Half a Citizen: Life on Welfare in Australia
Allen & Unwin
Professor John Murphy
Publication Date :
1 Jan 2011
What is it really like to be unemployed and on welfare? How do you make ends meet? Does the welfare system actually help people get back into jobs? Half a Citizen draws on in-depth interviews with 150 welfare recipients to reveal people struggling to get by on a low income, the anxieties of balancing paid work with income support, and how unstable housing makes it difficult to get ahead. By investigating the lives beyond the statistics, Half a Citizen also explodes powerful myths and assumptions on which welfare policy is based. The majority of welfare recipients interviewed are very active, in paid work, caring for children or for other family members, and they see themselves as contributing and participating citizens, even if they sometimes feel they are being treated as 'half a citizen'. These stories of resilience and passion bear no resemblance to the cliched images of dependence, laziness, and social isolation which underpin social policy and media debate.