ABSTRACT

With the election of the Rudd Labor Government in 2007 the issue of social justice gained higher priority in Australia. A ministry for social inclusion was established, under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, with an agenda to build a stronger, fairer nation in which every Australian gets a fair go at the things which make for an active and fulfilling life. There is therefore evidence that social cohesion in Australian society is under increasing stress. In terms of its wealth, educational attainment and health system, Australia ranked at the highest level. Australians also ranked highest on rates of participation in elections and willingness to sign a petition. When income distribution and poverty are considered, however, Australia drops to the mid-rank among rich countries. The Gender Development Index ranked Australia at 18 of 42 countries of Very High Human Development. The employment rate for the total population has been increasing, particularly for women.