Ageing and Social Policy in Australia

Ageing and Social Policy in Australia

Ageing and Social Policy in Australia

Ageing and Social Policy in Australia


This up-to-date book reflects the breadth of research into gerontology and analyzes the major themes and issues in the area of aging and social policy, in both an Australian context and from an international perspective. Topics discussed include unemployment, education and housing. Also considered are the influence of multiculturalism and the specific structural disadvantages faced by women and Aboriginal Australians. Essential reading for students and policymakers in sociology, social and public policy, gerontology and public health.


Brian Howe

Ageing and Social Polity in Australia marks a point of transition where, with a change of government, one would expect evaluation of past policies, some continuity in valuable policies and some consideration of new ideas. the importance of this book is that its sweep is wide, recognising that most economic and social policies impact on the aged and that therefore a comprehensive approach is justified.

The context is not lacking in controversy. the doomsayers are out in full force, no doubt encouraged by the prospect of a new government to convince, predicting a full-scale crisis perhaps leading to intergenerational warfare. I notice that Lester Thurow, in the United States, suggests that even capitalism itself could be threatened by the growth of a new, 'revolutionary class' of affluent, economically inactive elderly voters. the danger of such radical views is that they will get more currency than they deserve. Decisions will then be taken for political reasons and not based on careful and scholarly analysis.

These views are not new and have been effectively rebutted in the literature on ageing. Paul Johnson, who delivered the 1996 Downing Lecture at Melbourne University and has written frequently on this subject, used the occasion to express scepticism of such apocalyptic statements and discounted the possibility of intergenerational warfare in Britain or Australia.

Many of the authors in this volume refer to the various policy reviews that were initiated in aged care and social security as well as in health, housing and urban and regional programs of Labor governments from 1983 to 1990. the reviews were important because they gave the government a sense of the state of scholarship in a number of interrelated areas of policy as well as many recommendations for new policy directions. the reviews, which were all published, often provided a basis . . .

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