May Gibbs illustration

May Gibbs illustration for a public health poster. © The Spastic Centre of New South Wales and The Northcott Society

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Medicare, social security, public health issues – the government has always had some responsibility for our wellbeing. Policies that have evolved over the last century responded to particular circumstances such as depression and unemployment, as well as reflecting the ideology of subsequent governments.


Globalisation brings ever-increasing traffic in people, trade and threats. To protect the environment, the viability of our primary industries and the health of our people, strict monitoring of whom and what enter our country is necessary.


Major outbreaks call for drastic measures. How did the government deal with these threats to the community in the past? How do past actions inform solutions to present problems?