The Melbourne Institute 2018 Henderson conference will focus on how the social security system can more effectively respond to issues of poverty and inequality.
Over the course of two days, a variety of speakers will cover what key changes have taken place since the 1970s and the Henderson Poverty Inquiry – to the labour market, families and to the position of vulnerable groups – and will assess the effectiveness of how social security has responded. It will also canvas different options for reform, including proposals for some kind of a basic income in Australia.
The Henderson Poverty Inquiry was Australias first systematic attempt at measuring poverty in Australia by estimating the extent of poverty in the city of Melbourne. Following this, a Commission of Inquiry into Poverty was set up in August 1972 by the Liberal Prime Minister William McMahon, with Henderson appointed as Chair. The Whitlam Government elected later that year expanded the size of the Inquiry and its scope, giving it specific responsibility to focus on the extent of poverty in Australia together with the groups most at risk of experiencing poverty, the income needs of those living in poverty, and issues relating to housing and welfare services.