Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fw: Policy failure


DH attended a great training course, Housing Issues and Policy  run by Shelter NSW yesterday , and can now talk the talk and frame the discourse. Or as every Sociology 101 student knows from C. Wright Mills -  "personal troubles are public issues". And oh boy, does DH have personal troubles!  And does Australia have public issues aplenty, or what???


So lets look at the ideological policy inputs.  and the output: DH's incipient nervous breakdown.


Dont be fooled by the sense of humour. DH used to be an inoffenseive depressive, but the strains of life have pushed her towards bipolar disorder. The persona of DH is the manifestation of the upside of the cycle, So what the government hopes to save by putting her through an eviction,  society is already paying for by increased medical bills, increased pharmaceutical bills, hours lost at work, sick pay, stress leave.


Policy inputs:


·                 Federal government ideological commitment to market forces. Public Housing funding to States drastically reduced.

·                 State government forced to restructure public housing. Moribund Labor Party lacks will and imagination to support its traditional base - workers, battlers, the people who care about social justice.

·                 Failure to invest in streamlining administrative procedures
Antiquated income reporting scheme penalises the increased number of people like DH who work variable hours.
Failure to invest in phone or web-based income reporting means that workers are already in rent arrears by the time the paper-shuffling has stopped. This is how DH fell into arrears, folks. 

·                 Inadequate Carers pension create poverty trap for families of people with disabilities, stress, and psychological problems

·                 Labor abandons its platform on housing affordability, and lifts rents to 30% of gross income, and then whacking on a water bill levy. Thus forcing working tenants like DH into housing stress.

·                 Funding cuts to community sector means workers like DH in community organisations are doing the job of 2 people. More stress.

·                 Combination of stresses leads to mental health problems.

·                 Mental health funding crisis. State government cancels free counselling services.
DH lost the counsellor who was one of the cornerstones of her stability.


Personal outcomes for DH


·                 Eviction notice.

·                 Loss of days of work visiting doctors and psychiatrists and financial counselling services and legal services in search of documentation to provide to tribunal

·                 Anxiety about homelessness - work productivity practically zero - disabled child picks up stresses - amplifies them and feeds them back to DH increasing stresses further.

·                 Increased medication .

·                 Increased psychological pain

·                 Inability to keep working


Or as C Wright Mills said in the Sociological Imagination way back in the 1950's


“Public issues as well as many private troubles are described in terms of ‘the psychiatric” – often in a attempt to avoid the larger issues and problems of modern society (manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies): and to push drugs”


Costs to the nation


  • Housing crisis 
  • Lost productivity
  •  Pharmaceutical bill to foreign drug companies 



DH could go on, but has to get to work sometime soon… just as soon as her pills kick in

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