Poverty research has a long history in both Australia and Britain, but its influence on policy remains subject to political priorities and ideology. This can partly be explained by the limitations of defining poverty as low income and measuring it using an income poverty line. This article examines two national data sets that allow the income poverty profile to be compared with, and enriched by, the incidence of deprivation and social exclusion, measured using data that directly reflect experience. Although a degree of care must be applied when interpreting these new indicators within and between countries, a validated poverty measure is developed that reflects both low income and the experience of deprivation and exclusion. When results for the two countries are compared, they reveal stark differences between the alternative indicators. Britain has the higher income poverty rate and, although the incidence of both deprivation and exclusion are higher in Australia, Britain still has more validated poverty. The distributional profiles of deprivation and exclusion are shown to be very different in the two countries. These differences are explained by the very low incomes of low-income households in Britain, relative to other British households and relative to their Australian counterparts. Despite these differences, the results indicate that the same three groups face the greatest risk in both countries: lone parents, single working-age people and large (couple) families.