Date: 05 Jun 2009

Australia: Contemporary Issues and Debates on the Social Welfare System

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The single most important event that has molded changes to welfare policy across the developed Western world in the so-called post-industrial nation state is the advent of computer technology and the World Wide Web in what has been dubbed the information age or knowledge-based society. This technology enables policy researchers to search the Internet for clues as to what is being done elsewhere and morph together policies with bits from everywhere as they see fit. Australia is no exception, and while historically it evolved a unique welfare system, in contemporary times, it increasingly bears the hallmarks of policy development in the United States and the United Kingdom, with whom it most identifies. For the most part, however, even in the face of economic globalization, welfare policy remains the province of nation-states, albeit influenced by international conventions and human rights charters. We believe that claims that globalized capitalism has reduced the nation-state’s control of its territorial boundaries are overzealous.