OK, so I didn’t make the 1000 “best and brightest” going to the Australia 2020 Summit. Nevertheless I’m still very interested in Topic 9, “the future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.” What should I do?
There’s still the possibility of getting media accreditation, or perhaps connecting to the themes of the event in some other way. Here’s a brain-dump of my thoughts on this sunny Sunday morning… comments appreciated!
I haven’t had time to go through the list of participants in detail, except to be pleased that human rights lawyer Julian Burnside made it and to note, as The Road to Surfdom did, that some selections are… annoying:
I was trying to be positive about the 2020 envisioning thing, I really was.
Until I read that Miranda Devine is a member of the mob considering ‘Future of Australian Governance’.
I guess she got a guernsey in the name of ‘balance’, once Phillip Adams was invited.
Both, I’m sure, will bring brilliantly innovative ideas to the wankfest that nobody ever thunk before in the history of 20 cents a word punditocracy.
Sorry Kevin but this ridiculous waste of time and money is the stupidest idea since Friday sittings of parliament in which nothing was allowed to happen.
For me, it’s not that Miranda Devine is a “right-wing commentator” and I’m perceived to be “of the left”. Far from it.
Anyone who still uses that ancient left-wing vs right-wing dichotomy — yes, “ancient”, it was invented during the French Revolution — is hopelessly out of date and should automatically be excluded from Australia 2020 or from reporting on it. Yes, I’m talking about you, Larissa Dubecki of The Age:
Old warriors from the left and right of the culture wars are most liberally represented in the governance stream, where conservatives Greg Craven, Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson have been chosen to line up against Robert Manne, Phillip Adams, David Marr, and GetUp! activist Brett Solomon.
Is it not possible to report on anything “political” without nailing it to that outmoded framework?
Even the 2-dimensional Political Compass is 40 years old. It’s time for something a little more relevant to a multi-faceted society, people, and political reportage which is just a little more sophisticated!
But I digress…
I’m all for diversity of viewpoint. Sometimes I agree with Ms Devine, most of the time I don’t — but that’s fine, we can discuss that.
I’m annoyed with Ms Devine’s selection because her columns don’t seem to offer much new, and Australia 2020 is about new ideas — or at least that’s how it’s been marketed. I also question Ms Devine’s ability to research and marshal accurate facts into a coherent logical argument — as opposed to disgorging a jumble of pre-conceived and largely unconnected ideas and factoids that appeal to her readership.
And I’m annoyed that selecting “old warriors from the left and right of the culture wars” is still looking backwards. It’s a clear sign that the relationship between government and media really does need a thorough renewal if you can’t get any meaningful dialog about the nation’s future without rounding up these tired old cliché-ridden warhorses yet again.
My secret hope is that Chairman Rudd has decided that once all of them — Henderson to Manne, Devine to Adams — are sealed within the marble walls of Parliament House, Canberra, that the vents will be opened and the Zyklon B will issue forth…
Whether the selection of 100 people for Topic 9 is good, bad or indifferent is now moot. We now have a weekend when the focus is on Australia’s future. After Howard’s Decade of Coma, talking about the future at all seems so refreshing.
It’s not that far into the future, only 12 years — the year when someone in kindergarten today will enter adulthood. But it’s a start. And maybe, as I’ve said before and before that, if we don’t decide it’s all fucked up before it’s even started, we can get some value out of it.
So, back to what I could do…
I daresay I could get media accreditation. Crikey would doubtless lend me their name, if not any budget. (I’ll ask tomorrow.) But who knows how many media places are available? The proceedings may be streamed live, like parliamentary committees are, which could mean covering the event from my own desk in Sydney — though it’s always much better to be “on the ground” doing separate interviews and commentary.
I’ve thought of experimenting with Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans idea: putting up a proposal, calling for donations, heading to Canberra with the support of my fans and then generating the media output that those fans want. Could that work?
Or should I just cave in, and start calling it a wankfest like those radio shock jocks?