I have obviously been living under a rock as only LAST week did I hear about the Australian Future Directions Forum where 90 “emerging young leaders” voted at a four day live-in forum to make “ending Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage” the top priority for Australia over the next 15 years.
I heard Forum Chairman Graham Kraehe interviewed on the ABC and followed it up. I found Crikey’s Stephen Mayne interesting:
He said this issue was voted: “more important than economic development, security, climate change, health, education and everything else”, and
“While the majority did clearly skew to the left, the remarkable thing about the decision to put Indigenous disadvantage front and centre is that the argument was passionately carried by the most unlikely trio of nominal right wingers, who can’t be named due to Chatham House rules”.
The PM was Forum Patron, former NAB chairman Graham Kraehe was Chairman and the participants list was incredibly diverse, spanning from Crazy John Ilhan to the campaigns director for Greenpeace and a RAAF fighter pilot.
The conference was backed by NAB, Telstra, Australia Post, BHP Billiton and QANTAS, costing around $500,000 Stephen estimated. “Given the strong support for a carbon tax and commentary about bank and credit regulation, this is the best example I’ve ever seen of corporate sponsorship money coming with no strings attached.”
The other point of interest for Stephen was the fact that the education and environment teams put up sensible structural and institutional suggestions rather than the usual wish-list of ideological dreams.
The cynic in me says will this influence policy? I’d love to hear what others think. Did you hear about the forum AND the outcomes? I am a bit of a newsaholic and cannot believe this slipped through!