SOCIAL POLICY Essay Example

  • Category:
    Sociology
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2693

Introduction

The aim of the social policy is to bring about improvement in the wellbeing of the and its main concern is the welfare of individuals who may be experiencing social disadvantages and in this case the Aboriginal Community residing in the Northern part of the country. The change in social policy has a drastic effect on the choices as well as lives of the Australian over a period. In Australia, there exist numerous past activisms on policy in the areas related to social policy.

The Australian education policy aims at ensuring equality as well as quality, targeting the various student populations’ subgroups. The equity indicators within the country are positive. Apart from that, this policy aims at ensuring fairness thus contributing to equitable system of education. However, the performance as well as the completion rate of the Aboriginals and Torre Islander people is generally low across the country. The performance of the student in the rural setting is lower by 56 point score compared to the performance in schools located within the Australian cities. The start in education among the Indigenous Australians is usually high, at 95% although the attainment rate is usually low. Ensuring that their performance as well as their attainment is raised will help in ensuring that the overall quality as well as equity of education has risen. The policy to be analyzed in this paper is the education one.

Despite the existence of Australian education policy, the Aboriginal and Torre Islanders continue to be marginalized. There has been no improvement of the overall performance of the PISA reading since 2000, and the Indigenous and rural population have lower performance academically as well as less access in terms of tertiary education than the country’s average.

The policy comprises of the following parts:

Equity and Quality

The indictor for quality is positive in Australia. The inclusive and fair policies contribute to equitable system of education. Until the age of 16 years, the country’s school is comprehensive. The implementation of the 2009 “National Early Childhood Development Strategy” has helped in ensuring greater equity by ensuring that students have an early start up as far as education is concerned.

Ensuring the preparation of the children for the future

The Australian Government has invested in Education system with 6.1% of the country’s GDP going towards education. The states as well as the territory governments fund the public schools.

Impact to the Indigenous Community

The degree of school choices in the country is high and lack of targeting of the same contributes to student segregation. According to studies, school choice coupled with other factors greatly contributes to the undermining of equity within the education system by ensuring the segregation of students into the system of education on the basis of their social-economic background. The policy lacks the mechanism to ensure that this is addressed, and this makes the Indigenous Australians to continue achieving low academic level. The performance as well as the completion rate of the Aboriginal and Torre Islanders is low compared to the rest of the Australian population. The start in education for the Indigenous Australians is usually, with the education participation of children aged from 4 years to 14 years standing at 95%. However, the attainment rate is low and only 20% of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and above manages to complete Year 12. The policy has persistently failed to continually ensure a reduction in the inequalities existing between students from various ethnic and social-economic backgrounds. It has failed to tackle the policies of system level which bring hindrance to equity within the education system.

Government response

As a way of addressing education inequality, the government has responded by introducing various strategies. One of them is the ‘National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development’ which offer support to Indigenous family, target early learning, as well as ensure an improvement of health for the general population of the Indigenous community.

Another response by the government has been the introduction of legislation on anti-discrimination in the 1980 both at state as well as Commonwealth level and this brought about an enlargement to the minority group’s rights for instance the Aboriginal and Torres Islander People (McClelland & Smyth, 2014). Since the 1980s, welfare to policies of work of various governments have brought about changes in the prospects of the welfare recipients’ responsibilities as well as the members of the community when it comes to the labor market and income assistance to individuals who are currently not working. This has enabled the overall wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torre Islander people who are usually disadvantaged in terms of education attainment.

Theoretical Underpinnings

Much public policy practice and theory still appears to be inspired by the government images, ensuring that the society is ‘steered’ from above. A strong perspective as well as strong technical rationale is what characterizes the education policy approach, and at the same time, there exist strict division between the policy and politics. The processes of policy occur in various stages namely the formulation, decision, and finally implementation. The first thing that the education policy makers do is to carry out the analysis of the problem, followed by making the consideration of alternatives, and finally coming up with rational decision. The cycle of policy by Bridgman and Davis comprises of various stages including the following:

  • The definition and the articulation of the problems

  • Collection an analysis of relevant information

  • Clarification of the objectives and distilling of the issues

  • Development and assessment of options as well as proposal

  • Consultations

  • Refining the policy

  • Evaluation of the policy

The government lacks the capacity to navigate the society since it forms part of social system that influences the processes of making public policies. Instead of the emanation of the policy from the central authority such as the legislature or the government, the present process of policy making is usually plurality and usually involves the private as well as public organizations. However, the Australian orthodox process of making policy has the tendency of treating the engagement by the stakeholders as being supplementary instead of being part of the entire process and doing so ignores the political fragmentation reality as well as issue movement and interest groups’ diversion (Wearing & Berreen, 2014). Arguably, this has greatly led to an upsurge in the dissatisfaction especially on the part of the government as well as a growing perception that no longer ensure an effective integration of the interests of the society (McClelland & Smyth, 2014). There has been the utilization of the communities and policy networks’ concepts to offer explanations of how non-governmental as well as governmental actors do influence specific policy as well as decision positions. The emergency of such concepts followed the debate regarding the best way that can be utilized to offer the explanations of the societal as well as political processes. Today, the government does not entirely control the process of policy-making. The society has become center-less as multiple centers characterize the government. The pluralism approach to policy making has the tendency of modulating the significance of the nation because they perceive it as a focal point in which societal interests’ are contested. However, it is clear that the government is an active member when it comes to the process of policy-making (Dalton, 2016).

Different countries have different interpretations about what “welfare state’ is all about. Is some cases, welfare state may involve an ideal provision model in which the state may make a decision to have an acceptance of responsibilities in providing a universal as well as a comprehensive welfare for all its people. In some cases, it may involve the welfare that the state offers. Welfare is provided to serve various issues including the following:

  • Humanitarian: many developments are mainly concerned about need as well as poverty

  • Mutual self-interest: the development of various welfare systems have not resulted from the activities of the state, but rather from various mutualistic activities that the government gradually reinforces.

  • Practical: the provision of welfare offers both social as well as economic benefits (Saunders, 2012).

The residential provision of welfare is mainly for the poor members of the society. To a large extent, social policy economic policy dominates social policy because the policy of the economy is the determinant of the total amount to be spent by the government. Public spending can be viewed in two ways namely the Keynesian and monetarist (Wearing & Berreen, 2014). Keynesianism is the situation where the intervention by the government in the economy appears as being necessary for the economy’s stability. The spending by the public is perceived as an essential regulator and can be utilized to ensure the stimulation of the economy in case of a slump. At the same time, it can be utilized to ensure the damping down of the growth if this occurs abruptly. The basis of monetarism is the view that the economy is appears to be self-sustaining. In case of severity, spending reduction becomes a necessity in the sense that an upsurge in saving will help in ensuring a later growth (McClelland & Smyth, 2014).

How the social policy is developed by the government and the organization

Initially, the process of policy development was the subject of the legislature or the government but currently, the government does not act alone but involves other stakeholders including the community member, beneficiaries, as well as other stakeholders. Mostly, the emerged policies tend to reflect the state actors’ decision to ensure the adoption of certain policy or to ensure have a consultation with a certain group and during this period, it is obvious that the government will not consider views they contest. Sometimes, a particular interest group’s power is mainly all about the ideology as well as politics instead of skill, leadership or resources. The beliefs as well as the values of the day’s government narrow down the various options of policy. Sometimes, this would involve processes but it is likely that the government will only invite institutions or stakeholders who share compatible beliefs and values. However, this does not suggest that the government does not depend on the support of the interest group or forced to ensure the integration of the interests that differ from their own. Instead, the government may contend that the political cost involved in its enforcement is high. In the Australian setting, the status of consultation in the process of developing the policy does not appear as a right. Such a situation means that the policy developed fail to be all inclusive. In some cases, lack of involving the community members in the process of policy making has led to the continuous occurrence of the same problems over and over (McClelland & Smyth, 2014).

Historical, economic, social and political forces which shape social policy

Until the middle of 1960s, there was the exclusion of the Aboriginal people from taking part in political, economic, and social life of the general Australian community (Dalton, 2016). For the first time in 1962, the indigenous Australians were provided with the voting right and in 1967, through a referendum, the vote by most Australians ensured that the government could make policies targeting the indigenous Australians, ensuring their inclusion in the population census. Although there has government policy change, the Indigenous Australians continue to be discriminated against (Saunders, 2012). A liberal-individualism of common sense pervades the political sphere of Australia, and it incorporates numerous utilitarian, legal-positivist, and social-liberal interpretation. The critical assignation with welfare reform history might offer a single enquiry line to more constructively carry out an exploration, interpretation, as well as critique the liberal tradition. The most essential reform on social policy in Australia was the 1938’s scheme and this ensured that all the workers whose earning was below 7 pounds would benefit from it.

A one sixth weekly contribution was made for the employee as well as employer to ensure it is catering for widow pension, disability, sickness, medical benefit, and this ensuring that low earners are being pulled up. The insurance schemes was later introduced but failed and its aim was to ensure the offsetting of the ballooning pension cost. Next to this was the implementation of the welfare state. Some policy experts of Australia were cautious about the influence of Britain, indicating that grafting of the model of Britain into the policy landscape of Australia was to ignore the social as well as the economic idiosyncrasies of Australia (Wearing & Berreen, 2014). Since the clock of the nineteenth century, there has been the persistent intervention of the government of Australia in social as well as economic affairs. Within the Australian setting, social policy initially had an emphasis of ensuring that the breadwinners as well as their families are offered protection.

The framework of social policy contrasted with the state welfare’s institutional arrangement in the various Scandinavian Countries for instance Denmark and Sweden. A total of three social policies, redistributive in nature aimed at ensuring the promotion of equality as the right of the citizens. In Australia, the efforts of redistribution were attained via the wage regulation instruments in the place of public expenditure. Australia has oriented itself in the direction of a ‘welfare society’ instead of a ‘welfare state’. Within Australia, there existed little appetite for politics for an expanded welfare system or social insurance. The forces of globalization presented by an upsurge in the economic integration as well as the global trade brought about alteration in Australia’s economy as well as societal nature (Dalton, 2016).

Social Justice

Social justice involves the promotion of a just society by ensuring that injustice is being challenged and that diversity is valued. Its existence is when individuals become communal in terms of humanity sharing and thus, have a right to being treated equally, human right support, as well as fair community resource allocation. In social justice conditions, discrimination against individual does not occur, neither does their wellbeing as well as welfare prejudiced or constrained based on sexuality, gender, religion, race, age, disability, belief, social class, social-economic status, disability, or other group membership or group characteristics (McClelland & Smyth, 2014).

Function of Welfare State

Welfare state involves a government concept whereby the state becomes essential in the promotion as well as protection of the citizens’ economic and social wellbeing. It ensures equity when it comes to employment opportunity, health, wealth distribution, as well as the general equality. Through the welfare state, fund is being transferred from the state towards the service being rendered such as education and health and in some cases directly to the beneficiary. Efforts to ensure the creation of welfare state is geared towards ensuring that the needs of Australian families comprising of hardworking individuals, are met (Engels, n.d.).

Social Implication

The existence of inequality in health, education, occupation, as well as income aggravates the gap between the Indigenous Australians and the rest of the Australian Population. Many youths living in the territories occupied by the Indigenous Australians do not acquire adequate education and they end up being frustrated thus engage in drug and substance abuse. Social-economic status as assessed by education, occupation, as well as income is associated with various health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Among the youth, this status is linked to high level of drug and substance abuse as well as alcoholism. The link between low social-economic status and high rate of mortality is well documented. The policy should thus address the behavior modification factors such as addressing the issue of alcohol abuse which is linked to diabetes later in life (Wearing & Berreen, 2014).

References

Dalton, T. (2016). Making social policy in Australia: An introduction. St. Leonards, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Engels, B. (n.d.). Old problem, new label: Reconstructing the problem of welfare dependency in Australian social policy discourse. Victorian Council of Social Service.

McClelland, A., & Smyth, P. (Eds.) (2014). Social policy in Australia: Understanding for action (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.

Saunders, P. (January 01, 2012). Mutual obligation, participation and popularity: Social security reform in Australia. Journal of Social Policy, 31, 2012.)

Wearing, M., & Berreen, R. (2014). Welfare & social policy in Australia: The distribution of advantage. Sydney: Harcourt Brace.