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Fixing Australia

Australia is broken. Democracy has holes in it, cracks in it, and it needs fixing. Since the 2004 Federal election we know that our government is not going to fix it. I think we need to do that fixing, and this blog is a start of getting some ideas together.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Fixing Australia in one hundred words

Since the recent Federal election, which I had hoped would turn out as a notice of eviction for the Howard government, it has been quiet, strangely quiet. I sense a despair amongst many people when I ask them to talk and share their thoughts, a despair about Australia, about its social conscience, about the future we had hoped for in a new government after the recent election.

In many people I sense a notion that Australia is broken, and while we're all coming to terms with the election, which is interpreted by many as a loss for refugees, a loss of values, a loss of possibilities we had hoped for, a loss of honesty amongst many people, and a loss for Australia itself, there seems to be an uneasy disquiet when it comes to the ingenuity in how to fix that broken Australia.
Julian Burnside considers leaving for New Zealand. A member of The Greens, independently, also mentions New Zealand. An academic friend in WA ponders about working in a developed country - to presumably return when Australia has been fixed, but he also acknowledges that the shift in politics that has enabled what happened, is a worldwide trend, and that the changes are a worldwide issue. Others have become silent, and may have given up altogether.

Margo Kingston is still recovering and on holidays, but she says, in words to that effect: "Don't go overseas, your country needs you, now more than ever!" - and she's already preparing a strategy, because the Not Happy John! project will be here to stay. Writes Hamish Alcorn, Margo's brother:

"This Friday Margo is regrouping with the Not Happy John! team and we are preparing for the next phase of the website and the "Defending Our Democracy" project. Note that "Defending Our Democracy" is the subtitle of Margo's book, and has always had a much broader relevance than merely, "Not Happy John!"


Can we fix Australia? How would you do it? Can it be done?

One of the things I have been telling myself, is that more than ever, "... we now know that it's not the government, it's now up to us". The 30% of Australians who did not applaud when Howard launched his election catch cry in 2001, 'We will control who comes to this country..." then rolled up their armsleeves and started on the long haul of changing Australia. On the 9th of October we ended Phase One ... and we have just started on Phase Two of this project.

Please send your ideas - in exactly one hundred words including your title (yes, you need to count them, because we will!). Your story (initially through a moderated approval system) will become part of our permanent website repository. And yes, you can send us more than one of the one-hundred word submissions.

Can we do it?



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