Rein in welfare: Hockey

SOCIAL welfare programs are populist and need to be urgently reined in, Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey told the Institute of Economic Affairs in London on Wednesday.

Mr Hockey last night outlined his views on the need for a redefinition of social welfare and entitlements in Australia.

"The reality is that we cannot have greater government services and more government involvement in our lives coupled with significantly lower taxation," he said.

"As a community we need to redefine the responsibility of government and its citizens to provide for themselves, both during their working lives and into retirement."

In a speech showing his classic Liberal stripes, he emphasised his view that a "strong government" had to be able to "say No" to the creation and furthering of a welfare state, for the betterment of the individual to excel within society.

In an interview on ABC Television last night, Mr Hockey also publicly acknowledged his role within the Howard Government of not adequately reining in spending.

He also cited the current welfare system, or lack thereof, in Asian countries such as Hong Kong.

"The system there is that you work hard, your parents look after the kids, you look after your grandkids and you save as you work for 40 years to fund your retirement," he said.

"The sense of government entitlement in these countries is low.

"You get what you work for.

"Your tax payments are not excessive and there is an enormous incentive to work harder and earn more if you want to."

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