We had a federal election in May. The result was a shock to many.
The polls had been suggesting the more progressive Labor Party was going to win for a while. Instead they were defeated and we are now looking at another three years or so of a conservative government.
There have been hundreds of columns devoted to the reason why the Labor party did so badly.
I didn’t read them.
As I was trawling through the internet, trying not to get depressed by the vitriol on both the left and the right side of politics, I came across Australia reMADE.
And it made my heart sing.
It promised a vision for the country that was the best version of ourselves. A country where the economy was run for the people, where the environment was looked after and our First Peoples honoured.
In 2017 the founding members met more than 200 leaders from communities around Australia. They were our First Nations peoples, migrants, workers, from faith groups, LGBTQI+ communities and more. The aim was to listen to them; to hear from a cross section of the Australian community about the future they wanted for this country.
They say the people they listened to had a lot to say about how great this country could be, and their frustrations with some of the challenges. These people were given the opportunity to express the Australia they wanted and to think of ways to transform it for the better.
Their National Coordinator, Dr Millie Rooney, said in a world dominated by the neo-liberal capitalist narrative, the act of producing an alternative vision was quite a radical act.
“We found people throughout our communities were working very hard to make a positive difference. Yet there was no collective voice articulating a common vision of what they were working towards,” Dr Rooney explains.
“We were surprised at how people were unused to answering the question of what they stood for. After many hours of listening and consultations, we have a clear articulated vision that can be shared across different groups.
“The stories we tell and how we tell them is very important. And this movement and vision is a reminder that we can do the work together. We want to bring different people together for a common purpose and this vision put forward by Australia reMADE can help build trust amongst these groups.
“We are mapping the solution together, bridging the gap and working collaboratively for a better country.”
I told Dr Rooney that I loved the bold vision. The question was how were we going to help bring it to fruition?
“There are many answers to that question!” she laughs.
“The ways to get there will look different for different groups. Many will disagree on how we get there.
“But the first step is to build consensus on what we are working towards. We want to bring to the table a common vision and encourage people to act in a way that lifts others up.”
If you are interested in hearing more of their ideas, Australia ReMADE also have a blog that can be found here.
But it doesn’t stop there. There are also tools on the website to help people have conversations about the vision and to think of ways they can apply this transformative approach to their work.
I love this country. It is the place where I want to bring up my family. It is the place my son was born. I have enormous hopes for it.
I don’t know if we will ever get to the utopia expressed in the vision. But we should at least give it a go.