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In his 1999 Australia Day address, the Governor-General of Australia, Sir William Deane, remarked that, ‘The ultimate test of our worth as a truly democratic nation must surely be how we treat our most vulnerable’ (Deane, cited in Roberts, 2001, p. 23). Following that logic, the ultimate test of the state of the community must be how it treats its most marginalised and vulnerable members, and of the progress it makes towards improving their social and economic wellbeing.
Vulnerability is not random – it clusters in areas of disadvantage where Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) rankings and Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) figures indicate high levels of educational and opportunity disadvantage, and where these lost opportunities result in high rates of unemployment, high rates of personal and community stress, and a translation of stressors into mental health and child and family safety issues. At the acute end, or at the apex of the structural disadvantage that is inflicted on our most vulnerable communities, stories of homelessness provide a mirror in which the results of the ‘ultimate test’ are reflected...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSouth Australia, State of Transformation
EditorsJohn Spoehr
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherWakefield Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978 1 74305 623 3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Community
  • Disadvantage
  • Vulnerability
  • Wellbeing
  • Social inequity


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