Scholars of public policy often seek to explain how particular policy ideas catch on. What is it that makes some ideas fly, and others flop? For social policy advocates, this is a crucial question. In this post, ANZSOG researcher Jo Luetjens suggests that understanding the role of the policy entrepreneur, and the strategies they use to create change, can help move us toward more effective advocacy strategies.
The NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Child Protection yesterday released a report called Child Protection. It is yet another in a long list of reports into the child protection system telling us what we already know: game changing reform is needed. In today's post, Dr Kirsty Nowlan from the Benevolent Society discusses the implications of the report for the social services sector in Australia.
Developing strong recommendations is critical to ensuring that policy decisions are informed by evidence. In this post, Leandro Echt, General Coordinator of Politics & Ideas, offers some criteria to consider in developing good policy recommendations for decision-makers.
When our politicians frame the discussion around welfare users by using such language as "dole bludgers" it is a deliberate tactic to validate punishing them - as we have seen with the Centrelink debt debacle and the accusations by staff that a faulty system was deliberately implemented. In today's post, Paul Michael Garrett explains how language use frames public opinion in the U.K. in unhelpful ways. Have ideologically underpinned debates, portraying those on welfare as being lazy and having an easy life, become part of collective public perceptions? With 2016 marking the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Williams’ Keywords, an interrogation of the taken-for-grantedness of specific words used to support a neoliberal agenda is timely. Here, he looks at ‘welfare dependency’. This blog originally appeared on the London School of Economics' British Politics and Policy blog; the original can be viewed here.
In recent years, think tanks have been beset by financial constraints, increased competition, and, more recently, a growing questioning of, and popular dissatisfaction with, the role of the ‘expert’ itself. Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, Diane Stone and Hartwig Pautz examine each of these challenges and find that, at a time of huge over-supply of (occasionally dubious) evidence and policy analysis from a variety of sources, think tanks have an opportunity to reinvent themselves as organisations able to discern the reliability and usefulness of policy advice.
Today's post by Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability, examines hurdles the NDIS faces in NSW in offering people with disabilities - particularly those "on the fringe" who are vulnerable and marginalised - choice and control over the services and support they need. This piece was originally published on the NSW CID blog.
Homelessness is a rising problem in Melbourne, and escaping family violence is the single biggest reason that women and children experience homelessness. For many homeless children and young people, though, the problem is masked by high rates of couch surfing. In today’s blog post, Shorna Moore of WEstjustice and Kathy Landvogt of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand share preliminary findings from a couch surfing report due to be released by WEstjustice in 2017. This blog is based on an article that recently ran in Parity.
It seems appropriate to interrupt our normal programming in light of todays events. I, like most people I know, am shocked beyond words. But a few have begun to find words. A friend posted this powerful message on Facebook:
This is a time for anger, not despair. Such abject self destruction can only be countered with committed creation. I don't know where America goes from here - a fetid bandage has been ripped off to reveal huge gaping wounds and about the best I can say is, well, at least now we can see them. But in this country or my own, tomorrow is when my activism starts, not ends.
The exploitation of migrant workers in Australia is widespread, with current systems failing to stop the abuse. The WEstjustice Community Legal Centre Employment Law Project seeks to address this by consulting with newly arrived and refugee community members, leaders and organisations, and collaborating with community partners to improve employment outcomes. Project Lead Catherine Hemingway (@cathemingway) shares this summary of the Project's key findings and recommendations, to be released in an upcoming report: Not just work: ending the exploitation of refugee and migrant workers.
n an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Campaign for Australian Aid, along with 36 signatories, have called on the Australian Government to take meaningful action to fight domestic and global poverty.
The Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference hosted recently in Melbourne by the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) included a session on applying a human rights based approach to person-centred service delivery. It asked:
- What role can or should disability advocacy play in a landscape of person-centred service delivery?
- How do we make sure that mainstream services are accessible to people with disability?
- What will best practice look like?
Advocacy for Inclusion CEO Christina Ryan was a panelist at the session and delivered this address to open her contribution, which included a big challenge to all community service organisations in the room.
Today we present the final blog post from Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum. Hannah Gissane (@hannahgissane) from the Equality Rights Alliance (@ERAAustralia) discusses the role of feminist networks in advocacy. She covers a brief history – or herstory – of women’s networks in Australia, including the ERA. She then discusses networks as influencers, capacity builders, and movements, concluding that networks help women reach out to each other for support, exchange of knowledge, growth, and to generate the energy needed to do the difficult but essential work of advancing equality.
At this year’s Prevalent and Preventable Conference organised by the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) and Our Watch, there was a dedicated stream to exploring intersectionality within the Australian context, in relation to responding to, and preventing violence against women, specifically those who have been ‘minoritised’ by the dominant social groups. Intersectional theory is by no means new, however its more centralised inclusion in the violence against women discourse is. Many feminist and critical race theorists have long suggested and warned that ‘culture talk’ in relation to violence against women is a double-edged sword – whilst it may obscure gender-based domination within communities, it also highlights the importance of cultural considerations for contextualising oppressed groups claim for justice, for improving their access to services, and for requiring dominant groups to examine the invisible cultural advantages they enjoy.
This blog piece provides a reflection of the intersectionality stream and is posted as a Storify by the Women's Policy Action Tank.
As an egregious abuse of human rights and an often hidden form of violence against women and children, forced marriage needs very specific policy responses. Currently, the major response is a legal one, requiring police intervention. Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand has been a key driver in increasing awareness of its prevalence in Australia, through conducting research (The Right to Refuse) and helping to establish the Victorian Forced Marriage Network. Good Shepherd’s Kathy Landvogt explains why a criminal response, while important, is not adequate.
The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Human Services has released its interim report, and Policy Whisperer Paul Smyth identifies the social services sector as leading the match – but is there scope to carry this important conversation to completion? Together with Eleanor Malbon and Gemma Carey, Paul led a coordinated response to the Inquiry in the form of the report Social Service Futures and the Productivity Commission.