The first study to comprehensively examine the role played by ACOSS in the Australian social policy debate; The implications of Australian welfare state debates and agendas for other advanced welfare states. The Australian welfare lobby group -- the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) -- has played a central role in the welfare politics debate as the foremost defender of the Australian welfare state. ACOSS is widely recognised as one of the most important lobby groups in Australia, and enjoys regular access to the media and key policy makers in government and the bureaucracy. Relevant case studies and source material are used to draw attention to: The role that interest groups play in the formation of government policy agendas; The lobbying strategies used by welfare advocacy groups to influence welfare state outcomes; The relationship between the welfare sector and other key lobby groups and political parties; The impact of key contemporary influences such as neo-liberalism and economic globalisation which have arguably transformed the political context within which welfare advocacy groups operate.
Dr Phillip Mendes is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Community Development in the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He has published widely on social policy debates, and welfare advocacy groups He is the author or co-author of four books including Australias Welfare Wars (2003), and Jews and Australian Politics (2004).
From Voluntary Welfare Co-ordination to Social Action: The Early Years of the Australian Council of Social Service,1955-1970; Towards Social Policy Advocacy, 1970-1975; Watchdog for the Poor, 1976-1985; A Political Insider, 1985-1996; Protecting the Welfare Safety Net, 1996-2006; Labourists and Welfarists: the Relationship Between the Federal Labour Party and the Australian Council of Social Service; Neo-Liberalism versus Social Justice: The Relationship Between the Federal Liberal Party and the Australian Council of Social Service; A Natural Alliance? The Relationship Between the Australian Trade Union Movement and the Australian Council of Social Service; Conclusion.