Social security administration: producing poverty and punishment



Publication Details

S. I. Wilcock, 'Social security administration: producing poverty and punishment' in A. Durbach, B. Edgeworth & V. Sentas(eds), Law and Poverty in Australia: 40 Years after the Poverty Commission (2017) 199-213.


In the chapter on social security in Law and Poverty in Australia (the Sackville Report), 1 Professor Ronald Sackville throws light on the ways in which social security law and practice can exacerbate poverty. Sackville begins by affirming the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty in Poverty in Australia (the Henderson Report) to introduce a guaranteed minimum income in Australia.2 But, as Sackville warns, even if the issue of payment adequacy is comprehensively addressed, unfair or ineffective administration of payments could still lead to' grave' outcomes for recipients, many of whom rely on payments 'for their very economic survival'.3 In short, social security administration can itself produce poverty and injustice.

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