The adequacy and targeting of income support – and the impact of conditions imposed on people who receive it – are key topics in working for an Australia free of poverty.

This research initiative includes a series of seminars led by academics and other experts, as well as related publications.


Dina Bowman, Danielle Thornton and Shelley Mallett 2019, Reclaiming social security for a just future: a principled approach to reform (PDF, 312 KB)


Bowman, D, Mallett, S and Cooney-O'Donoghue, D 2019, 'Diversion ahead? Change is needed but that doesn’t mean that basic income is the answer', in E Klein, J Mays & T Dunlop (eds) 2019, Implementing a basic income in Australia: pathways forward, Palgrave Macmillan.


The right to social security – what it means for Australia

Associate Professor Beth Goldblatt, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales and the University of the Witwatersrand
13 September 2018

Download Beth Goldblatt's presentation (PDF, 490 KB)


Welfare to work in UK and Australia: sanctions, supports and conditionality

25 September 2018

It is timely to reflect on the nature and impact of conditionality. Australia has the most targeted social security system in the OECD. Payments (especially Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance) are inadequate and increasingly conditional. Yet international research suggests that imposing additional conditions on payments does little to motivate behaviour change or assist people to gain economic security.

This seminar was co-hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the University of Melbourne.

Presentations included

From social security to welfare conditionality: the shifting principles behind the trajectory of Australian welfare policy (PDF, 1 MB)
Danielle Thornton, Dina Bowman, Shelley Mallett and Diarmuid Cooney-O'Donoghue
Brotherhood of St Laurence

UK welfare conditionality: impacts and effectiveness (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Sharon Wright, University of Glasgow

Mutual obligation: rules and reality (PDF, 763 KB)
Owen Bennett
Australian Unemployed Workers' Union

Place-based welfare conditionality in the regional city of Shepparton (PDF, 695 KB)
David Tennant


The future of social protection in a changing labour market: towards a research and policy agenda

4 October 2018

Peter Whiteford, Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University

Changes in the nature of work and labour markets pose new challenges to social protection systems internationally. As temporary work and limited contracts become more prevalent, assuming that people will find full-time, permanent jobs may become less relevant, potentially undermining welfare state finances and the social protection of workers and their families. A new framework for future research on social security design is needed.

Download Peter Whiteford's presentation (PDF, 539 KB)


Advancing the citizenship rights of people with disabilities and carers: A framework for balancing competing claims in income support policy

1 November 2018

Yvette Maker, Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne 

Downaload Yvette Maker's presentation Care and support rights: principles for policy design (PDF, 780 KB)

Contact: Dina Bowman dbowman(at) 

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