Social (In)Security and Inequality in Australia: The Limited Role of Human Rights in the Policy Debate

Federation Press
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Law and Poverty in Australia 40 Years after the Poverty Commission, 2017, pp. 183 - 198
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This chapter explores the place of human rights within policy and legislative debates on social security in Australia 40 years after the Sackville Report recommended that the government treat income support as a right. It examines recent consideration by the Federal Parliament of the right to social security and the response by non-governmental bodies to violations of the right by the Australian Government. The chapter concludes that the international right to social security, while gaining greater prominence and definition, has proved limited in its capacity to improve the lives of Australians facing poverty, insecurity and inequality in the current political and legal context. The chapter proposes that calls for a right to social security should be linked to a right to equality and reiterates the long-standing and widely-held view that enforceable human rights are overdue in Australia.
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