VCOSS | More questions than answers on the Big Society

Victorian Council of Social Service responds to interest aroused by Q&A

Phillip Blond’s appearance on ABC TV’s Questions and Answers last week stimulated a great deal of discussion both on and off screen. Blond’s assertions about the Big Society and its applicability to Australia were challenged across the Q&A panel, which included international ethicist Peter Singer and Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie.

VCOSS published a brief article on its website explaining some of the ideas behind the policy framework, the reality of its implementation in Great Britain and its implications for Australia, referencing a number of useful sources including the CPD Big Society and Australia report published in May.

The program threw up some interesting discussion about how best to meet the needs of vulnerable people – and you can watch it online or read the transcript here – but some of the deeper questions about this significant social policy framework remain unanswered.

Phillip Blond talked about what drove him to first articulate the ideas behind the ‘Big Society’: ‘My politics about what the ‘big society’ is about is restoring our society, ending social isolation and recapitalising the poor and, indeed, recapitalising the middle class and creating an economy that works for everybody and a society where people aren’t abandoned and left alone.’

These are noble intentions and point to a central truth in most public policy debates – generally everyone wants what is best for societies and communities. The differences lie in their interpretations around how to do that.

Read the VCOSS article here


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