Social Policy Assignment

Question Part A: Read assignment 1 and answer question Part A: In 500 words write a summary of Assignment 1 you did. Your summary should include the social policies you discussed in assignment 1, the examination of the issues you found in assignment 1, your views and how you attempted to influence the issues and why.

Assignment 1: Monday nights on the ABC

The program was broadcasted on Monday night on the ABC channel on March 4th 2019 at 9.35 pm where the crisis befalling the Catholic Church especially in Australia was discussed at length.

The social issues discussed in the program

The program has touched on several social issues that touch on the Catholic Church. More importantly the discussion surrounding incidents of sex abuse within the Catholic institution has taken center stage to the extent that the leadership and faithful are alike have had to contend with negative publicity that has followed due to the serious allegations which befell the top leadership of the church in Australia. A highly respected institution like the great Catholic Church must and should always be associated with positive social values that encompass human virtues which propel the society and the country at large to move forward in the righteous and right direction.

 It therefore becomes very disturbing to learn the vices such as sex abuse can be associated with the holy church. And to imagine that the top leadership like the archbishops and the very top like the cardinal is allegedly found in the crossfire amidst all that is mind-boggling even to faintest of church believers (Notzon, 2018).. Even though the conviction of the Archbishop was overturned which was followed by a public outcry, vices that have allegedly been committed by the leadership of the Catholic Church are seen as a calculated move to erode the very foundations that the Catholic Church is built on.

 But even so, the issue of institutional sex abuse such as one being allegedly witnessed in the Catholic Church can be termed broadly as a symptom of a much serious disease (Notzon, 2018). It is therefore high time the Catholic institution conducts what can be termed as a value based self-assessment of where it stands in terms of social and religious values against where it should be on the same. The self-assessment will enable the congregation, the faithful and leadership of the church at large to breach the existing gap and restore the lost glory whilst become a role model to the populace especially the young generation who believe without conditions nor reservations.

One social policy debate reflected within the program and what underpins the views of the panel members

From the discussion, a debate on social policy that supports the view of the panelists is the contentious issue of marriage and celibacy in the Catholic Church. From the outset, the issue of celibacy and marriage in the holy institution has been a thorn in the flesh. As a matter of fact most of the vices that are currently befalling the church have either a direct link or are indirectly related to celibacy policy at the institution. Even when the questioners described the situation as it is currently in the Catholic Church, the panelists were very categorical in fronting their expert opinion as regards celibacy in church. One of the panelists was of the view that is widely shared by many that the issue of priestly celibacy must be faced by the horn as was being addressed by Pope Francis.

The history of the Catholic Church as far as the panelists are concerned permitted the proponents of earlier values of the church to practice marriage within the ranks of the priests and the pope. That notwithstanding, imposing celibacy on the current priests and pope would open a Pandora’s Box in linking the current sex abuse scandals to the celibacy policy (Notzon, 2018). One must be very carefully however when advancing any unfounded notions regarding the crisis that has befallen the Catholic church and try to navigate the position logically whilst bearing in mind that within the general group of current Catholic priests and fathers, there are very decent servants of the Catholic church who believe in the set doctrines and would do anything to protect the sanctity of the Catholic church.

Of great essence meanwhile is the view that as much as linking celibacy in the catholic church with the sex scandals and abuses witnessed in the recent times is inevitable,  a question the begs whether or not priesthood is watertight and can stand the test of character and fidelity to the church. The panelists were of the view that priesthood is a way of directly defying nature by way of depriving the priests’ one of the basic human needs, sex, and without handing them proper regalia to face reality on the ground as they continue with their day to day service to the church and Catholic faithful. This in turn led them to temptations and eventually fell both preys and victims of their own making.

My own views in relation to one issue discussed on the program

There is one more issue other than the sex abuse at the Catholic church that has clearly come out of the discussion with the panelists, that is the fact the alleged sex offenders and the purported witnesses are subjected harshly to the court of public opinion without giving credit to the due process (Drape, 2012). As a matter of fact the role of the media and other social platforms have been blamed to unfairly judge the accused and at the same time to crucify the victims depending on the side they sit on the case or any other ongoing case. For example I’m of the view that the fact that Cardinal George Pell continue to reiterate his innocence and has even gone ahead to lodge a formal appeal on the same mean that the public should respectfully allow the court process to continue without necessarily either convicting him already, if they don’t like him, or acquitting him of all the charges if they are on his camp.

This means that it is wrong in my unreserved opinion to not believe that an individual can commit a crime based on the fact that you know him but hold a differing opinion on occasions where you don’t know the accused. The foregoing notion has negatively impacted on sex abuse cases especially those involving powerful church leaders and less powerful victims since they fear that they will either be believed or not based on who knows them or who doesn’t respectively. It is wrong and must stop so as to allow a credible judicial process to go on and determine each and every case based on merit or demerits of the case.

How I would attempt to influence this social policy on Celibacy and why?

The social policy that will be of interest based on the discussion that was fronted by the panelist is the issue of celibacy and marriage in the Catholic Church. In order to influence the policy I will attempt to have an in-depth understanding of the origin of celibacy and focus more on how to improve the current situation in the Catholic Church. For instance its already in the public domain that there exists myriad attempts by the pope to try and change the situation and has even been noted that some sections of the Catholic priests are marrying, the noble thing to do is to embrace that change and refer to the provisions of the Bible in the book of Genesis that allow for emotional involvement and sex between humans. So firstly, I would attempt to join the already change-driven leaders within the church to amend certain parts of the priesthood to allow for priests to marry so as to limit chances of temptations that make them engage in illicit behaviors. It is so ironical that a priest would lead a marriage service and impart proper marital values whilst he can’t afford to live under the same values ever.

Bibliography

A Church in Crisis retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/qanda/2019-04-03/10838558 on 7th

April 2019

Drape, Julian (2012). “Abuse inquiry to run ‘as long as it takes’“. The Australian. AAP.

Notzon, Nancy (2018). “Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse”. ABC News.

Murphy, Damien (2008). “Old boy calls school a pedophile paradise“. The Sydney Morning

Herald.

Marr, David (2010). “Stannis priest convicted of abuse“. The Sydney Morning Herald

Question Part B – Comments: Comment on 5 summaries posted by the other students. You should comment on each summary and within 200 words each. Read the other student’s summary and comment on their views. Also each comment should reflect your own values, assumptions and position on current social policy matters.

Student 1: USAMA IBNE MONIR’s summary

The episode Cash, Guns, Gangs, and Life of Q and A was broadcasted on 1st April 2019, Monday (Cash, 2019). The issue of Debt and Budget position of the Australian Government and how it impacts social service provision is chosen from the episode. The Australian Government has high debts and low earning that overall effects the economy of the country and as a result the nonprofit organizations faces ups and downs. The Australian net debt position is at a high level in history as well as in the current context. Gross debt of the country is higher than its earning. This is because the net prices of commodities are higher than income.

According to a report undertaken by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs (2009) entitled, Impact of the Economic Downturn on Corporate Community Investment, due to the economic downturn, non-profit social organizations reported that funding has declined, and competition for available funding has increased. To make up for funding shortfalls, the social non-profit organizations are cutting costs, expanding their fundraising efforts and looking for innovative ways to increase fundraising. They are also utilizing reserve funds to cover any shortfalls. There have been announcements of staff cutbacks in the sector. However, many of these organizations are looking for ways to manage without significant employee reductions. Some nonprofit organizations also reported that funding for disaster relief efforts has diverted funding away from their activities.

On the other hand, some nonprofit organizations have reported stronger-than-expected financial results in the last year. For these organizations, the economic downturn has resulted in a surge in demand for services and support associated with the global financial crisis, favorable publicity, and increased awareness, that has resulted in an overall increase in financial support. However, these are the exception rather than the norm. 


The Australian Government net debt position is very critical so to cope with this situation there must be a balance fiscal policy to lower the debts and higher the earnings. Significantly, the net debt position of the Australian Government is primarily the product of the reduced revenue associated with GFC (Makin, 2016). On the other hand, a higher level of foreign debt is another reason behind the debt problem (Koepke, 2019). Therefore, the development of this policy will positively influence in maintaining the balance between debt and budget which will ultimately increase the funding for nonprofit organizations.

Student 2: Lamia Ferdaus’s summary

In Assignment 1, I have chosen the topic “Women in Leadership” from ABC’s recent Q and A session that aired on the 11th of March 2019. All the panel members were a successful leaders in the male-dominated industries. Throughout the program, the panel members has discussed social issues and social policy in relation to women leadership. Gender equality in politics and workplace, lack of equal treatment in the workplace is the issue faced by today’s women. However, women empowerment is the most influential social policy nowadays. In my paper, I discussed the panellist’s reaction the PM’s speech on international women’s day while women empowerment considered as the precondition for sustainable development. Similarly, Sader et al., (2005) point out that women leadership is threats to men that is the influence of gender stereotypes. In male dominating society, women are not receiving enough support from the male colleague. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2016) represents that only 30% of women representing the parliament while 50.18% polulation are female in Australia. Moreover, the panelist stated that nowadays women are playing a significant role in male dominating industries such as in politics, business, mining, and sports. In society, inequalities appear everywhere. Furthermore, policymakers should promote women empowerment and have ensured gender equality to achieve sustainable development goal (SDG).

Student 3: SOPHIA NOOR WAHEB TAMAL’s summary

In assignment one, I have chosen an episode from ‘Q&A” which was telecast on the 25th of march on ABC. Few special guests from various political and educational background was present to discuss the topics and questions raised from the audience regarding many social issues in Australia including hate speech, freedom of speech, terrorism, Islamophobia, feminism etc. Although all the topics were discussed broadly, however, there were a lot of arguments and counter-arguments on the issues like freedom of speech and hate speech.

The panel members mentioned many times that freedom of speech does not mean that one can speak anything rubbish that can hurt someone’s feelings or create harm to others. Most of the panel members agreed that free speech should be allowed for everyone but, hate speech should not be entertained for anyone. Only a panel member named Teena McQueen who ignored these social issues and reality. She was just concerned about her own experience and in her opinion, as she never experienced such social problems that mean those issues do not exist and not real. Some panel members discussed the positive roles of social media about misguiding people into hating each other on some nonsense reason. It has also been added that some politicians are also responsible for it.

Bessant et al. (2006) stated that, Freedom of speech is the right for everyone to hold their own opinions without any interruption. On the other hand, Carson and Kerr (2018) noted that there are some restrictions or laws towards this right to free speech as one should always be respectful about the reputations and rights of other people and they should not say something that may damage the protection of national security or public health or public order or morals. Freedom of speech should be available for every human being, but it should be appropriately protected with strict law. These laws will restrict free speeches to hurt the feeling of other people or to generate any physical harm to them. Every constitution has laws to protect this free speech, but no one wants to know or follow them.

Student 4: GENEVIEVE MCGUINNESS’s summary

“Social Policy is always an expression of certain values and interests and has to be examined as such” (Jamrozik, 2009, p. xv). The contentious debate surrounding drug use and pill testing at Australian music festivals, as discussed on ABC’s Q & A episode which aired on the 18th of February 2019 will be explored (Jones, 2019). 

Various social issues were raised regarding drug use in Australia.  The advantages and disadvantages of introducing a pill testing policy at music festivals following the number of drug-related fatalities were debated. Additionally, the success of safe injection rooms and pill testing in other societies were explored, for instance, in Portugal following the decriminalisation of drug use and implementation of pill testing the prevalence of drug-related hospitalisation and deaths significantly decreased (Groves, 2018). The lack of attention regarding ice use and the broader social issues interrelated with it were highlighted. For instance, the statement that ice users are primarily from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, live in poverty, have limited social support, and come from traumatic backgrounds were explored. In contrast, music festival patrons were perceived as middle class, educated, with no criminal convictions, and use drugs recreationally.

Guliver McClean, a member of the audience who had attended various music festivals, highlighted the absence on the panel of people who would be in a position to utilise a pill testing service. He emphasised the tendency in the policymaking process to exclude these people’s voices and questioned why we create policies for people but not with them.  I believe citizen engagement in policy-making and reform regarding pill testing would be beneficial. The Australian government needs to engage with and provide opportunities for the diversity of voices, including young people, to understand their perspectives and reality. Similarly, Holmes (2011) contend that engaging with citizens can improve the quality of policies assisting in them being more relevant and practical. As a young person, I find it paradoxical that young people have been excluded from the conversation on such a high platform, even though they are the social group that will most likely be affected by the implementation of a pill testing policy. I believe it is not about enabling drug use, it is about communication, listening, decriminalising, and educating to reduce drug-related deaths. 


I believe my perspective on the issue is strongly shaped by my experiences working at music festivals and seeing the reality of these environments, knowledge of the evidence supporting pill testing, and my passion for advocacy and valuing an egalitarian society. Carson & Kerr (2014) highlight the importance of human service practitioners to be conscious of our world views and values and how they impact our perspectives on policy debates and guide how we influence policy. 


Student 5: KELLY MARRINGTON‘s summary

My written critique is based off of the Q & A discussion on human rights and harassment. More specifically on asylum seekers. The debated question was “How long will the Australian Government keep asylum seekers in danger on Manus Island?” Majority of the panel members, especially Triggs, argued that the asylum seekers should be removed as soon as possible to prevent further harm and mistreatment (Q&A 2017). Their argument was influenced by their knowledge of human right policies such as no one should be subjected to unhuman treatment (United Nations, 1948). The opposite argument, by Abetz, was that people who have waited years and years for resettlement without engaging in illegal crimes, such as travelling by boat, deserve priority in being resettled (Q&A 2017). However, his argument ignored the point of the question. 

  I agreed with the argument of releasing the asylum seekers from Manus and resettling them elsewhere as soon as possible. I understood both arguments however believe there is a significant amount of harm caused with being detained which could be prevented with resettlement. 

 I discussed possible ways to influence the Australian Detention policies such as contacting and engaging with members of parliament in an effort to highlight the areas of concern and inspire them to want to make change. The idea was to approach the members of parliament with the idea of only detaining asylum seekers for two weeks and to then resettle in a community with only a bridging visa while their refugee status is being assessed.  

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