A Basic Income is a form of income support paid to each individual permanent resident irrespective of their wealth, income, gender, race, age, place of residence or marital status. An equal amount is paid to those in employment and those not at work thereby decreasing the potential for downward envy. Basic Income is not taxed. All existing tax-free thresholds would be abolished and tax would be payable on each and every extra dollar earned. The only eligibility question to be determined is whether the applicant is a permanent resident of Australia. Further details about Basic Income can be found at Basic Income Guarantee Australia or Basic Income Earth Network.
Some researchers have argued that if a Basic Income was put in place workers would stay away from work in droves: whereas others argue the opposite. The only study conducted in Australia into the impact on work willingness (where low-income families were provided with a guaranteed minimum income), showed these families experienced no decline in work willingness.
Much of the argument about the efficiency of a Basic Income has concentrated on the supply of benefits, in the least stigmatising fashion, to all who need them. There are broader aspects of efficiency that can and should be mounted in support of an unconditional Basic Income.
A universal Basic Income is not a utopian idea. It is an efficient, affordable way to ensure no Australian permanent resident remains in poverty. However, a Basic Income is just that – an unconditional universal income guarantee. It delivers an income floor without impeding productivity. It is a vast improvement on categorical, selective social services. It is an advance on all social insurance and private provision schemes which invariably result in the “individualisation of risk” and as a result create a “do it yourself welfare state”.
Paper given at the 15th BIEN Congress Montreal Canda 2014, 27-29th June. * The title of this paper acknowledges my debt to Philippe Van Parijs’ Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism and Guy Standing’s The Precariat: The new dangerous class. Abstract Following the Second World War it looked as if governments […]
First published in New Community Quarterly, Vol. 4 (4), Summer 2006, pp. 52-55 Abstract This article will look at some of the reasons why Australia perseveres with outmoded income maintenance policies which are targeted, categorical, means-tested, piecemeal and lacking in generosity. It will suggest that the introduction of a universal Basic Income would go some […]
Published on BIGA QUT website 2007 In 1920 Dennis Milner was the first person to publish, in the English language, a book length explanation of a universal Basic Income. The book was entitled Higher Production by a Bonus on National Output. A Proposal for a Minimum Income for All varying with National Income. This book brought together […]
First published on Basic Income Guarantee Australia website, 2004 The concept of Basic Income in Australia is at one level a recent arrival in this country at another level it can be seen to have evolved out of the Trade Union and welfare activists’ struggles to improve upon the conditions of the working class. The […]
Tomlinson, John (2007) New Community Quarterly, 5 (1), Autumn 2007, pp.33-41 Originally given as a paper at the 11th BIEN Congress, University of Cape Town, in Cape Town, South Africa 2nd-4th November 2006. also published by the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland in their New Transitions Journal Vol. 11, No. 1 2007. Abstract There are […]
Chapter in Basic Income Guarantee and Politics Richard K. Caputo (ed), Palgrave Macmillian, New York, 2012 pp.153-176 Australia has had a federal social security system since the inception of the 1908 age and disability pensions legislation in 1910. From then until the late 1980s the system became more comprehensive and generous. It was and still is a categorical […]
In Basic Income Worldwide: Horizons of Reform (2012) edited by Matthew C. Murray and Carole Pateman, Palgrave Macmilliam, Houndmills, pp 227-249 From the first decade following Federation until the late 1980s, Australia seemed to be moving inexorably towards an increasingly comprehensive and generous welfare state. On occasions, it seemed as if a form of Basic […]
Guy Standing (2002) Verso, London. In early December 2003 I finally got round to reading Philippe Van Parijs’ 1997 Real Freedom for All, I needed to read it before the 10th National Conference on Unemployment being held later that month. Van Parijs, the doyen of the European Basic Income movement, presents an exceedingly tightly written […]
Paper given at the 13th BIEN Congress in Sao Paulo Brazil June 30th – July 2nd 2010. John Tomlinson Abstract Many authors (Paine 1797, Milner 1920, Rhys-Williams 1943, van Parijs 1997, Standing 2002, Tomlinson 2003, Offe 2008) claim a universal Basic Income would promote autonomy. They argue that the poorest and most vulnerable residents of […]
Basic Income News, 10th October 2011. http://www.basicincome.org/news/2011/10/opinion-dependency-an-ideology-chasing- its-tail/ I graduated in Social Work in 1964 and back then, in Australia, we were three quarters of the way through the 23 years of unbroken conservative rule. The prevailing welfare ideology of the time was heavily influenced by the combination of providing assistance to those ‘in need’ whilst […]
First published in the proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Unemployment Coffee, University of Newcastle 2005 http://www.usbig.net/papers/141CofFEE2005Tomlinson.pdf Tomlinson, John (2005) In Wrightson, G (ed.) Creating a Culture of Full Employment incorporating the 7th Path to Full Employment Conference and 12th National Conference on Unemployment Proceedings, 8-9 December 2005, Australia, New South Wales, Newcastle. also […]
Paper given at the Beyond Despondency – The UBI Alternative to the Welfare Meltdown Conference, Wellington, New Zealand 26-28 March, 1998 Prologue Whether we are speaking about a Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), a Guaranteed Adequate Income (GAI), a Negative Income Tax (NIT), a Universal Basic Income (UBI) or any other form of social payment which […]
Written in 2008 Abstract Basic Income proposals, at least in their 20th and 21st century western manifestations, most commonly involve a payment made to individuals rather than to families, households or any other group of people. Because of this, the concept of a Basic Income runs the danger of being criticised as promoting individualism over […]
Written in 2005. Don’t think it was published In Real Freedom for All Philippe Van Parijs says paying a Basic Income to everyone, irrespective of whether or not they make a contribution to production, is justified because the knowledge endowment and previous technological advances are frequently unacknowledged and may be are unknowable which are used […]
Written circa 2000 “5,000 fewer jobs in Centrelink will make the Department more responsive.” NASA had just announced that it was putting its Mars flights programs on hold following the loss of two recent missions, it was also reviewing its motto “Cheaper Faster Better” on the back of a report which found that NASA’s excessive […]
I think this was a paper given at a Coffee Unemployment circa 2001. Income insecurity is a constant preoccupation of citizens surviving on low incomes. Categorical, selective, targeted welfare payments which exist in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States have not succeeded in abolishing Beveridge’s five giants of ‘squalor, want, ignorance, disease […]
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
ON LINE opinion – Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate Posted Wednesday, 6 April 2016 Tony Abbott is the Liberal Party’s Mark Latham. Having lived through the Latham train wreck of plagiarised policies and unnecessarily aggressive shirt fronting of Prime Minister Howard I did not think I’d see his like again in Australian politics. […]
The existing labour market and welfare systems of Australia are as described in the first part of the title of this article. Over a century ago, in the early years of the 20th century the Australian labour market and welfare system were described by Albert Metin, a visiting French scholar, as “socialism without doctrine” (Wikipedia 2017). […]
http://taxreview.treasury.gov.au/content/submissions/pre_14_november_2008/Tomlinson_J ohn.pdf I write in relation to the reviews of the Australian social security system and taxation system. My submission is in the form of a proposal to construct the social security system in a way which would improve equity and remove inefficiencies. Essentially, I am proposing that: the main income support system is paid […]
Paper presented at the Beyond Poverty: Citizenship, Welfare and Well-being in the 21 st. Century Conference Massey University, Auckland, 14-16 March 1997. Abstract Dependency as well as implying looking to another person or institution for support also means subordination or subjection; (for example) the dependence of the church upon the state (Delbridge, et al 1987 […]
Paper given at The Basic Income Earth Congress, University College, Dublin 2008 In Timor Leste, the majority of the population lives on less than a dollar* a day. Subsistence agriculture is the main industry outside the major towns. By world standards it is a poor country but it has, in recent years, obtained access to […]
ON LINE opinion – Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate Posted Friday, 15 January 2016 Australia currently has a Prime Minister who claims he wants to create an innovative nation. I lost sight of how innovative we truly are whilst driving through the smog haze caused by the coal fired electricity generators around Yallourn […]
Paper presented at the Basic Income Earth Network Congress Lisbon September 2017 Abstract In this paper I shall attempt to describe the Australian system of “social security/ social insecurity” in relation to universal income guarantees and look at likely outcomes in the near future. Drawing on the Australian experience, I shall argue that there is a […]
Paper given at the 2004 National Conference on Unemployment at Coffee University of Newcastle subsequently published in Rutgers Journal of Law & Urban Policy, Vol. 2, No. 1, Fall. pp.204-216. In this paper I set out a blueprint for a sensible employment policy. The blueprint takes account of many “solutions” to unemployment suggested in Australia since […]
John Tomlinson, Simon Schooneveldt and Penny Harrington originally Published on the Basic Income Guarantee Australia website in November 2004, in AVINUS Magazin 2005 and in German in 2006 in a Book edited by Manfred Fullsack. Globale Soziale Sicherheit. Grundeinkommen – Weltweit? Avinus Verlag, Germany, Berlin, pp. 115-127. The journey to a full universal Basic Income […]
Posted on September 13, 2015 Written for the Power to Persuade Symposium, in International Basic Income Week 2015. It has been fashionable to claim that Australia never had a system akin to British Poor Law welfare relief. To some extent it is true that prior to federation there was no formalised poor law system in place but the churches, […]
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