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Continuity or Change? Disability Policy and the Rudd Government

  • Karen Soldatic (a1) and Barbara Pini (a2)

This article reports on shifts and continuities in policy relating to disabled people and the administrative apparatus of federal disability policy under the Rudd government (2007–10). It begins with a brief historical overview of disability policy in Australia. It then gives particular attention to highlighting the contentious and dramatic changes to disability policy which were instigated by the Howard government (1996–2007). Following this, attention is focused on the major developments in disability policy and administration with the election of the Rudd Labor government in 2007. Through this discussion, we demonstrate the ways the altered vocabularies, practices and instruments of the state have manifested in relation to disability policy in Australia, ultimately shaping opportunities for either inclusion or exclusion at the national level among disabled people.

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I. Dempsey and J. Ford (2009) ‘Employment for people with intellectual disability in Australia and the United Kingdom’, Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 19, 4, 233–43.

R. Drake (1999) Understanding Disability Policies, London: MacMillan.

J. Evans (1989) ‘New directions in disability: a report on the progress of the “deserving poor”’, in R. Kennedy (ed.), Australian Welfare, Melbourne: Macmillan, pp. 242–62.

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P. Mendes (2009) ‘Retrenching or renovating the Australian welfare state: the paradox of the Howard government's neoliberalism’, International Journal of Social Welfare, 18, 1, 102–10.

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N. Ryan (1995) ‘The competitive delivery of social services: implications for program implementation’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 54, 3, 353–64.

M. Ward (2006) ‘The vision of the Disability Services Act 1986: a never-ending struggle’, Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 31, 4, 253–4.

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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
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