Reclaiming social security for a just future: a principled approach to reform

01 October 2019

By Dina Bowman. Danielle Thornton and Shelley Mallett, 2019

We propose five principles to guide and underpin our social security system so that it contributes to a just, fair and compassionate society.


Our social security system is ill equipped to respond to current and future technological, demographic, environmental and geopolitical challenges. The authors argue that social security needs to be reframed as being there for ‘for all of us’, emphasising the unpredictability of life events such as becoming disabled or experiencing an unexpected health downturn, becoming a carer to a child or partner, or experiencing family violence leading to homelessness. Principles from Australia’s past and from overseas provide much food for thought.

The aim of this paper is to start a wider conversation about how Australia can enable economic security for all, now and in the future.

Reclaiming social security for a just future (PDF, 312 KB)

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