top of page

Ethics, politics & mutual obligation

Jeremy Moss

Over the past decade there has been a considerable shift in Western governments' treatment of unemployed welfare recipients. The post-World War II system that placed only minimal obligations on the unemployed has given way, especially in Australia, Britain and the United States, to a system in which welfare benefits are made conditional on the recipients' satisfying certain obligations to the state. It is now commonplace for governments to claim that people are not straightforwardly entitled to an unemployment benefit; rather, that benefits are conditional on their fulfilling an ever expanding range of duties. The shift from a system of entitlement to one of increased conditionality has been accompanied by a shift in the moral and political assumptions underpinning those welfare systems. In Australia this has been accompanied by the introduction of progressively harsher requirements which the unemployed have to fulfil under the requirement that they 'give something back'. This process has been justified by reference to the obligation supposedly generated by the act of receiving an unemployment benefit.

Yet, even though the idea of obligation is clearly central to the Mutual Obligation scheme, it has received far less scrutiny than it deserves. The new range of enforceable obligations the unemployed are now presumed to have to 'society' - that is, officialdom - raises the question of the sort of obligations citizens of a liberal democratic state have to it, and on what basis they owe such obligations. This more general question of political obligation and its moral basis is seldom discussed in the welfare debate. However, one of the costs of this omission is that there is a risk the debate will lose sight of the rationale behind widely held notions of political and mutual obligation at the very time practical obligations are being significantly increased.

The shift towards greater conditionality of benefits has occurred without any convincing justification. Indeed, other than (numerous) throwaway lines and slogans - which in any case are often inconsistent - there is little but a general appeal to 'fairness': the argument being, roughly, that it is fair to impose obligations and sanctions for breaches of those obligations because the state has supported someone when they are in need and that person, therefore, should do something in return.

The idea of fairness is one way of cashing out the scheme's rationale, and is at least a plausible source of justification for the obligation-generating nature of welfare payments. However, it is apparent from the literature surrounding the Mutual Obligation scheme - the guidelines, tender documents, reports, ministerial statements and so on - that there is often no direct appeal to the notion. The scheme's authors and administrators do not explicitly demonstrate how the value commitments contained in the scheme are obligation-generating. Their assumptions are left, if not ambiguous, then at any rate not made clearly. It is therefore necessary, with caution and disinterest, to do their job for them.

So, in a sense, what I am proposing to do is reconstruct a plausible account of obligation and then subject it to scrutiny. It is, so to speak, an unauthorised moral biography. I should note that mine is not the only possible justification, merely the one that I think best accords with the Mutual Obligation scheme.

Through this reconstruction, I want to question the idea that receiving a welfare payment is obligation-generating on at least two grounds. The first concerns whether or not people who receive a welfare benefit actually have much choice in the matter. If they do not, then it is a poor basis for an obligation-generating contract. Second, the compulsory work and training requirements that surround Mutual Obligation are justified in terms of the mutuality that is supposed to exist between the state and the individual, the so-called 'social contract'. But what are we to make of the idea of a social contract between citizens, especially those who are disadvantaged, and the state? And, crucially, how is this contract obligation-generating? My suggestion is that, with few exceptions, the mutuality is predominantly on the part of the unemployed and not of business and government. There is also little individual obvious benefit to the unemployed who are forced to do compulsory work activities - thereby fulfilling their obligation to give something back. I will also argue that there is an implied sense of personal responsibility in the justification for the scheme which unfairly blames the unemployed for their situation.

What follows will be predominantly a critique of the idea that receiving a welfare payment should generate the kind of obligations that are exemplified in the current Mutual Obligation scheme, especially the Work for the Dole program. I will argue that, as a result of the coercive nature of the scheme, the language of contract and obligation is misplaced in discussion of unemployment and welfare benefits generally. The trend in Australian welfare provision to seek to extract a benefit from the unemployed can only properly be characterised as punitive. Rather than extend an already punitive system to other disadvantaged sectors of the community, we need to break the link between benefit and enforced obligation or participation, thus undermining the idea that it 'natural' for the unemployed to give something back. In contrast, my approach to the question of who should receive welfare payments will be to 'work backwards' from examples where we typically think it appropriate for people to receive their benefit with few or no conditions as an entitlement generated through need. I will only briefly discuss a possible alternative moral basis for welfare.

I want now to characterise this appeal to fairness and try and connect it with some of the sources of Mutual Obligation policy.

Mutual obligation and fairness Those who support the concept of mutual obligation sometimes imply that it is right to give something back because it is 'fair' to do so. On the face of it, this seems an appealing principle, in accord with commonly held intuitions about fair play and reciprocity. We typically think it fair to be prepared to consent to some form of reciprocity when we accept something, even if it is only an attitude of 'gratefulness'. In the case of the unemployed, what is given to them by the state is financial assistance and possibly training. They, in turn, give back their labour and a willingness to look for work. On this account, if an unemployed person accepts benefits others have sacrificed to provide, then it is fair they should give something in exchange. By appealing to fairness, the rights the unemployed have are said to be balanced against the responsibilities they owe. Such an arrangement fulfils the social contract which putatively exists between the state and the individual.

The trend in the provision of welfare to focus on the obligations of the unemployed to society (instead of society's obligation to the unemployed) is moderated in the Final Report of the Welfare Reform Group, but still prominent. The report makes it abundantly clear that, all things being equal, welfare recipients should expect to participate in some form of social or economic activity if they are to continue to receive benefits. In fact, one of the key recommendations of the report is that mutual obligations be extended to a range of people of workforce age. Part of the rationale is that this is what the welfare recipient owes the rest of society for receiving a benefit. By encouraging participation, the report seeks to ensure that the bonds of society are maintained and strengthened. These bonds, which confer obligations as well as rights, should be exemplified in the social security system through such measures as the Work for the Dole program. Participation is emphasised as a cure for social and economic exclusion.

Though some, like the prime minister, also put an emphasis on boosting jobs (Howard 2000), the major focus of the scheme is that of giving something back. As a recent media release from department of employment workplace relations and small business puts it, Mutual Obligation is based on the premise that those who depend on the community for long periods should 'give something back to the community that supports them' (DEWRSB 2000). Or, as the minister for employment said on his appointment, 'Serious activity can be expected of a lot more welfare recipients.' (Tony Abbott cited in Allard & Clennell 2001). Work for the Dole is now the default option for those required to do a Mutual Obligation activity. Given the sometimes dubious efficacy of the program, this is evidence it is more about giving something back than training or job creation.

Interestingly, the Work for the Dole 2000 tender document also refers to the obligations of the unemployed in terms of what they can give back (DEWRSB 1999). The document is explicit in describing the program as primarily about providing services to the local community (cf Abbott 1998). Nowhere does the tender document refer to the scheme as having to provide training to the participants. Instead, the participants are to develop 'work habits' or generic work skills such as working independently, as part of a team or improving their communication skills (DEWRSB 1999: 4). While the Mutual Obligation scheme does allow some accredited training, through TAFE for instance, the primary aim is not to benefit the unemployed. That the government has chosen this and not the accredited training courses as the default position is suggestive of the underlying ethos.

While it is evident that political theory or moral philosophy has not directly informed the conceptions of obligation used by government, we may nevertheless turn to established philosophical arguments to fill out officialdom's de facto moral and political ideas. For instance, the guiding idea in John Rawls' 'principle of fairness' in A Theory of Justice is that, when citizens engage in a co-operative venture like political society and restrict their liberty in ways that 'yield advantages for all', they have a right to expect that others will do the same (Rawls 1973: Scts 18 & 52). The principle requires that all will do their fair share. Something like the principle of fairness seems to be invoked through the Mutual Obligation scheme's heavy emphasis on reciprocity. Crucial here is the idea that, by receiving benefits, the unemployed have exercised a right which thereby gives them an obligation to do something in return. Others have sacrificed their labour in order to ensure that there are resources available to provide welfare. Therefore it is fair that the beneficiaries of that sacrifice give something back.

In what follows I will analyse the idea that the unemployed in particular should give something back, and see how it holds up in the face of various practical and theoretical problems (the two often being related). I want to question the application of obligations to the unemployed along two broad lines: that a contract entered into through coercion is not obligation-generating; and that a lack of mutuality also weakens obligations.

'Accepting' unemployment benefits The contract between between the state and welfare recipient is initiated and maintained by the welfare recipient's acceptance of the benefit. The reasoning here is that, by accepting the benefit, the unemployed person has consented to the conditions of the contract. Yet we may ask how this reasoning holds up when the recipient acts not from free choice but effective coercion (coercion not being a good way of initiating an obligation or contract).

There is a difference between accepting benefits and merely receiving them. It is one thing freely to seek and accept a benefit but quite another to have no significant alternative. In the former case the person knows something is expected in return. Whereas a person who has no choice might be said merely to receive a benefit. Robert Nozick's counter-examples to Rawls are all instances of this sort of receipt (Nozick 1974: 90-96). For instance, Nozick claims that, if I am in a neighbourhood where the rest of the residents implement a public address system which broadcasts useful bulletins that I cannot avoid, I have only received this benefit and do not incur any obligations. While it is true that I might benefit from the information that is contained in the broadcast, I would also have a great deal of difficulty avoiding the benefit unless I was prepared to relocate. Many general 'public goods' are of this type. They are characterised by being hard to avoid but nonetheless beneficial.

Take the situation in which someone is unemployed and has no means of supporting themselves other than by receiving government welfare payments. The 'choice' they are faced with is either to take the payment or suffer the consequences of having no income. This is especially true in regions or communities with limited employment opportunities. The point applies a fortiori to particular categories of people who cannot find work, such as the disabled. We might describe this situation as one where the person is obligated rather than having obligations. Someone has political obligations where they, for instance, freely consent to authority or a contract in the manner discussed above. But when circumstances force them to act in a certain way they are obligated.

The situation of most welfare recipients is comparable: closer to a case of coercion than of consent. Therefore, the notion of fairness generated by receiving unemployment benefits is misplaced if a person really has little choice about whether they can refuse them. The salient point is that receiving benefits in the above sense is not a good basis on which to base obligations. So, while there are legal obligations that follow from receiving the benefit, there are few moral or political obligations.

There is also the issue of the sense in which we should think of a Mutual Obligation agreement as a fair bargain. The contract signed between the welfare recipient and the state is negotiated through a process where the signatories are not on an equal footing. The welfare recipient has no real real power to negotiate - only the opportunity to pick from a relatively narrow range of options to fulfil their mutual obligations. (Even then, the formal options offer less choice than might at first appear. Joining the Army Reserve or the Green Corps, for example, is hardly a serious option for many older people.) And, as noted, they will also most likely be constrained by the need to gain financial support. While there are welfare rights organisations which might offer support in a limited number of circumstances, there is nothing like negotiating power that might come, say, through a union, or the threat to withdraw one's labour. Those who have to sign a Mutual Obligation agreement are some of society's most economically vulnerable people.

Mutual benefit A second major difficulty for the obligation-generating nature of the scheme is that, for a scheme to generate moral or political obligations, it must be mutually beneficial. It is hard to underestimate this idea in the current Australian welfare debate, as so much of the appeal of the scheme comes from the sense of benefit to the unemployed to be achieved through compulsory work. First, through undertaking compulsory work or training, an individual might improve their chances of finding appropriate employment in the general labour market. Leaving aside for the moment the issue of whether or not it is morally right to tie an individual's benefit to participation of this kind, it is questionable whether the Mutual Obligation scheme, as it now functions, actually performs this role at all well. The largest component of the scheme, Work for the Dole, is only partly designed for this purpose. Its emphasis on generic work skills is unlikely to produce high employment rates, as the study of the pilot program has shown. It is also hard to see how these generic skills are any sort of substitute for specific skills and training. I do not want to ignore the fact that there are training components to Mutual Obligation which do provide useful skills and training. But even these may ultimately be of little use while there is an oversupply of labour. Nor does it take into account that for people who lack marketable skills, have little experience in the workforce and are, perhaps, located in communities with few job openings, there is little justification for using terms of blame or mutuality. While it is true that at this stage Mutual Obligation activities only apply to those under thirty-four years of age - and Minister Abbott has made it clear this will change - it should also be pointed out that low skilled jobs are often those relied on by people seeking to enter the workforce. Lack of previous experience of work in an industry or a lack of training obviously reduces the chance of finding a job. What this shift to a new punitive unemployment policy does is recast the issue in terms of the attitudes and motivations of those affected by structural unemployment - an approach that ignores the demand side of the economy by seeing the problem as one that lies with the attitudes and dispositions of labour itself. It also fails to take into account the barriers widespread racism may place in the way of indigenous or ethnic jobseekers.

The beneficial effect of compulsory work and training on an unemployed person's self-esteem is another selling point of the scheme. But insofar as an individual might be compelled to engage in a low skill work task to fulfil their obligation, especially where they object to such a task, it is hard to see how their self-esteem would be raised. Similarly, the types of work that Work for the Dole might lead to may well lack the characteristics of satisfying jobs. They may, for instance, be insecure, low-paid and unfulfilling - which, it has been argued, is precisely what has happened in the United States (Peck 1990: 815).

Mutual obligations?

From the beginning the Mutual Obligation scheme has been interpreted as reflecting broader social bonds. The trend is continued in the Final Report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform, as in its insistence that the obligations for the provision of welfare and access to participation lie with governments, business and the wider community as well as welfare recipients. Indeed, the report goes so far as to say that the obligations of government and business are no less important than those of the individual. The government duly notes that its role is not just to provide income support but also to 'invest more widely in helping people of workforce age build their capacities for economic and social participation' (FACS 2000: 35). The role of business is also said to be part of the overall picture of obligations. Not surprisingly, however, the obligations each of these sections of society have are treated very differently. The best example is the nature of the coercive measures associated with each sector's obligations. While individuals are subject to a rigorously imposed set of breaches for failing to comply with their obligations, the report sets down no enforceable obligations for business. Given that the main contribution a business can make to the problem of unemployment is the provision of jobs (and training), there seems to be a definite lack of mutuality in not making business fulfil its acknowledged moral obligations to society. Without such enforced obligations it seems inconsistent and unfair to penalise individuals who are looking for work and not the organisations who do not provide enough of it. A similar point might be made against the lack of job provision by governments. In the context of such unequal distribution of obligations and coercion, it makes it hard to discern how mutuality, so construed, is fair.

It is appropriate also to note that not only are the penalties unequally distributed, but that those imposed on welfare recipients are in and of themselves unduly harsh. Since 1997, Activity Test breaches have increased by 102 per cent (the Activity Test is a test of whether the unemployed are looking for work or fulfilling their mutual obligations). Overall, ACOSS estimates that in the 1999-2000 financial year over 220,000 will have been breached (ACOSS 2000: 2). Not only is the breach rate excessive, it should be pointed out that these are merely breaches of social security rules, not instances of fraud. The imposition of such harsh penalties on some of the most vulnerable members of society must raise serious questions about the motivations of those who stress the fairness of the 'contract'.

As a practical point, if the Mutual Obligation scheme really is concerned with giving something back, then Work for the Dole is a particularly inefficient way of achieving this goal. Given the increasing toughness of the Activity Tests, the harsher penalties for breaches and the savings that accrue to the government for such breaches, the Scheme seems geared more towards punishing the unemployed than actually allowing them to give something back. When we add to this the conspicuous lack of success of Work for the Dole in finding work for the long-term unemployed in particular, it is hard not to conclude that the scheme is essentially punitive. This makes it even more difficult to justify using the language of social bonds or contract to characterise the scheme. There is nothing very fair or mutual about imposing penalties on society's more vulnerable members.

A final, broader and possibly even more significant point on mutuality. Why, among all state dependants, are the unemployed singled out to give something back as a condition of mutuality? Think of the criteria of mutuality that currently apply to other classes of needy individuals in the community. For example, if someone is involved in an accident and sustains an injury that requires emergency treatment in a hospital, then we typically think that they should have such treatment without incurring a debt to society, which they then have to repay. Funding shortfalls in hospitals notwithstanding, it is a 'no fault' benefit which anyone can access. Regardless of the blame attached to the injury, we typically think that society ought to provide support for the injured or sick, even where their condition is largely self-imposed (as with those who have indulged recklessly in alcohol, tobacco, chocolate or sport). As a matter of consistency, why should the principle of mutuality not be extended to those who have received public hospital treatment? If we agree with the idea that it is fair to give something back for receiving assistance in times of need, then why shouldn't hospital patients give something back when they have recovered? One might say that they have already done so through paying their taxes or the Medicare levy. But many people probably do not cover these costs in that way. And even if it we accept that those who benefited from hospital care have given something back through the taxation system, then surely the same point could be made about the contributions of the unemployed, many of whom have been, are, or will be again, taxpayers. While the contributions of the unemployed have been recognised in the Final Report, it has not been incorporated into the practice of the scheme. One important distinction made by the government that illustrates this point is the one between taxpayers and social security recipients. This is particularly apparent with the Work for the Dole program, which is specifically directed towards making the unemployed give something back. But the extent of these contributions that many of the unemployed may have made do not end with taxation or paid work. If they are parents then they have contributed to society through their efforts in raising their children. They might also have volunteered for some charitable organisation or been a member of a community group and so on.

Personal responsibility and the unemployed What would appear to distinguish (in official eyes) the unobligated hospital patient and the welfare recipient is, in part, an importation of specifically moral premises. Apart from giving something back, there is also arguably a sense that the unemployed should assume particular responsibility for their situation. This is a very important moral motivation for the scheme and a moral map of the scheme's commitments would be incomplete without considering it.

If we look at the negative side of the public discussion of unemployment, one of the recurring themes in the unemployment or welfare debate is the image of the 'dole bludger'. Take, again, the well known comments of Tony Abbott on the unemployed being 'lazy' or 'job snobs'. Although this is not yet an official part of government policy, ministers other than Abbott have consistently used language suggestive of 'blaming the victims' for not having succeeded in finding work. Even the language of the Mutual Obligation scheme has this effect. For instance, the very label 'Work for the Dole' is disparaging, given the connotations of the term 'dole' (notably, 'dole bludger'). This portrayal of the unemployed distorts the very real difficulties faced by many job seekers. It essentially blames the victim for there not being sufficient jobs. As such, it is both unhelpful and insulting to the unemployed.

This sense of moral responsibility assumed by the Mutual Obligation scheme is one of the ways in which the unemployed are both morally and practically separated from other welfare recipients. What discriminates among the classes of welfare is often not the neediness of the recipients or the seriousness of the social problem. The language used to describe the scheme's goals appeals to moral terms such as self-reliance, reducing dependency, self-motivation and respecting the individual. Take the example of dependency. The Mutual Obligation scheme assumes that it is not only unfortunate that people are dependent on others, but that there is something morally wrong with this dependency. Dependence is a situation most people, including the unemployed, do not find desirable. While we might agree that, ideally, everyone should be responsible for many of their own needs and not depend on others, we should be careful to note that the emphasis on reducing dependency by forcing people off social security benefits is actually an emphasis on reducing state dependency (Goodin & Schmidtz 1998: 17ff).

Consider some other contexts where dependency is acceptable. Children are dependent on their families or relatives, the aged are often dependent on others for care, as are the sick or disadvantaged. We do not normally see these cases as inherently morally problematic. In the broader welfare sector there are plenty of welfare recipients dependent on the state for benefits who are not subject to anything like the level of condemnation as the unemployed: veterans, pensioners, people on disability pensions, women with children and so on. In fact, according to a discussion paper released by Senator Newman, the unemployed account for less than one third of the welfare budget (Newman 1999: 5). What separates them, it would appear, is the moral premise that they are responsible for their situation in a way others are not (including those with self-imposed injury or illness).

This is, at the very least, contestable. Where there is structural unemployment, the unemployed are no more responsible for their condition than are other dependent groups for theirs. Goals such as reducing dependency, creating self-reliance and giving something back are all very well in themselves, but there has to be a non-question begging account of why these cases of dependency are bad and others are not. It is the slide between legitimate and non-legitimate dependency that enables the more punitive welfare policies to gain some of their appeal.

Conclusion: Breaking the link between participation and obligation. I end by drawing a number of brief conclusions about the Mutual Obligation scheme and its obligation-generating nature. What I have argued so far has been a kind of immanent critique of the scheme; most simply, that even on its own terms it is not obligation-generating. Because of a lack of mutuality, dependence on coercion and not consent and a narrow definition of work, the scheme does not generate obligations, certainly not of the sort currently extracted. Moreover, it seems that the idea that it is somehow fair to require the unemployed to give something back is not as natural as it might appear. What this means in policy terms is that benefits should not be tied to participation because participation, where it is enforced, relies on a sense of the unemployed owing something. I am not arguing that participation is undesirable, only that the link between benefit and obligation (of the kind currently sought) needs to be broken. If this is the case, then it is inappropriate to use contractual language to describe a welfare scheme.

In terms of the moral and political considerations involved in welfare policy, Australia is heading in the wrong direction. If it is doubtful that we should tie the benefits paid to the unemployed to their participation and general fulfilment of a debt to society, then it is even more dubious to seek to enforce obligations on other disadvantaged groups who receive benefits. The sense of obligation generated by social security programs directed at the disabled and single mothers is weaker than that of the unemployed for a whole range of obvious reasons.

The de facto rationale of the current scheme is more properly characterised as punitive than enabling. The tougher Activity Tests, harsher penalties for breaches, savings to government as a result of breaches, the inefficient means of giving something back, as well as the lack of benefit to the individual unemployed, indicate that the scheme is based more on obligation than mutuality. The purpose of the contract between the state and the unemployed seems to be to make it harder for individuals to gain access to financial support. It is not mere rhetoric to suggest that the unemployed fulfil their part of the contract by removing themselves from government benefits.

What it seems necessary to argue, in terms of the current debate, is to work backwards (both morally and strategically) from cases or examples where we think assistance and support should not be tied to obligation or participation: hospital patients, veterans, parents with young children, the severely disabled, and so on. It is incumbent on those who make the distinction to show how and why these groups are relevantly different; why their dependence is acceptable and the dependence of certain classes of unemployed is not. We need to ask why a moral language of entitlement is appropriate in the one case but not in others.

Yet while breaking the link between obligation and benefit is a step forward in the debate, discussion should not end there. A number of both policy and moral consequences can be inferred from breaking the link between obligation and benefit. In closing I will mention some of them.

Working backwards from the kind of examples I have given is a way of focusing welfare policy on notions of entitlement, rather than the assumption they should be conditional on giving something back. In turn, what this implies is that the idea that the unemployed have an obligation resulting from some sort of social contract is misplaced in the area of welfare provision. It is inappropriate to use the language of a contract to describe a situation where a person receives a resource on the basis of entitlement instead of as a result of debt. Removing the language of debt and contract also goes some way to sidelining the element of 'blaming the victim' that runs through this whole debate.

One way in which the Final Report of the Welfare Reform Group removes the inappropriate language is through its emphasis on capacity building. In the Final Report this term is used to describe the process of the accumulation of human, financial and social capital in disadvantaged communities, which is an important goal. But the term can be equally employed to describe the sense in which individual capacities are fostered and developed. In this individual sense, capacity building can be taken to mean building personal attributes or capabilities which might be of use in personal development, rather than the generic work skills currently on offer. The benefits of focusing on this as at least one goal of welfare reform are, first, that it is not centred on the idea that being in a position of state dependence is one necessarily involving obligations of the kind to which I have been objecting; rather, it might, for example, involve negotiation, with the skills people might want or be able to acquire being decided in a process that reflects their wishes and true abilities. Secondly, capacity building is an 'agent centred' approach which focuses on the needs and conditions of the agent. It recognises that the role of welfare is to support, assist and develop, rather than to extract specified contractual obligations from, society's most vulnerable members.

These suggestions are certainly not exhaustive, but central to a reconsideration of social security benefits - at least as they apply to the unemployed - that moves away from the language of contract and obligation. Given the increasingly harsh nature of the Mutual Obligation scheme and attempts to portray the scheme as about participation and not punishment, it seems necessary to uncover the ethical commitments of this trend in welfare policy and to suggest a more entitlement based picture of how to view disadvantage.

Jeremy Moss is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne. In August 2002 he was awarded the inaugural Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics for his analysis of the ethical concepts underpinning the policy of mutual obligation. The Eureka Prizes, Australia's premier science awards, were set up in 1990 by the Australian Museum, have the support of state and federal governments, and are backed by educational institutions and private-sector companies. This article was originally published in The Australian Journal of Social Issues, Vol 36, No. 1, Feb 2001. Images courtesy Charles Csuri Algorithic Paintings.


Acknowledgements The author wishes to thank Len O'Neill for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper and Will Barrett for his comments on the final draft. Versions of this paper were presented at the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics Conference, Brisbane 2000 and at 'Mutual Obligation: Assessments and Developments' a one day workshop at the University of Melbourne, October 2000. Some of the material was also prepared for the Australia Institute.


References Abbott, T, MP, Minister for Employment Services (1999) Speech Notes, 'Work for the Dole Round Two National Launch', December 18th, Allard, T & Clennell, A. (2001) 'Abbott to take big stick to "work wary"', Sydney Morning Herald, 15 January. Australian Council of Social Service (2000) 'Social security breaches: Penalising the most disadvantaged', Sydney. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business [DEWRSB] (1999) Evaluation of the Work for the Dole Pilot Program, Canberra, AGPS. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (1999) Work for the Dole 2000 Request for Tender: Community Work Coordinators, Canberra, AGPS. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (2000), 'What is Mutual Obligation? - Questions & Answers'. Department of Family and Community Services [FACS] (2000a) Final Report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform, Participation Support for a More Equitable Society, Canberra. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, (2000b)Work for the Dole 2000 Request for Tender: Community Work Coordinators, Canberra, AGPS. Goodin, R.E. & Schmidtz, D. (1998) Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility: For and Against, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Howard, J MP, Prime Minister (2000) Federation Address, 'The Australian Way'. Klosko, G. (1992) The Principle of Fairness and Political Obligation, Boston, Rowman & Littlefield. Newman, J. Minister for Family and Community Services (1999)Discussion Paper: The Challenge of Welfare Dependency in the 21st Century, Canberra, AGPS. Nozick, R (1974) Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Oxford, Basil Blackwell. Peck, J. (1999) 'From welfare to Workfare: Costs, consequences and contradictions', Industrial Law Journal (South Africa) vol 20. Rawls, J. (1973) A Theory of Justice, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


bottom of page