Australia’s welfare system has always been heavily means-tested, especially when compared to universal welfare states built on the Nordic model. As socialists have typically pointed out, this is a major deficiency. Means-testing undermines public services and makes them less accessible, over time eroding the social rights that the welfare state should guarantee. Indeed, as the last fifty years of Australian history show, means tests are at best a built-in vulnerability. At worst, means tests are the thin end of a wedge intended to impose austerity and chip away at the universal provision of welfare.
Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.