Public Opinion, Policy and the Persistence of Poverty

Poverty in a country as rich as Australia is not inevitable or necessary.

One in six Australian children (and 44% of children in sole parent families) live in poverty but it doesn’t have to be this way.

New research from the Centre for Social Impact Flinders (CSI Flinders) sheds light on the relationship between policy and poverty, showing how policy settings mean some groups in society get a big share of the pie while other groups go (sometimes literally) hungry.

The research focuses on how younger demographics, including children, young adults and working families, miss out on their fair share, and investigates why the policies that drive this situation persist.

A lack of public support for policy reform, underpinned by particular views around who ‘deserves’ the most pie, is one reason why we see so little progress towards addressing poverty.

Changes to income support payments, potentially funded through scaling back generous tax concessions schemes which benefit people who are already well-off, could make poverty a thing of the past in Australia. Policy reform depends on enough voices being raised in support of change, including at the ballot box.