When we catch a bus, visit a doctor, borrow a book from the library or enrol in a course we benefit from the social policies of government. Talking Policy explains how the myriad programs and services we take for granted are developed and delivered, and how this fits into the political process. There is a human and political aspect to social policy-making; it's not all rational solutions to measurable problems. The authors explain how issues come to be defined as social problems, and offer an account of the historical development of social policy and the welfare state in Australia. They also outline the competing political and philosophical ideas which influence the different ways in which governments respond to social inequality and needs in the community. With detailed case studies from variety of areas of social policy making, Talking Policy is a valuable introduction to this complex and important field.