“Why don’t you get a job?”: the post-war system, the neoliberal system,and Australian employment policy : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Masters of Research in the Department of Modern History, Politics, and International Relations
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:26 authored by Rhys Walker
This thesis provides an analysis of post-Second World War employment policy in Australia. Specific focus is paid to the post-war system (1946 to 1975) and the neoliberal system (1975 to the present), the theoretical underpinnings of these systems, and how these manifest in employment policy. The post-war system is first analysed and shown to have a positive employment record, buffered by the full employment commitment of the state. The breakdown of the post-war system during the Whitlam years, signalled by the abandonment of full employment, was driven by institutional and political forces that gained support during the 1970s crisis of stagflation. This was further entrenched by the Fraser government. The neoliberalisation of Australian employment policy during the Hawke-Keating years is then discussed, a period in which Australia underwent significant economic reform, culminating in limited jobs programs for the early 1990s recession. The Howard government further entrenched the neoliberalisation of Australian employment policy through the quasi-marketisation of employment services, and attacks on labour and unions. Finally, it is shown that the expansionary response of the Rudd government to the GFC, while providing a boost to employment, did not challenge the neoliberal system.