The Summit – or perhaps a long way from it

2020 Summit logoI have been pretty interested in seeing the outcomes of the Australia 2020 Summit, and even put my own submission in. And in trying to find some detail on how the first day of The Summit went, I came across Andrew Bolt’s blog posts on it.

Andrew Bolt is pretty amusing, and strongly stands in the conservative camp. But I could not believe what I was reading – it sounded like the first day was a complete waste of time. How could this have happened – surely it was professionally facilitated? Well, I then checked out the the video of the first day’s plenary highlights.

It wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but it was pretty bad. Almost everyone put on camera struggled to communicate their thoughts or articulate what initiatives are looking likely. Most seemed to be in awe of the celebrities and powerbrokers also present. We got a lot of motherhood statements, but they genuinely seemed to feel uplifted by being a part.

However, the Summit’s not for them, it’s for us. Here are the initiatives that were mentioned by people in the video:

  • Put indigenous people on the boards of cultural organisations.
  • Establish a Ministry of Culture (don’t we have one already?).
  • Draft a national Cultural Policy (isn’t that it’s job?).
  • Mandate a national Creative Curriculum.
  • Draft a national Action Plan for Social Inclusion.
  • Provide one-stop-shops for local communities for housing and communal support.
  • Establish a Community Services Commission, like the Productivity Commission.
  • Establish a National Sustainability Commissioner, like the ACCC.
  • Draft a national agreement/treaty with indigenous peoples.
  • Set a policy of continuous disclosure for the government, particularly online.
  • Draft a Bill of Rights.
  • Become a Republic.
  • Establish a “rights based labour mobility programme” to enable Pacific peoples to work in Australia.

Alright – that last one isn’t like the others. It is actually an idea that sounds new.

I understand that each of the ten groups is meant to identify one “big idea” and two or three smaller policy initiatives that could be worked on following the Summit. So, that’s up to 40 actionable items in all. The list above is for 13 items, so they still have 27 to find.

I really do wish them all the best, but if the above represents the results from Day 1 then there’s still a long way to go to fulfill the ambitions of the Summit by the end of Day 2.

4 thoughts on “The Summit – or perhaps a long way from it”

  1. The report on the Summit has come out pretty quickly.
    http://www.australia2020.gov.au/docs/2020_Summit_initial_report.pdf

    Unfortunately, most of the suggestions are lacking in detail or clear actionable first steps. Or they seem to be about increasing federal power, a grab for cash by certain interest groups, or establishing new bureaucracy. *sigh*

    They’re clearly well-meaning and sincere about it all, too.

    I did like the ideas around a learning for life account (a cross-employer account for leave, etc.) and universal first aid training. But my pet idea of the youth vote didn’t crack a mention. I understand that the youngest person at the Summit was 19.

  2. I think point 1 is essential. We need indigenous people on the boards of not only cultural organizations, but also of the government and management decision boards. They have knowledge that is valuable and they have a legitimate stake in any decisions made.

  3. [i]They’re clearly well-meaning and sincere about it all, too.[/i]

    That line most of all makes me shudder.

    “One of the great mistakes, is to judge policies and programs on their intentions rather than their results”
    -Milton Friedman

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