The authors

Professor Tony Vinson AM (11 November 1935 – 17 February 2017) was an academic with a background in sociology and social work and extensive involvement in criminology and social statistics. He was regarded as one of Australia’s leading social scientists and commentators.

His professional work involved the headship of national and state level inquiries, and his administrative appointments included the foundation directorship of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and headship of the NSW Department of Corrective Services during a period of intense prison reform. He was foundation professor of behavioural science in medicine in the Newcastle Medical School, and Professor of Social Work and Dean of the Faculty of Professional Studies at the University of New South Wales. Since 1999 Professor Vinson was employed as a research consultant to Jesuit Social Services and authored several reports on the geographic distribution of social disadvantage – including the most recent edition of Dropping off the Edge.

Professor Vinson was a longtime friend and supporter of Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia. We will greatly miss his wise counsel and tireless passion for social justice. We will continue to celebrate his generosity of time and spirit as well as his gentle yet poignant humour.

Associate Professor Margot Rawsthorne’s (University of Sydney) initial qualification was in sociology at Macquarie University. Following her completion of a PhD at Sydney University, Margot worked for state and local governments, as well as the non-government sector. She spent over a decade working in south-western Sydney, a region of both considerable social disadvantage and community dynamism. She has published extensively within the human services sector and academia. In 2013 she collaborated with Tony Vinson in the production of Lifting Our Gaze: The community appraisal and strengthening framework. At present Margot teaches in the Social Work and Policy Studies program (Faculty of Education and Social Work) at the University of Sydney.

Dr Adrian Beavis is a social and educational researcher with a particular interest in evaluation and policy development. Vocational choice and inter-generational social mobility have been areas of substantive interest. He is currently working as a consultant contributing to evaluations of various education programs in several African countries. Adrian’s professional experience includes a seven-year appointment as Director of the Policy Research and Evaluation program at the Australian Council for Educational Research. He has also held the position of Principal Researcher with the Smith Family.

Dr Matthew Ericson (University of Sydney) has a background in socioeconomic research and has worked in teaching and administrative roles within government, academia and the non-profit sector in Australia and Asia. He spent a period as a staff researcher at Brosnan Youth Service, a Jesuit Social Services program providing support and advocacy services for young people. Matthew made a valuable foundational technical contribution to the present project.