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1970s mother

It’s Been 50 Years Since The Single Mother’s Benefit Was Introduced

It’s been 50 years since the single mother’s benefit was introduced in 1973 by the Whitlam Government. 

This pension was introduced to provide for single mothers who did not qualify for the widow’s pension. 

The introduction of this policy was a contradiction of the ideology of the times, which was not all that supportive of single mothers. 

Finding Michael:

As journalist Amelia Oberhardt discovers in the new podcast ‘Secrets We Keep’, many mothers were made to feel ashamed of pregnancies outside of marriage. 

According to Professor of Modern History at Macquarie University Michelle Arrow, the traditional “nuclear family” was still perceived as the ideal family dynamic during the 1950s – 1970s, and modern relationships which involved sex outside of marriage were still frowned upon.

“The nuclear family was sort of really regarded as a way that families would achieve happiness and kind of privacy and stability,” she said. 

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As a result of the societal expectations between the 1950s and 1970s, many women felt they had no choice but to give up their babies for adoption. 

The trauma from forced adoptions has continued to reverberate through Australian society to this day, despite women’s rights changing significantly since the 1970s. 

On this episode of ‘Secrets We Keep’, Amelia’s pursuit for the truth shines a spotlight on what life may have been like for women in the 1970’s and whether her mother may have fallen victim to the brutal expectations of the time. 

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