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Why does the policy process result in one type of policy rather than another? Depending on the circumstances, the answer may lie in the realm of ideology, or in the realm of pure expediency, or somewhere in between, where ideology and expediency temper each other - however unsatisfactorily. Policy development and implementation is obviously a political activity and the constraints on it are many and varied. More often than not the development and execution of social programs occur in a less than systematic fashion. Policy is a course of action or intended action conceived as deliberately adopted, after a review of possible alternatives. Anyone delving into the history and development of age pensions, child care, nursing homes, family allowances, veterans' pensions, Medicare, home support services, pharmaceutical benefits, supporting parents benefit or, any other major social policy will see the very great role of politics and interest groups in action.
Speech given at Flinders University, 31st October 1988, by Adam Graycar, Commissioner for the Ageing, Adelaide, South Australia. This speech is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/