Australia has sought to contain social welfare expenditures through more stringent targeting of benefits, increased scrutiny of applicants, and by requiring more vigorous job search and training activities. The changes implemented since the Labor Party assumed office in 1983 represent the most sweeping restructuring of the Australian welfare state in 50 years. They mark a shift from an individualistic, rights-based view of welfare state entitlements to one stressing reciprocal obligations. This article examines the origin and implications of this reshaping of Australia's welfare state programs. It considers the dilemmas of enforcing workrelated obligations and other compliance measures in an era of persistent, high unemployment.

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