Opening chapter of the book, Markets, rights and power in Australian social policy, edited by Gabrielle Meagher and Susan Goodwin, and published by Sydney University Press.

Australia has never had a large public social service system like those of the Nordic countries, or even of the United Kingdom. Instead, most social services have been delivered by a range of organisations that has included, but not been dominated by, the public sector. However, the mixed economy of Australian welfare services has not been static. In recent decades, both the organisational mix and the modes of coordination have changed significantly. Successive governments have expanded publicly funded social provision without expanding the public sector, by directly subsidising private provision, by contracting private agencies to deliver services, and by subsidising consumer purchases from approved private providers using tax expenditures and voucher-like instruments. Policies have been rolled out at different rates and with different instruments across the range of areas of Australian social policy. Yet the direction of change overall is clear – market organisations and market logics are playing an increasing role. This chapter, by the editors Gabrielle Meagher and Susan Goodwin, marks out the analytical territory of the book, and the surveys the themes canvassed in Chapters 1-11.


Chapters in Markets, rights and power in Australian social policy:

Introduction: Capturing marketisation in Australian social policy
1) The politics of market encroachment: policymaker rationales and voter responses
2) The marketisation of human services and the expansion of the not-for-profit sector
3) The devil's in the detail: the hidden costs of private retirement incomes policy
4) Social benefit bonds: financial markets inside the state
5) 'Which bank?' Competition and community service obligations in the retail banking sector
6) Community aged care providers in a competitive environment: past, present and future
7) Home security: marketisation and the changing face of housing assistance in Australia
8) Money and markets in Australia's healthcare system
9) Marketisation of immigrant skills assessment in Australia
10) Markets in education: 'School choice' and family capital
11) Conditional income transfers and choice in social services: just more conditions and more markets?

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Markets, rights and power in Australian social policy