Equality Speaks

Australia may have dodged the bullet that has put the US, Britain and most European economies on life support, but our 2009 collection of essays shows that – despite our enviable economic position – Australia is not the egalitarian paradise that many believe it to be.

Equality Speaks features an eclectic mix of writers who highlight a common challenge – to use our (relatively) stable economic times to make the shift to a fairer Australia. It brings together some of our sharpest minds to look at paths to a more equal Australia in areas like transport, homelessness, education, women, tax, refugees, work and employment amongst others. It includes new research on the distribution of wealth in Australia.
  • Equality Speaks Introduction

  • Tax Reform

    Tax provides the main source of money that governments use to promote economic and social opportunities for citizens.

  • Income Support and Poverty

    Although Australia is reported to have high levels of 'welfare dependency', the percentage of working age people who depend on income support in Australia is low compared with other countries.
  • Education

    Education provides a path to future opportunity. Its importance in alleviating social and economic disadvantage is a strong theme across all contributions to this collection.
  • Transport

    The urban sprawl of Australian cities has resulted in some of the longest commuter travel distances in the world. This has entrenched Australia as a very car dependent country.
  • Indigenous People

    Australia's Indigenous people do worse than non-indigenous people on every social and economic factor.
  • Children & Child Poverty

    Child poverty rates have fallen 1.7% in the decade to 2005, but one in seven children lived in poverty in Australia in 2005.
  • Women

    Women are more educated than ever before but these improvements have not translated into equality in leadership positions, equal employment or wage outcomes for women.
  • Homelessness

    The collapse in expenditure in public housing alongside the growth in private rental demand and increased rental costs means that the degree of investment and policy reform needed to tackle homelessness is huge.
  • Workers

    Just as a home is one of the foundations of social well-being, so too is a job.
  • Wealth Distribution

    Despite a recent economic boom, wealth has remained concentrated amongst a small proportion of the population who are high income earners.
  • Refugees

    In Australia there remains a 'yawning gap' between what we practice and what we accept as our international obligations for refugees.
  • Health

    Treating the causes of health inequality is about more than treating illness. It's about tackling the social determinants of health - poverty, disability, poor social support and lack of education and skillls.