Australians in society

The Australians in Society program focuses on the broad social determinants of human health and wellbeing and explores the policy frameworks that can promote or inhibit overall community wellbeing.

  • Australia21 - Drug users and law enforcers stand side by side for drug law reform March 2017
    Drug Law Reform
    Posted: May 22, 2017 - Deborah Rice

    Former Premiers Jeff Kennett and Bob Carr have joined senior police, prison chiefs and lawyers calling for drug law reform to save lives – and the Australia21 initiative has been met with extensive public support.

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  • PTSD essays
    Trauma-related stress in Australia
    Posted: September 8, 2016 - Susan Davidson

    Trauma-related stress generates massive costs in mental health, criminality, drug and alcohol use, family disruption and lost productivity. The scope and scale of the problem are immense and it touches the lives of millions of Australians.

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  • Empathy Project
    Posted: July 8, 2016 - Susan Davidson

    The concept of mindfulness has pervaded popular culture as an antidote to our increasingly fast-paced, tech-heavy lifestyles. But its application has far more potential than in colouring books and inspiring Facebook memes. Australia21 is contributing to groundbreaking research in this area.

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  • Public interest
    Posted: February 28, 2015 - Susan Davidson

    The essay collection “Who speaks for and protects the public interest in Australia?” is the first stage of a project on strengthening consideration of the public interest in Australian policy decisions. The collection includes the ideas of 39 leading thinkers, policy makers and activists. The essays touch on a wide range of topics including the public interest in asylum seeker policy, Indigenous futures, the environment, education and inequality. They also look at what is ailing in Australian democracy and suggest some people focused remedies.

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  • Inequality
    Posted: September 18, 2014 - Susan Davidson

    From a nation which in the past has prided itself on our classlessness and equity, Australia is now ranked fifth highest among 23 wealthy countries in a measure of financial inequality. Inequality does not have to be an inevitable consequence of social progress. There are several levers available to policy makers to arrest the detrimental changes which have recently been most evident in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and which have been largely avoided in the Scandinavian countries and Japan.

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  • Australia21 - candle
    Assisted dying
    Posted: October 13, 2013 - Susan Davidson

    Voluntary euthanasia (VE) and assisted suicide (AS) are important yet ethically challenging issues in contemporary Australian society. VE and AS are issues that are of significant interest to the public and are issues about which there is majority public support for reform.

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  • Health and wellbeing
    Posted: October 1, 2012 - Susan Davidson

    The dominant perspectives on population-health research and policy have significant gaps that are limiting public health’s role in public policy. Most public-health initiatives focus on individual risk factors associated with physical health. From a health perspective, this emphasis neglects the importance of mental health; from a prevention perspective, it under-estimates the importance of social and environmental determinants.

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  • Youth wellbeing
    Posted: October 11, 2013 - Susan Davidson

    The health of young people is not only important in its own right, or for their sake; it is crucial to assessing the overall state and future of Australian society. The health and wellbeing of young people should be a focal point in the larger context because the health of young people shapes the future health of the whole population and, in a broader social sense, the health of society.

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  • Measuring progress
    Posted: January 7, 2014 - Susan Davidson

    Australia21 has had a long interest in how human progress is conceptualised and measured, particularly through the work of director Richard Eckersley. Richard has been researching and writing about progress and wellbeing for almost 30 years, and is a member of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ expert reference group for its project on measures of Australia’s progress.

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  • Violence in public places
    Posted: October 10, 2013 - Susan Davidson

    Increases in the frequency and severity of violence in public places – a problem across all jurisdictions in Australia – led Victoria Police to commission Australia21 to explore issues of antisocial behaviour and risks to public safety. Most if not all of those who participated in the project agreed on the need for a multi-dimensional strategy spanning timeframes, social scales and government jurisdictions.

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