AQ: Australian Quarterly 90.1 – Jan 2019
Follow the desire lines – Remaking Australia
If you woke up in the Australia of your dream, what would it look like?
We live in an extraordinary moment. In the face of potentially massive environmental and social crisis lies opportunity for reinvention and transformation. Like falling dominoes, segments of our society are admitting that business as usual is no longer the answer. Our future will lie in our capacity to envision a shared future. Visionary thinking provides a vehicle to engage, explore, critique and discover. These visions help us create new stories about who we want to be.
The Distortion of the Australian Public Sphere
Australia stands out as one of the most concentrated media markets in the world and this increasing concentration has been happening for some time. Media and journalism play a vital role in supplying the public sphere with the fuel it needs: information that is in the public interest in order for citizens to be self-governing. And as is being seen in Australia and elsewhere, when the media options narrow, then the sensible political centre is readily abandoned for the partisan fringe. So what can (and should) be done? Well, it’s not rocket science…
Gonski 2.0: A Controlled Flight into Terrain
The Review that lead to the Gonski 2.0 report was established with everything in working order. It had just one job, which was to provide advice on how funding should be used to improve student achievement. It was in the blissful position of not needing to argue the case for extra funding because $24.5 billion had already been committed. David Gonski enjoyed enviable public esteem. And there is now an extensive literature, drawing on evidence from high-performing countries, on the policies required for improved educational performance.
What, as they say, could possibly go wrong?
Young People, Political Knowledge and the Future of Australian Democracy
Once again the question of voting age has been raised in public discussion. In a world of disenfranchised voters and disillusioned citizens, have we been failing to provide our children with a civics education that engages them with the system?
In which case the question becomes, not whether 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote, but is our society doing enough to prepare them to vote?
Zareh Ghazarian and Jacqueline Laughland-Booÿ