Posts in Social Policy Whisperer
The mental health impacts of sexualisation, family violence and assault

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System provides an opportunity to consider the social and economic factors that contribute to poor mental health using a gender lens. Today’s analysis, by Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) and Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (@GoodAdvocacy), provides an overview of how rigid gender stereotyping creates a cascade effect of experiences that compromise women’s and girls’ mental health. This is the fourth in a 4-part series based on Good Shepherd’s submission; Part 1 provides an overview of the gendered nature of mental health, Part 2 discusses the related issue of economic inequality, and Part 3 examines the influence of financial hardship.

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‘Compliance’ welfare a road to destruction

The Federal Coalition Government has introduced a range of cuts to welfare payments, and accompanying this there has been an increasing focus on compliance. Compliance requirements are often onerous and unrealistic for people receiving welfare, and in addition seem designed to strip recipients of their dignity and agency. In today’s post Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand briefly reviews some of the compliance initiatives, suggests possible world views that are driving these changes, and provides a brief review of the consequences. Note: Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand is part of the newly-formed Treating Families Fairly campaign, organised by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

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Voluntary Action – reflections on Volunteering Victoria’s conference: the ‘Power of Association’.

Social Policy Whisperer Professor Paul Smyth reflects on the recent Volunteering Victoria annual conference and its attempts to reframe volunteering not as a replacement to the welfare state but as central to the workings of a good society - at risk from the encroaching role of for-profit players in historically not-for-profit environments.

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"Yes, Virginia, there is a thing called Society": Social policy and the voluntary sector 2017

The start of 2017 has been marked by growing tensions between socially disparate forces eager to disentangle from the decades-long pervasiveness of neoliberalism, and the political forces that conspire to maintain the status quo. Social Policy Whisperer Professor Paul Smyth outlines the growing global policy momentum towards 'inclusive growth' and 'shared prosperity', and examines implications for how Australia's voluntary sector might engage in an anything-but-orderly transition.

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A diversion: @RealScientists explores public policy

Policy Whisperer Susan Maury has been the guest curator of the Twitter account @RealScientists this week. The account has global reach and is followed by nearly 40,000 scientists and people who like to learn about science. Today's 'storified' post captures Susan's experience on the account over a single day, with discussion ranging from the work of the Women's Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre, Power to Persuade, the Women’s Policy Action Tank, utilising evidence to advocate for better policy, and how evidence is often misused in the policy debate.

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One is the loneliest number: mitigating the effects of social isolation

Today’s blog post by Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) examines the intersection between social isolation and flourishing, particularly for young people. Australians report feeling increasingly lonely, which has alarming cognitive, social and health consequences across the lifespan. It is time to incorporate a proactive, universal approach to ensuring young people know how to create and sustain positive social relationships.

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Quarter Time at the Productivity Commission inquiry into social services: who’s winning?

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

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The Two Faces of Competition: Which is Best for the Social Services Sector?

What impact does competition have on the social services sector? Does it help or hinder our ability to serve the needs of Australia's most vulnerable? Today’s contribution comes from Professor Robyn Keast, who is the Chair of Collaborative Research Network Policy and Planning for Regional Sustainability, and located at the Southern Cross University.

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From Zombie Economics to the Public Interest: the challenge for the voluntary sector

With the Productivity Commission inquiry into human services examining 'competition, contestability and informed user choice', the sector faces further transformation as part of a 'marketisation' agenda. Social Policy Whisperer Prof Paul Smyth argues the time is ripe for a 're-invigoration' of the sector.

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Health and healthcare policies in the 2016 election

A focus on national health and wellbeing as well as on healthcare services is an investment in equity, productivity and prosperity, argues Dr Lesley Russell (University of Sydney). Healthcare policies need to go well beyond the current over-medicalised focus on hospitals, doctors and prescriptions – how do the major parties measure up?

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Action and Inaction on Policy that Benefits Women

When a gender lens is applied to government policy, it becomes clear that women experience the consequences of policy differently to men.  In this post, Policy Whisperer Susan Maury introduces the Women’s Policy Action Tank and why there is a need for highlighting women’s needs in the policy arena. 

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Should academics be expected to change policy? A response to James Lloyd

James Lloyd’s recent post on the LSE Impact Blog “Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change” has been raising eyebrows in research and policy circles. Lloyd’s basic claim is that it is neither realistic nor desirable to expect academics to achieve policy impact. Bold, but should we take his position as correct? Luke Craven, Chris Neff, and Paul Smyth investigate.

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