Australian Social Policy

Course code SPSW3414
Not available in 2017


Provides an opportunity for students to examine key themes in social policy using Australian material. The starting point for the course will be the debate over the nature and extent of class, wealth inequality and poverty in Australia. The course will then track the extent to which governments in Australia at the national level have attempted and succeeded over the past thirty years in using interventions in social policy fields to reduce the incidence of income poverty and associated inadequacies in the standard of living and quality of life. The course will analyse the forces and interests that have limited government efforts to improve the absolute and relative position of the less well-off and the worst-off.


Not currently available.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an ability to conceptualise and empirically document inequalities in economic and social conditions and the gender, ethnicity and geographical patterns in these inequalities;

2. Demonstrate a capacity to critically conceptualise and document the variation in the way these inequalities are perceived and interpreted by organised pressure groups and other participants in the political and policy process

3. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the key characteristics of government policy and action;

4. Demonstrate a capacity to assess the impact of government policy and action on inequalities in economic and social conditions

5. Demonstrate a capacity to contribute to class discussion and to achieve levels of analytical and scholarly written expression appropriate to an upper level undergraduate social policy course.


  • Is Social Policy Relevant to Welfare Work?
  • One Context of Social Policy: Class, Wealth and Income Inequality in Australia
  • Social Policy in Australia: Overview and History
  • Employment and Training Programs
  • Income Support
  • Housing-home ownership; public housing; vouchers; homelessness
  • Health
  • Child Care
  • Aged Care
  • Women and Social Programs
  • Imposing the Competitive Market Model on Community Services
  • Who Pays for Social Programs?: Taxation and Redistribution

Assumed Knowledge

20 units of study at 1000 level

Assessment Items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Coursepack reading questions assignment 1

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Coursepack reading questions assignment 2

Essay: Essay

Participation: Participation in group discussion

Contact Hours