Distant and intimate conversations: media and Indigenous health policy in Australia

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Abstract

The narrow media framing of indigenous health as an intractable policy problem and a bureaucracy increasingly orientated towards media agendas have contributed to significant changes in the nature and direction of Australian indigenous health policy. The article takes as its case study the decade of conservative leadership of Prime Minister John Howard (1996-2007), that saw indigenous health policy shift from a self-determinist philosophy of community control of primary healthcare, towards neoliberal policies emphasising individual responsibility and the mainstreaming' of indigenous primary healthcare services. It reports on an intertextual examination of news media reporting and professional talk about the media's role in the development of indigenous health policy between 2002 and 2007. A content and frame analysis found that imagery and stories of remote indigenous communities and a disproportionate emphasis on the frame of indigenous health crisis created the discursive context for the enactment of radical policy solutions to address indigenous health. Interviews with indigenous health policy actors identified that policy practices were entwined with and responsive to news media discourse. This article calls for a greater recognition of the intimacy between media reporting and the development of policy in highly politicised and mediatised fields such as indigenous health. It contends that through an examination of both news media representation and the media practices of policy professionals one can begin to understand the complex relationships between news media and policy making processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-351
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Arts
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Health Policy
intimacy
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community
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discourse
News Media
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abstract = "The narrow media framing of indigenous health as an intractable policy problem and a bureaucracy increasingly orientated towards media agendas have contributed to significant changes in the nature and direction of Australian indigenous health policy. The article takes as its case study the decade of conservative leadership of Prime Minister John Howard (1996-2007), that saw indigenous health policy shift from a self-determinist philosophy of community control of primary healthcare, towards neoliberal policies emphasising individual responsibility and the mainstreaming' of indigenous primary healthcare services. It reports on an intertextual examination of news media reporting and professional talk about the media's role in the development of indigenous health policy between 2002 and 2007. A content and frame analysis found that imagery and stories of remote indigenous communities and a disproportionate emphasis on the frame of indigenous health crisis created the discursive context for the enactment of radical policy solutions to address indigenous health. Interviews with indigenous health policy actors identified that policy practices were entwined with and responsive to news media discourse. This article calls for a greater recognition of the intimacy between media reporting and the development of policy in highly politicised and mediatised fields such as indigenous health. It contends that through an examination of both news media representation and the media practices of policy professionals one can begin to understand the complex relationships between news media and policy making processes",
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Distant and intimate conversations: media and Indigenous health policy in Australia. / MCCALLUM, Kerry.

In: Critical Arts, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2013, p. 332-351.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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