"The history of the poor in Australia reveals that state interventions to ameliorate poverty are misguided."

Essay by evilcandyUniversity, Bachelor's December 2004

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History on the poor in Australia has been widely discussed and debated amongst academics, particularly economic historians, charities and the state. Each perspective differing, as too does their representations of state interventions to alleviate poverty. Many academics past and present have attempted to critically examine the states response to poverty in the hope, perhaps to identify the effects and causes to come up with real solutions to poverty. Poverty is an overwhelming problem mankind has faced for many centuries. In capturing the Roe's (1976) quote, this paper argues that within capitalist, economic and political structure, the alleviation of poverty remains to be seen as state interventions are misguided.

Pre 1960's

The state has played a large role in the facilitation and development of the Australian economy. Secure in the knowledge that large sums of money were available from London and seeking to achieve economic prosperity, the state intervened in virtually all aspects of social, political and economic life.

Under the enormous pressure to succeed as a nation economically, socially and politically - to be poor was defined as someone well fed, clothed and free of extreme poverty, according to Jackson . Whilst in complete contrast, Stannage argues that to be poor is to lack of means of providing material needs or comforts, deficiency in amount; scantiness, hunger, lack of shelter, being sick and not being able to see a doctor . Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high percentage of income that must be dropped. What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time...