The 53rd ANZAAS (Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science) Congress was held in Perth in May 1983. For the first time, it contained a section on social welfare which was highly successful in terms of the numbers of congress participants attending the sessions, and the degree of interest and enthusiasm with which they responded to the papers presented. Four sessions were given by SWRC staff and the volume of requests for copies of their papers has been so great that we have decided to publish them, in a single volume, as part of our Reports and Proceedings series. Inasmuch as this is possible, each paper is concerned with a discrete component of the social welfare spectrum; redistributive fiscal policies and practices; non-government welfare organisations; ageing and social inequalities; and the economy and social inequalities - and reflects the specific research undertaken by the individual authors. Although there is consequently no obvious, concrete theme connecting them, the papers adopt one of the major themes of the Congress itself, ‘Resources and Responsibility’ through which to address their various concerns. Each advocates that the development of effective social welfare policies requires full and realistic consideration of all relevant factors, including resources, assumptions about and delegations of responsibilities, and the implications of the policies themselves. Each stresses the importance of analysis of particular aspects of social welfare taking place in the broadest possible social, political and economic contexts.