The publication of the Poverty Commission’s Law and Poverty in Australia Report (the Sackville Report) in 1975 was a landmark event in the history of Australian law reform. Since that time, and as Australia has become a more unequal society, there has been no systematic overview of the inter-relation between law and poverty in Australia. This book attempts to fill the gap by bringing together a range of experts from civil society, the legal profession and academe, including the disciplines of law, social science and criminology.
The book provides an inventory of progress made over the past four decades with regard to the many proposals contained in the original Law and Poverty Report. The overall conclusion is that the scorecard is uneven. Substantial implementation of the reforms has occurred in many areas, such as consumer and tenancy law. Despite initial progress in other areas, such as tax law, legal aid and social security, there has been deterioration.
It also highlights some important aspects of poverty and law not contained in the original Report: the intersection of the experiences of LGBTI people, poverty and law; the international dimension of law and poverty in light of globalisation; and the critical importance of tax rules in relation to poverty.
The book concludes by identifying critical areas for reform to address the legal problems that poor people confront. They include: cuts to legal aid and community legal centre funding; security of tenure for residential tenants; redistribution of the tax burden; regulation of the power of government agencies, such as social security and the police; and greater security in the sphere of employment law.
About the Contributors
1. Law and Poverty in Australia Today: A Reassessment
Andrea Durbach, Brendan Edgeworth and Vicki Sentas
2. The Law and Poverty Report 40 Years On
3. The Henderson Legacy: Four Decades of Australian Poverty Research
4. Poverty and Law: A Comparative Perspective
5. Law, Poverty and Inequality in Contemporary Australia
Cassandra Goldie and Brendan Edgeworth
6. Indigenous Australia and Social Justice, 40 Years On
7. Expanding the Gaze: LGBTI People, Discrimination and Disadvantage in Australia
8. People with Multiple and Complex Support Needs, Disadvantage and Criminal Justice Systems: 40 Years After the Sackville Report
9. Australian Residential Tenancy Law 40 Years After the Sackville Report: A Multi-Level Snapshot
10. Consumer Credit, Debt and Disadvantage: How Far Have We Come in 40 Years?
11. Labour Law and Poverty in Australia: The Transformation of a Wage-Earners’ Welfare State
12. In Search of Tax Reform
13. Social (In)Security and Inequality in Australia: The Limited Role of Human Rights in the Policy Debate
14. Social Security Administration: Producing Poverty and Punishment
15. ‘Between the Idea and the Reality’: Securing Access to Justice in an Environment of Declining Points of Entry
16. The Civil and Family Law Needs of Indigenous People 40 Years After Sackville: Findings of the Indigenous Legal Needs Project
Fiona Allison, Chris Cunneen, Melanie Schwartz
17. The Poverty of Criminal Law: Criminalisation and the Limits of Access to Justice
18. A ‘Law and Development’ Perspective on Law, Poverty and Human Rights
19. How the International Monetary Fund Has Contributed to Global Poverty
Ross P Buckley