Equality of Opportunity: Levelling the Playing Field

by Fred Argy in New Matilda
Originally published in New Matilda on May 24, 2006

We drew out the broad elements of an active social strategy targeted at the major barriers to social mobility ”” children’s early development, public infrastructure deficiencies and inequalities of access to employment, health, education, training and housing. If it is to gain public acceptance, such a strategy would need to be preceded by a campaign of public education. The campaign would have three aims. First, it would explain why the proposed strategy would be a worthwhile investment in a better society ”” one more consistent with Australians’ sense of fair play. Second, the education campaign would seek to convince a cynical electorate that the proposed measures would be effective in achieving their social objectives. Third, the Government would have to forcefully explain to the electorate that its policy reforms would not harm the economy ”” and indeed that, on balance, they would improve the economic fundamentals in the long term by making the workforce more productive and occupationally and geographically mobile.

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