Pushing Our Luck: talking policy, not politics

Lightbulb cartoon by Fiona KatauskasIdeas for Australian progress

CPD’s forthcoming book puts forward a compelling, plain-English case for solutions to problems awaiting Australia’s next government, with insights from experts on ten big issues that will shape this country well beyond the 2013 election. We hope Pushing Our luck will revive your zest for public debate, and give us all a chance to set the daily grind of modern politics aside for a moment and focus on what really matters for Australia’s future.

These ideas are so important, CPD wants to send copies of Pushing our luck to ministers, senators, MPs and the press gallery. To help us do that, and to help yourself to some great rewards packages, visit the Pushing our luck page on StartSomeGood.

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Help CPD publish this important book!

Edited by CPD’s Miriam Lyons, Pushing Our Luck has chapters on 10 key policy areas, by some of Australia’s leading progressive thinkers:

'Pushing our luck' launch panel, BrisbaneShaun Wilson, Adam Stebbing, Adrian March and Miriam Lyons – ‘Chipping in: paying for a good society’

Australia can have low taxes and balanced budgets, or balanced budgets and high-quality public services, but not all three. Australia is paying bargain basement prices for the services government provides, and the cracks are beginning to show. By reconnecting debates on taxation with widely shared desires for better public services, it should be possible to increase tax revenue without losing elections.

Chris Bonnor & Jane Caro – ‘Getting past Gonski: every child deserves a good school’

We’ve created a school system that rewards the children of wealthy and educated parents and punishes kids from less privileged backgrounds. Two thirds of the achievement of kids at an Australian school can be explained by the economic and social background of its students. The reforms sparked by the Gonski Review could go some of the way towards fixing this situation, but more needs to be done. In this chapter Chris Bonnor and Jane Caro show how Australian schooling has been turned into a winner-takes-all competition, and what we can do about it.

Jennifer Doggett – ‘Getting better: Prescriptions for an ailing health system’

To provide adequate healthcare services for all citizens major structural changes are necessary. Jennifer Doggett shows that preventing and managing chronic disease is the most important health issue in Australia, arguing that more community input, increased funding and greater accountability could create a ‘best-case scenario’ for healthcare.

Ian McAuley – ‘Life after luck: building a more resilient economy’

Ian McAuley looks at how Australia survived the GFC, and how we need to adapt in order to navigate impending hurdles. We can strengthen our economy by restoring our tax base, investing heavily in education and putting in the hard yards to improve public infrastructure.

Geoff Gallop – ‘The vision thing: we need a national plan’

A national plan for Australia would bring purpose to the way we are governed and help citizens to hold both the elected and non-elected arms of government to account. Former WA Premier Geoff Gallop argues that the focus on politics over policy has made governments reluctant to put long term policy strategies in place or to publicly state their long-term ambitions. A national plan would outline the government’s beliefs and wishes, clarify its objectives and how they can be achieved. It would help both politicians and citizens to move beyond ‘gotcha’ politics and focus on the future.

Eva Cox – ‘Putting society first: welfare for wellbeing’

Eva Cox argues that our current welfare system has abandoned its original purpose – holding society together in the face of economic turmoil. It also fails to adequately value people’s non-monetary contributions such as caring and parenting. This chapter outlines the importance of the social fabric which makes life worthwhile, and how a good welfare system can support this. Cox argues that modern welfare system should treat recipients with respect instead of coercion, recognise their contributions to society beyond paid work, and face up to the realities of a volatile labor market in which jobseekers without qualifications vastly outnumber the low-skilled jobs available.

John Wiseman – ‘Climate change: reconnecting politics with reality’

Although one country alone cannot tip the balance on climate change, Australia is in a position to take a global leadership role. John Wiseman outlines a range of compelling reasons to take more rapid action to reduce carbon emissions, from our moral obligations on the world stage, to geographic self-interest, international alliances, health benefits and economic development opportunities.

Roy Green – ‘After the boom: where will growth come from?’

Where will jobs and growth come from after the mining boom? Roy discusses Australia’s urgent need to examine our productivity, looking at the risks and rewards of choosing the ‘low road’ of instant fixes and cost-cutting, or the ‘high road’ of long-term investment and industry reforms.

Lisa Heap – ‘Taking the high road: a future that works for workers’

Australia’s workplace laws have not adapted to changes in working practices and continue to focus on the standard, male, full-time employee, but there has been rapid, recent growth in the use of casual workers and independent contractors. Without legal recognition, many non-standard workers are left unprotected. Lisa offers a number of solutions to protect insecure workers.

Lindy Edwards – ‘Welcome home: preventing the next culture war’

Deepening economic divides are putting the social cohesion of Australian society at risk. Lindy argues that reinvigorating Australia’s ‘founding myth of Federation’ could provide the basis for a national identity that is both uniquely Australian and able to embrace newcomers seeking a better life.


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Short-term thinking cannot address Australia’s long-term dilemmas – help CPD publish Pushing our luck