Tax cuts, mutual obligation and Labour force flexibility in the Budget could make or break jobless families.
Despite Australia coming off the back of a remarkable economic boom and enjoying historically low unemployment rates, in late 2008 almost one in eight Australian children lived in a family where no parent worked. Unbelievably, this figure is actually a marked improvement: family joblessness reached its peak in the mid-1990s when more than one in six children lived in jobless households.
While there has been some improvement, the statistics on family joblessness still paint a depressing picture. Despite experiencing a lower unemployment rate than most developed countries, Australia has the second highest proportion of jobless families in the OECD. While this represents a considerable social and economic cost to Australia, the biggest cost is borne by the children of jobless parents, who are significantly disadvantaged compared to their peers.