette, April 1995, pp. 133-140.
Unikowski, Isi 1995, Departing for a Life of Sunshine: Background to the Seminar on Early Retirement in
Australia, paper presented at the Seminar on Early Retirement, 14 December 1995, Department of Social
Security (unpublished).
Walker, Alan 1983, 'Comments on Chapter 6', in Fogarty, Michael (ed) Retirement Policy: The Next Fifty
Years, Heinemann, London.
White Riley, Matilda 1992, 'Aging in the Twenty-First Century', in Cutler, Lane E., Gregg, Davis W. and
Lawton, M. Powell (eds) Aging, Money, and Life Satisfaction: Aspects of Financial Gerontology, Springer
Publishing Company, New York.
62
SOCIAL SECURITY NOTES
Ian Warman, 'Sole Parent Pension reviews'
Cheryl David, 'Best practice and continuous improvement in the Department of Social Security'
Susan Edgerley, 'The use of market research in developing the Department of Social Security's customer
information products'
Kate Chan, 'Parenting Allowance'
SOCIAL SECURITY JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
SOLE PARENT PENSION REVIEWS
Ian Wannan
Sole Parent Pension Section, Sole Parent Program Branch, Family Programs and Services Division
Introduction
This paper provides an overview of the review process for Sole Parent Pension (SPP) and discusses the
rationale and benefits of requiring sole parent pensioners to regularly complete a Sole Parent Review (SPR)
form.
Overview of review process
All claimants for SPP are interviewed before payment is granted. Following are a range of review processes
after grant to ensure that payment remains correct:
•
•
•
•
•
All sole parent pensioners complete a review form at four, eight and 12 weeks after grant and every 12
weeks thereafter;
70 per cent of sole parent pensioners are interviewed either eight or 12 weeks after grant, depending on
the likelihood of a change in their circumstances;
sole parent pensioners who have a child born more than nine months after grant of SPP are reviewed by
interview;
sole parent pensioners may also have their living arrangements reviewed to determine whether the person
is a member of a couple; and
there are a range of other reviews which include data-matching reviews, reviews conducted by mobile
review teams and other risk-based selective reviews.
Rationale and benefits of review form
SPR forms were introduced from November 1986 as a Budget initiative. Prior to this, sole parent pensioners
were reviewed in the same way as other pensioners through the Pensioner Entitlement Review (PER) form,
which was completed on a much less frequent basis (i.e. annually or less frequently). A separate review
process for sole parent pensioners was adopted recognising the greater likelihood of changes in
circumstances occurring relative to other pensioners, and the need to ensure that administrative processes
were sufficiently tight so that outlays on Sole Parent Pension were safeguarded. In relation to sole parent
pensioners, there are community views and sensitivities making it particularly important for these processes
to be apparent in order to avoid community concern. Payments to sole parent pensioners must have adequate
controls in place.
65
As noted above, an SPR form is completed at four, eight and 12 weeks after grant of SPP and every 12 weeks
thereafter. The increased frequency of review in the first 12 weeks after grant of SPP recognises the higher
degree of change in this period, e.g. reconciling with partner, commencing employment, etc. The SPR form
is a complete review of those circumstances which may affect the person's entitlement. This includes details
of income from employment or other sources, maintenance, children in care, rent and living arrangements.
The assessment of living arrangements is particularly important since it can completely change qualification.
Whenever a sole parent pensioner has been sharing accommodation with a person of the opposite sex for
eight weeks or more and one of seven additional criteria exists (e.g. a child of both also lives in the
residence) the Department will generally need to conduct a special review to assess whether a marriage-like
relationship exists.
There are also other less apparent benefits to SPR forms. The SPR form process is similar to fortnightly Job
Search and Newstart Allowance continuation forms in that payment will not continue if the SPR form is not
returned. Prior to SPR forms, positive action by the customer was needed to bring payments to an end, e.g.
by advising the Department of an event causing loss of entitlement. Customers can now voluntarily cease
receiving payment by not returning the SPR form. This can help a person to avoid prolonging the incorrect
receipt of payment which might occur if he or she needed to advise the Department. There were 123 042
cancellations of SPP in 1994-95. Of these, 5182 were automatic cancellations due to the non-return of the
SPR form.
The existence of regularly completed SPR forms also assists in action taken where incorrect payment is
detected. The SPR forms provide documentary evidence which will aid debt recovery and prosecution action
where appropriate.
The SPR form is complemented by the other review initiatives, including the selection of 70 per cent of sole
parent pension grants for a review interview at eight or 12 weeks after grant, based on the likelihood of a
change in their circumstances affecting their pension entitlement. These selective post-grant review
interviews are further recognition of the greater extent of changes which occur in the period shortly following
grant and continue to be important for providing savings in SPP outlays. The percentage of SPP grants
reviewed were increased by 20 per cent from 30 September 1994 as a 1994-95 Budget initiative. The part
year savings resulting from this increase were $3.29m in 1994-95, and the full year estimated savings for
1995-96 are $13.17m. The total savings achieved (i.e. for 70 per cent of grants) were $43.02m in 1994-95
and estimated savings for 1995-96 are $59.01m.
66
In the absence of frequent reviews, the Department would have to rely on unprompted notification of changes
in a timely manner, and this could not produce the same results as regular reporting. Given the
comprehensive nature and regularity of SPR forms, it is generally not possible for sole parent pensioners to
be overpaid unless they misrepresent their circumstances in writing. In the absence of regular reviews, it
would be more likely for incorrect payments to be made. Customers may fail to notify changes for many
reasons. It may occur unintentionally or through ignorance. It can also occur because it is easier for a person
to 'slide into' receiving payments incorrectly by not telling the Department of a change than it is to openly
make a false written statement. The SPR form is a constant reminder of the need to report changes and that
penalties exist for false statements.
There is, of course, a large number from each batch of forms which do not result in any change to
entitlement. This is not surprising given that every sole parent pensioner is being reviewed on a regular basis.
However, such an approach treats all sole parent pensioners equally and assists in maximising the reporting
of changes and the consequential changes to payments in a timely manner. SPR forms, along with other
measures such as specific admission procedures and selective review interviews for sole parent pensioners,
assist in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the Sole Parent Program.
67
BEST PRACTICE AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
SECURITY
Cheryl David
Best Practice and Customer Information Section, Customer Focus Branch, Customer Service Division,
Department of Social Security
Introduction
In September 1995 the Department of Social Security's Corporate Management Committee endorsed an
Operational Framework for Continuous Improvement in the Department. On a broad continuum this grouped
together the concepts and activities of setting standards, benchmarking, best practice and re-engineering.
Subsequent to this, the Department of Social Security (DSS) carried out a considerable amount of work to
address quality issues. However, the approach to continuous improvement was ad hoc; there was no clearly
articulated strategy, measures were uncoordinated, efforts were duplicated and the adoption of performance
improvement measures were patchy. The outcomes of many existing quality processes were not fed back to
National Program Managers, so their success could not be evaluated in an integrated way. The challenge was
to unite the disparate elements contributing to quality across the Department and link the narrow focus on
processes with the broad understanding of how a quality approach is relevant to all staff. A framework for
continuous improvement had to integrate each of the components of the quality process - quality assurance,
best practice, benchmarking against the best, audit, training, etc. - to maximise their contribution and
minimise goal displacement effects.
A major change in culture will be needed for sustained results from continuous improvement. If continuous
improvement is to work for DSS, the profile, understanding and commitment to quality must be raised via a
corporate philosophy which sets the rules, recognises and rewards innovation and takes account of resource
implications and savings. Staff and managers must be empowered by being given a clear picture of their
future organisation and the tools to create it. Continuous improvement must apply to all aspects of
Departmental operations, program related and corporate, and must be considered in the broadest context of
change, including organisational structures, reviews, technological opportunities and the introduction of
Work-Based Teams (WBTs).
68
DSS Strategic Plan
The pursuit towards best practice at an agency level has been reflected in the DSS Strategic Plan 1995-2005.
The Plan is 'the Department's road map for the next 10 years. It includes a revised Departmental Charter
which underpins all the Department's undertakings, values, goals and a set of outcomes against which
success can be measured'. It is also 'the cornerstone for all supporting planning activities undertaken within
the Department. It identifies some immediate priorities and provides the overall direction for the
development of program and business plans'. Importantly, a key priority identified in the plan is the
'application of best practice and process improvement' with innovation being highlighted as part of one of the
values that underpin the Charter.
The Department has a range of measures in place to support continuous improvement, as well as
benchmarking and various national, Area and local best practice arrangements.
A number of major reviews that currently support the concept of continuous improvement include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
High Level Strategic Reviews of Program Management, Corporate Values and Future Service Delivery
Structures;
Strategic Directions for Management Information in DSS;
Resource Management in DSS - strategic overview;
Work Practices - A Concept Paper;
Joint Review of Job Redesign;
formulation of National Program Plans and associated Business Plans in the network;
recent initiatives in the industrial arena;
development of holistic performance standards;
Quality Assurance (QA);
Work-Based Teams;
Audit; and
Training.
In developing any framework for Department-wide application, it is important that staff be involved in its
formulation. The consultative mechanisms which have been put in place have brought views and opinions
from a broad section of staff in the Department. To date, more than 150 Regional, Deputy Area and Area
Managers have been contacted to raise the level of awareness of issues dealing with best practice and
continuous improvement, as well as seeking their views on the most effective application of these concepts to
the Departmental environment.
69
Feedback on a number of preliminary discussion papers concerned with guidelines for WBTs (24 February
1995) and an alternative strategy for Best Practice (28 April 1995) has been obtained from a wide crosssection of the organisation as a lead into face-to-face discussions.
In May 1995, a cross-section of managers from Regions, Areas and Divisions participated in a workshop to
identify the needs and share the experiences of the Network staff in supporting and promoting a culture of
continuous improvement. The workshop also discussed the range of possible practical measures for
spreading and adopting best practice throughout the Department. Small-group sessions have also been held
with staff at the AS01 to AS06 level in one Area to canvass similar issues and views from a crosssection of
operational staff.
This preliminary work led to the formulation of a discussion paper on Continuous Improvement that was
considered by the Program Coordination Committee (PCC) in August 1995. Following on from this, a
workshop with a number of Area Deputy Managers (ADMs) was organised to gauge their reaction to the
proposal that would see ADMs assume a significant role in the ongoing facilitation of continuous
improvement initiatives.
The issues identified from these consultations have covered wide-ranging areas of the Department's
operations in the pursuit of a continuous improvement program. They touch on matters related to structural
and organisational issues, culture, as well as managerial and staff support and development.
Importantly, the joint Review of Job Redesign has played a significant role in getting 'continuous
improvement' on the agenda. During March-May 1995, the Joint Working Party (JWP) undertook an
extensive consultation process across the network to identify the 'issues' most relevant to staff and which
might then be addressed in the job redesign process. The JWP visited 87 Regional Offices (ROs),
Department of Social Security Offices (DSSOs), Mobile Review Teams (MRTs) and Area Executive teams.
During these visits they held discussions with approximately 1270 staff. The outcomes of this consultation
process are detailed in the JWP's 'Issues Paper' which was released in June 1995.
The Operational Framework for Continuous Improvement in the Department operates on three different
levels - national, Area and Regional. The link between continuous improvement and corporate planning is
provided by program and business plans. These guide the identification of processes targeted for best practice
review to link continuous improvement to national priorities. At Area and Regional level, results against the
program performance indicators are used to identify best practice exercises to be included in business plans.
70
Overall responsibility for continuous improvement lies with the Corporate Management Committee (CMC)
and the PCC. The PCC monitors the national program of continuous improvement work through the program
plans and distils the information on activities obtained from the Area and Regional network for presentation
to the CMC. The PCC selects those activities which have national application and formulates a national
program of work for the Department to undertake. The CMC endorses best practice and monitors the
coordination of continuous improvement measures, ensuring that these remain effective at national, Area and
Regional level. It also makes decisions about the Department's proposed program of work put to it by the
PCC.
National activities
1. The Department has engaged the services of an external consultant to assist in the examination and
implementation of the job Redesign exercise and associated matters. The consultant will also advise on
strategies which may be pursued to engender a culture of continuous improvement. The consultant, URCOT
(Union Centre on Organisation and Technology Ltd), will provide a full report on Engendering a Culture of
Continuous Improvement which will be considered by the Joint Steering Committee on Job Redesign.
2. A Continuous Improvement Network of Senior Managers, representing all parts of the organisation, has
been created. The purpose of the network is to foster a culture of continuous improvement in the Department
by sharing information of Area and local activities and, developing practical ways of promoting and adopting
new initiatives at regular meetings convened by Customer Service Division (CSD).
3. An 'expo' showcasing continuous improvement activities has been completed.
4. The Department is presently undertaking a series of activities nationally, including:
•
•
•
best practice reviews such as Job Redesign and work on Integrated Activity Management;
program plan activities detailed in the 1995-1996 Program Plans; and
possible re-engineering exercises of Disability Support Pension, Sickness, Newstart and job Search
Allowances.
Initiatives of this magnitude, having a Department-wide application, will continue to be driven and
coordinated from National Administration, although Areas will continue to be asked to take part in the
initiative's implementation and development. However, should an Area be interested in developing proposals
of general application, that Area will of course do so and advise National Administration accordingly. The
'sponsor' of the initiative could remain, for example, the Family Programs Division if the
71
issue dealt with family end of year processing best practice or the Customer Service Division if the initiative
concerned itself with activity management. The results of that Area's work may then be implemented
nationally on CMC endorsement, after an appropriate validation process has been applied. The issue of
organisational ownership or 'sponsorship' of initiatives will continue to need careful consideration,
particularly in those cases where the initiative spans a number of payment programs.
Community Public Sector Union (CPSU) involvement in the formulation and application of these initiatives
will continue to be achieved through the existing forums of the National Consultative Committee (NCC) and
the National Resources Allocation Consultative Committee (NRACC).
5.
CSD coordinates continuous improvement measures to ensure a balanced, consistent approach across
programs, effective coordination across the network and effective delivery and information systems.
Activities undertaken by CSD include:
•
•
•
•
•
consultation with National Program and Network Managers to ensure that continuous improvement
activities support, and are integrated with, the program and business plans and are more consistently
applied across the Areas;
development of a strategy to ensure significant initiatives/proposals for change emerging from continuous
improvement activities are fed back into national programs;
in conjunction with National Program Managers, revision and expansion of the DSS QA package to
better cover the range of work processes and payments, and enhance the sample depth of the information.
This will be effected through the Job Redesign Review;
review of the roles of ADMS, Performance Monitors and Change Managers to ensure a clear focus for
continuous improvement measures at Area level; and
in consultation with the National Program and Network Managers, review of the service standards to
assess whether the performance indicators remain appropriate or need to be supplemented.
6. National Program Managers are responsible for ensuring continuous improvement measures achieve
balanced outcomes against program objectives and program process standards. They:
•
•
include in the program plans, intentions to undertake national level reviews of process and process
standards via best practice, benchmarking, re-engineering and program evaluation;
review performance indicators to ensure that outcomes against the program objectives and program
process standards are balanced and measurable;
72
•
•
aim to ensure QA, audit, benchmarking, best practice and process reengineering are fully complementary
in achieving program objectives; and
contribute to redeveloping QA to allow these tools to be used by all levels of the organisation to support
and assess performance against the program objectives.
7. The Department is experimenting with adopting an alternative strategy for validating best practice to
complement the traditional approach. The detailed operations will be the subject of further consultation and
will be settled as part of the implementation plan. It is envisaged that best practice exercises will identify in
detail those procedures which must be adopted universally (and which are essential to meeting standards of
proper administration), and those which are recommended but which could be varied locally if there were
good and specific reason to do so.
Several strategies are being considered to provide a clear process for promulgating best practice. Some of
these include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
8.
•
•
•
an electronic register of local, Area and national best practice exercises;
mandating adoption of best practice exercises identified as having national significance, with scope for
local interpretation, only where that produces the same or better outcomes;
ensuring that technical training modules reflect best practice;
ensuring performance and performance monitoring is tied in with best practice;
providing corporate recognition of good ideas, for example, letters or certificates signed by the Secretary,
or broadcasting success stories on corporate TV (including interviews with the staff who originally
suggested the idea), awards for good performing offices, both on an Area basis and on a national basis;
and
establishing criteria for comparison as well as detailed processes so that offices could establish whether
their practices were best practice.
In the short term, in the area of training:
giving immediate attention to providing WBTs with training in process analysis and other support
requirements;
ensuring that key personnel in the organisation, who are given specific roles in promoting continuous
improvement, must be competent in motivating and managing change, risk assessment and in assessing
best practice to ensure balanced outcomes; and
ensuring that managers at all levels of the organisation are comfortable with, and ready to encourage and
manage staff, who are empowered to change work processes and Work environments.
73
In the medium to longer term:
•
•
•
revising staff competencies to include process analysis;
revising technical training modules to balance process with rationale and problem solving skills; and
continuously updating technical training modules to reflect best practice.
9. In consultation with Areas and Regions, National Program Managers are re-specifying management
information requirements in conjunction with the re-development of QA, and the service standards.
Area activities
1. Area Corporate Management Group meetings review and endorse proposals for best practice exercises,
assess results, determine whether Areawide implementation should be pursued and elevate proposals to
National Administration.
2. An ADM is the key facilitator of continuous improvement, supported by other key staff within the Area.
ADMs:
•
•
•
•
•
•
3.
•
•
•
•
•
ensure best practice exercises are included in Area Business Plans on the basis of results against QA,
client service standard reports, etc., or in support of the key areas of focus of the program and business
plans;
ensure strategies are in place to coordinate best practice exercises across the Area, including Area-wide
application of local initiatives and implementation of national initiatives,report local best practice with possible national implications to CSD;
coordinate and support the work of WBTs in process review;
take personal responsibility for being agents of change; and
meet periodically with other Area ADMs and Divisional staff to share information about Area and local
activities.
The ADM in each Area provides a link between regional-based WBTs and National Administration by:
assessing whether local WBT activities have Area and/or national implication;
coordinating Area-wide application of local initiatives;
coordinating national initiative implementation throughout the Area;
informing National Administration of any Area activity which has either present or potential national
implication; and
national information sharing of Area and local activities at half-yearly meetings with other Area ADMs
and Divisional staff.
74
4. Change Managers are a valuable resource for ADMs in applying and validating initiatives throughout the
Area. Other resources such as the Systems Support Group are involved in the development of design teams
and of a clerical environment. CPSU consultation continues to be maintained through the existing forums of
the Area Consultative Committee and the Area Resources Committee.
Regional activities
1. At Regional level, business plans include best practice/benchmarking exercises where results against client
service standards, QA, audit reports, etc., suggest room for improvement, or in support of key areas of focus
in the program and business plan:
•
•
offices not meeting service standards would put in place strategies to improve performance (including
conducting best practice exercises), following consultation with the Performance Monitor and Change
Manager; and
WBTs would identify possible areas of process improvement in accordance with the business plans,
prepare business cases and conduct best practice/benchmarking exercises.
2. Staff are encouraged to contribute ideas and suggestions designed to improve work processes, reduce
workloads and improve customer service in their workplace through the medium of the Innovative Ideas
Scheme.
3. WBTs are operating throughout the network in various forms. The teams' work in development and
implementation of local initiatives is presently being coordinated by the Regional Management team that
includes CPSU workplace delegates. This process will continue under the framework proposal. Local
management judgment will continue to be made about whether the WBTs' activities have wide-spread
application and are therefore communicated outside the office. The WBTS, however, may choose topics of
work which have Area or national implication or have a direct relationship with those initiatives already
identified at the national level. The ADMs provide the teams with a contact or link to the Area or National
Administration.
75
THE USE OF MARKET RESEARCH IN DEVELOPING THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
SECURITY'S CUSTOMER INFORMATION PRODUCTS
Susan Edgerley
Information Research and Project Support Section, lnformation and Public Relations Branch, Customer
Service Division, Department of Social Security
Introduction
Market research is best described as a process of collecting information about the behaviour and/or attitudes
of consumers of a product or service by some form of questioning. There are two branches of market
research: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research uses carefully selected statistically representative
samples with the aim of making an estimate of the attitudes or behaviour of the relevant population.
Qualitative research usually focuses on small, carefully selected numbers of individuals and offers valuable
insights into the behaviour and motivations of consumers without claiming any statistical validity.
As market research can be invaluable in decision making, it is important that it is properly understood and the
correct information collected. This is particularly important in the Department of Social Security (DSS)
which strives to ensure customers, staff, agencies and the general public receive accurate and useful
information. As such, market research is an integral part of the Department's processes.
Structure
Research linked to the provision of information to customers and some policy development is generally
conducted or arranged by the Information and Public Relations Branch (I&PR) of DSS. The section provides
market research for products and campaigns, and information required to develop effective communication
strategies. It works in conjunction with program areas to develop effective practices, products and
campaigns.
The market research role of the branch is:
•
•
•
to commission and manage market research;
to assist with commissioning research on behalf of program areas of DSS; and
to conduct market research.
76
Research projects are generally conducted by accredited research consultants, although some research is
conducted by trained DSS research officers. The Branch's market research activities range from studies on
information needs of specific target groups and pre-testing of information products, to evaluation of
information strategies and internal communications.
Ideally, I&PR is the point of contact for all formal market research required by DSS for customer
communication purposes. Involving I&PR early in the development of a product or strategy can, and has
resulted in, significant savings. However, as many products were developed before market research became a
significant element of DSS product development, I&PR often conducts evaluations which can result in major
changes of an established product or strategy.
Process
Outlined below are the various stages of market research followed when developing DSS information
products:
Planning
During the planning stage, market research can be used to provide information about the present state of
knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of DSS customer groups. Market research can also be used to examine
project resourcing and targeting issues. In this way, the Department has an information base from which to
develop an information product.
Design
In the design stage, research can be used to plan the details of the product development such as objectives
(i.e. is the Department trying to change attitudes or contact potential customers) and communication options.
It can also be used to pre-test ideas among small groups of people who are representative of target DSS
groups. Results may lead to a reappraisal of campaigns.
Implementation
Once a campaign has commenced market research can be used to track the effects of the campaign. This
allows progress to be monitored against the campaign objectives. From the results it is possible to amend the
campaign and future strategies as needed.
Evaluation
It is often useful to conduct follow-up research some time after a campaign to assess the longer term effects
on attitudes and behaviour.
Reports of research methodologies and findings are regularly produced by I&PR as they may assist other
people involved in information programs.
77
Given below are two very different but significant research projects undertaken by I&PR. The first involved
developing an information product which would keep families informed about entitlements. It provides an
excellent example of the use of market research in every stage of developing an information product. The
second project involved a collaborative effort with the Department of Human Services and Health to
determine the information needs of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders with the aim of improving
the effectiveness of current government communication and information strategies.
Case study 1 - 'You and Your Family' magazine
Planning
As a result of changes in the 1995/96 Budget, DSS needed to inform families with children about the
payments and services available to them. In the planning stage market research was conducted to assess the
present state of knowledge and attitudes of families.
Specific objectives included:
•
•
•
•
to determine community understanding of the current forms of family assistance;
to determine the perceived advantages and disadvantages in the current delivery of payments;
to determine the level of variability in childcare usage and its relationship to workforce participation; and
to develop a range of improved service delivery elements.
The study contained a quantitative and qualitative phase. The quantitative phase was comprised of telephone
interviews while the qualitative phase involved group discussions (focus groups) to gain a better
understanding of some of the points raised in the first phase. The results indicated that many families were
confused by the range of assistance schemes potentially available to them and about the pace and direction of
change.
Design
To address this, DSS decided to prepare a comprehensive guide of all DSS payments and services for
families. In developing this product, a research company was commissioned to undertake pre-testing of early
mock-ups of the magazine with the following objectives:
•
•
•
•
identify customer responses and reactions;
test their understanding and comprehension of the key messages;
gain feedback about the content, readability and appearance of the magazine; and
make recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the magazine.
78
This was done using focus groups to collect qualitative and quantitative customer responses. The study
showed that the majority of participants' attitudes to the magazine were positive. However, based on the
findings, a number of changes were made to the magazine's layout and content before printing.
At the same time, a communication strategy was being developed in an attempt to meet the information
needs of families. In developing this strategy, attention was paid to the findings of numerous market research
and evaluation reports commissioned by I&PR over three years.
These included:
•
•
•
•
Customer and information agency attitudes to, and perceptions of, the Department's admission procedures
for job Search Allowance, Newstart and Family Payment, 1993;
Evaluation of the Department's Information Kit for Sole Parent Pensioners, 1994;
Review of Public Relations products, 1994; and
Community organisations information needs study, 1995.
A number of communication methods were decided upon. In particular, the first phase of the strategy
involved direct mailing the booklet to 1.8 million families. There were three messages that DSS wished to
communicate:
•
•
•
DSS provides many payments and services that meet the needs of families with children;
DSS payments and services are increasingly tailored to meet the needs of parents who choose to stay at
home or go to work; and
DSS can give families more information about these and other family payments and services and help
families find out what they are entitled to.
The research undertaken during the design stage showed that participants thought the booklet was an
effective way of communicating information about DSS payments and services. It was also considered more
user-friendly and accessible than existing DSS leaflets. The key messages were effectively conveyed.
Recommendations were made to improve the effectiveness of the booklet, such as re-ordering the sections of
the booklet and changing the design of the cover.
Implementation
After the magazine had been distributed another research company was commissioned to conduct an
evaluation of the effectiveness of the magazine and of direct mail as a method of distribution. This was done
using 1040 personal interviews with Family Payment customers and 100
79
community agencies. In addition, I&PR conducted research with DSS staff to determine their reactions to the
magazine.
Reactions to the magazine were again positive. Direct mail was demonstrated as a useful medium for
communication. Participants suggested regular magazine updates be mailed to them. Several more changes to
the magazine were suggested by customers and staff, in particular, 'branding' the magazine more clearly as a
DSS publication to differentiate it from other magazines.
Evaluation
Following on the success of the 'You and Your Family' magazine, three more magazines were set for
production and distribution using a similar format and delivery strategy.
Case study 2 - Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders information needs study
This study grew out of the concern by DSS and the Department of Human Services and Health (DHSH)
about finding ways to make the government information strategies more appropriate and effective in
conveying information to indigenous people.
DSS and DHSH currently pursue one of two approaches in communicating with Aboriginal people and
Torres Strait Islanders. They disseminate a message through:
•
•
products or media perceived as acceptable to both indigenous and nonindigenous peoples; or
products or media specific to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
Since the latter approach can be costly, the Departments needed to measure the success of the use of targeted
products and media on Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
The major objectives of the 1994-1995 study, that was conducted by a major research company, were to:
•
•
•
measure and compare the impact of different media on recall, recognition and acceptance of health and
welfare information among indigenous peoples;
measure and compare the impact of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders' imagery, colours,
music or formats on recall, recognition and acceptance of health and welfare information among
indigenous peoples; and
research the best use of intermediaries to target specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
80
Firstly, the study was comprised of 900 face-to-face interviews with Aboriginal people and Torres Strait
Islanders in more than 70 communities. Secondly, an additional 150 in-depth personal interviews and focus
groups were held with 'intermediaries' in key organisations and agencies who deliver health and welfare
services to indigenous people. A team of 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interviewers was employed
to undertake the face-to-face interviews in communities.
This was a complex study as there were many important, and often volatile, issues. How indigenous people
are portrayed and therefore perceived, who represents what to whom, on whose behalf and for what purposes,
were significant issues which emerged.
Some of the findings included:
•
•
the Departments needed to find ways to increase the extent to which current information strategies reflect
regional and local community needs, values, priorities and aspirations; and
the Departments need to rethink how they relate to indigenous people and their communities, not just in
terms of information strategies, but in overall provision of programs and services.
The outcomes of the research will assist decision-making about differences in product and media usage to be
taken into account when preparing information strategies for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
Anyone wishing to purchase this report should write to the following address:
Information Research and Project Support Section (AE2)
Information and Public Relations Branch
Customer Service Division
Department of Social Security
Box 7788
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610
AUSTRALIA
Policy implementation
New government policies may need market research to test their effects on customers or potential customers.
For example, research is currently being arranged to determine practices for the provision of information to
people of, or approaching, retirement age. The aim is to ascertain how the Government, through DSS, can
encourage and assist people to prepare for their retirement and to receive a better service from DSS.
More explicit concerns relate to specific policy directions such as extended deeming. Market testing of a
letter sent to pensioners on the extended
81
deeming changes to the way their financial assets will be assessed, has already been conducted. A more
recent extended deeming letter is currently being market-tested. In addition, another study is under way
which will examine pensioners' understanding of the new financial assessment rules. In this way the market
research managed by I&PR is invaluable to the implementation of policies.
Conclusion - future directions
It is always wise to have some form of market testing and evaluation inbuilt into information campaigns.
Firstly, this allows funds to be managed prudently and secondly, it provides valuable lessons to be learned for
future products and strategies. I&PR will continue to provide wide ranging research and evaluation activities.
The focus of the research will remain on the information needs of customers and potential customers while
regular evaluations will provide an accurate reading of the effectiveness of public relations products and
strategies. The role of market research in DSS is likely to become increasingly significant in all areas of
product and strategy development as the impact it can, and has had, becomes more widely known.
82
PARENTING ALLOWANCE
Kate Chan and Susan Baker
Parenting Allowance Policy Analysis and Development Section, Parenting and Child Care Branch, Family
Programs Division, Department of Social Security
The authors acknowledge the assistance of officers of the Family Programs and Services Division in the
Department of Social Security in the preparation of this paper, particularly, Mr David Tune, Mr David
Rowlands, Ms Karen Wilson, Ms Karen Gauntlett and Mr Philip Brown.
Introduction
This article provides an overview of the purpose and structure of Parenting Allowance and presents some
data on the characteristics of Parenting Allowance recipients.
Parenting Allowance (PgA) is a payment available through the Department of Social Security for the partner
in a couple who predominantly stays at home to look after children. It is payable to the member of a couple
who undertakes the main care of dependent children aged under 16 years and who has little or no personal
income. This includes people partnered with income support recipients, such as those in receipt of job Search
Allowance (JSA), Newstart Allowance (NSA), a Disability Support Pension, or Age Pension. It is not
activity-tested, that is, eligibility for PgA is not based on a test of activity such as actively looking for work,
as is JSA /NSA. PgA consists of two components:
•
•
Based on March 1996 rates, Basic PgA has a maximum rate of $64.10 per fortnight, is subject to an
income test on the recipient's income only and is not asset-tested. It is available to people with low
personal income, including where their partner has high personal income. Basic PgA is non-taxable.
Additional PgA tops-up Basic PgA to the rate of an income support payment for couples, that is, a top-up
of $221.70 per fortnight resulting in a total of $285.80 per fortnight. This component is asset-tested and
taxable. It has an income test which takes into account both the partner's and recipient's income. This
effectively targets the higher, additional rate of PgA to low income families.
Objectives
PgA is paid in recognition of the caring role undertaken by the principal carer in a couple with dependent
children and provides an independent source of
83
income for that partner. The payment aims to support the choices of parents with major child care
responsibilities (usually women) between labour force participation and remaining at home to care for the
children. At the same time, the structure of the income test for Additional PgA seeks to enhance work
incentives for each member of a couple where one is unemployed.
Origins
PgA was introduced on 1 July 1995. It incorporated Home Child Care Allowance (HCCA), replaced Partner
Allowance for JSA/NSA spouses with dependent children,1 replaced new claims of Wife Pension for spouses
of pensioners with children, and provided an income support payment for partners of low-income earners
with children.
Basic PgA originated from a cashing-out of the with-child Dependent Spouse Rebate (DSR) into HCCA. The
DSR, provided through the income taxation system, reduces a taxpayer's assessable income in recognition of
the taxpayer's role in supporting a dependent spouse. Providing an alternative cash payment to the DSR was
aimed at:
•
•
•
helping families who previously did not benefit fully from the rebate due to a low or nil tax liability;2
providing assistance that was more responsive to a family's change in circumstances;3 and
directing payment to the main child carer in a family rather than the main taxpayer.
HCCA was introduced on 29 September 1994 and provided assistance to parents with low personal incomes
who were predominantly out of the labour force. The DSR was maintained to provide families with a choice
between the two forms of assistance, but is gradually being phased-out.
PgA builds on HCCA by providing extra assistance to one-income families where one partner is in paid work
and the other partner earns no (or a low) income. For the first time, full income support has become available
to the partner at home in such families in recognition of their child-rearing responsibilities. While assistance
for the costs of raising children has been available to low income, working families since 1984, PgA provides
assistance to the carer of children in these families. At the same time, the lower level of assistance,
previously available as HCCA, to partners caring for children at home where total family income is higher
remains available, being subsumed into PgA as Basic PgA.
In addition, Additional PgA aims to improve work incentives for unemployed couples by providing
individual entitlements to each partner where one partner in a couple is unemployed and through the structure
of the income test.
84
Valuing unpaid child care work
Women who remain substantially out of the work force to take care of their children perform a socially
valued role and are often forgoing employment opportunities. By forgoing paid employment, the opportunity
costs of caring for children include loss of income, work experience and superannuation they might have
gained by being available to enter or remain in paid work. Prior to the introduction of HCCA, the provision
of the DSR provided through the tax system to the main taxpayer was the only financial recognition of this
role. HCCA provided assistance in a more direct and visible way, as does PgA.
Provision of financial assistance for these parents, which results in a reduced need for carers to gain income
through work, aims to give families greater choice about their labour force participation, especially where
total family income is low and while their children are young. However, PgA is not meant to provide full
compensation for the forgone benefits of being in the workforce. Rather, it seeks to provide explicit
recognition of the valuable role of these parents as carers of children.
Maximising choice between caring and work for low income earners
Research by Wolcott and Gelzer has shown that women in low income families do not have the same choices
with regard to labour force nonparticipation as higher income families, due to financial considerations.4 PgA
goes some way to addressing the needs of these families by giving parents the flexibility to remain
substantially out of the paid workforce to care for their young children, while also providing sufficient
leeway for them to take up part-time or casual work without dollar-for-dollar reductions in their social
security entitlements.
Recent research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies,5 shows that a substantial majority of women
with children (75 per cent) would prefer to be in the labour force, overwhelmingly in part-time employment.
The only exception to this strong pattern is women with children aged under five, where there is a greater
preference for less workforce participation overall. For these women the choice between labour force
participation and full-time caring is more significant than for those with older children.
Labour force incentives
Before the introduction of HCCA, the structure of social security income support payments for couples was
based on the assumption that one partner was a financial dependant of the other. The most apparent
manifestations of this assumption were the structure of the income test applying to the
85
payments, and the way in which payment was made to couples. In particular, unemployment benefit
(JSA/NSA) was paid to the unemployed member of the couple (at a combined married rate) on the
assumption that one spouse was dependent on the other.
Allowances were income-tested on the combined income of the couple. The JSA/NSA recipient received an
amount of allowance for his/her partner and him/herself. The 'dependent' spouse did not directly receive an
income support payment from DSS. A partner's earnings directly impacted on the rate of allowance received
by themselves as well as their partner. Hence, both partners had the same incentives for job search, without
regard to the individual skills and opportunities of finding a job for each partner. In addition, the structure of
the income test provided limited incentives for either partner in an unemployed couple to seek paid
employment. As Saunders notes,
'...if one partner in a dual-earner couple lost their job, the other partner could also leave their job
(particularly if it was part-time or low-paid) without causing much of a further decline in their
combined income.'6
This income test structure reflected the typical Australian family structure of the 1940s and 1950s, when
these payments were first introduced. This consisted of a working husband and a wife not in the paid
workforce, who performed house work and cared for dependent children at home. However, from the 1970s,
this family structure became less typical due to increasing workforce participation by partnered women.
The movement towards individual entitlement aimed to encourage more effective job search by both
members of a couple due to the increase in employment opportunities to partnered women relative to men.
,...many of the job opportunities are more likely to be gained by women than men given the increase in
part-time work and the greater increase in jobs in traditionally female areas of the labour force.'7
In addition, female partners of unemployed males are more likely to be unemployed than in households
where their male partner was employed (see Table 1). Moving towards individual entitlement to payments
(of which PgA is one component) is intended to improve incentives to find work, including part-time and
casual positions, for each member of the couple.
86
Table 1: Labour force status of couple families with dependants
Male status
Female
status
Employed
full-time
Employed
part-time
Unemployed
Not in the
labour force
per cent
per cent
per cent
per cent
Employed full-time
28.3
25.9
9.0
18.5
Employed part-time
37.3
32.3
13.2
12.7
Unemployed
2.4
8.3
19.2
5.3
Not in the labour force
32.0
33.6
58.6
63.5
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Source:ABS (1995), Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families, Australia, June,
6224.0.40.001, Table 11, p. 8.
This is supported further by the structure of the income test for PgA (and other allowances such as
JSA/NSA/Partner Allowance). That income test equalises both partners' incentives to accept employment.
This seeks to address the problem of higher unemployment rates for spouses of unemployed persons
compared to those partnered with employed persons, and to increase incentives for both JSA/NSA and PgA
recipients to supplement income support with earnings from part-time and casual work. The previous
allowance income test structure meant that it was worthwhile to acquire only full-time work and this
structure discouraged the recipient's partner from obtaining casual earnings.
Characteristics of Parenting Allowees
As a result of these various objectives of PgA, people in receipt of the payment can be classified into various
sub-groups. These are (numbers in parentheses are client numbers as at December 1995):
•
•
•
•
Low income - Low income PgA recipients receiving either Additional PgA or only 'benefit' Basic PgA.8
Their partners do not receive DSS income support but have a low income. [67 235]
Basic - PgA recipients receiving the non-benefit (and Basic) rate of PgA. This is broadly equivalent to
the former HCCA population. [440 341]
JSA/NSA partner - PgA recipients partnered with a JSA/NSA recipient. (They are former Partner
Allowance recipients with dependent children.) [137 459]
Pensioner partner - PgA recipients partnered with a pensioner. (If they are females, they would have
been wife pensioners had it not started to be phased-out from July 1995.) [2372]
87
This section examines the characteristics of these types of PgA recipients using administrative data as at 8
December 1995. Hence, $62.80 and $280.20 are the maximum rates for Basic and Additional PgA
respectively, as at September 1995. For ease of comprehension, PgA recipients have been compressed into
three categories:
•
•
•
'Basic' contains those recipients entitled only to the Basic rate of PgA.
'Low income' group contains recipients of Additional PgA with partners who do not receive a DSS
income support payment.
'Pensioner/Allowee partner' group contains both 'Pensioner partner' and 'JSA/NSA partner' groups.
There were a total of 647 407 PgA recipients at the end of this quarter: 440 341 (68 per cent) in the Basic
group, 67 235 (10 per cent) Low income recipients, and 148 716 (or 22 per cent) in the Pensioner/Allowee
partner group.
Table 2: PgA type by gender
PgA type
Female
Male
per cent
per cent
Basic
96.9
3.1
Low income
92.8
7.2
Pensioner/Allowee partner
91.8
8.2
Source: Department of Social Security.
Table 2 shows that, when PgA type is broken down by gender, PgA is predominantly received by females.
Interestingly, there is a higher proportion of males receiving PgA in low income and pensioner/allowee
families than among middle to high income families getting only Basic PgA. This may be because a higher
proportion of females in those lower income families have chosen to enter the workforce because their skills
are more marketable than those of their partner.
When distributed into age groups (Figure 1), the largest proportion of PgA recipients are aged 30-34,
regardless of PgA category:
•
•
•
•
30 per cent for the Basic group;
26 per cent for the Low income group;
24 per cent for the Pensioner/Allowee partner group; and
28 per cent of the total number of PgA recipients.
However, there is also a relatively large proportion of recipients in the 35-39 age group, which again
comprises mainly the Basic group of recipients.
88
Table 3: PgA type by age of youngest child
Age of
youngest child
Basic
Low income
Pensioner/
Allowee partner
0-2
200450
31764
59349
291563
3-4
71031
10364
21747
103142
5-12
137692
20701
47285
205678
13+
31168
4406
11450
47024
440341
67235
139831
647407
Total
Source:
Total
Department of Social Security.
In all PgA categories, the number of PgA recipients decreases consistently as the age of the youngest child
increases (Table 3 and Figure 2). This is consistent with research data that shows women with children aged
under five have a lower propensity for labour force participation than those where the youngest child is aged
more than five.
89
Table 4: Maximum and average rates of PgA (per fortnight)
receiving
PgA type
Max rate
Average rate
maximum rate
receiving
part rate
$
$
per cent
per cent
Basic
62.80
61.00
91.8
8.2
Pensioner
62-80
40.00
20.8
79.2
Low income
280.20
173.00
29.7
70.3
Pensioner/
Allowee partner
280.20
268.00
90.6
9.4
All
280.20
116.00*
22.7
77.3
* The total average is a combined average of Basic and Additional PgA rates. Source: Department of Social
Security.
Most Basic, JSA/NSA partner and Pensioner partner Parenting Allowees are receiving the maximum rate
(Table 4). The majority of Low income recipients receive a part rate although there is likely to be a sizeable
proportion receiving the maximum basic rate of PgA. This is reflected in the income of PgA recipients
(Tables 5 and 6).
90
Tables 5, 6 and 7 show that most PgA customers have relatively little or no income of their own, regardless
of PgA category. There are, however, some interesting variations between own total income, own earned
income, and own unearned income. In particular:
•
•
•
while only around 7.4 per cent of PgA customers have earnings, over 33 per cent have income of some
kind;
of those PgA customers with earned income, most (around 52 per cent) have earnings of between $60 and
$179 per fortnight; and
by contrast, unearned income is in the range between $1 and $59 per fortnight for most (86 per cent) of
those PgA customers who have unearned income.
- In total, around 24 per cent of all PgA customers have unearned income of between $1 and $59 per
fortnight. In most cases, this is in the form of interest from bank accounts and other investments.
Table 5: PgA type by own total income (per fortnight)
Basic
Low income
Pensioner/
Allowee partner
Total
279647
43183
108679
431508
127576
11081
15411
154068
33118
4446
6877
44441
$180-$359
0
5798
4772
10570
$360+
0
2728
4092
6820
Total
440341
67235
139831
647407
Income group
$0-<$1
$1-$59
$60-$179
a
a
For Basic PgA recipients, this income group only extends to the cut-out point for Basic PgA.
Source: Department of Social Security.
Table 6: PgA type by own earned income
Basic
Low income
Pensioner/
Allowee partner
Total
$0-<$1
415086
59629
124850
599565
$1-$59
7558
951
1688
10197
17697
2249
5123
25069
$180-$359
0
3223
4297
7520
$360+
0
1183
3873
5056
Total
440341
67235
139831
647407
Income group
$60-$179
Source: Department of Social Security.
As noted above, most PgA customers have little or no earnings. This is more pronounced among Basic PgA
customers, of whom only 5.7 per cent have Parenting
91
earnings, compared to those in the Low income or Pensioner/Allowee PgA categories, of whom 11.3 per cent
and 10.7 per cent respectively have earnings.
Table 7: PgA type by own unearned income
Income group
Basic
Low income
Pensioner/
Allowee partner Total
$0-<$1
295549
48031
120903
464483
$1-$59
129371
12396
16268
158035
$60-$179
15421
2723
2026
19788
$180-$359
0
2607
480
3230
$360+
0
1478
154
1871
Total
440341
67235
139831
647407
Source: Department of Social Security.
The highest proportion of recipients with unearned income are Basic customers, followed by Low income.
Pensioner/Allowee partners have the lowest proportion with unearned income. This is in direct contrast to the
data relating to earned income shown in Table 6, and can be attributed to customers from middle and high
income families being more likely to have savings and other investments which would generate some
income.
Conclusion
This article provides an overview of the background, purpose and structure of PgA, as well as some
characteristics of PgA recipients.
An evaluation of PgA is currently being undertaken, and is scheduled for completion by January 1998. This
will examine whether the objectives of the payment are being met, and will provide a more detailed analysis
of the characteristics of PgA recipients.
Endnotes
1
This is due to no new grants of Wife Pension from 1 July 1995. Existing wife pensioners are saved cases.
2
Based on 1994/95 rates, where the annual amount of DSR was $1452 for families with dependent children,
a taxpayer would not benefit fully from the rebate until his/her taxable income was $12 660 (assuming that
the primary taxpayer was entitled to no other rebates, and his/her spouse's income was below the DSR
threshold).
3
The DSR is based on the separate net income of the dependent spouse and was either received once a year
or by the taxpayer contributing less tax each pay period. On the other hand, HCCA was based on the spouse's
own
92
'current' income. Hence, a female who had just resigned from a high-paying job to give birth would be
entitled to fortnightly payments of HCCA as soon as her rate of personal income was low enough.
4
5
Wolcott, I. and Gelzer, H. 1995, Work and Family Life: Achieving Integration.
Wolcott, I. and Gelzer, H. 1995.
6
Saunders, P. 1995, 'Improving Work Incentives in a Means-Tested Welfare System: The 1994 Australian
Social Security Reforms', Fiscal Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 49.
7
Committee on Employment Opportunities 1993, p. 187.
8
'Benefit' Basic PgA recipients may be entitled to a range of add-ons, such as Additional Family Payment,
rent assistance, a health care card, and pharmaceutical allowance, on top of their PgA entitlement.
93
BOOK REVIEWS
Old age - an international perspective
Don't send them away to die in another country...
Who gets what and why?
Has economic restructuring in Australia improved conditions for woman?
SOCIAL SECURITY JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
OLD AGE - AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
The World Bank, Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to protect the old and promote growth, Oxford
University Press, New York, 1994, xxiii + 402 pp., $42.95 RRP
Reviewer: Elizabeth Webb
This report by the World Bank contains descriptions and evaluations of the retirement incomes policies of a
wide range of nations, as well as a number of recommendations for reform. As the title suggests, the
evaluation of policy is based throughout on the twin criteria of provision for the income needs of the aged
and contribution to economic growth. While recognition is given to the fact that different nations currently
have differing abilities to meet these criteria, the report proposes a model retirement income system that all
countries should aim towards, whether they are low income nations without well-established financial
institutions, or middle- or high-income nations with complex existing systems, or Eastern European nations
in which inflation is reducing the value of previously generous benefits. Particular interest from an Australian
point of view lies in the fact that our present policy closely mirrors the model recommended by the report.
Before looking at the Australian case, however, it is worth examining the nature of the 'crisis' that the book
purports to explain.
The first question to be asked about such a study is whether it provides enough evidence that there is an 'old
age crisis' to be averted. Initially, the crisis is presented in demographic terms. Increasing life expectancy and
decreasing birth rates mean that ageing populations are a pressing issue for all nations, particularly
developing nations that 'will have old demographic profiles at much lower levels of per capita income'. But
the report might be better titled 'averting the retirement income crisis', because its central thesis is that it is
not ageing populations alone that will be responsible for the projected blowouts in government expenditure
on retirement incomes, there being only a partial correlation between such expenditure and the proportion of
aged in a nation's population. Rather, policy features such as excessively high pensions (often a high
proportion of pre-retirement income), contributory schemes that are not even close to being self-funding,
'liberal' early retirement and disability provisions, and negative returns on public funds lie behind the
projected rise in expenditure. All these features lead to what is termed an 'implicit social security debt',
comprising 'the present value of this future stream of expected benefits'. It is calculated that this debt may
reach 200 per cent of GDP in some countries, and, if acknowledged, would triple the total national debt.
97
The development of such problems, it is argued, results from two factors. One factor is historical: many
public pension systems were set up or expanded in the post-World War Two period, when economic growth
was high enough, and populations young enough, to sustain generous benefits. The report does not spell out
in detail the political (rather than the economic and demographic) circumstances under which governments
came to make such promises, although it mentions for the British case the sense of a need for compensation
for suffering during the war, and in the East European case the importance of worker solidarity with
governments. It is striking, however, how very different political systems came up with similar ways of
gaining popular support. It should be noted that these systems did substantially reduce old age poverty in the
1960s and 1970s.
The second factor the report identifies is inherent rather than historical, to be found in any system that tries to
combine a scheme for alleviating poverty (or at least redistributing income) with one that tries to increase
overall savings. While it may look more efficient from an administrative perspective to combine these
objectives in one policy, the effects are perverse. The redistributive component tends to be eroded as those in
higher income groups attempt to benefit from the public scheme (or benefit simply by virtue of living
longer), while the savings component can be frustrated by people who avoid making contributions, through
the use of the informal labour market or by understating income. Payments will, as a consequence, always far
exceed contributions, while economic growth will be affected by the distortions to the labour market.
Compounding these problems is the fact that large public pension funds are often required to invest in lowyielding public securities, reducing the value of benefits and encouraging governments to run deficits.
The report suggests that the solution to this inherent problem is, put simply, to separate the poverty
alleviation objective and the savings objective into two mandatory 'pillars' - one publicly managed, focused
narrowly on redistribution, with payments unrelated to previous earnings and funded out of general revenue,
and one privately managed (although publicly regulated) and fully funded, involving either personal savings
plans or occupational plans. Individuals will have little incentive to evade or manipulate the second pillar,
because their benefits are ultimately linked to their contributions. This second pillar will also produce a pool
of savings that will be a spur to economic growth, and will 'develop new financial institutions and deepen
capital markets'. A voluntary savings pillar should also be available for those who want to further supplement
their retirement income.
The potential paths to such a system will differ depending on a nation's existing system, and the report gives
specific recommendations targeted at various groups of countries. For example, many OECD, Eastern
European
98
and Latin American countries have large implicit social security debts that they should begin to reduce by
such measures as raising retirement ages and reducing benefit levels for future beneficiaries, and by more
adequate funding of present or imminent commitments. Developing countries without large existing systems
should establish reliable taxation and regulatory systems, while trying to strengthen informal systems of old
age care in families and communities.
It is made explicit in the report that Australia's system matches in general terms the recommended pattern.
Our means-tested public pillar, the age pension, has never been expanded to include contributions or a
preretirement wage replacement rate, despite a number of attempts at such reform over the years. It has
always been funded out of general revenue. It may be claiming too much to argue that Australia, almost
uniquely, foresaw the dangers of trying to combine redistribution and savings in the one system. However,
this study does provide ample international evidence to support the argument - often expressed in class terms
- that was made by opponents of such a path in Australia: that such reforms would have led to the capture of
the system by those with higher incomes, and would have diverted it from its primary purpose of alleviating
need.
Our second mandatory pillar has of course only recently come into existence, with the advent of the
Superannuation Guarantee Charge, mandatory employee contributions and the Government co-contribution.
The report expresses a cautious preference for private savings accounts rather than occupational
superannuation for the second mandatory pillar, because they provide greater coverage of the population and
because they allow individuals rather than their employers to choose their investment strategy. Reservations
are also expressed about the value of tax concessions for superannuation, because they have large costs in
foregone revenues and may favour those who would have saved anyway. These issues have been
acknowledged in the policy debate in Australia. Also of local interest is the suggestion that the term
'decentralised' be substituted for 'private' when describing the second pillar, thereby making transparent the
high level of government regulation required to ensure the superannuation system operates effectively as a
component of retirement incomes policy.
The most obvious criticism to be made of the report is the extent to which the economic growth objective
receives emphasis over the objective of poverty alleviation (although some may argue that - in a 'trickledown' sense - the latter does ultimately depend on the former). This is clearly the case in the blanket
recommendations for raising of retirement ages and discouraging early retirement. While it is true that early
retirement should not be a way of hiding unemployment, and that there are economic benefits to be gained
from greater participation by experienced workers in the labour force, the
99
making of such recommendations in the absence of other advice on dealing with high unemployment (and
the poverty it produces) raises questions about the priorities of the report writers. More profound ideological
criticisms might be made of the recommendation for nations to sell off public enterprises or cut government
expenditure to pay off their implicit social security debt, or the suggestion that they increase workers' share
of contributions to pension systems because '(n)othing creates a constituency for change as quickly as seeing
how expensive the current system really is'.
There are other difficulties. The international comparisons are often drawn from a range of pre-existing
national studies, each of which may have its own aims and methods; it is not clear that in all cases the same
thing is being measured. The claim that mandatory savings schemes actually increase overall levels of
savings is acknowledged as lacking empirical support, but is used as a guiding assumption throughout. There
is no discussion of the difficulties of assets-testing, with income alone used is a measure of need. Finally, the
suggestion that the 'informal' or family-based systems of care for the aged be preserved wherever possible
raises the difficulty that such systems rely on power inequalities along age and gender lines, although the
report does acknowledge that such systems fail to redistribute wealth from rich to poor families.
Overall, however, this is an easily comprehensible and thorough attempt to provide information and advice to
a wide range of countries with a wide range of needs. It helps to put Australia's retirement income system
into international perspective, and gives us some cause for pride, as well as some ideas for improvement.
Elizabeth Webb works in the Retirement Programs Branch of the Department of Social Security.
100
DON'T SEND THEM AWAY TO DIE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY...
Susan Woenne-Green, They might have to drag me like a bullock: The Tjilpi Pampa Tjutaku Project:
The rights, needs and care options of the senior men and women of the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara
and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) communities in the cross-border region of Central Australia,
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation, Alice
Springs, 1995; xi + 148 pp., $20.00 RRP
Reviewer: Julia Burke
This is a really important report. It is the first time that we make a strong story about how to make sure
that old people live and die on their country. Old people are really important to us. They are the ones
who hold the Law, they are the owners and the bosses of the sacred places and they are our teachers.
Aboriginal people all over Australia have the same ideas of looking after their old people. They can't
be sent away to die in another country. Our culture can only stay strong if our old people are with us
on our lands, passing on the Law. This is what keeps us strong. Old people are our future.
Mantatjara Wilson, Project Officer, NPY Women's Council
The Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation have published a
major research report into the needs of aged Aboriginal people (Anangu) on remote communities in the
cross-border region of Central Australia. They might have to drag me like a bullock was generated because
of concerns that senior men and women were too often being sent away to hospitals and nursing homes and
too often dying away from family and country.
Written for NPY Women's Council by anthropologist Susan Woenne-Green, with research assistance by
Sandra Lewis, Tjikalyi Colin, Jorna Newberry, Valerie Foster and Mantatjara Wilson, the report shows that
communities do not have services dedicated to the needs of the frail aged, something that is taken for granted
in urban areas. Lack of consistent support and services makes it extremely difficult for families and carers to
assist their aged members to remain on their home communities. It highlights the growing awareness of the
complexity and 'special' care requirements of the aged in remote Aboriginal communities and the need to
develop an integrated and coordinated range of services that can anticipate changing needs of the aged and
their carers.
101
The NPY Women's Council resolved to research exactly what were the circumstances of senior Anangu, 'at
risk', living in their member communities and homelands: what were their needs, what were the needs of
their carers, what services were available in their communities; how senior Anangu (and others) perceive the
needs of their carers and of carers of the aged in general; and how could appropriate support services be
defined, developed and maintained within their communities so as to support the rights of elderly Anangu to
be cared for and die where and how they choose (page 6).
The report is divided coherently into six chapters with detailed appendices. It is more than a dry academic
study on the needs of the aged; it educates the reader in the complexities of contemporary life on remote
communities as well as narrating enlightening stories about traditional times. An important function was to
heighten the profile of the rights of the aged as a matter of principle that could be addressed as an issue for
policy development in its own right as opposed to only being a 'problem' faced with difficulty by others. The
first chapter provides background information about the NPY Women's Council and explains the specific
nature of an Anangu research project that uses Aboriginal Terms of Reference (page 6).
Chapter 2 is a comprehensive discussion on how the project was managed and realistically looks at its scopes
and limitations. It emphasises that the project was Anangu-controlled and Anangu-driven. It discusses
definitions of 'aged' or 'at risk', which include 'those who were not able (or soon would not be able) to
function independently of some form of assistance, either medical or from other sources of support' (page
13). An interesting cross-cultural distinction is made that the category 'aged' as defined by chronological
boundaries is not particularly relevant to Anangu. A person may be aged, depending upon a number of
circumstances quite apart from date of birth.
Fieldwork involved speaking with approximately 400 Anangu from 15 communities in situations that ranged
from small discussions and 'focus group meetings' to larger community meetings and more formally
constructed interviews. Interviews involved approximately 65 senior men and women.
Interposed within the project was a study of an aged care facility at Docker River Community in the Northern
Territory that had operated for eight months in 1993 and then been forced to close, due to escalating
contention between the Community and various funding agencies. The primary objectives of the Docker
River consultancy were to retrospectively evaluate the operation of the Aged Care Service through an
assessment of the needs of the resident senior men and women, assist the Community to identify the
strengths and weaknesses of its (previous) operation, and develop a plan by
102
which the Community could become a more effective and appropriate service provider. Chapter 3 discusses
the outcomes of this study. The authors conclude that this consultancy provided tangible reference for
discussions in the wider context of the final report.
Chapter 4 looks at some of the 'jurisdictional complexities' which impede Anangu achieving selfdetermination. Difficulties and frustration arise in negotiations with government bureaucrats who refuse to be
flexible in dealing with communities that overlap over two States and the Northern Territory. This is a
common problem for Aboriginal organisations that operate in the cross-border area of Central Australia. This
chapter also provides a comprehensive discussion of key Aboriginal organisations, such as land councils and
health councils, which operate in the cross-border region. This is an invaluable summary for those who want
to understand how Aboriginal organisations work in the Centre. An overview of population statistics is
presented; more extensive population figures per community are contained in the appendices.
The crux of the research project is revealed in Chapter 5, 'Discussions and Findings'. The authors find that
'[n]one of the communities within the Project area had current services dedicated to the needs of the frail
aged (or younger disabled), although most of them had attempted or were currently operating some form of
'meals on wheels' service and informally structured day-to-day attendance on the aged' (page 51). Another
significant finding was that those communities that had well-supported and well-equipped Women's Centres
were able to provide a greater range of consistent services for the senior Anangu, although none of them were
equipped or staffed to provide either consistent support for a person who required any level of nursing care or
predictable support for family member carers who required respite care (page 51).
Discussions cover caring for the aged in the olden days; the need to die on one's traditional country; who will
advocate for the aged; appropriate housing; day-to-day needs such as firewood, meals and washing; the role
of community clinics; and who is responsible for the caring role. The overwhelming response comes through
that senior Anangu do not want to leave their homes on the lands to be cared for in a foreign environment
such as a town-based nursing home. In the words of one elderly lady from Wanarn, Western Australia:
I don't want to worry for [that nursing home]; I want to stay here in the country where my mother and
father found [conceived] me. I won't go to that home-to strangers' country. When I was a young woman
I've been all over the stations mustering sheep and bullock and working hard all the time just like a
man. I want to stay here with my daughter and grandchildren close by until I finish up.
103
You won't get me to that home; it's not the right way. They might have to drag me like a bullock.
(foreword)
One carer outlines the responsibility of family members, which as the report shows, is extremely difficult
without access to services:
We have to look after all the old people. Without them we'd be nothing, would know nothing and would
wander all over the country not knowing where to go or what to eat or anything about the Tjukurpa.1
They taught us to know who we are! They bore us and taught us where we came from. They looked
after us and taught us all the way while we were growing up and we, in turn, must now look after them
properly. These people are the Law for us, they are the country. We can't just forget all that and chuck
them away to some strange place. We can't just throw away the Law... So you see, we have a lot of
really important laws and rules in our way of life. So we keep those laws and rules and regulations
inside our heads. The laws that have come down through the old people. (page 58)
The authors surmise that '[w]hether (and how) the proposals are developed into policies and programs
depends very much upon the will of community members at large, the community councils and umbrella
bodies to advocate for the issue of caring for the aged as an issue in its own right' (page 80). In summary the
report finds that one of the more vital aspects is what appears to be a concerted effort to respond to the
demands that such programs be based on Anangu perceptions of their own needs and their own capacities to
address them. Until recently these issues have not been addressed at a State/Territory or Commonwealth
level resulting in there being little precedent on which Anangu communities can draw upon (page 63).
The final chapter outlines 17 recommendations that are based on the principles as asserted in Chapters 1 and
2 that the planning, development and delivery of all aged care-related services must be conducted in
consultation with Anangu and controlled by Anangu. Details will require further consultations with Anangu
but the recommendations represent the principles, proposals, definition of problems and solutions that have
directly emerged 'from the ground up'.
The 148-page report contains detailed appendices of statistical data and questionnaires and a bibliography.
Breathing life into the report are quotes from the senior men and women and their carers. The report is a
model for other remote Aboriginal communities looking at the needs of their aged members. Universities,
libraries and gerontologists will find it a useful reference tool. It is an inspiration to those who care about our
aged.
104
Julia Burke is a Research Officer with the NPY Women's Council, PO Box 2189, Alice Springs, NT, 0871.
Telephone (089) 505 452, fax (089) 523 742.
Endnotes
1
Tjukurpa is commonly glossed in English as 'the Dreaming' and 'The Law'. The Tjukurpa encompasses the
traditional Aboriginal religion and philosophical systems of belief, thought and rules for behaviour that are
celebrated, sustained and perpetuated by ties of kinship and ceremony. Those ties, in turn, take their meaning
from people's relationship to the land and, via the land, their relationships to one another.
105
WHO GETS WHAT AND WHY?
Michael Wearing and Rosemary Berreen (eds), Welfare and Social Policy in Australia: The distribution of
advantage, Harcourt Brace, Sydney, 1994; xxi + 262 pp., $32.95 RRP
Reviewer: Philip Brown
Introduction
The work of the social policy practitioner or administrator requires more than a detailed knowledge of
current social security and welfare provisions coupled with a 'feel' for what the current Government thinking
is in these areas. It is essential, for example, to understand how thinking about the respective roles of the
individual and the state - and in particular, the concept of citizenship - has changed over time, and where it
might be heading in the future. More importantly, to be in a position to devise and deliver workable
responses to current social problems, such as poverty, there is a need to understand the broader nature of a
society - that is, how it is shaped economically, politically and socially.
It is with this notion in mind that Michael Wearing and Rosemary Berreen have brought together in this book
a collection of writings which draw together and discuss the range of factors which shape both advantage and
disadvantage in Australia. The editors, who are also contributors, contend that the writings show that who
'wins' as well as who 'loses' is central to explanations about the pattern of welfare in Australian society.
Advantage and disadvantage and the reasons for that distribution - the 'who gets what and why'- depends
largely on the nature of the social, economic and political institutions mediated by the state.
Structure
The book is divided into two thematically-linked parts: Part one, 'Themes and definitions', provides an
overview of the key themes and arguments that have existed in Australia since the early 1800s about the
respective roles of government and the individual, the need for assistance, and the extent to which
government should be responsible for the welfare of individual citizens. Part two 'Distribution and
redistribution', consists of a number of essays discussing those areas which are central in shaping advantage
and disadvantage. The authors raise many of the key issues relating to the broader economic, social and
political debates, and suggest alternative policy and strategic responses.
106
Part one
Berreen's opening chapter on the debate surrounding the opening of an Asylum in Sydney in 1821 outlines
and discusses the three key themes which emerged at the time. The themes, which have been central to
debates about welfare in Australian ever since, consist of the questions of who should intervene to reduce
disadvantage; who ought to be the recipients of assistance; and the role of charity as a means of social justice.
The question of what happens to those unable to adequately provide for themselves and who ought to take
responsibility for them is a perennial one in Australian history, and is taken up by Stephen Garton in a
discussion on the period 1880-1920. Garton contends that although the common assertions that Australia was
a 'social laboratory' during this time are open to argument, there was a marked change in this period towards
a general acceptance of a need to establish a welfare system in Australia, and expand state intervention for
'the public good'. The catalyst for much of the change was the very deep depression of the 1890s, which saw
widespread poverty accompanied by the mobilisation of the labour movement as an industrial and political
force. A new conception of the role of the state and of citizenship emerged which held that the state had a
responsibility to alleviate some of the worst effects of the market, effectively ending the primacy of charity in
addressing disadvantage. This was to manifest itself in the early years of this century in the form of old age
and invalid pensions, the maternity allowance, workers compensation and factory and shop legislation.
Garton argues that one of the key events of the period was the 1907 Harvester Judgement handed down by
Justice Higgins. This established the principle of the 'living wage' which has shaped the Australian social
security system ever since, with the market being the guarantee of an adequate income (in the form of wages)
and pensions providing the 'safety net' when a person is unable to work.
Paul Smyth's chapter 'Macro-Economic Foundations of the Welfare State 1950-1960' discusses how the
postwar years further emphasised the provision of social security through full employment. He draws
attention to the dominance of Keynesian economics in achieving this aim in all the major world economies.
The long period of economic growth allowed the coalition Government of Australia to maintain the view that
welfare would be provided by wages, with the retention of residual social security and welfare provisions,
until the late 1960s. The emphasis from then began to shift towards more generous social security provisions
to help improve the quality of life, marking the beginning of the end of faith in the Keynesian doctrine of
government intervention being able to 'make capitalism work fairer'.
107
The growth of state welfare provisions was most marked during the Whitlam Government from 1972-1975.
However, Rodney Smith argues that the primacy of the market reasserted itself following the economic
uncertainties of the mid-1970s and the election of the Fraser Government. Since then, Smith argues, both
major parties have pursued similar policies, with the difference being that of emphasis between Labor's view
of the state as a corrective adjunct to capitalism, against the Liberal's view that welfare may be a danger to
wealth creation. This view about welfare is best exemplified by the debates about taxation, with the parties
competing for electoral support by debating how they would cut tax, rather than engaging in an argument for
or against tax. The Liberal Party, Smith contends, has a well-defined view that social security should be
residual and limited, while the ALP concept of social security is now vague and poorly defined.
Damien Grace provides the final chapter in Part one by discussing social justice. He notes that 'social justice'
is a product of market societies and is concerned with changing social institutions and attitudes to achieve a
fairer society. Various views of the role of the state in shaping advantage and disadvantage are outlined.
Grace concludes that it is 'not enough' to argue that the state ensures only basic human and property rights
and that social justice must be accompanied by a shared system of social values.
Part two
The second part of the book, 'Distribution and redistribution', examines a number of areas which influence
the distribution of wealth and advantage in Australia. Jamrozik opens the discussion by examining the
relationship between social class and community services. He contends that measures to alleviate poverty
will not reduce inequality if the social order which regulates and controls access to society's resources remain
unchanged. Moreover, the concentration of scrutiny on what is provided to the marginalised (for example, in
the form of social security payments) hides some very important welfare services provided by the state, and
which are key factors in the distribution of advantage. Education (particularly attendance at private schools
and universities), employment (in the public service or the community sector) and formal child care all
bestow significant advantage in terms of social status and income to those who have access to and 'command'
(i.e. use for their advantage) over them.
Other essays in Part two raise some salient issues relating to the provision of welfare. Elim Papadakis, for
example, takes up the political realities involved with redistribution with a discussion of the public
perceptions of who benefits most from state-provided welfare. He notes that politics is the art of compromise
between competing demands and ideas.
108
The concept of citizenship in Australia is examined by Michael Wearing, who argues that there has been a
shift during the 1980s and early 1990s towards a market-oriented concept of citizenship and away from
social citizenship. Wearing asserts that a key influence in this paradigm shift is the upper echelons of the
Australian Public Service, who have embraced the ideology of economic rationalism. He argues that welfare
practitioners need to 'diversify their policy strategies and seek participation from new collective identities' in
order to deal effectively with the transition to a new order of Australian welfare (p. 196).
Gender, housing, and the politics of state intervention into child abuse are also dealt with separately in Part
two. Lois Bryson observes that while social security provisions have largely removed distinctions based on
gender, there is much less change 'on the ground' for women. He argues that caring labour must either be
elevated to an appropriately valued activity or become a genuinely shared task.
'The economic context of social policy' is the final chapter in Part two. Here Frank Stilwell presents an
argument about the nature of the close relationship between social and economic policy. Stilwell contends
that to achieve a more equitable shaping of advantage in Australia, social policies need to take account of the
structural economic changes unfolding, as well as the economic ideologies accompanying them, and should
be integrated with an alternative 'radical' program of political change.
In the concluding chapter, Wearing and Berreen reiterate a number of the themes and issues raised in the
book. They pose some questions about the direction of welfare in Australia for the rest of the 1990s and into
the next century. They conclude by suggesting some possible responses by governments - including national
investment in high employment industries - which 'are required to counter some of the detrimental effects of
the transition to market-based welfare provision in Australia and keep pace with managing diverse social
identities'. (P. 250)
Summary
Wearing and Berreen have, in this book, managed to successfully convey the important point that individual
policies and programs cannot be viewed in isolation, either from other social or welfare policies or from the
political and economic contexts and/or paradigms in which they are operating.
The structure of the book assists the reader in forming a picture of the issues to be considered in the welfare
policy debate. The thematic linking of contributions by various experts, in particular, provides a good 'feel'
for the context of social and welfare policy in Australia. Certainly, knowing where we have come from in
terms of social policy is essential if we are to
109
understand our current problems and develop effective and practical solutions in the future.
Welfare and Social Policy in Australia is not the definitive account of the subject area, as suggested by the
title. Indeed, it raises more questions than it provides answers to. However, the book does achieve what it
sets out to do, by providing a very readable and well structured overview of the key issues in the field.
Wearing and Berreen have made a valuable contribution to policy development as well as the current broad
political and economic debates. Their book is worthwhile reading for the social security or welfare
practitioner, student or politician.
Philip Brown works in the Policy Analysis and Development Section, Parenting and Child Care Branch,
Family Programs Division, Department of Social Security.
110
HAS ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING IN AUSTRALIA IMPROVED CONDITIONS FOR
WOMEN?
Anne Edwards and Susan Magarey (eds.), Women in a Restructuring Australia: Work and Welfare, Allen &
Unwin, 1995; xv + 304 pp; $29.95 RRP
Reviewer: Susan Donath
How has economic restructuring in Australia affected women? Has restructuring improved the position of
women? Has greater gender equality been achieved through restructuring? These are the questions which
Women in a Restructuring Australia: Work and Welfare sets out to answer. In their introduction, the editors,
Anne Edwards and Susan Magarey explain that the book arose out of feminist concern that the changes in the
economy and the state since the 1970s have serious consequences for women, but these consequences have
tended to be overlooked by predominantly male academics, politicians, policy-makers and business, union
and community leaders.
The book aims to focus on two structures - the labour market and the income redistribution system of the
welfare state - and to investigate how changes in these two key areas affect women of different socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
As the editors note, 'restructuring' is used in a variety of ways; in their Introduction they provide a useful
discussion of the different meanings attaching to the term. 'Restructuring' is often used to describe the
responses by governments to the new phase of development that Western industrial countries experienced
from the 1970s onwards. These responses included the deregulation of markets and finance, a redirection of
resources from the public to the private sector, and attempts to reduce the size and cost of the state,
particularly its welfare functions.
'Restructuring' can also refer to the radical nature of the changes under way in technologically advanced
industrial societies, or to the geographical relocation of production from high wage to low wage countries.
From the early 1980s, 'restructuring' has referred to the processes associated with a consequent expansion of
the control functions of transnational capital.
The term is also used to refer to the reorganisation of the processes of production in particular industries,
enterprises and occupations. Reorganisation of welfare services and benefits can also be described as
'restructuring'.
111
The extent to which the contributors to Women in a Restructuring Australia address these various meanings
of 'restructuring' is rather uneven. I felt that the individual chapters of the book, though interesting and of
high quality, did not combine into a coherent whole. On reading the book, one gets the sense that the authors
were not given clear instructions that the focus should be on restructuring; some of the chapters do not
mention restructuring at all. At times the book seemed more like an update of the classic Women, Social
Welfare and the State, albeit with a greater emphasis on the labour market, than a book on restructuring.
Nevertheless, the book contains a great deal of useful discussion and information, especially about women's
position in the Australian labour market.
Sheila Shaver and Lois Bryson, contributors to both Women, Social Welfare and the State and the present
volume, reconsider the Australian welfare state and its treatment of women. Although both agree that the
welfare state has become much more gender neutral in recent years, Bryson argues that there are still two
welfare states - one for women and one for men.
Martina Nightingale poses the question: Why has the enterprise bargaining framework been embraced by the
union movement despite the critique from many feminists both inside and outside the union movement, that a
more deregulated labour market will spell disaster for women workers? She argues that part of the answer
lies in the way that the 'key concepts of flexibility and individuality have been used to justify the current
restructuring of Australian capitalism and to mask the efforts of employers to appropriate more power for
themselves at the expense of workers and their unions'.
Rhonda Sharp documents the history of superannuation as it developed through the series of Prices and
Incomes Accords, and warns that women's relatively lower income levels during their working lives mean
that they have similarly lower income levels in retirement, unless there are fundamental structural and
institutional reforms.
Linda Rosenman's chapter is also about superannuation. She discusses the restructuring of retirement,
pointing out that many older women cannot afford to retire early. These women have to work for is long as
possible to acquire superannuation, having been excluded from membership of superannuation schemes
earlier in their working lives,
Both Rosenman and Sharp agree that the introduction of compulsory labourforce based superannuation has
been a mixed blessing for Australian women. While many women will benefit from superannuation, there is
a strong risk that, if the system continues in its present form, many other women will face insecurity both in
their working lives and in old age.
Ann Daly uses data from the 1986 Population Census to argue that since most Aboriginal women consider
themselves to be outside the labour market,
112
many of the labour market issues that are of importance to other Australian women are of limited relevance
to Aboriginal women.
Deborah Mitchell identifies several changes which are likely to affect the employment and income patterns
of Australian women. One is enterprise bargaining, where international experience suggests that women will
lose out in terms of pay rates, hours worked and overall employment levels. Another is the reduction in
government expenditure on welfare services and general employment in the public sector. A third key change
is the internationalisation of the Australian economy, where the combined effects of wage deregulation and
the lifting of import restrictions may drive wages down to very low levels in order to compete with overseas
low wage producers.
I was surprised that the book did not include a chapter on unpaid work, especially as the importance of
unpaid work was a recurring theme in several of the chapters.
Bettina Cass, for instance, calls for a radical rethinking of citizenship:
'A democratic conception of citizenship would value fully the economic and political participation of
women and provide the resources and community services necessary for these to be realised. It would
also value women's contribution to caring and welfare. A democratic conception of citizenship,
however, would also be based clearly and unequivocally on the understanding that men cannot be
accorded full citizenship if they do not fulfil their caring obligations in private life.'
Barbara Pocock argues that maternity and child care roles continue to disadvantage women in employment,
and that having to combine paid work with caring for sick children often makes women's lives extremely
complicated. In an analysis of award restructuring in the retail and clerical industries she claims that 'changes
in "flexibility" have been almost exclusively oriented towards benefits for the employer... Flexibility with
respect to accommodating workers' needs or parental responsibilities has not been mentioned'.
Marcia Neave identifies one of the major deficiencies in family law rule. Although there is statutory
recognition of the economic value of women's unpaid work, through the provision requiring 'home-maker
and parent' contributions to be taken into account, this has had only a very limited effect on property division
outcomes.
Both Sharp and Rosenman argue that one of the main problems with the recent changes to superannuation is
that it means that retirement income is based only on tabour force status and prior earnings, and the enormous
contribution that women's unpaid caring work makes to society is therefore ignored and unrewarded.
113
In the Introduction, the editors state that 'the status of caring work ... is now becoming the critical issue for
feminists if real gender equality is to be achieved'. They justify the omission of a chapter an unpaid work on
the grounds that recent work has shown that the gender balance in unpaid work has not altered. This is much
the same argument that was used for decades by economists to justify omitting unpaid work from the
National Accounts and the definition of the Gross Domestic Product - an argument that has been much
criticised by feminists. I think that a chapter which at least documented the extent of unpaid caring work in
Australia would have been a useful addition to the book.
It is a pity that Women in a Restructuring Australia does not really deal with the broader issues to do with
restructuring. The advocates of the various forms of restructuring have generally presented it as inevitable, a
process which it is both foolish and dangerous to resist, and they have depicted opponents of restructuring as
ignorant Luddites. This book does not engage with, or contest this point of view, even though it documents
many of the adverse effects of restructuring. Restructuring is taken as a given; there is little discussion of
either the necessity or the inevitability of the current process and pace of restructuring in Australia. The book
would have had greater impact had such a discussion been included.
Susan Donath is a Lecturer at the Key Centre for Women's Health, University of Melbourne.
Reference
Baldock, Cora and Cass, Bettina (eds) 1983,1988, Women, Social Welfare and the State in Australia, Allen &
Unwin, Sydney.
114
SOCIAL SECURITY
STATISTICS
Recipients, DSS pensions,
by state and sex
Family Payments, customers
and children
Recipients, DSS allowances
Job Search and Newstart Allowance Jobseekers by age and sex
Data in the Social Security Statistics Section was prepared by staff in the Management Information Section,
Strategic Planning Division, Department of Social Security
SOCIAL SECURITY JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
PENSION PAYMENTS -STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS
•
At December 1995, 2 628 900 persons were receiving some type of pension payment. This represented a
28.7 per cent increase in the total pensioner population in the ten years since December 1985. Age
Pensioners accounted for approximately 60% of the total pensioner population in December 1995,
compared to 64.9% at December 1985 (Table 1).
•
In March 1995, War Widows who were receiving a part-rate Age Pension transferred solely to a
Department of Veterans Affairs payment. This contributed to a decrease in the number of Age Pensioners
from 1 607 563 to 1 580 982 over the December 1994 and December 1995 period (Table 1).
•
At December 1995, just over one third of all pensioners were residing in New South Wales. A further
24.6 per cent were living in Victoria and 17.2 per cent were living in Queensland (Table 2).
•
The proportion of males receiving the Age Pension at December 1995 was 35.1 per cent, up 2.3
percentage points on December 1994 (32.8) (Table 2).
•
The number of Disability Support Pensioners increased significantly from December 1991, partly due to
the amalgamation of Invalid Pension and Sheltered Employment Allowance into the one disability
payment and the cessation of new grants of Rehabilitation Allowance. The number of Disability Support
Pensioners increased by 6.5 per cent in the twelve months to December 1995 (Table 1).
•
The number of Sole Parent Pensioners has increased gradually over the past ten years from 250 601 at
December 1985 to a December 1995 total of 331 491; an increase of 32.3 per cent. Approximately ninety
five per cent of Sole Parent Pensioners are females (December 1995).
SSJ, June 1996 Social Security Statistics
117
TABLE 1 - PENSIONERS: PENSION TYPE, AUSTRALIA, DECEMBER 1985 TO DECEMBER 1995
Pension type
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
Age Pension
1326050
1321027
1321923
1330505
1329842
1354390
1407050
1472800
1543595
1607563
1580982
276443
292630
303085
312731
321636
334740
365313
393107
420431
451097
480370
Rehabilitation Allowance
3212
2995
2306
2026
1980
2857
3569
1069
288
85
19
Widow Pension Class B
80971
81797
88032
84907
80911
75945
72107
66378
62798
57702
54083
..
..
..
..
42
239
310
102
83
93
61
250601
252153
238657
239257
243048
254565
276811
296929
303461
316632
331491
Wife Pension (Age)
22549
22060
21966
22246
22875
24921
28696
31452
34916
37841
41286
Wife Pension (Disability)
77516
84359
87480
89179
90724
92637
98838
105147
112396
119434
118332
718
653
517
472
512
827
1044
311
86
30
3
100783
107072
109963
111897
114111
118385
128578
136910
147398
157305
159621
Carer Pension (Age)
1277
2341
2971
3353
3712
4289
5115
6073
6949
7949
8812
Carer Pension (Disability)
2519
3546
4124
4385
4527
8099
6284
7453
8758
10034
12030
183
382
619
966
1431
Disability Support Pension (a)
Widowed Pension Allowance (b)
Sole Parent Pension (c)
Wife Pension (Rehab. Allow.)
Total Wife Pension
Carer Pension (Other)
Total Carer Pension
Total
3796
5887
7095
7738
8239
12388
11582
13908
16326
18949
22273
2041856
2063561
2071061
2089061
2099809
2153509
2265320
2381203
2494380
2609426
2628900
(a) Disability Support Pension replaced Invalid Pension and Sheltered Employment Allowance from 12 November 1991.
(b) Prior to 1 January 1995, Bereavement Allowance was called Widowed Person Allowance. A large proportion of widows previously included
in Widowed Person Allowance were transferred to Widow Pension Class B from November 1992.
(c) Sole Parent Pension replaced the previous Widow Class A Pension and Supporting Parent Benefit from March 1989.
..
not applicable
118
State
TABLE 2 - PENSIONERS: STATE BY PENSION TYPE BY SEX, DECEMBER 1995
Pension type
Disability
Widow
Sole
Age
Support Rehabilitation
Pension
Parent
Wife
Pension
Pension
Allowance
Class B
Pension
Pension
Carer
Pension
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Overseas
Total
187 824
140 906
92 415
53 997
43 896
14 506
1 826
3 881
16 178
555 429
114 698
75 599
58 223
30 662
28 749
11 244
2 612
2 630
7 243
331 660
2
3
8
0
0
0
0
0
0
13
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
6 883
4 007
4 614
2 044
1 916
860
281
241
1
20 847
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
4 427
2 798
2 085
1 109
787
507
61
64
10
11 848
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Overseas
Total
(Continued over)
352 020
264 060
170 863
101 360
83 191
28 436
2 907
8 177
14 539
1 025 553
50 867
35 812
25 974
13 758
12 890
4 956
1 184
1 577
1 692
148 710
1
2
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
20 814
13 932
6 714
3 988
4 764
1 189
311
681
1 690
54 083
104 789
69 096
61 407
26 213
30 890
9 419
4 309
4 404
117
310 664
52 891
38 091
27 581
15 560
14 102
5 584
850
978
3 984
159 621
3 766
2 744
1 971
743
689
382
53
77
0
10 425
Total(a)
Males
313834
223313
157345
87812
75348
27117
4780
6816
23432
919797
Females
585148
423 737
294 513
161 622
146 526
49 966
9 614
15 894
22 022
1 709 839
120
TABLE 2 PENSIONERS: STATE BY PENSION TYPE BY SEX, DECEMBER 1995
(CONTINUED)
Pension type
Age
State
Pension
Disability
Support
Pension
Rehabilitation
Allowance
Widow
Pension
Class B
Sole
Parent
Pension
Wife
Pension
Carer
Pension
Total(a)
20 814
13 932
6 714
3 988
4 764
1 189
311
681
1 690
54 083
111 672
73 103
66 021
28 257
32 806
10 279
4 590
4 645
118
331 491
52 891
38 091
27 581
15 560
14 102
5 584
850
978
3 984
159 621
8 193
5 542
4 056
1 852
1 476
889
114
141
10
22 273
898 982
647 050
451 858
249 434
221 874
77 083
14 394
22 710
45 454
2 628 839
Persons
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Overseas
Total
539 844
404 966
263 278
155 357
127 087
42 942
4 733
12 058
30 717
1 580 982
165 565
111 411
84 197
44 420
41 639
16 200
3 796
4 207
8 935
480 370
3
5
11
0
0
0
0
0
0
19
a) Excludes Bereavement Allowance customers.
.. not applicable
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
121
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
122
FAMILY PAYMENTS STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS
•
•
•
•
•
At December 1995, there were 1 813 795 Family Payment customers (with 3 504 114 eligible children)
receiving a DSS family payment. This represented a 7.3 per cent drop in numbers from the high at
December 1993 (Table 3).
Over half (53.4 per cent) of the total Family Payment customers at December 1995 received the Basic
Family Payment component (Table 3).
At December 1995, females represented 97.3 per cent of customers receiving a family payment (Table 4).
There were 845 742 Additional Family Payment customers at December 1995. Nearly one third of the
Additional Family Payment customers were in the labour force with the remaining two thirds receiving
the Additional Family Payment automatically because they, or their partner, were in receipt of a DSS
pension or allowance.
Parenting Allowance was introduced in July 1995. Females comprised 95.3 per cent of the 643 570
Parenting Allowance customers at December 1995 (Table 5).
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
123
TABLE 3 - FAMILY PAYMENTS: CUSTOMERS AND
CHILDREN BY FAMILY PAYMENT TYPE, AUSTRALIA,
DECEMBER 1992 TO DECEMBER 1995
Family Payment
Additional Family Payment (AFP) (a)
Basic Family
Payment Only
Workforce
Auto (b)
Total AFP
Total
Customers
1 143 629
278 809
516 700 e
795 509
1 939 138
Children
3 095 101
644 769
949 400 e
1 594 168
3 738 217
Customers
1 123 893
285 770
546 633
832 403
1 956 296
Children
2 104 379
654 858
1 013 750
1 668 608
3 772 987
Customers
1 009 160
325 632
521 428
847 060
1 856 220
Children
1 896 455
731 698
963 875
1 695 573
3 592 028
968 053
269 869
575 873
845 742
1 813 795
1 819 222
608 983
1 075 909
1 684 892
3 504 114
December 1992 (c)
December 1993
December 1994
December 1995
Customers
Children
(a)
Recipients of Additional Family Payment are also in receipt of the Basic Family Payment component.
(b) Additional Family Payment Auto is paid to those customers who receive, or whose partner receives, a
pension or allowance from DSS.
(c) In December 1992 Additional Family Payment Workforce was known as Family Allowance
Supplement and Additional Family Payment Auto was known as Additional Pension/ Benefit for Children.
The figure for Basic Family Payment Only was derived by subtracting Family Allowance Supplement and
Additional Pension/Benefit for Children numbers from the total.
e
estimated
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
124
TABLE 4 - FAMILY PAYMENTS: STATE BY FAMILY
PAYMENT TYPE BY SEX, DECEMBER 1995
State
Basic Family
Payment Only
Family Payment
Additional Family Payment
(AFP) (a)
Workforce
Auto (b)
Total AFP
Total
Males
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Other (c)
Total
5 324
3 463
3 160
1 223
1 668
447
343
417
127
2 099
1 400
1 599
582
568
177
142
99
0
8 431
4 789
5 685
2 463
2 415
1 029
433
297
23
10 530
6 189
7 244
3 045
2 983
1 206
575
396
23
15 854
9 652
10 404
4 268
4 651
1 653
918
813
150
16 172
6 626
25 565
32 191
48 363
Females
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Other (c)
307 407
242 550
172 499
76 165
98 159
25 724
9 460
17 016
2 901
81 466
63 681
56 710
22 660
25 005
7 808
3 105
2 766
42
183 734
126 550
109 104
46 999
50 711
18 274
8 049
6 354
533
265 200
190 231
165 814
69 659
75 716
26 082
11 154
9 120
575
572 607
432 781
338 313
145 824
173 875
51 806
20 614
26 136
3 476
Total
951 881
263 243
550 308
813 551
1 765 432
192 165
131 339
114 789
49 462
53 126
19 303
8 482
6 651
556
275 730
196 420
173 058
72 704
78 699
27 288
11 729
9 516
598
588 461
442 433
348 717
150 092
178 526
53 459
21 532
26 949
3 626
Total
968 053
269 869
575 873
845 742
(a)
Recipients of Additional Family Payment are also in receipt of the Basic Family Payment component.
1 813 795
Persons
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Other (c)
312 731
246 013
175 659
77 388
99 827
26 171
9 803
17 433
3 028
83 565
65 081
58 269
23 242
25 573
7 985
3 247
2 865
42
(b)
Additional Family Payment Auto is paid to those customers who receive, or whose partner receives, a pension or allowance
from DSS.
(c)
State totals are defined on the basis of postcodes. These figures include recipients who are paid whilst overseas and invalid
postcodes. These invalid postcodes result from either recipients supplying incorrect postcodes or data entry errors.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
125
TABLE 5 - PARENTING ALLOWANCE (a): STATE BY SEX,
DECEMBER 1995
State
Females
Males
Total
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Other
197 865
154 311
118 240
61 189
50 022
19 068
5 266
7 865
127
8 741
7 392
5 984
2 407
3 060
1 110
522
382
19
206 606
161 703
124 224
63 596
53 082
20 178
5 788
8 247
146
Total
613 953
29 617
643 570
(a) Parenting Allowance was introduced in July l995. These figures are an average of the weekly payments
for the month of December 1995.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
126
LABOUR MARKET PAYMENTS STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS
Job Search and Newstart Allowance
At December 1995:
•
•
•
There were 778 281 persons receiving the job Search or Newstart Allowance – down 14.0 per cent since
December 1993 (Table 6).
Just over half of the JSA/NSA customers were in receipt of the job Search Allowance (Table 6).
Approximately 22 500 JSA/NSA customers were undertaking a form of training (Table 7).
Jobseekers
At December 1995:
•
•
•
•
Ninety per cent of JSA/NSA customers were jobseekers. Jobseekers are customers in receipt of the job
Search Allowance or Newstart Allowance who received a payment in the previous fortnight, were not
undertaking training and were not incapacitated (Table 7).
JSA Jobseekers outnumbered NSA Jobseekers in all the States except Tasmania (Table 8).
Approximately half of all Jobseekers were aged from 18 to 29 years - males comprising 65 per cent of
this group (Table 9).
Of the 709 731 Jobseekers paid in the fortnight to 15 December 1995, 83.0 per cent did not have any
income from earnings (Table 11).
Other Allowances
At December 1995:
•
•
•
There were 51 131 Sickness Allowance customers - representing a 17.9 per cent increase since December
1992 (Table 6).
There was a 77 per cent increase in Mobility Allowance customers in the four years since December 1991
(Table 6).
Mature Age Allowance and Mature Age Partner Allowance were introduced in March 1994. Customers
receiving the Mature Age Allowance increased by 24 per cent in the twelve months to December 1995,
while customers receiving the Mature Age Partner Allowance increased by 7 per cent in the same period
(Table 6).
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
127
TABLE 6 - ALLOWEES: ALLOWANCE TYPE, AUSTRALIA,
DECEMBER 1991 TO DECEMBER 1995
Allowance type
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
Job Search Allowance (a)
Newstart Allowance (a)
533 657
217 691
461 707
393 758
453 730
451 022
403 335
406 123
424 955
353 326
Job Search and Newstart Allowance
751 348
855 465
904 752
809 458
778 281
43 382
31 577
14 461
..
..
..
..
..
48 830
26 678
19 208
..
..
..
..
..
47 976
25 052
21 887
34 672
13 162
n.a.
..
26 808
51 131
21 141
23 830
43 114
14 090
65 617
10 351
Youth Training Allowance (a) (b)
Sickness Allowance (a)
Special Benefit (a)
Mobility Allowance (c)
Mature Age Allowance (d)
Mature Age Partner Allowance (d)
Partner Allowance (a) (e)
Widow Allowance (a) (f
..
49 846
32 015
13 480
..
..
..
..
(a)
These figures are an average of the weekly payments for the month of December.
(b)
Youth Training Allowance was introduced from 1 January 1995.
(c)
These figures are a total number extracted as at the end of December.
(d) These figures are an average of the fortnightly payments for the month of December. Mature Age
Allowance and Mature Age Partner Allowance were introduced in March 1994.
(e)
Partner Allowance was introduced from September 1994.
(f)
Widow Allowance was introduced from 1 January 1995.
.. not applicable
n.a. not available
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
128
TABLE 7 - JOB SEARCH AND NEWSTART ALLOWEES:
SUMMARY POPULATION, AUSTRALIA, DECEMBER 1995
Job Search Allowance Newstart Allowance
Total
All JSA/NSA Customers
424 955
353 326
778 281
Did not receive a payment (a)
Received a payment
Undertaking Training
Literacy courses
Formal training
Short courses
Other training
Incapacitated (b)
25 975
398 979
8 304
11
4 661
1 752
1 880
5 723
13 398
339 928
14 184
3
12 752
1 090
339
6 856
39 373
738 907
22 488
14
17 412
2 842
2 220
12 579
Jobseekers receiving JSA/NSA (c)
384 952
318 888
703 840
(a) Persons who did not receive a payment because their income, and/or their partner's income, exceeded
the allowable limit. This group is often referred to as zero-paid.
(b) Activity code 'incapacitated' relates to JSA/NSA recipients who have become temporarily ill or
incapacitated.
(c) Those customers who received a payment, were not undertaking any training and were not
incapacitated.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
129
TABLE 8 - JOBSEEKERS RECEIVING JOB SEARCH OR
NEWSTART ALLOWANCE: STATE BY ALLOWANCE TYPE,
DECEMBER 1995
Jobseekers
State
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Total
Job Search Allowance
114 767
93 089
84 690
32 799
38 154
10 797
5 601
5 055
Newstart Allowance
103 730
89 054
52 287
30 223
21 742
13 128
5 201
3 522
Total
218 497
182 143
136 977
63 022
59 896
23 925
10 802
8 577
384 952
318 888
703 840
TABLE 9 - JOBSEEKEPS RECEIVING JOB SEARCH OR
NEWSTART ALLOWANCE (a) BY AGE AND SEX,
AUSTRALIA, DECEMBER 1995
Jobseekers
Age
Job Search
Allowance
Newstart
Allowance
Total
Males
Less than 18 years (b)
18-20 years
21-29 years
30-39 years
40-49 years
3 152
35 510
94 599
62 590
35 823
..
18 496
70 848
59 485
42 275
3 152
54 006
165 447
122 075
78 098
50-59 years
60 years and over
22 713
9 436
39 762
3 581
62 476
13 017
263 822
234 448
498 270
3 015
28 012
46 575
18 170
16 380
8 787
190
..
14 824
27 907
13 629
16 243
11 670
167
3 015
42 836
74 482
31 799
32 623
20 456
357
121 130
84 440
205 569
..
33 320
98 755
73 114
58 519
51 432
3 748
6 167
96 842
239 929
153 874
110 721
82 932
13 374
Total
Females
Less than 18 years (b)
18-20 years
21-29 years
30-39 years
40-49 years
50-59 years
60 years and over
Total
Persons
Less than 18 years (b)
18-20 years
21-29 years
30-39 years
40-49 years
50-59 years
60 years and over
6 167
63 522
141 174
80 759
52 203
31 500
9 626
Total
384 952
318 888
703 840
(a) Excludes those persons who did not receive a payment and those who were undertaking training or
were incapacitated.
(b) A person who was under 18 years of age and receiving Job Search Allowance when Youth Training
Allowance was introduced in January 1995 continues to receive Job Search Allowance provided certain
eligibility factors are met.
..
not applicable.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
131
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
132
TABLE 10 - JOBSEEKERS RECEIVING JOB SEARCH OR NEWSTART ALLOWANCE (a) BY
ACTIVITY TEST STATUS AND SEX, AUSTRALIA, DECEMBER 1995
Jobseekers
Activity test status
Job Search
Allowance
Newstart
Allowance
Total
Males
Job search
Self employment
Refugee in first three months
Caring responsibilities
Work (b)
Rehabilitation (c)
Special circumstances (d)
Other
262 587
223
252
71
33
612
24
20
231 601
1 653
0
80
53
1 014
16
32
494 188
1 876
252
151
86
1 626
40
51
Total
263 822
234 448
498 270
Females
Job search
Self employment
Refugee in first three months
Caring responsibilities
Work (b)
Rehabilitation (c)
Special circumstances (d)
Other
120 571
57
130
43
26
251
25
26
83 618
351
0
31
30
371
19
19
204 190
408
130
74
57
621
44
45
Total
121 130
84 440
205 569
315 220
2 004
0
111
83
1 384
35
51
698 378
2 284
383
225
143
2 247
84
97
Persons
Job search
Self employment
Refugee in first three months
Caring responsibilities
Work (b)
Rehabilitation (c)
Special circumstances (d)
Other
383 158
280
383
114
60
863
49
46
Total
384 952
318 888
703 840
(a) Excludes those persons who did not receive a payment and those who were undertaking training or
were incapacitated.
(b) Includes voluntary work and part-time work.
(c) Includes incapacitated rehabilitation and non-incapacitated rehabilitation activities.
(d) Includes major personal disruption at home and major personal crisis.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
133
TABLE 11 - JOBSEEKERS RECEIVING JOB SEARCH OR
NEWSTART ALLOWANCE (a) PAID IN THE FORTNIGHT TO 15 DECEMBER 1995 BY
FORTNIGHTLY EARNINGS AND SEX, AUSTRALIA
Jobseekers
Fortnightly earnings
Job Search Allowance
Newstart Allowance
Total
Males
per cent
Did not earn an income
Earned an income
Amount earned
$0.01-$60.00
$60.01-$100.00
$100.01-$140.00
$140.01-$200.00
$200.01-$240.00
Over $240.01
Total
86.3
13.7
84.9
15.1
85.7
14.3
1.7
2.4
1.7
2.3
1.0
4.5
2.2
2.9
2.0
2.7
1.0
4.1
1.9
2.6
1.9
2.5
1.0
4.3
100.00
100.00
100.00
Number
Jobseekers receiving JSA/NSA
265 667
235 941
501 608
Females
per cent
Did not earn an income
Earned an income
Amount earned
$0.01 $60.00
$60.01-$100.00
$100.01-$140.00
$140.01-$200.00
$200.01-$240.00
Over $240.01
Total
77.1
22.9
76.2
23.8
76.7
23.3
2.9
3.6
2.7
3.8
1.8
8.0
100.00
3.5
4.1
3.0
4.0
1.8
7.4
100.00
3.2
3.8
2.8
3.9
1.8
7.8
100.00
Number
Jobseekers receiving JSA/NSA
(Continued over)
122 453
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
TABLE 11 - JOBSEEKERS RECEIVING JOB SEARCH OR
85 670
208 123
134
NEWSTART ALLOWANCE (a) PAID IN THE
FORTNIGHT TO 15 DECEMBER 1995 BY FORTNIGHTLY
EARNINGS AND SEX, AUSTRALIA (CONTINUED)
Jobseekers
Fortnightly earnings
Job Search Allowance
Newstart Allowance
Total
Persons
per cent
Did not earn an income
Earned an income
Amount earned
$0.01-$60.00
$60.01-$100.00
$100.01-$140.00
$140.01-$200.00
$200.01-$240.00
Over $240.01
Total
83.4
16.6
82.6
17.4
83.0
17.0
2.1
2.8
2.0
2.8
1.2
5.6
100.00
2.6
3.2
2.3
3.1
1.2
5.0
100.00
2.3
3.0
2.2
2.9
1.2
5.3
100.00
Number
Jobseekers receiving JSA/NSA
388.120
321.611
709.731
(a) Excludes those persons who did not receive a payment in the pervious fortnight and those who were
undertaking training or were incapacitated.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
135
TABLE 12 - OTHER ALLOWEES: STATE BY ALLOWANCE
TYPE, DECEMBER 1995
Youth
Training
Allowance
Sickness
Allowance
Special
Benefit
Mature
Age
Allowance
Mature
Age
Partner
Allowance
8 022
5 390
17 093
11 860
9 642
6 175
14 507
11 752
4 579
4 074
7 712
7 136
Queensland
6 157
11 032
1 874
7 287
South Australia
2 781
3 815
1 044
4 257
Western Australia
2 489
4 846
1 563
3 307
Tasmania
1 191
1 064
277
1 637
Northern Territory
456
523
196
167
Australian Capital Territory
322
597
315
201
Total
26 808
50 829
21 087
43 115
(a) Figures for the Northern Territory are included in Queensland.
(b) Figures for the Australian Capital Territory are included in New South Wales.
2 276
1 448
1 090
537
42
45
14 091
4 394
2 141
1 706
741
(a)
(b)
23 830
State
New South Wales
Victoria
Mobility
Allowance
TABLE 13 - PARTNER ALLOWANCE (a):
STATE, DECEMBER 1995
Partners of
Beneficiaries
Partners of
Pensioners
Other Partner
Allowees
Total Partner
Allowees
New South Wales
17756
2359
198
20312
Victoria
17219
1942
115
19275
Queensland
10028
1233
184
11445
South Australia
5589
846
84
6518
Western Australia
4509
623
48
5180
Tasmania
2215
345
22
2582
Northern Territory
273
16
4
293
Australian Capital Territory
384
46
0
430
654
66034
State
Total
57972
7409
(a) These figures are a total number extracted as at the end of December 1995.
SSJ, June 1996, Social Security Statistics
136
PROJECT NOTES
Editor's Note
Current and planned research
•
Retirement incomes
•
Income support for people
with disabilities
•
Income support for families
•
Labour market programs
•
Assistance for young people
•
Income support research other
New books and reports
Social security issues selective bibliography
SOCIAL SECURITY JOURNAL
JUNE 1996
EDITOR'S NOTE
The Project Notes Section in this issue of the Social Security Journal builds on the comprehensive outline of
current research within Australia which was introduced in the December 1994 issue. As noted then,
subsequent issues of the Journal will include details about new projects not already listed and final reports as
they become available.
The Project Notes Section already provides a vital research resource for people who are interested in social
security issues, whether as practitioners, researchers or members of relevant agencies. It is planned that the
Section will continue to provide comprehensive information about current work on a twice-yearly basis.
The Project Notes Section does not aim to provide a full census of relevant work. Rather, it presents a central
'bulletin board' which can be accessed by readers within Australia as well as overseas. While every effort is
made to circulate requests for relevant information the end product is, by its nature, dependent on the
assistance and co-operation of researchers and specialists in the public, academic and welfare, community
and church sectors.
Because it is not possible to update every item covering current or planned research in each issue, individual
copies of current and previous issues of the Social Security Journal are now available through
Commonwealth Government Bookshops and the Australian Government Publishing Service. Ordering details
are provided on the inside back cover in each issue.
If you have any suggestions as to the information you would find useful in the Project Notes Section, please
contact Ms Melinda Robson, the Project Notes Coordinator on (06) 244 5540. Completed reports and books
can also be forwarded to: The Managing Editor, Social Security Journal, Information and Public Relations
Branch, DSS, Box 7788, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT, 2610. This will ensure that new materials are
considered for the Book Review Section and circulated to staff within DSS who are working in the relevant
areas. Project Notes return forms can be forwarded at any time.
139
CURRENT AND PLANNED RESEARCH
RETIREMENT INCOMES
TOPIC Women and pensions
(retirement income)
RESEARCHER Johnson, Betty
OBJECTIVES & To document women's
METHOD income experience prior to
retirement and its effect on
quality of life and income
after retirement
TIME FRAME Older Women's Network
(Australia)
INSTITUTION
December 1995May 1996
CONTACT (02) 221 4618
Fax: (02) 221 4805
Early retirement
Unikowski, Isi
A seminar was held on 14
December 1995 involving
participants from government
depart ments, research bodies
and academic institutions, the
financial services and superannuation industry and client
representative organisations to
examine the extent of early
retirement and its implications
for Australia's retirement
incomes system. Papers
presented at the seminar will
be published in 1996.
N/A
Department of Social Security
(06) 244 6607
Fax: (06) 244 2976
140
INCOME SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Accommodation and
support needs of people
with a physical disability
who are ageing
Employment Advocacy
Research Project
Campbell, Chris
Dennis, Elizabeth
Examine the accommodation and support
preferences of people
(over 50 years) who have
a physical disability (e.g
polio, paraplegic, quadriplegic, multiple sclerosis,
spina bifida, etc) Identify
models suitable to match
these needs. Research
method - interviews with
key stakeholders
(government agencies,
service providers, etc);
individual interviews
with people in the target
population; and
distribution of questionnaire and conduct focus
groups.
A sample of approximately 60 jobseekers and
workers with disabilities
and some employment
support agency workers
are being interviewed
individually to find out:
What access people with
disabilities have to
employment advocacy;
what effect the advocacy
help or lack of it has on
the quality of their
employment experience;
ways to ensure that
people with disability
obtain access to employment advocacy; and
gauge the need for development of independent
employment advocacy.
TIME FRAME Ongoing
January 1996-July 1996
January 1995- June 1997
INSTITUTION Australian Instiute of
Health and Welfare
ParaQuad – Paraplegic &
Quadriplegic Association
of NSW
Institute of Disability
Action Inc
(02) 764 4166
Fax: (02) 764 2391
(08) 352 8599
Fax: (08) 354 0049
TOPIC National data collection
on services for people
with a disability funded
under the Commonwealth State Disability
Agreement (CSDA)
RESEARCHER Black, Ken
OBJECTIVES & The collection covers all
METHOD services funded or
provided under the
CSDA and assists with
the collation and
exchange of compatible
data between parties to
the Agreement.
CONTACT (06) 244 1189
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support for people with disailities
141
INCOME SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
TOPIC Evaluation of the
Continence Aids
Assistance Scheme
(CAAS)
RESEARCHER Madden, Ros
Demand for services
funded or provided under
the Commonwealth/State
Disability Agreement
National information
management system for
employment services
(CEPT AND ISJ) for
people with disability
Madden, Ros
Madden, Ros
One of six studies
forming the evaluation of
the Commonwealth/State
Disability Agreement: To
examine and report on
the demand for
accommodation support,
respite, day programs
Use consultation
and other support
meetings, feedback,
services for people with a
consumer survey,
analysis of administrative disability.
data on clients and
Literature searches,
products.
interviews with State and
Commonwealth
department contacts,
feedback from other
studies and extensive
analysis of identified
data. A project advisory
group of key government
and non-government
experts assisted the
project.
OBJECTIVES To determine the
& METHOD outcomes of CAAS for
its target group, whether
it’s been designed
appropriately and how its
delivery can be inproved.
TIME FRAME Completed
INSITUTION Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
CONTACT (06) 244 1189
A collection of data
relating to people with a
disability receiving
Competitive
Employment Placement
Training and Individual
Supported Jobs services
funded by the
Department of Health
and Family Services. A
major objective is to
promote service
development. Data is
provided quarterly by all
employment agencies via
a computerised data
collective system.
June 1995December 1995
Ongoing
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
(06) 244 1189
Fax: (06) 244 1199
(06) 244 1189
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support for people with disabilities
142
INCOME SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
TOPIC A comparison of clients
before and after the
Disability Reform
Package (DRP)
RESEARCHER Wightman, Peter
OBJECTIVES A series of longitudinal
& METHODS surveys designed to
provide detailed data on
the circumstances of
people with disabilities
before and after the
introduction of DRP.
TIME FRAME Completion 1996
INSTITUTION Department of Social
Security
CONTACT (02) 244 6240
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support for people with disabilities
143
INCOME SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES
TOPIC Sole Parent Pension exit
study
RESEARCHE Bradbury, Bruce
R
OBJECTIVES Questions to be
& METHOD addressed include: What
personal characteristics
are associated with
longer durations of
pension receipt, and what
happens to people who
leave Sole Parent
Pension.
The study will be based
upon an analysis of DSS
administrative data
(which is suitably
confidential). A sample
of people terminating
Sole Parent Pension in
1996 will be drawn and
their receipt of other DSS
payments followed for
two years.
TIME FRAME Early 1996-1998
INSITUTION Social Policy Research
Centre, University of
NSW
CONTACT (02) 9385 3853
Fax: (02) 9385 1049
Evaluation of Maternity
Allowance
Evaluation of Parenting
Allowance
Rowlands, David
Rowlands, David
The purpose of the
evaluation is to assess the
impact of MAT on
families, in particular its
role in helping with the
costs associated with the
birth of a child.
The purpose of the
evaluation is to assess the
impact PgA on families,
in particular, its role in
providing financial
recognition for carers and
increasing choices
available to parents.
The evaluation will
consist of a number of
projects, including a
survey of MAT
recipients.
The evaluation will
consist of a number of
projects, including a
longitudinal survey of
families receiving PgA.
April 1996-late 1996
October 1995-early 1998
Department of Social
Security
Department of Social
Security
(06) 2446466
Fax: (06)244 7930
(06) 2446466
Fax: (06)244 7930
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support for families
144
LABOUR MARKET PROGRAMS
SPRC Longitudinal
Study
Social Security and the
balance between caring
and employment
Bradbury, Bruce
Davidson, Peter
The study is examining
changes in labour force
status, perceptions and
behaviour to assess the
effects of income support
changes on five groups
of DSS customers over
three years. The main
objective of the study is
to investigate the impact
of 1 July 1995 changes to
income support
arrangements (DSS
White Paper initiatives).
The second objective is
to provide information on
longer term outcomes for
Social Security
customers. The study
will follow a sample of
people who were DSS
customers prior to the
White Paper.
To profile patterns of
employment participation
and caring by parents and
carers of people with
disabilities/frail aged
people; to examine recent
social security reforms
which recognise the
caring roles (s); and to
explore options for a
framework for treatment
of the caring role (s)
within social security
system, with particular
regard to the balance
between employment and
caring.
TIME FRAME Mid 1996-February 1997
1995-1998
February 1996- May
1996
INSTITUTION Social Policy Research
Centre University of
NSW
Social Policy Research
Centre University of
NSW
Australian Council of
Social Services
(02) 9385 3853
Fax: (02) 9385 1049
(02) 3324355
Fax: (02) 332 1515
TOPIC Employment incentives
and disincentives for
DSS clients of work
force age:
A review of principles
and evidence
RESEARCHER Bradbury, Bruce
Eardley, Tony
OBJECTIVES To review the evidence
& METHOD on different work
incentive policies and
their effectiveness, and to
consider what principles
should be followed in
implementing those
aspects of income
support policy across
different population
subgroups.
A critical review of the
Australian and
international literature.
CONTACT (02) 9385 3853
Fax: (02) 9385 1049
SSJ, 1996, Project Notes: Labour market programs
Research method
includes a review of
literature and a one day
seminar of ‘experts’.
145
LABOUR MARKET PROGRAMS
TOPIC Linkage project
RESEARCHER Newall, Susan
OBJECTIVES To identify barriers and
& METHOD links between labour
market programs and more
formal vocational
education and training for
disadvantaged unemployed
people.
Research method includes
a review of literature and
quantitative data; focus
groups in four regions;
semi-structured interviews
with key informants; and
‘expert’ seminars in
Sydney, Brisbane and
Melbourne to draw out
policy implications of field
research. Final report:
National Conference 22
May 1996.
TIME FRAME January 1995-May 1996
INSTITUTION Australian Council of
Social Services
CONTACT (02) 332 4355
Fax: (02)332 1515
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Labour market programs
146
ASSISTANCE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
TOPIC Surviving in the labrinth:
Towards a fundamental
change in income support
for young people (issues
paper examining young
people and a common
allowance)
RESEARCHER Croce, Carol
OBJECTIVES The Australian Youth
& METHOD Policy Action Coalition
(AYPAC) has decided to
pursue a campaign
advocating for a common
allowance within the
income support system.
The issue paper was
developed for the youth
sector (generally) and the
AYPAC membership
(specifically) to identify
problems with the
existing income support
system.
A final version of the
paper will include
endorsed AYPAC
positions on the key issue
raised in the paper.
TIME FRAME February 1995-May 1996
INSTITUTION Australian Youth Policy
and Action Coalition
CONTACT (06) 247 1666
Fax: (06) 247 1799
SSJ, 1996, Project Notes: Assistance for young people
147
INCOME SUPPORT RESEARCH - OTHER
TOPIC Transfer between
payment types within the
Department of Social
Security
RESEARCHER Beahan, Michael
Payment customisation:
An investigation into
options for advance
payment and deferral of
social security payments
Characteristics of and
outcomes for homeless
persons accessing the
Supported
Accommodation
Assistance Program
(SAAP) services
Davidson, Peter
Foard, Glenn
To investigate options for
enabling DSS customers
to access lump sum
advances or to defer
payments at their request
by conducting focus
groups with financial
Integration of department counsellors who provide
databases to form a time financial advice to low
income groups,
series analysis.
particularly Social
Security customers.
OBJECTIVES To investigate the
& METHOD transfer of customers
between different
payment types within the
Department of Social
Security.
Focus groups of financial
counsellors.
TIME FRAME February 1996- May
1996
INSITUTION Department of Social
Security
CONTACT (06) 244 7719
Fax: (06)244 7976
To develop and analyse a
national data collection
concerning the
characteristics of and
outcomes for persons
accessing SAAP
Services.
A national survey of
SAAP service providers
is being developed to
provide data concerning
the characteristics of and
outcomes for persons
accessing SAAP
services. This data will
be the basis of analysis.
February 1996- May
1996
October 1995-October
1998
Australian Council of
Social Services
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
(02) 332 4355
Fax: (02) 332 1515
(06) 244 1192
Fax: (06) 244 1199
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support research – other
148
INCOME SUPPORT RESEARCH - OTHER
Evaluation of Widow
TOPIC Poverty, financial
Allowance and Widow B
counselling an
Pension
emergency relief in the
city of Whittlesea
RESEARCHER Gourlay, Michael
The impact of the socioeconomic environment
on housing needs
Hatton, John
Kapuscinski, Cezary
Karmel, Rose
An examination of the
impact of the phase out
of the Widow B Pension
on women who would be
eligible before the phase
out.
To examine the
importance of a range of
socio-economic
characteristics with
respect to housing needs
amoung households.
An examination of the
appropriateness of
Widow Allowance as an
income support payment.
Research method
includes a qualitative
research through
moderated focus groups;
and quantitative survey
research and analysis of
ABS and DSS data.
Using ABS data, an
econometric
methodology is to be
used to estimate the
importance of household
characteristics with
respect to housing needs
and to predict the
probability of being in
housing need given
particular household
characteristics.
TIME FRAME March 1996- September
1996
March 1996- November
1996
June 1995- February
1996
INSTITUTION Family Resource Centre
Department of Social
Security
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
(06)244 5791
06) 244 1200
Fax: (06) 244 1199
OBJECTIVES Outline extent of
& METHOD poverty, causes of
demand for emerfency
relief and adequacy of
existing services.
Interviews with service
providers.
CONTACT (03) 9646 2622
Fax: (03) 9464 2654
SSJ, 1996, Project Notes: Income support research – other
149
INCOME SUPPORT RESEARCH - OTHER
TOPIC Housing outcomes across Living standards and
tenure
non-cash income
RESEARCHER Karmel, Rose
OBJECTIVES To examine the incidence
& METHOD of housing needs across
tenures and to determine
factors affecting housing
needs. Where data
permits, the extent of
alleviation of housing
needs through housing
assistance such as rent
assistance will be
examined.
Housing outcomes for
households of varying
tenures, including those
receiving rent assistance
and those in public
rental, are analysed using
ABS data. As well, the
outcomes for households
with a range of
characteristics are to be
examined.
Welfare services
expenditure
Moyle, Helen
Pinyopusarerk, M.
Goss, J
As part of the DSS
Community Research
Project, to produce three
discussion papers:
‘Contribution of cash and
non-cash elements to
enhancement of living
standards’; ‘Socail
participation and
inclusion’; and
‘Information technology
and living standards’.
Compile, analyse and
publish welfare services
expenditure by source of
funds and type of
services.
Research methods
include a review of
current literature on
Australian and overseas
research on living
standards and an
evaluation of past or
current examples of new
activities, services and
resources in Australia
and overseas.
Obtain data from the
Australian Bureau of
Statistics,
Commonwealth Grants
Commission, State
Welfare authorities and
leading non-government
organisations as to type
of expenditure and
source of funding. Data
compiled and analysed.
TIME FRAME June 1995- December
1996
February 1995December 1995
1994-ongoing
INSTITUTION Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
(06) 244 1200
Fax: (06) 244 1199
(06) 244 1200
Fax: (06) 244 1199
CONTACT (06) 244 1200
Fax: (06) 244 1199
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: Income support research – other
150
INCOME SUPPORT RESEARCH - OTHER
TOPIC Introducing a guaranteed
minimum income
RESEARCHER Tomlinson, Dr John
OBJECTIVES Find ways to introduce a
& METHOD guaranteed minimum income
in Australia.
Monitoring policy
developments and emerging
critical analysis.
Evaluation of the
operation of the
compensation provisions
of the Social Security Act
1991
Woodacre, Mark
To gauge the level of
community acceptance
and understanding of the
compensation provisions
and the level of
compliance by insurance
industry with their
obligations under the Act.
Community surveyqualitative research by
Rush Social Research; and
a survey of insurers.
TIME FRAME On going
October 1995 – May 1996
INSTITUTION Social Science Department
Queensland University of
Technology
Department of Social
Security
CONTACT (07) 386 44528
Fax: (07) 286 44995
(06) 244 6559
Fax: (06) 244 7939
June 1996, Project Notes: Income support research – other
151
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE ACOSS Paper No 71 – ACOSS Paper No 72
– Youth Income
Super, Saving and
Support
Inequality
ACOSS Paper No
73 – The Future of
Work and Incomes
Australian Council of
Social Services
(ACOSS)
Australian Council
of Social Services
(ACOSS) and the
Commission for the
Future of Work
Reform of youth
payments; and
income support for
homeless young
people.
Examines the
changes in the
nature of work in
Australia.
PRICE $13
(incl p&p)
$15
$11
No OF 38
PAGES
(approx)
58
34
Australian Council of
Social Services
Australian Council
of Social Services
(02) 332 4355
Fax: (02) 332 1515
(02) 332 4355
Fax: (02) 332 1515
AUTHOR Australian Council of
Social Services
(ACOSS)
SCOPE & The benefits of
OBJECTIVES superannuation.
PUBLISHER/ Australian Council of
SUPPLIER Social Services
CONTACT (02) 332 4355
Fax: (02) 332 1515
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
152
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE Australia’s Welfare
1993: Services and
Assistance
AUTHOR Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australia’s Welfare
1995: Services and
Assistance
Welfare Services
Expenditure Bulletin No.
1
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
SCOPE &
OBJECTIVES
PRICE $29.95
(incl p&p)
NO OF 393
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ Australian Institute of
SUPPLIER Health and Welfare
CONTACT (06) 244 1000
Fax: (06) 244 1199
Regular bulletin
providing national data
on welfare
$35.00
$5
414
28
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
(06) 244 1000
Fax: (06) 244 1199
(06) 244 1000
Fax: (06) 244 1199
June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
153
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE Commonwealth/State
Disability Agreement
National Minimum Data
Set: Report on the 1994
Full-Scale Pilot Test
AUTHOR Black, Ken
Madden Ros
Income support for
Parents and Other Carers
Social Security Payments
Series:
1. Children, 1912 – 1995
2. The unemployed, the
sick and those in special
circumstances, 1945 –
1995
3. Sole parents &
widowed people, 1942 –
1995
Bradbury, Bruce
Daniels, Dale
SCOPE & Mehodology, results and
OBJECTIVES recommendations arising
form the first full-scale
pilot test of a minimum
data set collection from
services provided or
funded under the CSDA.
PRICE Free
(incl p&p)
NO OF 60
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ Australian Institute of
SUPPLIER Health and Welfare
CONTACT (06) 244 1000
Fax: (06) 244 1199
These publications
provide an overview of
the development of
Social Security payments
in Australia plus a
chronology of significant
changes to each payment
over the years.
$10
Free
64
22, 32, 22
Social Policy Research
Centre University of
NSW
Parliamentary Library
Canberra
(02) 385 3857
Fax: (02) 385 1049
(06) 277 2711
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
154
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE Too Sick for Work
AUTHOR Disability Reform
Package Working Group
of the Welfare Rights
Unit
SCOPE & Research report from
OBJECTIVES phone in on problems
with disability payments.
PRICE Free
(incl p&p)
NO OF 46
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ Welfare Rights Unit
SUPPLIER
CONTACT (03) 9416 1409
Fax: (06)9419 3552
Housing Needs Analysis
in the Australian Capital
Territory
Actions Speak Louder
Foard, G
Karmel, R
Merlo, R
Phibbs, P
Hackney, Sue
Using the 1991 Census
of Population and
Housing, the incidence of
housing needs among a
range of population
groups in the ACT is
examined using a new
model developed within
the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.
The use of the resulting
information in needs
based planning is
discussed.
Developing an
affirmative action plan
for women with a
disability – history,
income, education,
rehabilitation
employment and
unemployment, equal
opportunity, law,
respectful language and
behaviour.
(to be advised)
$5.00
(to be advised)
118
Housing Policy and
Stratefic Planning Group
ACT Housing
Disability Action Inc
(06) 207 1432
Fax: (06) 207 1174
(08) 352 8599
Fax: (08) 354 0049
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
155
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE The Complete A-Z of
Retirement
AUTHOR Henderson, Robyn
SCOPE & Contains 250 of the most
OBJECTIVES asked questions about
retirement and a contact
list of major
organisations. It also
contains details of major
social and demographic
studies and some
humour.
PRICE $24.95
(incl p&p)
NO OF 375
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ RMB 738
SUPPLIER ANNA BAY NSW 2316
CONTACT 018 684 524
Unemployment:
Development and
Transition
ISC Superannuation
Trustee Newsletter
Hicks, R
Creed, P
Patton, W
Tomlinson, J
Insurance and
Superannuation
Commission
To monitor current
developments and
research in
unemployment.
$40.00
Free
362
8
School of Social Science Insurance and
Queensland University of Superannuation
Technology
Commission
(07) 3864 4528
Fax: (07) 3864 4995
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
(06) 201 8614
Fax: (06) 201 8511
156
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE
A Guidebook for Small
Superannuation Funds
Trends in the
Distribution of Cash and
Non-Cash Benefits
The Definition and
Categorisation of
Disability in Austrlia
Johnson, David
Manning, Ian
Hellwig, Otto
Madden, Ros
Black, Ken
Xingyan, Wen
SCOPE &
A practical guide for
OBJECTIVES trustees of small
superannuation funds on
the laws which apply to
these funds.
The report examines
trends in the growth and
the distribution of cash
incomes and non-cash
benefits on a range of
household types for the
period 1981-82 to 199394. The research was
based on the 1988-89
ABS Household Survey
with micro-simulation
techniques used to
project backwards and
forwards in time.
An examination of
disability definition in
Australia and some
recommendations for
change.
PRICE
(incl p&p)
Free
$24.95 (main report)
$9.95 (overview)
$5.00
NO OF
PAGES
(approx)
21
221 (main report)
45 (overview)
50
PUBLISHER/
SUPPLIER
Insurance and
Superannuation
Commission
Australian Government
Publishing Service
Australian Government
Publishing Service and
Commonwealth
Government Bookshops
CONTACT
(06) 201 8531
Fax: (06) 201 8511
132 447 (toll free)
Fax: (06) 295 4888
008 020 049
AUTHOR
Insurance and
Superannuation
Commission
June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
157
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE Labour Market and
Related Payments a
Monthly Profile
From Services to
Outcomes: The
Supported
Accommodation
Assistance Program in
Victoria
AUTHOR Management Information Merlo, R
Section – DSS
Foard, G
Tregenza, J
Collett, S
SCOPE & To provide relevant
OBJECTIVES statistics on income
support payments
relating to the labour
market administered by
the Department of Social
Security.
PRICE $60 per year (12 copies)
(incl p&p)
NO OF 32
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ Department of Social
SUPPLIER Security
CONTACT (06)244 5695
Fax: (06) 244 7988
Bent over Backwards
Nelson, Dale
By analysing
administrative and
service provider data, to
develop an account of
services to homeless
people in Victoria and to
analyse, where possible,
service outcomes.
Consumer guide to
disability and related
payments.
$15
Free
210
74
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Welfare Rights Unit
(06) 244 1206
Fax: (06) 244 1199
(03) 9416 1409
Fax: (03) 9419 3552
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
158
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE
Welfare Services
Expenditure Data in
Australia
A Challenge to Work and Social Policy and
Personal Life: Changes
Welfare: Poverty in
in State, Family and
Australia in the 1990s
Community in the
Support of Informal Care
AUTHOR
Pinyopusarerk, M
Gibson, D
Saunders, Peter
Shaver, Sheila
Fine, Michael
SCOPE &
Analysis of national data
OBJECTIVES quality on welfare
services
PRICE
(incl p&p)
$10
Free
Free
NO OF
PAGES
(approx)
72
44
48
PUBLISHER/
SUPPLIER
Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare
Social Policy Research
Centre University of
NSW
Social Policy Research
Centre University of
NSW
CONTACT
(06) 244 1000
(06) 244 1199
(02) 385 3857
Fax: (02) 385 1049
(02) 385 3857
(02) 385 1049
June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
159
NEW BOOKS AND REPORTS
TITLE Universality and
Selectivity in Income
Support: A
Comparative Study in
Social Citizenship
AUTHOR Shaver, Sheila
SCOPE &
OBJECTIVES
PRICE Free
(incl p&p)
NO OF 48
PAGES
(approx)
PUBLISHER/ Social Policy
SUPPLIER Research Centre
University of NSW
CONTACT (02) 385 3857
Fax: (02) 385 1049
“Wake up” to the
Impact of Youth
Unemployment in
Belconnen
Steering Committee of
Belconnen
Unemployed Youth
Needs Project
To raise awareness of
and begin addressing
the very real needs of
long-term unemployed
young people
N/A
112
Belconnen Youth
Centre
(06) 251 4007
SSJ, June 1996, Project Notes: New books and reports
160
NOTE: The Social Security Journal Project Notes Section is compiled using forms from individual
researchers. Every effort has been made to in the original intent of the writers involved but, where necessary,
the objectives and methodology being used in specific projects have been abbreviated. Details about
obtaining copies of materials listed are as correct possible at time of printing. DSS takes no responsibility for
verifying the accuracy of entries. If you require further information about specific projects, se contact
researchers directly using the contact numbers given.
161
INCOME SUPPOPT FEEDBACK
The following three forms -'New Books and Reports', 'Current Research Projects' and 'Other Researchers' are designed to gather summary information on income support related issues for the December 1996 edition
of the Social Security Journal.
The Project Notes Section first appeared in the December 1994 edition of the Journal. It was very well
received and is currently assisting community agencies and specialists across Australia as a useful resource.
Due to its success, Project Notes was expanded for the June 1995 edition to include details about new reports
and books in the income support field, as well as a selective bibliography.
The 'New Books and Reports' form is for the return of information about any new reports, newsletters or
books which have been completed in the last year which you would like to publicise through the Journal.
As with previous editions of the Journal, we are also seeking brief information on current research projects
in the income support field. If you are involved in any such research, please complete the 'Current Research
Projects' form. If you know of any other researchers currently working in this field please complete the 'Other
Researchers' form.
Completed forms should be mailed to:
Ms Melinda Robson
Social Security Journal
Department of Social Security
Box 7788
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610
or faxed on (06) 244 7999 for inclusion in subsequent editions of the Journal.
For further information, please telephone Ms Robson on (06) 244 5540.
162
163
164
165
SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY ON SOCIAL SECURITY ISSUES
This bibliography was compiled by staff in the Department of Social Security Library.
'A Commission for the Future of Work' (1995) Impact, August, Future of Work
Bulletin (insert), p. ii.
A Report on Aspects of Youth Homelessness (1995) House of Representatives
Standing Committee on community Affairs, Canberra.
'A slap in the face for the working poor' (1995) The Economist, Vol. 336,
No. 7922, 8 July, pp. 31-32.
'A white third world' (1995) Parity, Issue 4, Vol. 8, May, P. 4.
Acaster, P. et al. (1995) 'One to one', Community Care, No. 1097, 7-13
December, p. 10.
ACOSS Response to Industry Commission Inquiry into Charitable Organisaions:
Draft Report (1995) ACOSS Paper No. 69, Australian Council of Social Service, East Sydney.
Adequacy and Equity in Retirement Incomes: Submission to file Strategic Review of
Pensions Income and Assets Tests (1994) Brotherhood of St. Laurence,
Fitzroy, Vic.
Adler, M. (ed.) (1994) Democracy and Social Security, New Waverley Papers,
Social Policy Series No. 7, University of Edinburgh, Department of Social Policy and Social Work,
Edinburgh.
'Administration on Children, Youth and Families Child Care Bureau:
Child Care Research Partnerships' (1995) Youth Record, Vol. 7, No. 12, 30 June, p. 5.
Administrative Review Council (1994) Administrative Review and Funding
Programs: (A Case Study of Community Services Programs), Report No. 37, Administrative Review
Council, Canberra.
Adnett, N. (1995) 'Social dumping and European economic integration',
Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1-12.
Agafonoff, A. (1995) 'Attacking poverty through microenterprise financing',
Agenda, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 341-350.
Ahrend, P. and Doetsch, P. (1995) 'Amendment of pension schemes and
reduction of benefits in Germany', IBIS Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, September, pp. 12-14.
'Aid to families with dependent children (AFDC)' (1995) Youth Record, Vol. 7,
No. 11, 15 June, pp. 8-9.
167
Aitken, C. and Ironmonger, D. (1995) 'Household expenditure surveys',
The Australian Economic Review, No. 112, 4th Quarter, October-December, pp. 86-88.
Alber, J. (1995) 'A framework for the comparative study of social services',
Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 131-149.
Allocated Pensions: Sixteenth Report of the Senate Select Committee on
Superannuation (1995) The Committee, Canberra.
'American pensions: Grey area' (1995) The Economist, Vol. 335, No. 7917, \
3 June, P. 73.
Anderson, E. (1995) 'Welfare by waiver: a response', Public Welfare, Spring, pp.
44-51.
Anderson, I. (1994) Access to Housing for Low Income Single People: A Review of
Recent Research and Current Policy Issues, University of York, Centre for Housing Policy, York.
'Another home, another chance' (1995) The Economist, Vol. 336, No. 7931,
September 9-15, pp. 40-45.
Antoun, R. and Leong, E. (1995) 'Housing in China', Benefits and Compensation
International, Vol. 25, No. 2, September, pp. 20-23.
Arber, S. and Ginn, J. (1995) 'Gender differences in the relationship between
paid employment and informal care', Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 9, No. 3, September, pp.
445471.
Arestis, P. and Marshall, M. (eds) (1995) The Political Economy of Full
Employment: Conservatism, Corporatism and Institutional Change, E. Elgar Pub., Aldershot, Hants,
England.
Arrau, P. and Schmidt-Hebbel, K. (1995) Pension Systems and Reforms: Country
Experiences and Research Issues, World Bank, Macroeconomics and Growth Division, Washington,
D.C.
Arthur, V. and Wiffin, J. (1995) 'A plea to practitioners', Community Care, No.
1092,26 October-1 November, p. 21.
ASFA Response to the Cass Report or (sic) Retirement Incomes (1989) Association
of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Sydney.
'Assessment: welfare reform' (1995) Youth Record, Vol. 7, No. 14, 31 July,
pp. 19-21.
Atkinson, M., et al. (1995) 'Planning retirement income in Australia: routes
through the maze', The Australian Economic Review, No. 112, 4th Quarter, October-December, pp. 1528.
Austin, C. and Horton, N. (1995) 'Homelessness - a national awareness
strategy', Parity, Issue 4, Vol. 8, May, p. 3.
168
Baker, J. (1995) 'Basic Income in Ireland: recent developments', Citizen's
Income, No. 20, July, pp. 10-11.
Balls, E. and Gregg, P. (1993) Work and Welfare: Tackling the Jobs Deficit, Issue
Paper No. 3, Commission on Social justice, Institute for Public Policy Research, London.
Bane, M. (1995) 'Reviewing the waiver review process', Public Welfare,
Winter, Vol. 53, No.1, pp. 7-9.
Barton, L. (1995) 'Aging and economics: a comparative examination of
responses by the United States, Great Britain and Japan', International Journal of Sociology and Social
Policy, Vol. 15, Nos 1/2/3, pp. 120-133.
Barton, T. and Pillai, V. (1994) 'Differences in spell lengths between the
AFDC-Basic and AFDC-Unemployed Parents Programs', Journal of Social Service Research, Vol. 19,
Nos 1/2, pp. 1-22.
Baume, P. (1995) 'Towards a liberal welfare policy', Australian Journal of Public
Administration, Vol. 54, No. 2, June, pp. 196-204.
Beaglehole, A. (1994) 'Benefiting women', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand,
Issue 3, December, pp. 82-87.
Becker, S. (1995) 'Carers across the border', Community Care, No. 1089,
5-11 October, pp. 22-23.
Ben-Zvi, Z. (1995) 'The working relations system in Israel', IBIS Review,
Vol. 10, No. 4, October, pp. 20-21.
'Benefit the community: reforming meaningful work' (1995) Youth Record,
Vol. 7, No. 6, March 31, pp. 8-1 0.
Bennett, F. (1993) Social Insurance: Reform or Abolition? IPPR, London.
Benoit-Guilbot, 0. and Gallie, D. (1994) Long-Term Unemployment, Social
change in Western Europe, Pinter Publishers, London.
Beresford, P. and Croft, S. (1995) 'Time for a new approach to anti-poverty
campaigning?', Poverty, No. 90, Spring, pp. 12-14.
Berg, O. (1995) 'DOL to launch savings and pension education campaign',
EBRI Notes, Vol. 16, No. 6, June, pp. 1-3.
Berthoud, R. (1995) 'The "medical" assessment of incapacity: a case study of
research and policy', Journal of Social Security Law, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 61-85.
Besharov, D. (1995) 'Using work to reform welfare', Public Welfare, Vol. 53,
No. 3, Summer, pp. 17-20.
Bessant, J. (1995) 'The discovery of an Australian "juvenile underclass"',
The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 1, March, pp. 32-48.
169
Bines, W. (1994) The Health of Single Homeless People, Discussion Paper No. 9,
University of York, Centre for Housing Policy, York.
Bittman, M. (1995) 'Changes at the heart of family households: family
responsibilities in Australia 1974-1992', Family Matters, No. 40, Autumn, pp. 10-15.
Blackburn, M. and Bloom, D. (1994) Changes in the Structure of Family Income
Inequality in the United States and Other Industrial Nations During the 1980s, revised ed.,
Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper No. 118, CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg.
Blecher, B. (1995) 'What's happening in Kazakstan: pensions in the steppes of
Central Asia', Benefits and Compensation International, Vol. 25, No. 2, September, p. 19.
Bloch, F. (1994) Disability Benefit Claim Processing and Appeals in Six
Industrialized Countries: A Comparative Study of Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden,
Canada and the United States, Occasional Papers on Social Security, International Social Security
Association, Geneva.
Blundell, R. and Preston, I. (1995) 'Income, expenditure and the living standards of UK households', Fiscal
Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3, August, pp. 40-54.
Boisjoly, J. et al. (1995) 'Access to social capital', Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 16, No. 5, September, pp.
609-631.
Boris, E. (1994) Home to Work: Motherhood and the Politics of Industrial
Homework in the United States, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Borrie, G. (1995) 'Responsibilities as well as rights', Citizen's Income Bulletin, No. 20, July, p. 21.
Borland, J. (1995) 'Employment and income in Australia - does the
neighbourhood dimension matter?', Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 21, No. 4, December, pp. 281-293,
Boston, J. (1994) 'The implications of MMP for social policy in New Zealand',
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 3, December, pp. 2-17.
Bound, J. and Holzer, H. (1995) Structural Changes, Employment Outcomes, and Population Adjustments
Among Whites and Blacks: 1980-1990, Discussion Papers No. 95-1057, University of WisconsinMadison, Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison, Wis.
Bowen, J. (1994) Child Support: A Practitioner's Guide, Law Book Co. in association with the Child Support
Agency, North Ryde.
Bradbury, B. (1995) 'Added, subtracted or just different: why do the wives of unemployed men have such
low employment rates?', Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 21, No. 1, March, pp. 48-70.
170
Bradsher, J. et al. (1995) 'Adult day care: a fragmented system of policy and funding streams', Journal of
Aging and Social Policy, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 17-38.
Brandon, P. (1995) Vulnerability to Future Dependence Among Former AFDC Mothers, Discussion Papers
No. 95-1055, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison, Wis.
Bridges, W. (1995) JobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without jobs, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards,
NSW.
'Brief country profiles on financing of social security and related aspects', Asia and Pacific News Sheet, Vol.
25, No. 2, June, pp. 6-13.
Briggs, L. (1994) Meeting the Challenge: Labour Market Trends and the Income Support System,
Department of Social Security, Canberra.
Brincat, F. (ed.) (1994) There's more to life than traditional employment: recognise all skills, increase the
value and status of all people in society, not just those people with 'real' jobs: forum proceedings,
Monday, 11 October 1993, Creative Recreation Consultants, Adelaide.
'Bronx program searches the streets for teen welfare moms' (1995) Welfare to Work, Vol. 4, No. 8, 24 April,
P. 59.
Brooks, C. (1995) 'The Top 7: questions (and answers) about the long-term unemployed and the overseasborn', BIMPR Bulletin, No. 14, August, pp. 13-14.
Brotherhood of St. Laurence (1994) Adequacy and Equity in Retirement Incomes: Submission to the Strategic
Review of Pensions Income and Assets Tests, Brotherhood of St. Laurence, Fitzroy, Vic.
Brown, P. (1995) 'Cultural capital and social exclusion: some observations on recent trends in education,
employment and the labour market', Work Employment and Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, March, pp. 31-51.
Bruce, J. et al. (1995) Families in Focus: New Perspectives on Mothers, Fathers, and Children, Population
Council, New York.
Bull, J. (1995) The Housing Consequences of Relationship Breakdown, Discussion Paper No. 10, University
of York, Centre for Housing Policy, York.
Burghes, L. (1994) Lone Parenthood and Family Disruption: The Outcomes for Children, Occasional Paper
No. 18, Family Policy Studies Centre, London.
Burke, T. (1995) 'The future of homelessness', SAAP News, April, pp. 18-19.
Burkhauser, R. et al. (1994) Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using
Alternative Equivalence Scales, Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper No. 117, CEPS/
INSTEAD, Luxembourg.
Bushell, S. (1995) 'Hi-tech welfare system nearing second phase’, Computerworld, Vol. 17, No. 38, April 28,
p. 1O. sues
171
Butler, A. (1995) 'The impact of social welfare policies on self-initiative and family structure: the case of
Poland', Social Service Review, Vol. 69, No. 1, March, pp. 1-30.
Butlin, A. et al. (1995) Closing the Gaps: An Evaluation of the job Placement Employment and Training
(JPET) Pilot Program for Homeless Youth, Palm Management, Canberra.
Callund, D. (1995) 'Non-state pensions in the Russian Federation', Benefits and Compensation International,
Vol. 25, No. 5, December, pp. 12-17.
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208
MAJOR PUBLICATIONS FROM THE
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY
The Department of Social Security publishes three series of major papers through the
Australian Government Publishing Service.
The Policy Research Series is the oldest and most established series within DSS. It enables the Department
to disseminate information, data and analysis which stems from major research projects and evaluations, and
provides a valuable source of primary material that would not otherwise be available to specialists within the
academic, community and welfare sectors. While Research Papers sometimes include a range of policy
options and recommendations about program development, the primary role of the papers is to table detailed
project findings for public use.
The Policy Discussion Series is intended to facilitate public discussion about more general policy issues. In
some instances the papers focus on aspects of the social security system that may require review in the
context of changing social norms. In other cases, papers look at specific policy options as a means of
generating public discussion and feedback as part of the process of policy development.
The Technical Series is different to the Policy Research and Policy Discussion Series in that its primary
purpose is to enhance the range of basic technical information available to people working in the academic
and welfare sectors and assist people in understanding how the current system works. In time, the series will
also provide teachers in a range of tertiary institutions with course materials for students in the wider area of
social policy.
The three series are designed to complement the issues and functions of the Social Security Journal, which is
published twice a year. The Journal has five sections, covering Major Articles, Social Security Notes, Book
Reviews, Social Security Statistics and Project Notes. In addition to publishing a wide range of articles about
social security issues and trends, authors cover processes and functions within DSS and new resource
materials available in Australia. The Journal has a comprehensive listing of major research projects in
progress in Australia and details about new books and reports.