ABSTRACT – Extract
This chapter takes a governmental perspective to examine how the gendered social contract that exists in Australian couple-headed families pre-separation is preserved and enforced post-separation through child support policy. Assessing recent policy and administrative reform from this perspective reveals the explicit and implicit valuation of motherhood in circumstances that lie beyond the normative male-breadwinner nuclear family model. As a result, child support is revealed as a gendered governance practice that reflects and reinforces the social hierarchy in which mothers remain financially and socially subordinate to their ex-partners.
Prior to separation, this hierarchy is achieved through the gendered division oflabour and gender wage gap that position fathers as primary earners and mothers as primary=carers. Upon separation, this contract is broken, yet child support administration works to preserve and reinforce this model, diluting the redistributive – and thus socially liberating – aims and effects of the original child support scheme.
SOURCE: Cook, Kay*.(forthcoming, 2019). The devaluing and disciplining of single mothers in Australian child
support policy. CHAPTER In Forthcoming publication: C Pascoe & P Bueskens (Eds.) Mothering Australia. Palgrave Macmillan. (Swinburne Research Bank)
*Kay Cook is an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Swinburne University.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia