Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Special Issue Article


While it is now generally accepted that some redistribution of economic power is a legitimate goal of government, there is no consensus as to the type of redistribution that should be pursued. In the absence of a clear redistributive goal, it is impossible to evaluate critically current law, or make recommendations. for change. In the first part of this article, we examine alternative models of redistribution and advocate a preferred model, namely, redistribution to promote equality of opportunity and to recognize periods of vulnerability. We then evaluate the operation of Australian social security law and taxation law in light of that objective. We conclude that, although changes made in the 1980s were positive, they were inadequate in terms of the goal we propose. Following is an analysis of the changes required if the social security and tax systems are to work" together efficiently in furtherance of effective redistribution. The final part of the paper applies the analysis to the case study of retirement savings and incomes, and proposes fundamental reforms to the current tax system with respect to these questions.