The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course builds on SPSW1001 Introduction to Human Services and Community Welfare by focusing in greater depth on key social policy fields at the national level in Australia. The course combines approaches associated with welfare studies with those of political science: thus for each social portfolio, it examines social inequalities that give rise to calls for government intervention, the institutional processes by which a government response is fought over and decided, and the social impact of the government intervention that occurs. The course pays particular attention to the level of government spending and regulation in each portfolio and how this shapes service delivery and service usage.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2017.

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): SPSW3414. Students who have successfully completed SPSW3414 are not eligible to enrol in SPSW2003.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Document inequalities in economic and social conditions and the gender, ethnicity and geographical patterns in these inequalities

2. Document the variation in the way these inequalities are viewed by organised pressure groups, political parties, the bureaucracy and other participants in the political and policy process;

3. Analyse the key characteristics of government policy and action;

4. Assess the impact of government policy and action on inequalities in economic and social conditions and the role of human service workers;

5. Identify progressive alternatives to prevailing neo-liberal and other mainstream approaches;

6. Contribute to class discussion and to achieve levels of analytical and written expression appropriate to an upper level undergraduate course.


Topics may include but need not be limited to

  • Economic Inequality and the Economic Policy Context
  • Social Policy in Australia: Overview and History
  • Employment and Training Programs
  • Income Support
  • Child care
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Aged Care
  • Disability
  • Women and Social Programs
  • Indigenous Programs
  • Competition Policy and Community Services
  • Who Pays for Social Programs?: Taxation and Redistribution


This course replaces SPSW3414. If you have successfully completed SPSW3414 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

20 units of study at 1000 level

Assessment items

Quiz: Weekly Online Quizzes

Participation: Seminar Participation

Presentation: Seminar Paper/Presentation

Essay: Essay