Next month Australia will have a national election. As is now common in Western democracies much of the campaign reporting and "debate" focusses on personalities, polls, hip-pocket issues, and fear [of immigration, financial collapse, ....].
It would be nice if we could have a robust national debate about substantial issues that will shape the kind of country Australia will be in one or two decades from now.
I believe that the affluent and peaceful life experienced by the bulk of Australians is a geographical and historical anomaly. Furthermore, I believe that our current lifestyle is not economically, environmentally, and politically sustainable.
Sorry I am such a pessimist. But, the world is changing rapidly. Life in Australia is like paradise compared to most of the world and it is easy to live in denial.
Here are a few issues I would like to see discussed. The order of the list is random. All of the issues are complex. Many are divisive.
How might we move towards constructive bi-partisan policies on immigration, climate change, and indigenous welfare?
What can be done to reduce "middle class welfare", the associated sense of entitlement and future unsustainable debts?
How can Australia increase its foreign aid and make it more effective? [Details of recent disappointing government actions are here].
How can Australia move beyond a foreign policy that is subservient to the USA?
To what extent are we willing to sacrifice our short-term financial interests in order to be building a more just and peaceful world?
How can the quality of public education be increased?
Australia is a multi-cultural Western secular democracy. Yet is has been shaped [mostly sub-consciously] by ideals with largely Christian/Biblical origins [human rights, rule of law, compassion, ....]. What is the appropriate and constructive engagement of "religion in the public square"?