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26 February 2015




John Hewson announces he will attend launch of "Who speaks for and protects the public interest?"

With the polls showing voters are increasingly concerned that the public interest is being ignored by successive governments - which are more focused on internal politics and vested interests than the common good -  this collection of short sharp essays by leading Australians is a timely call to action.

Click on the cover to download the book, 

What: Launch of a book of 39 brief essays by prominent Australians - “Who speaks for and protects the public interest (the welfare and wellbeing of the whole population) in Australia?”.

  • Contents cover a range of issues including early childcare, Indigenous futures, climate change and new forms of democratic engagement.
  • A number of the essayists will be available to speak to the media at the launch.
Who: The Hon Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commercand Industry, will  launch a book
John Hewson, one of the authors, will attend along with several other authors
When: Thursday 26 February 2015, 1.00 pm.

Where: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Burley Griffin Room 3, Ground Floor, 28 Sydney Avenue, Forrest ACT

Former Liberal Leader John Hewson AM  is quoted in the book: :
“Politics has become very short-term, disturbingly personal, negative, populist and opportunistic.
… we need to reform the structures and processes of government to effectively remove politicians and politics from key decision-making … one option is the establishment of fully independent policy bodies in key policy areas, such as tax and federation reform.”

John Menadue AO former head of Qantas, News Ltd and Secretary of the Prime Ministers Department to both Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser writes in his essay:
"Action to assert the public interest in the face of powerful vested interests is necessary on many fronts. The problem is urgent." 

John goes on to say,  "There are many key public issues that we must address. They include climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum seekers. But our capacity to address these hard issues is becoming very difficult because of the ability of vested interests with their lobbying power to influence governments in a quite disproportionate way."

Reverend Elenie Poulos Uniting Church leader writes
“In a context where ‘social good’ or the ‘common good’ is assumed to be economic neoliberalism, what’s in the ‘public interest’ becomes whatever advances the neoliberal economic agenda. And for the powerful servants of neoliberalism it becomes a most useful piece of rhetoric — one cannot argue with a policy that is in the ‘public  interest’. But policy reforms which arise from a different set of values — equity, justice, generosity, cooperation, community, compassion, empathy — and respect for the environment and the dignity of every person, are derided as ‘idealistic’, ‘soft’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘socialist’ (and we all know how that turned out!). They are often described as being the outcome of sectoral or minority concerns and therefore not in ‘the public interest’.”

Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas AO, co-editor of the essay volume, writes:
“I am suggesting that a Public Interest Council could do for the public interest what the Business Council of Australia does for its members and what Committee for Economic Development of Australia does to keep the economy healthy.”
Contact: Bob Douglas  0409 233 138 or Lyn Stephens 0408 651 563

Click to download a copy of the book
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