In a changing employment and budgetary context, there is renewed interest in the concept of a basic income – a form of social security in which individuals receive a regular, often unconditional payment from either government or a public institution. This working paper examines the purpose and intent of key basic income proposals and trials in Australia and overseas. It then proposes a nine-dimension framework, expanded from the framework of De Wispelaere and Stirton (2004), for assessing basic income policies, especially their capacity to underpin economic security.
The paper is part of a program of activities to honour Professor Ronald Henderson’s work on poverty, social security and basic income. Conducted throughout 2016 and 2017, the program involves a partnership between the University of Melbourne and Brotherhood of St Laurence, supported by the Henderson family.