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SWK3260 - Social policy and social justice I

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Philip Mendes (Social Policy) & Dr Bernadette Saunders (Law)


Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)
Singapore Second semester 2007 (Flexible)


This unit investigates the major political and ideological debates influencing Australian welfare provision and its unique history. It examines frameworks for analysing contemporary social policies, and examines the social welfare philosophies of the Liberal and Labor parties. It also studies the legal mandate and legal processes which implement policies in the key human service areas, and outlines key legal dilemmas which impact on social work practice.


After studying this unit, students will be able to understand the meaning and nature of social policy and be able to describe bow it can be understood from different theoretical and practical points of view; be able to describe and evaluate trends in various social policy fields in the light both of history and of contemporary community needs; be bale to apply various analytical frameworks to social policy debates, be able to describe the key social policy trends and philosophies of the major political parties, with attention given to media coverage of these; understand and describe the law translating key social policies into practice; and understand and be able to evaluate the impact of the law on key aspects social work practice.


Social policy component - One written analysis of media coverage of political issues (500 words): 10%
One essay (2500 words): 40%
Law component - One assignment, including a court report (2000 words): 50%
Hurdle: Both Social policy and Law components must be passed in order to gain an overall pass in the unit.

Contact hours

4 hours per week


Social work units are available only within the context of the Bachelor of Social Work degree, or with permission.