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The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia presents

ASSA Annual Symposium 2015

Public event


17th November 2015


Shine Dome, Gordon Street, Canberra


Professor Daniel Beland, Canada Research Chair in Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan
Professor Sara Arber, Co-Director, Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender, University of Surrey, UK
Professor Peter Whiteford, Director, Social Policy Institute, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
plus many more.


Registration fee is applicable

Many countries have had social insurance schemes for more than a century. The first compulsory national social insurance programs were established in Germany under chancellor Bismarck in the late 19th century.

Social Insurance has not been a major part of Australia’s welfare system despite abortive efforts in the 1920s and 1930s to introduce such schemes. However, over the last several decades major additions to the Australian health and welfare systems have included Medicare and the national disability insurance (NDIS) scheme, and interest in introducing additional schemes persists.

Where we now, and where are we headed?

An assessment of social insurance schemes is timely in both the international and Australian contexts. Some countries are making efforts to roll back some social insurance schemes, often encountering spirited resistance, while others are introducing new ones. In Australia, both Medicare and the NDIS are widely supported while some voices can be heard in support, for example, of long-term care, unemployment and other types of social insurance. Debates about the future equity and sustainability of health and welfare systems are necessarily incomplete without a serious discussion about the design, impacts and sustainability of social insurance schemes.

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia’s 2015 Symposium promises to provide an informed and lively discussion on aspects of national and international social insurance schemes. Past and contemporary experience and current priorities will be assessed, and advice from Australian and leading international experts in the field will provide Australia’s researchers and policymakers with valuable insights for ongoing reform in Australia’s welfare system.

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