What happens when a system that's designed to be cruel to the 'undeserving' poor suddenly has to be used to help the 'deserving' poor as well?
In March 2020 freelance writer Tom Hawking wrote in the Guardian Australia about his encounter with Centrelink, the Australian government's agency responsible for administering welfare payments.
Tom's piece touches on sticky questions like (and I'm paraphrasing here) "What becomes of the treasured myth of the dole bludger if we're all on the dole?" So I gave him a ring and we had a chat - about how each Australian government tries to outdo its predecessor with a 'tough-on-benefits-claimants' stance, and about working as a freelance writer when nobody's commissioning pieces.
Tom Hawking's piece for Guardian Australia is here:
'The Australian welfare system has always been needlessly cruel. Now it's punishing half the country.'
And you can find more of his work here: