At a Turning Point

Work, care and family policies in Australia

Edited by Marian Baird, Elizabeth Hill and Sydney Colussi

Regular price $50.00 Sale

Format: paperback

ISBN: 9781743328965
Publication: 01 Feb 2024
Series: Public and Social Policy Series
Publisher: Sydney University Press

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Australia is at a much-needed turning point in work, care and family policy. Australian women, families and communities are struggling to manage the complex demands of work and care.

Rapid social and demographic change, alongside new workplace, labour market trends and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, requires a policy revamp that will allow all Australians to work, care and be cared for.

In seven chapters authored by leading scholars in the field, At a Turning Point: Work, care and family policies in Australia provides a comprehensive account of key policy areas that shape the experience of work and care across the life course. These include reproductive wellbeing, paid parental leave, early childhood education and care, flexible work, elder and disability care, and equitable systems of tax and transfer payments.

At a Turning Point argues that a new social contract that puts gender equality, economic security and the well-being of carers and those they care for at the centre of policy design is essential to national productivity and prosperity.

It is the foundation of a good society.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill is a leading researcher on the future of women, work and care in Australia and the Asian region and has a strong history of research leadership in this field. She is founder and co-convenor of the Australian Work and Family Policy Roundtable and Deputy Director of the Gender Equality in Working Life (GEWL) Research Initiative at the University of Sydney. Elizabeth has extensive research experience on women’s working lives, including as Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Women’s Working Futures Project.

Professor Marian Baird AO is an international leader in research on industrial relations, women, work and care across the life course. She is Australia’s leading scholar on parental leave, working with governments, unions and employers for several decades on supporting women at this critical stage of their reproductive lives. In March 2023 Marian was appointed as a member of the Fair Work Commission Expert Panel and will sit on the Annual Wage Review Panel.

Sydney Colussi is an early career scholar in the fields of socio-legal and policy studies at the forefront of research in the area of gender, work and reproductive health. She is co-convenor of The Body@Work Project and member of the Women, Work and Policy Research Group and Work + Family Policy Roundtable. Sydney is a regular commentator on public and workplace policies for reproductive wellbeing.

Preface by Marian Baird, Elizabeth Hill and Sydney Colussi

Chapter 1: The Australian policy context: Opportunities for a new social and gender contract by Elizabeth Hill and Marian Baird

Chapter 2. Reproductive policies: An expanding approach to work and care by Sydney Colussi, Elizabeth Hill and Marian Baird

Chapter 3. Parental leave policy: Time to grow by Marian Baird and Gillian Whitehouse

Chapter 4. Early childhood education and care: Policy renewal for strong foundations by Elizabeth Hill, Elizabeth Adamson and Deborah Brennan

Chapter 5. Flexible work policy: Building “good flex” across the life course by Rae Cooper, Frances Flanagan and Meraiah Foley

Chapter 6. Informal care policy: Needs of older people and people with disability or chronic illness by Myra Hamilton, Sara Charlesworth and Fiona Macdonald

Chapter 7. Tax and welfare policy: Removing embedded gender inequalities in work and care by Miranda Stewart



“It is time, the editors of At a Turning Point write, to remake our society, workplaces and care infrastructure. This important book provides invaluable guidance for this urgent task, offering deep insights into the whys and hows of new policy directions needed in Australia.”

Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education, University College London  

At a Turning Point is the ideal policy book: documenting current arrangements, distilling the debates shaping public discussion and directing our thoughts to avenues for change that will make Australia a better place for all.”

Gabrielle Meagher, Emeritus Professor, Macquarie School of Social Sciences  

“From the leading Australian scholars in the field, this book serves as a well-informed call-to-action for achieving a new social contract that addresses the close connections across work, family and caregiving responsibilities. It is a must-read for policymakers in Australia, and indeed, around the world.”

Thomas A. Kochan, Emeritus Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management  

“Contemporary work and family issues addressed in contemporary language.”

Alexandra Heron, PhD  

“Here are the voices of Australia’s best experts on our work and care system. Their evidence-based research tells us how to improve the lives of working carers in practical ways that narrow socio-economic and gender inequality, and increase the wellbeing of those who rely on us for care. May their ideas be heard and – more importantly – may they be acted upon for the good of our communities, workplaces and our economy. We have never needed them more.”

Senator Barbara Pocock AM  

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 mm
3 graphs, 7 b&w tables, and bibliographies
Copyright: © 2024
ISBN: 9781743328965
Publication: 01 Feb 2024
Series: Public and Social Policy Series