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18 June 2013

Placing global change on the Australian election agenda

-  A booklet of short essays including questions for voters to raise with all candidates for political office


"Australia is living in a Fool's Paradise, ignoring the most critical issues which will impact upon this country in both the short and the long term."  
Ian Dunlop, former petroleum and coal industry executive, member of the Club of Rome, Australia21 director 

At the National Press Club in Canberra last night Professor Ross Garnaut AO launched an Australia21 booklet of essays Placing Global Change on the Australian Election Agenda. These short essays cover matters vital to Australia's future that are being largely or completely ignored by the current political process. For the text of his address click here

Written by a multidisciplinary group of Australian experts, issues covered in the booklet  include anthropogenic climate change, population and refugee pressures, security, a fragile and unsustainable economy, deteriorating ecosystems and declining agricultural and liquid fuel capacity.

The booklet includes a series of questions on twelve themes arising from the essays. Editor of the publication, Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas, said: "Never has Australia had a greater need for visionary political leadership about the issues that will shape our future. And never in my lifetime has the political debate been more irrelevant to the real issues that are now facing us." 

Australia21 offers these questions to voters across Australia. They can be used to promote discussion with all candidates for political office to help political leaders understand that these are the issues which should be their focus. Some quotes from the essayists will give you a taste:

The global financial situation is far more perilous that most Australians realise.”
Ross Buckley, Professor of International Finance Law, UNSW. 
“At federal level, climate change has become the problem that dare not speak its name.”
Tony McMichael Professor of Epidemiology, international authority on climate change and human health.  

"Threats from non-state actors - terrorists, people smugglers, pirates, computer hackers - and hazards arising from non-human sources - biological and chemical, climatic and environmental conditions - have the potential to present real security challenges."
Rita Parker, Visiting Fellow, UNSW, Australian Defence Force Academy. 
Food security is emerging as the most cogent risk to civilisation in the 21st Century.”
Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It.
“As today’s generations grow up they know that climate change will be one of the biggest issues to impact on their lives.”
Vivienne Moxham-Hall, Australia21 Honorary Youth Adviser.  

"How well are our national conversations helping us to anticipate future challenges and act to prepare for what is ahead? Rather than focusing on ‘who’s right? asking ‘what works to achieve what we most care about?’ offers more promise."
Paul Atkins, Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.

Please feel free to pass this material to others and we encourage you to use the booklet as a base for conversation with your local political candidates.

This project was made possible by donations from a number of  concerned citizens. If you would like to support our work, your donation would be much appreciated.
Australia21 is a small not for profit organisation which seeks to create new frameworks of understanding about the strategic issues facing us in the 21st century.
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"One of the best ways to demonstrate concern about our country and our community is to contribute to shaping their future"