Whitlam’s courageous and monumental final shift away from the White Australia Policy has, and will continue to, go down in Australian history as fundamental building block of the national identity and national unity we share today. There is no going back.
In his Oration, Bret Walker SC spoke to “the need to require our elected representatives and especially their executive delegates in the Ministry and Cabinet, to allow us sufficient information to check them, test them, and remind them of their representative capacity…this irreducible need for information about government is not to be seen through an individualist prism: it is not a personal right, but rather an imperative of a representative, parliamentary democracy.”
In Charting Uncertainty Professor Sharon Bell sounds an alarm for universities that are missing opportunities to ‘help address those great challenges of our time and tie the higher education sector to an urgent national and global endeavour’.
This 17th Perspectives paper is by Justine Grønbæk Pors, Associate Professor in the Copenhagen Business School. It makes a claim for a deeper conversation about education, which is captured in the paper title: What kind of children will we get out of this?
Twenty-five years on from the first release of Michael Pusey's work Economic Rationalism in Canberra, five diverse authors including Pusey himself reflect on how economic rationalist ideas - now more commonly referred to as neoliberal ideas - have shaped policy and debate in Australia.
While there is a great deal to consider in each of these papers the underlying message is the need not simply to be diligent in affirming and preserving the proven strengths of our key democratic institutions but to be looking at this time to institutional development that aligns with our expectations of an open, fair and genuinely democratic society.
Offering a unique perspective as a diplomat, academic and Australia's first Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Dr FitzGerald called on Australia to be confident in pursuing a foreign policy that is independent and also which has a keen eye to our own national interests, and that is principled and consistent both domestically and abroad.
The sixteenth publication in our Perspectives series (released February 2017), The Question for Our Times: Institutional Design for Free Society, by Whitlam Institute Professorial Research Fellow Professor Anna Yeatman, examines what lies beyond market neoliberalism and makes a compelling argument for the existence of a genuine alternative.
As the government looks to frame our engagement with the world in the years ahead, Associate Director Leanne Smith argues that we must find a better coherence between our domestic and foreign policy based on the core principles of our democracy.
The Hon Bob Debus AM explores how lessons from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and beyond have been neglected or ignored. It is the “practical things” that Debus focuses on. “Practical things” that we must not equate with minimal reforms, but see as the actions upon which reform is built and meaningful change is realised.
Gough Whitlam was a master of rhetoric. Professor Yeatman explores the central importance of political rhetoric for creating civil possibility, for articulating and therefore continually creating institutions such as the parliament, the political party, the public sector and the federal system of government.
Dr Edward Nik-Khah's Smoke and Thalidomide is an enthralling examination of the power of economists - and their constructed institutions - in the mobilisation of the US pharmaceutical industry in the 1970s, and their continued influence in how the industry controls our knowledge about drugs today.
Professor the Hon Gareth Evans, in the Perspectives paper, The Role of International NGOs: The International Crisis Group as a Case Study, examines how non-state actors are increasingly of more importance in the prevention and resolution of crisis and conflict.
Examining the role of legislation in catalysing and embedding social change, this paper delivers a succinct history of the Racial Discrimination Act, its passage through Parliament, and its impact on Australia today.
In Gough Whitlam’s Vision of Social Democracy: Parliament and Party, the Honourable Dr Barry Jones AC, takes you on a political expedition spanning several decades from the Whitlam years to present, exploring the international shift away from Social Democracy in the late 1970s through the modern ‘growth as consumption’ economic mindset that has resulted in investment in research, environmental protection or heritage being seen in negative terms.
It is well-nigh impossible to understand contemporary Australia without an appreciation of the origins of neoliberalism, its emergence as the dominant political philosophy of the last thirty years and its institutional impact. These are matters of public interest that go well beyond any one political tradition.
Dr Liz Giuffre has trawled the archives to give us this refreshing cut on the genesis of Double J, in a way that not only captures something of the times and the place that Double J has come to hold in the lives of many hundreds of thousands of young Australians, but also stakes a claim for Double J’s enduring significance.
In its own way, each of these essays suggests that feminism, as a practical political philosophy of civic and public import, has to be brought into relationship with social liberalism and social democracy.
The Whitlam Institute hosted this very special event at St Kilda Town Hall on the evening of Wednesday the 4th of March 2015. Gough's friend and confidant, the unsung hero of Australian public life, Graham Freudenberg AM delivered The Whitlam Institute's Commemorative Gough Whitlam Oration. Graham's chosen topic: Contemporary Relevance, Comrade: Gough Whitlam in the 21st Century. It was an extraordinary occasion.
In All living things are diminished: Breaking the national consensus on the environment, the Honourable Bob Debus AM, draws deeply from his knowledge and experience to distil a large body of historical material, policy precedent and political experience to argue that it is not only possible to seriously tackle the environmental issues that bedevil us but that our own experience over recent decades demonstrates what can be achieved.
In Fossil Fuels, Global Warming and Democracy: A Report from a Scene of the Collision,Dr Kevin Taft offers his account of the fraught interplay between ‘fossil fuels, global warming and democracy’ in his home province of Alberta, Canada. He writes as participant in and observer of a ‘collision’ between the climate change imperatives of cutting carbon emissions and the commercial imperatives being prosecuted by the fossil fuel industry.
Dr Randal G Stewart, author of Climate Change in a New Democratic Age: Why we need more, not less, democratic participation, examines the role of three key groups in the climate change debate - scientists, economists, and the bureaucracy - as the lens through which to consider the capacity of democratic decision-making processes to establish effective climate change policy.
This survey of parents, commissioned by the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney and conducted by Newspoll in the period 24 May to 9 June 2013, asked parents their perceptions of the impact of NAPLAN on their children. It is the latest in a series of reports from the Whitlam Institute on the impact of 'high stakes' testing.
"Let me say finally to Mr Tony Whitlam who is here this evening on behalf of the Whitlam family: please pass on to the old man my warmest affection – nay, love – and convey to him, notwithstanding that my words here tonight could not do his public service proper justice, some sense of my belief that he is Australia's greatest white elder and friend without peer of Indigenous Australians."
These documents are the raw materials of history. In transporting us back to the threshold of a new era in Australia-China relations, these documents remind us that what is was not also so, and that mature foreign policy requires mature leadership.
we note the strong concerns we have for the high stakes nature of the NAPLAN testing regime. While literacy and numeracy skills are fundamental and build a strong foundation for further learning, we believe that educational reform should place an emphasis on fostering much broader learning goals and outcomes.
Precarious Work: The Need for a New Policy Framework, by former NZ Attorney General and Labour Minister Professor Margaret Wilson, is a written detailed account of the rise of precarious work arrangements in Australia and New Zealand. Professor Wilson argues that since precarious work is identified with those who work on the margins of the labour market, such as women, young workers and older workers, we must look at how best to structure the policy agenda to protect those who are currently the most vulnerable.