There’s never been a better time for progressive ideas. No, really.
2016 was the year the implausible became horrific reality for rational progressives. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation exploited new Senate rules and a double dissolution to claim a record number of seats. The EU, a trading body formed out of the ashes of World War II to create unity and prosperity across Europe, was left battered after the UK voted to leave. Then the US capped off the year of the impossible spectacularly, by electing Donald Trump as its 45th President.
None of this looks like good news for progressives. In fact, it looks spectacularly bad.
But what 2016 demonstrated is that electorates are hungry for big ideas and they can be galvanised around them.
Sacred cows can be slaughtered; third rails can be grasped. Electoral maps can be redrawn around the power of concepts. New consistencies can be activated. Policy positions that had traditionally been considered non-starters are suddenly viable.
The true leaders of the future should not – cannot – feel beholden to the political conventions of the past.
At the McKell Institute we believe this moment should be a source of tremendous inspiration for progressives who have lamented the pace of change.
So we are hoping to contribute to this climate through the launch of ‘The Ideas Forum.’
The Ideas Forum will be a series of short discussion papers – written by McKell’s staff, directors, research fellows, associate fellows, and academics – designed to stimulate debate and spark discussion. For the rest of 2017 we will be aiming to launch one new paper or major report each week, across a range of domestic topics.
The papers will be housed directly on our new website and shared on social media. They will supplement our existing major landmark reports such as ‘Switching Gears: Reforming Negative Gearing to Solve the Housing Affordability Crisis’ or ‘Bio Savvy: How Australia can Build a Stronger Biotechnology Sector.’
The aim of these shorter works will be to provoke discussion and stimulate ideas. As members and supporters of McKell’s you won’t agree with all of them. As Executive Director, I won’t agree with all of them. But I will be satisfied if they stimulate useful engagement and debate.
There’s never been a better time for progressive ideas. So please get involved with our new Ideas Forum.