Teaching Law

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A sense of entitlement? The (gender) subtext of 'lifters not leaners'

The Coalition’s pledge to revive work for the dole and income management has reignited the inevitable claim that those receiving welfare have a ‘sense of entitlement’. The Prime Minister-elect’s own pledge to build an Australia of ‘lifters not leaners’ is indicative of this. The gist of this claim rests in an assumption of the moral or psychological deviance of welfare-recipients that itself is an unacknowledged and uninterrogated ideological stance.
The pejorative ‘leaners’ demonises those on welfare while framing the struggle over needs in a way that avoids engagement with the structural change that is required genuinely to bring along all in society in a common endeavour.