Monday, March 4, 2013

Journalists who "get" social policy

For 18 years Adele Horin was the Sydney Morning Herald's  social affairs correspondent where she wrote important and ground breaking articles about social policy issues and the development and implementation of social policy by Federal and State Governments.

Along with her former colleague at the Sydney Morning Herald Elisabeth Wynhausen (whose website is backstreetbondi),  Adele Horin was a journalist who reported on social policy issues from a strong social justice perspective.

She has a great ability to write about the myriad of ways that social policy decisions impact on the daily lives of ordinary people.

 In  her final article for the SMH For richer and poorer the battle goes on Horin writes:
Harsh and simplistic solutions to complex social problems are still trotted out by the rich and powerful whose encounters with the lives of the poor are usually non-existent.
It is the same story in the schools debate. Twenty-four years ago I wrote, ''If state schools are to avoid their fate as repositories of the poor, and thus electorally dispensable, the middle class must be wooed back.'' They weren't.
The Gonski report presents a compelling economic and social argument for equalising opportunities for children in public schools. No subject is more important than improving the life chances of poor children through the best education possible.
But the debate appears lost, as the Prime Minister, once dedicated to the cause, panders to a middle-class with kids in private schools who consider themselves hard-up. She promises to give extra funds she doesn't have to wealthy schools while the Opposition Leader claims rich schools are the true victims of funding injustice. Plus c¸a change.
Mandatory detention of refugees began in 1992 under then prime minister Paul Keating. A lot of us overlooked the development in far-away Port Hedland at the time. All these years later, harsh treatment of refugees of a kind we know is bound to cause mental illness and suicides remains our only response, and the ''regional solution'' is no close
Adele Horin now works as a freelance journalist and reports on the interface between aged care policy and the experiences of Australians getting older. Her articles are published at her website Adele Horin: Coming of Age and in online publications such as the Global Mail.

Her latest article  The New  Nasty Sibling Rivalry looks at the ways families are responding to the demands of caring for ageing parents and the consequences of Federal Government policies that often require the sale of the family home to pay for the costs of care for ageing parents.

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