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Unit of study_

SCPL2601: Australian Social Policy

In this unit of study Australian social policy is explored: the legal and administrative framework; relationships between family and the state; employment, unemployment, unpaid work and welfare; the public/private mix; aged care policies, the culture of welfare state provision, indigenous policies, migration, multiculturalism and the formulation and delivery of social welfare services in Australia.


Academic unit
Unit code SCPL2601
Unit name Australian Social Policy
Session, year
Semester 1, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

12 credit points at 1000 level in Sociology or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Social Policy or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Socio-legal Studies
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Dinesh Wadiwel,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial Participation
Engagement and participation in tutorials
10% Ongoing Tutorial Participation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task Essay
35% Week -05 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Assignment Budget Analysis
Policy Brief
10% Week 09
Due date: 29 Apr 2022 at 23:59
1000 words or equivalent
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO5
Assignment hurdle task Policy Report
Long Answer/ Essay / Report
45% Week 13 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Grade Descriptors



Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: unacceptable levels of paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; presentation, grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; submitted very late without extension.



Written work contains evidence of minimal reading and some understanding of subject matter, offers descriptive summary of material relevant to the research topic, but may have a tendency to paraphrase; makes a reasonable attempt to organise material logically and comprehensibly and to provide scholarly documentation. There may be gaps in any or all of these areas.


Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading and research, and demonstrates a reasonable understanding of subject matter. Offers a synthesis of relevant material and shows a genuine effort to avoid paraphrasing, has a logical and comprehensible structure and acceptable documentation, and attempts to mount an argument, though there may be weaknesses in particular areas.


Written work contains evidence of a broad and reasonably accurate command of the subject matter and some sense of its broader significance, offers synthesis and some evaluation of material, demonstrates an effort to read broadly, contains clear focus on the principal issues, understanding of relevant arguments and diverse interpretations, and a coherent argument grounded in relevant evidence, though there may be some weaknesses of clarity or structure. Articulate, properly documented.



Written work contains evidence of comprehensive reading, offers synthesis and critical evaluation of material on its own terms, takes a position in relation to various interpretations. In addition, it shows some extra spark of insight or analysis. Demonstrates understanding of broad historical significance, good selection of evidence, coherent and sustainable argument, some evidence of independent thought.


Adequate reading, research, understanding and presentation of subject area, relevant theories and methodologies.  Some evidence of ability to think theoretically as well as empirically, and to conceptualise and problematise issues.  Weaknesses include gaps in research, important unresolved problems and inconsistencies within the argument, deficiencies in clarity, and stylistic lapses.



Sound grasp of subject area, with extensive reading and research; ability to use methodology and theory, evidence of careful and thorough discovery and original use of appropriate sources; competent analysis and evaluation of material; ability to present material clearly and succinctly with a well-thought out argument. Properly documented; writing characterised by style, clarity, and some creativity.

80 to 84

General excellence in subject area without major error or naivete; breadth of knowledge; clear familiarity with and ability to use appropriate methodologies and theories; clear evidence of some independence of thought in the subject area. Makes good attempt to ‘get behind’ the evidence and engages with its underlying assumptions, takes a critical, interrogative stance in relation to political argument and interpretation. Superior written style, clarity and creativity.

High Distinction

85 to 89

As above, but with greater evidence of intellectual independence and more originality of thought. Shows a command of the field both broad and deep, independent intellectual argument and a significant degree of original thought.

90 and above.

Outstanding, demonstrating independent thought throughout, a flair for the subject, and research achievement of a kind that produces at least some work of potentially publishable standard in a serious academic journal.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 02 16 Key Terms for Social Policy Lecture (2 hr) LO1
16 key Terms for Social Policy Tutorial (1 hr) LO1
Week 03 What is Social Policy? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4
What is Social Policy? Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 04 The Historical Context: War, Depression, The Race Power and the "White Australia Policy" Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
The Historical Context: War, Depression, The Race Power and the "White Australia Policy" Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 05 The Contemporary Context: The Australian Welfare State Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
The Contemporary Context: The Australian Welfare State Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Understanding Poverty Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4
Understanding Poverty Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Understanding the Australian Government Budget Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Understanding the Australian Government Budget Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Paid Work and Social Security Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Paid Work and Social Security Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Regulating the Unemployed Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Regulating the Unemployed Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Regulating the Family: Gender, Care and Labour Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5
Regulating the Family: Gender Care and Labour Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Individualisation and Privatisation - The National Disability Insurance Scheme Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Individualisation and Privatisation - The National Disability Insurance Scheme Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Indigenous Social Policy - Contemporary Perspectives Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Indigenous Social Policy - Contemporary Perspectives Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Where to from here: challenges for Australian social policy in the 21st century Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Unit of Study Wrap Up Discussion Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. familiarise yourself with the key institutions and actors involved in developing social policies concerned with income support, unemployment and care in Australia
  • LO2. understand the history, development and restructuring of the Australian welfare state
  • LO3. fluently engage with current debates about the transformation of the Australian welfare state drawing on both substantive policy knowledge and sociological theory
  • LO4. understand and explain the different approaches to justice, needs and rights that underpin different policies in the contemporary and historical contexts
  • LO5. conduct analysis of substantive policy and effectively communicate this.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Changes to learning topics and assessments have been applied


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