In the move to our new system and website, we are encountering some technical issues.
We are working hard to fix these and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Subject details

  • Topics
    • Course Introduction - What is social policy?
    • An Australian Story: From the wage-earner's model to the present
    • Alleviating Poverty?The `functions' of poverty and welfare;
    • On Work & Welfare: Social policy for full employment?
    • Social Policy for Social Citizenship? Rights, obligations and solidarity
    • Managing Social Risk? Dealing with state and market failures
    • Understanding Social Policy Developments;
    • The Macro Dynamics of Welfare State Change
    • The Micro Dynamics of Welfare State Change
    • The Rise of Conditionality: `Workfare' vs. the `new paternalism'
    • The Shift to Markets: Neoliberalism, marketisation and financialisation
    • Closing the Gap? Persistent inequalities and Indigenous social policy
    • Course Conclusion.
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board

At the completion of this subject students will:

  1. critically assess, use and synthesise information
  2. discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  3. contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments
  4. challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  5. apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manne
  6. locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  7. develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments and non-government organisations
  8. further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  9. demonstrate effective time management and work organisation.
  • Assignment 1 - Policy Brief (30%)
  • Assignment 2 - Online engagement (10%)
  • Assignment 3 - Research Assignment (60%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • MAQ-SGY881
  • MAQ-SGY381

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject was previously known as SGY881 Developing Social Policy.

This subject introduces and advances major topics in Australian social policy – the policies that governments make to improve individual and public welfare. The idea of social policy can be narrow, involving giving cash benefits and social services to the most needy. But our understanding of social policy might be broader, and encompass the provision of social infrastructure – health, housing and education services. Sometimes, social policy can be 'disguised' in other policies entirely, such as the policy of life-long employment, minimum wages in Australia, and guaranteed prices for food staples. This semester, we apply different analytical lenses to understanding social policy and welfare state development. The subject has three parts. The first part engages with key theories about the politics and economics of social policy. The second part turns to the issue of understanding welfare state development and change. The third part examines the political and social dynamics of contemporary social policy. Across the semester, we will situate Australian social policymaking in international perspective to highlight what is unique and what is similar with the experiences of other countries.

Related degrees