Australia’s unprecedented run of economic growth has failed to deliver a more stable or harmonious society. Individualism is rampant. Income inequality is growing. Public education is under-resourced. The gender revolution is stalling. We no longer trust our major institutions or our political leaders. We are more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more overweight, more medicated, and deeper in debt and increasingly addicted – whether to our digital devices, drugs, pornography or ‘stuff’.
Yet esteemed social researcher Hugh Mackay remains optimistic. Twenty-five years ago, he revolutionised Australian social analysis with the publication of Reinventing Australia. Now he takes another unflinching look at us and offers some compelling proposals for a more compassionate and socially cohesive Australia. You might not agree with everything he suggests, but you’ll find it hard to get some of his ideas out of your head.
Argued with intelligence and passion, his book is essential reading for everyone who loves Australia enough to want to make it a better place for all of us. One compelling statistic that paints a picture – only 50% of Australians feel they could call a neighbour in an emergency. Social disengagement has been brought about by many factors. A low birth rate means that children aren’t the catalyst for neighbours to meet as they once were, and secondly dependence on digital relationships isn’t a substitute for all face to face relationships.
‘When it comes to our ecological, social, cultural and economic future, misplaced optimism is as dangerous as blind faith. What is needed is the courage to face the way things are, and the wisdom and imagination – informed by the best available evidence – to work out how to make things better.’
Thank you to our Event Partners for the evening
Some great material from the event