The Australian Social Policy Conference will be hosted by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales from 28 - 30 September 2015. This biennial conference is the country's leading event for the discussion and dissemination of social policy and aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and policy makers from across disciplines and provides an opportunity to explore research and practice.

Rights and Entitlements in Times of Austerity

The Global Financial Crisis has severely affected welfare states around the world, with governments in many countries cutting back welfare entitlements at the same time as large numbers of people are becoming impoverished and marginalised by the effects of the crisis. The overall direction of social policy is towards more targeting, more user-pays, more activation, less entitlement and more punitive sanctions for those who default on their obligations.  Growing inequality is increasingly accepted as an immutable characteristic of the modern welfare state.  These trends are a matter of grave concern for the more vulnerable members of society and for those working with them.   In this context the debates around rights and entitlements have become increasingly intense and hard fought. Australia has managed to retain and even to expand its welfare provision in some significant respects, particularly with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  However it is now rapidly moving in the same direction as other states.  Austerity can be a spur to creativity and invention, forcing the development of new and innovative ways of harnessing the resources in society to address poverty, marginalisation and exclusion.   Thus the importance of learning from each other’s experience is crucial for addressing the challenges of maintaining rights and entitlements in the face of global austerity.

This conference will address these themes and also invites submissions from researchers and policy practitioners across the full range of social policy topics. Conference streams will include:
Poverty, welfare and social inequality
Communities, families and children
Environment and social policy  
Disability, rights and care
Human services
Ageing, rights and entitlements
Indigenous peoples
Chinese social policy (special workshop)
Open strand

International contributions are particularly encouraged.