This report presents the major findings of the most detailed investigation of the attitudes of a cross-section of the Australian population and their attitudes to state and private welfare provisions. The survey, which was sponsored by the Social Policy Research Centre, was conducted in 1988-89 and based on a sample of 3507 people covering all States and Territories. The report addresses many of the issues raised in debates over the past two decades about the future of the welfare state in Australia and overseas. The release of the report is particularly timely since it coincides with arguments between the major political parties over the reform of statutory provision for health care, education and pensions. The Federal Opposition has placed on the agenda the notion of much greater involvement by the private sector and by charitable and voluntary organizations in all these spheres. The apparent justification for these suggestions has been to reduce government spending, to address the problem of an apparent decline in the work ethic among sections of the population, and to challenge the power of interest groups that are associated with the existing government welfare provisions. The Federal Government has been swift to condemn some of these proposals but has also continued to review existing welfare state provisions and arrangements. This report examines public attitudes relevant to some of these debates. Dr Papadakis has emphasised that the focus on public attitudes can easily be misinterpreted to mean that public opinion shapes public policy. In reality, the picture is more complex. Political parties, the media and interest groups are constantly attempting to shape public opinion about the welfare state, though not necessarily with great success. Dr Papadakis does, however, point out that it is possible to create radically different platforms for reform in social policy by being highly selective in the use of evidence from survey research.