Podcast: A sense of social insecurity

24 October 2019

Episode Summary

On this week’s Policy Forum Pod, we look at tackling poverty in Australia: how we should measure it, what’s causing it, why there seems precious little political will to address it, and what policies we could put in place that would make an immediate difference.

Episode Notes

Compared to its OECD peers, Australia has an above-average poverty rate and couples this with rising rates of homelessness, an increasingly casualised workforce, and dole rates so low that a chorus of voices from across the political spectrum is calling for an increase in the Newstart payment. But has the country really got the measure of poverty rates and their impacts? What’s life really like on the breadline? And what policies do we need to ensure a social welfare system that protects the most vulnerable in society? This week on Policy Forum Pod a brilliant panel – Nicole Wiggins, Dr John Falzon, and Professor Matthew Gray – tackle these questions and more. Listen here.

Pod presenters Professor Sharon Bessell and Martyn Pearce also discuss Australia’s Anti-Poverty Week, Australia’s Women of Influence, whether writing to MPs is an effective way of changing policy, and last week’s Great Green Debate live event.

Matthew Gray is Director of the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods and Director of Research, College of Arts and Social Sciences at The Australian National University. He was previously Director of the ANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and Director of Research, and prior to that, Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

John Falzon OAM is Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice at Per Capita. He is also a sociologist, poet, and social justice advocate, and was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society from 2006 to 2018. John’s current work focuses on social security reform, housing and homelessness, workers’ rights, and rebuilding the concept of the common good across society.

Nicole Wiggins is Director of the Early Morning Centre. The Early Morning Centre is a community hub supporting Canberra people who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness and those experiencing social isolation.

Sharon Bessell is a Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy, where she is co-leader of the ANU Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) team. The IDM is a new, gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

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