Griffith Review Edition 51

FIXING THE SYSTEM

Why do so many believe that Australia's political and social system is no longer fit for purpose? What's the way forward for the great southern land?

Australia has never been richer, its people better educated and the country better connected internationally, yet there is a widespread perception that systems and key institutions are broken. Interest groups flex their muscle and block each other. Risk management has paralysed the system. Commentators proclaim the ‘end of the reform era’. They lament the rise of a ‘new volatility’ in the nation’s electoral politics; the demise of the capacity and will to lead; and the paucity of debate of the problems and challenges facing Australia. They complain about the resistance to change and openness to bold new ideas, and the ability to talk frankly and fearlessly about the kind of society we want to build for the future. All this is happening in a world that is changing rapidly, but without a clear road map.

Edited by Julianne Schultz and Anne Tiernan, Fixing the System examines this chorus of complaint. It asks what is broken and examines the reasons how and why. It considers what needs to be done to revive the lucky country.