POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Subject Code & Title :- POLI1066 Public Policy
Assignment Type :- Assessment 
Length :- 800 words (not counting the reference list)
Weight :- 20%
In Week 8 we will release three videos each of which covers a key policy issue that in some way is controversial divisive or the cause of debate amongst sections of the Australian community. Each lecture will introduce an issue its policy history and some of the key issues at stake in the debate. The controversial policy issues we have chosen for S1 2021 are:
POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

• Should we be obligated to Work for the Dole?
• Should Commercial Sex be Decriminalised in Victoria (the debate between the decriminalising sex work approach and those who advocate for the Nordic Model)?
• Should We Build Better Prisons for young people or Reinvest in Justice in Victoria?

You will be required to select one of these debated issues as a focus for both of your final two assessments in POLI1066. The Key Issues Statement is the first formative assessment of these two assessments. The next and summative assessment is the Policy Position Paper.

In the Key Issues Statement you are required to briefly describe the debate you have chosen identify key stakeholder organisations on both ‘sides’ of the debate and then describe the key issues at stake in this debate, in other words, those issues that different sides to the debate dis agree over and you are required to examine each of these issues from both ‘sides’ in the debate using evidence.

In developing your response, you are supported by the general information provided in the lecture for your chosen topic as well as the readings for that topic posted on Canvas. You may supplement this further with your own research as necessary and as you wish.

This assessment addresses the CLOs for POLI1066, focusing on CLOs 3 and 4. Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

1. Give an accurate account of what public policy is and how it affects our lives

2.Describe the general processes through which public policy is developed and implemented

3.Identify and analyse the ways in which different policy actors can enable and also limit the possibility of just and equitable policies

4. Apply policy analysis techniques to interpret and critique particular policies that relate to your professional field, and effectively present your findings

One reason for setting this assessment is to facilitate you applying and extending your public policy knowledge. Now you understand key policy terms and you are also familiar with policy as a site of advocacy and also complexity and debate with many competing interests and voices this assessment situates this in the real world.

This assessment also requires that you explore a policy issue from different perspectives. All too often in debates we are asked to pick a side and argue for it or we are presented with only one side to an issue. Some times and particularly in social media land some stances in debates are simplified or caricatured or their exponents ridiculed or cancelled. This assessment requires you to methodically and authentically consider both positions in key debates. It also requires you to consider the evidence for these perspectives.

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Further as noted this assessment is designed as a formative assessment for the final Policy Position Paper where you are required to choose and defend your own position. Completing this assessment will provide you with background and an under standing of the policy landscape with respect to your chosen issue for your final assessment. It will also allow us to provide you with feedback on your topic and preliminary thinking before you embark on the final summative assessment.

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

2. Instructions
This formative assessment is a clarifying exercise. In it, you are required to pick one of the above policy debates and consider the nature of the debate, key stakeholder organisations and the key issues at the centre of the debate from both sides. In approaching this assessment you are thus required to listen to all the lectures with a focus on the lecture that concerns your chosen policy debate (in other words, you may need to actively listen to the lecture for your chosen debate more than once and you are encouraged to do all the pauses for reflection and action, follow up all the resources and take good notes). You are advised to do the readings for your chosen debate that will be placed on Canvas. You may then research the topic more broadly.

The following components are necessary for your Key Issues Statement. An example different from the ones covered in the course is used here [The Richmond MSIC] for illustration purposes only. This topic cannot be used for your assessments.

1. A statement of your policy debate

My chosen debate is whether Victoria should extend the implementation of the Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Centre [MSIC].

2. A brief but clear description of your chosen debate and identification of two (2) key stake holder organisations on each ‘side’ of the debate so a total of four (4)) with a brief description of these and the position they take in the debate

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Here we are looking for focus on stakeholders who are organised organisations and not individuals who are actively engaged in the debate and who have taken a side. Some of these may be mentioned in the lecture or you may choose your own. Provide references and URLs in your reference list so your marker can look them up if necessary.

Description of the Debate: The debate about the Richmond MSIC concerns whether this facility should be part of the Victorian Government’s policy response to drug abuse as part of a harm-minimisation approach or whether this approach produces more harms for those engaging in drug use and/or communities.

Key Stakeholder Organisations who support the Richmond MSIC

Alcohol and Drug Foundation [ADF]: The ADF argues that MSICs in general reduce harm because they contain and manage the use of drugs (ADF 2020).

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Turning Point: Turning Point argue that the research into drug addiction and treatment provides evidence that shows positive outcomes in terms of managing overdoses and saving lives (Turning Point 2020).

Key Stakeholder Organisations who oppose the Richmond MSIC
MSIC Residents’ Action Committee [MRAC]: The MRAC’s opposition to MSICs is based in their stance that its current location in Richmond is harmful and detrimental to local residents

Drug Free Australia [DFA]: This Peak Body representing ‘anti-drug’ voices in Australia argues that the Richmond MSIC has resulted in an increase in both addiction and over doses and thus more harm

The purpose of this first section of this assessment is to facilitate you clarifying what your chosen debate is about and who in terms of stakeholders, are on either side of this and their positions. Your marker will offer feedback on this and in their comments tell you where you are on the right track as well as assist you with anything that may be inaccurate or un clear thus enabling you to go forward in the Policy Position Paper with a good and clear under standing of the debate at hand.

3. Identification of Key Issues and exploration of these from both sides

You are required to select two (2) key issues that you wish to explore. A key issue in a debate is an issue that is central and over which there is disagreement between stakeholders and/or researchers. The example provided below of whether MSIC have positive health benefits for people experiencing addictions is a key issue because stakeholders disagree and researchers have provided evidence for both sides. You are encouraged to use those key issues provided in the lecture but you may reframe these or use your own (you are advised to consult with your tutor before doing this. You are further required to describe these in your own words and then using at least six (6) acceptable sources, provide a balanced account of these issues examined and evidenced from both ‘sides’ of the debate. You may use sources provided on Canvas or you may find your own sources. There is more information in Section Four about this.

Example :-
Key Issue One: Do MSIC have positive health benefits for people experiencing addictions?

The issue at stake here is whether MSIC produce positive health benefits such as reduced deaths from over doses or whether they increase drug-taking behaviours and hence have negative health effects.

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Those arguing for the Richmond MSIC, (or for the benefits of similar centres more generally claim that the research indicates that these centres have positive health benefits for those experiencing addictions. The most compelling evidence here comes from an independent review of the MSIC which found that there were no deaths from over doses at the centre and that 21-27 deaths may have been avoided and that there were reductions in ambulance callouts for drug related issues and public reporting of drug using behaviours (Hamilton 2020, p. vii). Further it was reported that the centre provided early detection of blood-borne diseases allowing treatment of these Hamilton 2020, p. xv), a finding echoed by an inter national study of similar facilities (Belackova etal. 2018). A systematic review of 47 different studies that considered the public health effects of using medically supervised drug-use spaces found that consistent evidence demonstrates that [these facilities] mitigate overdose-related harms and unsafe drug use behaviours as well as facilitate up take of addiction treatment and other health services among people who use drugs.

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

Some researchers arguing against or sounding caution about the Richmond MSIC or similar facilities argue that studies considering the evidence often do so simplistically leaving out issues such as population-level effects and longitudinal considerations that might see rises in drug taking behaviour or overdoses over time (see for example Caulkins et al. 2019). Others take a more oppositional approach, arguing that there are clear negative health effects generated by such centres.

A report from Drug Free Australia (Reece et al. 2020) analysed the evidence presented in the Hamilton Report and conducted its own statistical modelling. They found that estimates of 21–27 deaths averted by the MSIR are based on indefensible and inept assumptions most likely on bloated overdose figures Reece et al. 2020, p. 4). In contrast the authors of this report argued that by normalising rather than working to prevent drug use increased experimentation and long-term health effects including dependency and the ongoing risk of over dose were a result

POLI1066 Public Policy Assessment 

The purpose of this section of this assessment is to facilitate you in articulating and clarifying the key issues in the debate exploring these from both ‘sides’, and finding and considering some initial evidence for the positions taken. Your marker, in providing feedback will again comment on where you are on the right track assist you with anything that may be unclear or in accurate identify any sources of evidence that are not acceptable and generally give you some pointers for going forward with the Policy Position Paper.

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