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Administering welfare reformInternational transformations in welfare governance$
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Paul Henman and Menno Fenger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861346520

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861346520.001.0001

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The new governance of Australian welfare: street-level contingencies

The new governance of Australian welfare: street-level contingencies

(p.137) SEVEN The new governance of Australian welfare: street-level contingencies
Administering welfare reform

Cosmo Howard

Policy Press

This chapter serves as a report on the findings of an ethnographic study about the street-level experiences of welfare reform in Centrelink, which is a national benefits agency in Australia. These findings show that there is more incoherence and contradiction within welfare reform than is being suggested by the linear neo-liberal accounts of the process. The discussion focuses on three important aspects of Australian welfare reform, namely: policy concerning sanctions, the delivery of a personalised ‘One-to-One Service’, and the changing role of ‘risk management’ techniques. The chapter concludes with a review of the implications of the findings for the theories of welfare governance.

Keywords:   ethnography, sanctions, Centrelink, risk management, Australian welfare reform, welfare governance

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