Exposing Inequity in Australian Society: Are we all in it Together?
AuthorBarber, R; Law, SF
Source TitleSocial and Health Sciences
PublisherUNISA Institute for Social and Health Sciences
University of Melbourne Author/sLaw, Siew
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBarber, R. & Law, S. F. (2020). Exposing Inequity in Australian Society: Are we all in it Together?. Social and Health Sciences, 18 (2), pp.96-115
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLhttps://www.samrc.ac.za/sites/default/files/attachments/2020-12-15/SaHS%20Vol18_No.2.pdf
The COVID-19 pandemic does not discriminate, and the Australian government has sought to embrace a sense of universality, adopting the slogan ‘we are all in it together’. However, the pandemic has also exposed layers of systemic, structural and cultural inequities, challenging this notion of a common good. The authors, based in Victoria in Australia, have experienced two periods of lockdown, observing the tensions between individualist, libertarian tendencies and civil society perspectives within the context of Australian multiculturalism and latent colonialism. In this paper, the authors discuss the ways in which whiteness and colonialism are embedded in the government’s public health and social policies whilst being subject to emergent contested spaces. Drawing on media reporting between January and August 2020, the authors analyse the intransigence of white, often xenophobic, privilege and the disruptive, countervailing forces, from the Black Lives Matter movement to localised acts of community solidarity. The COVID-19 virus has exposed layers of social inequity and their entrenched everyday structural and cultural violence in Australia and, in so doing, has provided both opportunities and challenges to people who are striving for social justice and the notion of the common good.
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