Increasingly, researchers are arguing that there is a need to 'act universally' in order to address social and health inequalities. While, in theory, universal approaches to tackling inequalities are valuable, putting them into practice has proved to be much more difficult. Debates between universal and targeted approaches continue, both in the public health literature and social policy (a field with significant bearing on population health). These debates revolve around ideology and the intuitive appeal of targeting. In this paper, we explore how these ideologies and logics play out in the design and implementation of policy, using the Australian Social Inclusion Agenda as a case study. Based on our analysis, we suggest that a more dialogic approach to working with policy-makers is required in order to promote reflection on broader tendencies in the design and implementation of policies.