This article considers the origins, application and implication of work for unemployment benefit programs in Australia. Such programs have evolved in Canada, USA, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand over the past decade. The reasons for the development of such programs and the nature of the programs in Australia are outlined. The schemes operating in Australia are then critically examined in terms of a range of criteria including human rights and their ability to generate successful transitions into full-time employment. There are wider labour market issues to explore. Namely whether workfare programs are purely a means of enforcing reciprocal obligations upon the unemployed or whether they do generate market skills that improve the chances of transition from unemployment into employment. In this context the nature, access, duration and post-program experience of the workfare programs in Australia will be explored.
- Mutual obligation
- Work for the dole