Christian Porter

Social Services Minister Christian Porter was feigning an ideology and partisanship-free approach to welfare reform yesterday, when his speech was full of both. But beneath those, he was offering a potentially valuable opportunity to improve the effectiveness of at least some areas of welfare.

"It would be fair to say that governments of all stripes have generally not been very good at measuring the effectiveness of the welfare spend," Porter told the National Press Club. "The notion that some or other ideology can prove that there’s some perfect or right answer to the question of how big the welfare state should be -- seems to me ... to mistake a question of context for a question of theory." He also mocked his own youthful belief in hardline neoliberal economics, noting that he developed a very different attitude to things like taxation when he became Treasurer of Western Australia.