News & Views item - February 2008
Australia 2020 -- If You're Not Prepared to Nominate or Make a Submission, are You in a Position to Damn It? (February 27, 2008)
While it's a fair bet that Australia is not about to become the 21st century realisation of an Athenian democracy -- sans slaves --, Kevin Rudd's initiative in calling for the Australia 2020 summit does allow anyone, who chooses to bother, to give voice to his/her views about what's good for the nation.
For those who wish to be one of the 1,000 delegates, or nominate someone, they have until the end of this month to do so. To download the form go to:
For those that wish to make a submission, they have until April 9, 2008. Go to:
The Prime Minister says: "I know from travelling around the nation that many of the most creative solutions to our big future challenges are in the minds of Australians whose voices normally aren’t heard in our national Parliament... If we want to shape the kind of nation Australia will be in 2020, the work needs to start now. There are few limits to Australia’s future potential – now is the time to start turning our nation’s potential into a reality."
Mr Rudd has nominated "10 critical areas":
Future directions for the Australian economy – including education, skills, training, science and innovation as part of the nation’s productivity agenda
Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities
Population, sustainability, climate change and water
Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
A long-term national health strategy – including the challenges of preventative health, workforce planning and the ageing population
Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
Options for the future of indigenous Australia
Towards a creative Australia: the future of the arts, film and design
The future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world.
The stated objectives are:
To harness the best ideas across the nation
To apply those ideas to the 10 core challenges that the Government has identified for Australia – to secure our long-term future through to 2020
To provide a forum for free and open public debate in which there are no predetermined right or wrong answers
For each of the Summit’s 10 areas to produce following the Summit options for consideration by government
For the Government to produce a public response to these options papers by the end of 2008 with a view to shaping the nation’s long-term direction from 2009