Howard’s Social Policies Concerning Relationships, Work and Families
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In Australia, the federal government is attempting to strengthen families at a time when women and men have greater choice in terms of how they conduct their personal relationships. This article compares the 'soft' social policies that provide family relationship programs with the 'hard' economic policies of labour market reforms. It analyses some of the policies that affect work life balance, demonstrating that while the federal government is prepared to invest in programs to strengthen family relationships, it does not invest sufficiently in other measures such as family friendly work policies and paid maternity leave. The government's rhetoric promotes the wellbeing of 'the family'; its policies do not. On the one hand, the government attempts to encourage robust relationships by investing in early intervention programs. It has also recently invested in Family Relationship Centres to facilitate the process of family relationships breakdown. On the other hand, it is increasing the demands on labour. These policies are inconsistent in supporting families. In fact, there is a lack of wholeof- government policy development dealing with work and family issues. Consequently, individuals attempting to manage their private relationships and working lives often have inadequate options when endeavouring to balance the two.
Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA) Annual Conference
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