Dr Peter Davidson

Adjunct Senior Lecturer

I have researched, critiqued and influenced social and economic policies over a number of years, as an advisor with the Australian Council of Social Service, a member of advisory bodies to Australian governments and academic research projects, and more recently through the needtoknow policy consultancy. 

I was a member of the Australian Government's Employment Services Expert Panel (2018), and sat on the NSW Government's Housing Appeals Committee (1999-2015). 

I have a long association with SPRC through research partnerships, conference presentations, and completion of a PhD thesis on the origins of activation policies for people unemployed long-term in Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Denmark.

My main areas of expertise are employment assistance and the labour market, social security, taxation, and poverty and inequality (how to measure and reduce them).

I'm interested in 'realistic yet radical' redesign of employment services and tax and social security systems that simplifies, improves transparency, and includes those left behind.

Examples of my policy analysis and development work include:

  • replacing pensions and allowance payments with a minimum income guarantee for people of working age with supplements for additional costs,
  • employment services purchasing arrangements that quarantine funding for patient investment to overcome labour market disadvantage and support local partnerships with employers and community services,
  • replacing regressive and complex superannuation tax concessions with a rebate that equalises public support for each dollar invested regardless of income,
  • assigning the Goods and Services Tax to the States to fund human services rather than as a substitute revenue source to personal income tax.

I blog at www.needtoknowconsulting.org on topics such as the demise of the 'neoliberal centre', universal basic income, optimal taxation, and the redesign of social security and employment services.  

Journal articles
Davidson P, 2011, 'Did work first work? The role of employment assistance programs in reducing long term unemployment in Australia (1990-2008)', Australian Bulletin of Labour, vol. 37, pp. 51 - 96
Davidson P; Dorsch P, 2018, Voices of Unemployment: Result of an ACOSS survey of jobactive service users, Australian Council of Social Service, Sydney, https://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Voices-of-Unemployment_October-2018_web.pdf
Davidson P; Dorsch P, 2018, Faces of unemployment, Australian Council of Social Service, Sydney, https://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/ACOSS_JA_Faces-of-Unemployment_14-September-2018_web.pdf
Saunders PG; Wong M; Bradbury B; Davidson P, 2018, Inequality in Australia 2018, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Sydney
Davidson P; Saunders P; Bradbury B; Wong M, 2018, Poverty in Australia 2018, Australian Council of Social Service and Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, 2
Davidson PG; Whiteford P, 2012, An overview of Australia's system of income and employment assistance for the unemployed ,, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, Working Papers, 129, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k8zk8q40lbw-en, http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/an-overview-of-australia-s-system-of-income-and-employment-assistance-for-the-unemployed_5k8zk8q40lbw-en;jsessionid=8lw3xkq2lh8s.x-oecd-live-02
Theses / Dissertations
Davidson P, 2018, ‘Active willing and able, a comparison of activation policies in Australia, UK, Netherlands and Denmark’,, Sydney, http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:53082/SOURCE02?view=true


Employment services

Social security

Tax reform

Superannuation policy