One of the canons of current futures studies is the need for participatory engagement of the stakeholders – in other words the people who are likely to be affected by any major decisions. So it’s heartening to see that the new Australian government is extending its commitment to participation – previously shown by the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, requiring all his Labor MPs to visit schools and homeless shelters, among other places – by calling for a broad-ranging national summit to identify a future vision for the country as a whole.
Some idiot immediately dismissed this as “a Prime Minister without a vision”: but we suffered 11 years of a questionably-sane Prime Minister pushing his own full-speed-to-the-past ‘vision’, to the enormous detriment of Australian society in general. As I put it in a spoof version of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ in one of my screenplays, “our meanness and our bigotry/renowned through all the lands”, and “with convicts now the lesser thieves / bereft of any care / we’ll make this Commonwealth of ours / a place of cheap despair”… that was what Howard’s ‘vision’ brought us. So we can do without another one of those, thank you very much…
But despite the idiot, it does look good: well-received by media commentators, and even the new (conservative) Opposition leader is grudgingly approving. There’s hope for real futures yet, perhaps?