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A study of the policy development process in operation under severe time constraints : the Tasmanian response to AIDS


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Morrison, Susan 1987 , 'A study of the policy development process in operation under severe time constraints : the Tasmanian response to AIDS', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The scope of this study is the development of the policy response of the Tasmanian
Government to the problems posed by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, referred
to as "AIDS".
This will be examined principally in relation to the decisions and actions taken within the
Tasmanian Department of Heal~h Services, as this was the agency with primary
responsibility. It is acknowledged that AIDS is more than just a public health issue,
however, and a number of other Government agencies and policy- areas were also
involved. Possible strategies to combat AIDS, in common with public health measures in
the past, have also raised serious questions of civil liberties(l) which have only been
touched upon in this work. These related aspects will not be dealt with fully, but will be
covered to the extent that they impinge on or overlap areas within the auspices of the
Department of Health Services.
AIDS is primarily a public health issue, but it is also more than that. Epidemics, 'death
and disease, and open discussion of sexuality all pose threats to feelings of security
within otir society. They threaten the way we live. (2) Responses to any of them are
therefore coloured by a range of emotional reactions that increase the complexities in the
decisionmaking process. When the epidemic is an incurable, terminal disease that has
links with 'deviant' sexuality, the level of difficulty soars. And yet decisions, sometimes
hard decisions, must be made.
The case study has been presented as a general historical overview of the Department's
response to AIDS. It is not exhaustive, but traces a number of themes through till?-e.
Many of the events discussed were occurring contemporaneously with the collection of
material.and the writing of the case study. The writer's own involvement with the
Department's response is perhaps a complicating factor, however it does permit the unique
opportunity of making observations that go behind the bare written record.
The sources used have been principally those files and additional materials held within the
Tasmanian Department of Health Services. Some material has been released publicly
through the Commonwealth Health Department and the Australian Government
Publication Service, and a small number of monographs of varying quality have been
published. Generally, however, publicly available material that is accurate and reliable is
sparse. Extensive reliance has therefore been made of Departmental files, supported by
conversations with key individuals to verify specific details, and the writer's own
experience. Expressions of opinion contained within the case study, except where
specifically quoted, are those. of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the view of the
Department of Health Services.
An overview of a number of theories of decisionmaking and the policy process are
presented, and their applicability or otherwise to the case study is discussed. Again, the
presentation of theories does not purport to be exhaustive, and the scope of the study
does not permit a full treatment of some of the more complex theories, such as those of
Yehezekel Dror. The outlines presented, however, provide a sufficient theoretical
context in which to place the case study, which in turn leads to the conclusion that there
remains considerable scope for further analytical work to be undertaken in the area of
policy studies.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Morrison, Susan
Keywords: AIDS (Disease), AIDS (Disease), Policy sciences
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1987 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1988. Pamphlets in pocket. Bibliography: leaves 94-96

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