Poverty in Australia

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Poverty In Australia

Before discussing the extent of poverty in Australia, it is first crucial to mention the difference between absolute poverty and relative poverty. Absolute Poverty is a situation where deprivation is extreme because people do not have access to the basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. In contrast Relative Poverty is a situation in which the incidence of poverty is measured relative to things such as average weekly earnings or income per head. Therefore poverty, as talked about in Australia is the state where income is insufficient to meet the minimum needs of the household or individual. The Poverty Line is the level of income below which the income of the household or individual is inadequate to meet the essential needs of the household or individual as determined by society. The Poverty line is determined by a percentage of average weekly earnings. In 1966, the original poverty line for Australia, was set by Professor Henderson as basic wage plus the child endowment payable for two children.

There is a definite lack of recent data on poverty in Australia, therefore we have to look back as far as reports from the 1970's, in order to find any relevant information on poverty in Australia. In 1975 there was a report made on the extent of poverty in Australia by Professor Henderson. It has since been known as the Henderson Report. The Henderson Report found that 8.5 per cent of Australians were living under the poverty line. It also found that: "Most of the poor suffer from one or more of the following disabilities: old age, lack of a male bread-winner, a large number of dependent children, recent migration to Australia, or prolonged illness. The incidence of poverty was much higher in these categories than among those without any of these disabilities."(Henderson 1975) At the time of this report average weekly earnings in Australia were $165 per week, the poverty line for a single person was set at $49.60 for a single...
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