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Technical Fixes as Challenges to State Legitimacy: Australian Separated Fathers’ Suggestions for Child Support Policy Reform

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Publication details

JournalSocial Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society
DateSubmitted - 11 Mar 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Oct 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 4 Dec 2019
Number of pages34
Early online date4/12/19
Original languageEnglish


This paper assesses fathers’ evidence presented to an Australian inquiry into the child support scheme. We examine these data to identify fathers’ proposed child support policy solutions, and compare these against Eekalaar’s critique of parents’ moral responsibilities to children and identification of three substitute social bases for parents’ continued support. We find that despite the inquiry’s technical remit, fathers’ solutions challenged the very basis of child support as maintaining, reinforcing, or redressing their responsibilities to children. Here, we illustrate that such procedures may be unable to contain fundamental challenges to state legitimacy when dealing with contested social issues.

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    Research areas

  • Australia; child support; fathers; moral authority; state legitimacy

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