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Tales of Robin Hood (Part 3): The Long View – Social Policies and the Life Cycle Peter Whiteford
Much comparative analysis in social policy uses ‘snapshots’ of what different kinds of households receive and contribute in a given year. But household and individual circumstances change over time. Some changes happen as life takes its course: for example, children begin life as receivers, but grow up, leave school, start work and become net contributors in the tax-transfer system. The life course perspective offers a powerful corrective to many of the myths of the welfare state, both in the United Kingdom and Australia. (Part 3 of an 8-part series.)


Tales of Robin Hood (Part 2): Are the Poor Too Expensive? Redistribution and the Welfare State Peter Whiteford
The welfare states of Australia and the United Kingdom share much, but not everything, as the first article in this series comparing the two countries showed. In this instalment, focus shifts to how taxes, cash benefits and services in-kind, such as health, education and housing, redistribute income between richer and poorer households. With case studies of two different kinds of young families and national survey data, a rich and complex picture of the impact of public social spending emerges. (Part 2 of an 8-part series.)

Tales of Robin Hood (Part 1): Welfare Myths and Realities in the United Kingdom and Australia Peter Whiteford
Australia and the United Kingdom are commonly classified among the ‘liberal’ welfare regimes by social policy researchers. This is not surprising: there are obvious institutional and cultural similarities between the two countries, and policy ideas have evidently been passed back and forth between them. But similar is not the same, and a forensic look at the architecture and outcomes of the Australian and British welfare states is both interesting and revealing. (Part 1 of an 8-part series.)

Writing Media History Peter Putnis
When media historians call the telegraph the ‘Victorian Internet’, or liken ancient Egypt’s papyrus rolls to Twitter, they seek to emphasise what is common in human communication and social experience. But important insights are lost when historians make the past seem too like the present.

Tamed and Untamed Political Emotions Julie Stephens
The complex entanglement between reason and emotion is evident in all political debate. In public discourse the idea that politics is concerned only with the reasoned exchange of dispassionate arguments is maintained by marginalising less rational human feelings and in viewing passions as politically dangerous. Over the last decade, social and cultural theory has challenged the liberal notion that emotions have no place in the public sphere. So what place do the emotions have in politics?

‘People like us’: School Choice, Multiculturalism and Segregation in Sydney Christina Ho
Daily encounters with cultural difference help establish an organic multiculturalism that becomes an ordinary part of people’s lives. People learn to deal with each other in an everyday fashion, and their differences are not a barrier to engagement and sometimes friendship. In schools where students from different backgrounds are thrown together, their negotiations across cultural difference are a unique opportunity to forge intercultural understanding. So how are Australian schools doing in fostering this kind of everyday multiculturalism?

The Making – and Almost Breaking – of Obamacare Lesley M. Russell
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, colloquially called Obamacare) is an historic piece of legislation that improves the health and healthcare of every American. But what will surely come to be seen as President Barack Obama’s key legacy is also one of the most divisive laws enacted in the United States in recent memory. So what is all the division about, and what general lessons can be drawn from the Obamacare story?

Dusting off the Archives Robert Aldrich
In the discipline of history, every published article or book, every lecture or conference presentation, has a backstory of how it was researched and written, and in most of these stories, archives play a key role. But the archives that historians work in are themselves historical—they evolve and are subject to the whims of nature and the authorities who provide curatorship, funds and buildings for them. That is as may be: there remains something timeless about the encounter between the researcher and the primary documents archives hold, the scraps of information that can be pieced together into a satisfying patchwork, the sense of literally reaching out to another time and place, and to the people who lived there.

Linking Government Support and What We Value: The Case of Environmentally-Harmful Subsidies Karen Hussey
Governments are in the business of promoting desirable economic and social outcomes and undertaking this business sometimes involves financial aid or subsidies. Subsidies should, of course, be well-designed, such that their benefits exceed their costs. Many are not. Yet even when they are, problems arise: there are, inevitably, both winners and losers when governments decide which outcomes should be supported and to what extent. Moreover, the tension between short-term economic and political goals and environmental harm plagues this policy field.

Fred Nile A.D. 2015 Timothy Lynch
Surprising many commentators, morals campaigner and veteran politician the Reverend Fred Nile contested—and was re-elected—to the New South Wales Legislative Council in March 2015. His campaign stressed his ongoing commitment to ‘traditional moral values’, and his concern about the latest in a long line of malign, indeed diabolical, foreign interests threatening Australia’s ‘national heritage and freedoms’, this time from Islam. Yet society has largely abandoned the values Nile champions and his political activity is now essentially symbolic. How is his persistence to be understood?

Combatting Hate in Cyberspace Katharine Gelber
With Web 2.0, platforms and usage have become dynamic, the lines between creator and user have become blurred, and social media facilitates networking and collaboration. These developments raise questions about whether this medium actually enhances freedom by enabling expression, or facilitates harms in new and more damaging ways. Certainly, the Internet has become a medium of choice for the dissemination of hate speech, which is viewed by most countries around the world as sufficiently harmful to warrant regulation. But what of other forms of harmful speech online?

Asian Business Systems, National Cultures, and the Problem of Gender F. Ben Tipton
Some influential management researchers have worked to understand how firms relate to their surrounding societies. They argue that, despite the obvious pressures of globalisation on both governments and firms, national ‘business systems’ show little tendency to converge to a standard pattern. Yet gender relations are absent from their accounts of ‘society’ and ‘culture’; indeed women and gender are missing from most authoritative texts in management. What has gone wrong?

JOURNAL Volume 13, Number 1: April 2015

Historical Reasoning about Indigenous Imprisonment: A Community of Fate? Tim Rowse
The high rate of Indigenous incarceration is a problem for public policy and therefore for historical and social analysis. This paper compares and contrasts two recent attempts at such analysis: Thalia Anthony’s Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment (2013) and Don Weatherburn’s Arresting Incarceration: Pathways Out of Indigenous Imprisonment (2014). What difference do these books’ contrasting narrative models of Australian history make to our thinking about contemporary Indigenous incarceration? The paper reveals several differences and similarities in their perspectives: how they position themselves in relation to the values that shape Australian debate about punishment; their historical understanding of the institutions of ‘protection’ and of the impact of ‘assimilation’; whether the law and order apparatus is systemically biased against Indigenous Australians; whether Indigenous Australians should be understood as a ‘community of fate’.


Tipped out of the Cradle: The Academic Fortunes of Political Studies Stuart Mcintyre
By any reckoning, the Department of Government at the University of Sydney was foundational to the development of political science in this country. It was among the first to teach the subject, generated a text which marked out the development of the discipline in successive editions from the 1960s, was caught up in the ferment of the New Left, pursued the democratisation of institutional procedures with particular fervour, and nursed the talent that populated other universities here and overseas with notable practitioners. None of this saved it from the changes that overtook higher education in Australia in the closing years of the last century …

Waiting for the Fallout: Australia and Return of the Patrimonial Society John Quiggin
In 2014, French economist Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, documented an upsurge in inequality of income and wealth, most notably in the United States and the United Kingdom. Other English-speaking countries have followed this trend—with the possible exception of Australia. So is Australia immune to the emergence of a patrimonial society?

Life in the Gayborhood: Safety, Difference and Change in the Urban Gay Neighbourhood Scott McKinnon
Queer spaces have shaped modern gay identities, but they have not been without contradiction and complexity. As ‘safe’ spaces for homosexual people, they have also been places in which lesbians and gay men have been the targets of homophobic abuse and violence. As spaces in which difference is celebrated, they have also been rejected by gay people who don’t see themselves as different at all. As spaces over which gays and lesbians can claim some ongoing ownership, that ownership is always challenged and the meanings of these spaces are also always changing.

Milk Money: Should Donating Mothers be Compensated for Their Milk? Katherine Carroll
Donated breast milk is a scarce resource. It is not uncommon for human milk banks to turn away requests for milk, to ensure that the little available goes to the hospitalised preterm infants who need it most. It is also not uncommon for lactating women to feel too burdened by new motherhood and their family and career responsibilities to pursue milk donation. Would payment to mothers make more milk available? If so, would that milk be less safe? The production and distribution of human body products raises these and other thorny ethical and practical questions.

One Day in the Life of David Hicks D.N. Byrne
David Hicks has just been cleared of the charges he faced in a US Military Commission, while imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. His counsel, Michael Mori, has told the story of Hicks’ case: the problematic constitutionality of the military commissions and the charges laid under their authority; how Hicks was treated—and abused—by the military authorities; and the apparent indifference of the Howard Government to Hicks’ predicament. It’s a story that reveals and warns in equal measure …

Has the Death of Public Protest Been Exaggerated? Dennis Phillips
Managing public protest has become an important feature of the neoliberal strategy. Reducing the capacity of unions and protest movements to organise and demonstrate, expanding police powers and increasing the authority of technocrats to manage the economy are all part of the repertoire. Ironically, neoliberals who prided themselves in the free market and limited government have been happy to use the instruments of government to quell dissent. Have they succeeded?

Are Australian Trade Unions Part of the Solution, or Part of the Problem? David Peetz
The failure of the modern economy to deliver widespread benefits for all is now widely recognised. Ordinary workers—those in the middle and lower parts of the income distribution—have limited access to resources and even more limited effective say. It was not ever thus, and the decline of unions is intimately connected with the rise of inequality. Can unions rise again? What would they need to do—and be?

Can Mandatory Disclosure Work? Gail Pearson
Daily life in rich countries is full of complex decisions: about borrowing, saving, buying, accepting medical treatment, allowing access to personal information, choosing foods and so on. One response has been mandatory disclosure of information about all aspects of the transaction, but this solution is itself problematic. So what would help us make good decisions—less, but more appropriate information? More education? Expert advice?

Anna Kalaitzidis and Paul Jewell on challenges to confidentiality rules for sperm donors
Kate MacNeill, Jenny Lye and Paul Caulfield on government arts spending 1967–2009
Kay Cook on child support non-compliance
Michele Ferguson on defending the value of the social sciences
Robert Aldrich on homosexuality in the gallery
Don Arthur on Menzies’ other forgotten people