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Research and Advocacy

Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 3 years, 6 months ago


First Research Officer appointed.



First research & advocacy publication - John Reeves’ Housing the Forgotten Tenth  (Holden)



Guidance Centre established in Fitzroy for families with problems



First full-time social worker appointed (the BSL became the first Victorian non-government organisation to do so) [1]



David Scott accepted the position of "Organising Secretary" in the Brotherhood.  As part of his role he turned the housing campaign news sheet Slum News into an influential social action publication renamed Now! - a monthly journal to arouse public interest and action on housing, slum reclamation, care of the aged, penal reform and other social questions as part of the BSL’s education and social reform work. [2]


David Scott’s What’s Wrong with Victoria’s Housing published



BSL becomes increasingly involved in community organisations, supporting coordination of State and voluntary welfare services for the promotion of all aspects of community health (Victorian Council of Social Service and its Family Case-work subcommittee; Old People’s Welfare Council; Victorian Council for Mental Hygiene; Society for the Promotion of Village Settlements for Elderly People; Howard League for Penal Reform ) [3]


BSL Pamphlet 100,000 Depressed Pensioners “argued the need for special allowances for old age pensioners who are in greatest need.  It received widespread publicity throughout Australia and directed attention towards the first priority in pension policy - that of assisting the neediest first. [4]



BSL statement on Why Voluntary Organisations? is printed in the 1958-1959 Annual Report, identifying and elaborating on five points:[5]

  1. They pioneer new services
  2. Voluntary agencies fill gaps
  3. Carry out research
  4. Agents for social action
  5. An interpreter for the individual
  6. Christian method




Housing Priorities published in November to highlight certain aspects of the Commonwealth-States Housing Agreement [6]



The Research & Social Action Department was set up under the direction of Janet Paterson [7]



Elaine Martin joined the BSL as the first social worker appointed in a research capacity and begins work on a major study of the housing problem of low income families.  The aim of the study is “to give a qualitative picture of the kinds of accommodation which some families are obliged to occupy, the choice available to them, the effect of living in overcrowded, obsolete housing, and the impact of high rents”. [8]



In response to the support of the then Federal Minister for Social Services for the abolition of the means test which determined whether or not one is entitled to an age pension and the establishment of a 'Removal of Means Test Association', Janet Paterson (Director of Research & Social Action) wrote "A Case for the Means Test"[9]




  1. Colin Holden & Richard Trembath Divine Discontent p.55
  2. "Nephew of Founder new Director", The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.3. In Catherine Magree (ed.) "Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty" 1993 p.9 (BSL Library 362.506094 BRO) it is stated that David Scott joined the BSL as an assistant to his uncle, Father Tucker in 1953. See also BSL Annual Report 1955 p.21
  3. BSL Annual Report 1956-1957 p.4
  4. BSL Annual Report 1957-1958 p.10
  5. BSL Annual Report 1958-1959 p.2 [BSL_Why_Voluntary_Organisations_1959.pdf]
  6. BSL Annual Report 1960-1961 p.2 (no numbering)
  7. BSL Annual Report 1970 p.6 (no numbering)
  8. BSL Annual Report 1962-1963 p.7: “More than 100 families have been interviewed, and information has also been obtained from estate agents, Government agencies and other social welfare organisation. The sample group of families includes some deserted wives who face special problems. The second stage of the study is a consideration of the Commonwealth and Victorian policy relation to low-income families and will include a number of recommendations which will emerge from the research project.” See also Catherine Magree (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993 p.13
  9. "A Case for the Means Test", The Brotherhood News June 1968 (No.181) p.3 [Case_for_Means_Test_1968-6.pdf]

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