Critical discourse analysis: An enabling and challenging research tool for Australian health policy reform
This Working Paper is based on a thesis submitted October 2008 to fulfil the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy. The researcher began the doctoral study intrigued by the electorate’s acquiescent response to the substantial restructuring of Australian health financing. Policy communication offered contradictory, yet often persuasive policy rationales. The conveyed sociopolitical constructs were consistent with the federal Coalition1government’s political ideology, yet these policy interpretations seemed contrary to the wider community’s affinity with Medicare and ‘free’ (at point of entry) public hospital access. In spite of this, the government’s knowledge claims remained unchallenged, or there was a reduction in the power and importance of external policy critique. Federal policy elites became the only ‘authoritative interpreters’ of policy problems and solutions (Kaati, Sjöström,& Vester,2004, p.234). What was clearly observable throughout the policy debates was that the federal government’sargumentation either emphasised the importance of the public health system or promoted its retrenchment. This paradoxical but seemingly influential language may provide a pathway to understanding the considerable restructuring of Australia’s health financingpolicy.
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Copyright (c) 2008 Bev Majda
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