Last week Paula Bennett could be heard in Parliament quoting from Professor Peter Saunders's book The Ends and Means of Welfare.
Professor Saunders is director of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales where he has been for more than 20 years.
In his book Professor Saunders asks why Australia's quality of life has diminished under free market policies.
Saunders defends the welfare state and says that major equity obstacle the Australian public welfare system faces in providing beneficiaries with adequate entitlements is a lack of resources brought about by two decades of shifting direct responsibility away from the state on the grounds of 'sound economic management'.
Professor Saunders argues the end goal of welfare is to provide everyone with a decent income.
Given that Ms Bennett is presently attacking beneficiaries and slashing entitlements, why was she quoting from a book that is diametrically opposed to her neoliberal ideology?
The answer is that, yet again, Bennett has shown herself up as being not very bright.
The author of The Ends and Means of Welfare is not the Professor Brian Saunders who the Minister of Social Development has appointed to her Welfare State Demolition Group but a completely different Professor Saunders.
This particular Professor Saunders is director of social policy research programs at the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), a Sydney-based right wing think tank.
He is a neoliberal extremist who blames the unemployed for being unemployed and says its 'immoral' to hand out money 'to people who have no intention of even trying to achieve self-reliance".
But as the Green's Catherine Delahunty pointed out in Parliament today Paula Bennett appears to be labouring under the impression that the Professor Peter Saunders she has appointed to her little group is the author of The Ends of Means and Means of Welfare.
Delahunty asked Bennett which Professor Saunders she had actually appointed. Bennett, clearly perplexed, resorted to more of her usual bluster and avoided answering the question.
Catherine Delahunty was prevented by the Government from tabling two documents that outlined the two different biographies of the two different professors.
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