open labor meeting, 29 april, 7.30pm
We're very pleased to tell you that Cath Bowtell, Victorian ALP President, will speak on ALP reform at Open Labor's next meeting: Tuesday April 29, Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street, Footscray, 7.30 to 9pm.
With Labor's shocking -- though sadly not surprising -- result in the WA Senate election, there's a lot of urgent talk about the need to make the ALP more open, democratic, and appealing to Australians.
Bill Shorten will give a major speech on party reform in Melbourne next Tuesday (see details below). But discussion of the need for major reform has been going on for at least 10 years and more. Will there be real change this time, or just more talk?
Cath, who is also a former Senior Industrial Officer of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the federal ALP candidate for Melbourne in 2010 and 2013, is well placed to discuss what might happen in Victoria at the state conference on May 17 and 18, and beyond.
Afterwards two or three members of the Open Labor network will speak briefly on the ALP Democracy Project, which had about 25 supporters elected to state conference, and how Open Labor plans to contribute to the reform debate. Then we'll have an open discussion. It should be a good night and we invite all Open Labor supporters -- not just ALP members -- to come along.
So that we have an idea of numbers, please respond to the invitation here.
Bill Shorten's speech is on Tuesday 22nd April at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, 1.30 to 3pm, hosted by the Per Capita think tank. Former Premier Steve Bracks, a longtime proponent of ALP reform, will chair the event. All welcome, and there will be time to ask questions.
'open conversation', our blog
Have you visited Open Labor's new blog, Open Conversation? There's lots on it to feed your mind. Emily Millane writes on why Joe Hockey's plan to increase the retirement age won't go nearly far enough to guarantee a secure income for retired and older workers.
Tom Bentley and Rod Glover discuss the book many people are talking about -- Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty -- and examine why capitalist systems seem to be producing soaring inequality, and what it means for Australia.
Tom also looks at a new report from the British Legatum Institute on why indicators of economic growth alone are not nearly enough to measure human well being. And James Button reports on recent statements by Geoff Gallop, Andrew Giles, Jenny McAllister, John Faulkner and Barry Jones in the ALP reform debate.
alp democracy project
The ALP Democracy Project is a joint initiative by Open Labor, Local Labor, the Independents Group and other supporters of ALP reform to see people from across the party who support democratic reform elected as delegates to Victorian State Conference on May 17-18.
More than 20 supporters of the ALP Democracy Project are likely to have been elected as delegates to the ALP Victorian State Conference. Supporters of the Project have been elected in 17 federal seats. This a small but important step on the road to renewed democracy in the ALP. Thanks to all who participated in the process and congratulations to those elected.
We’ll post a full report once all results are in, but for now, below is a post by former Bracks Government adviser Andrew Herington on the meaning and importance of FEA elections.
what the open labor community thinks
The first Open Labor survey enabled us to learn and share our community's values. The charts below reveal our community's top priorities:
new perspectives - economic inequality
New post from Tom Bentley and Rod Glover
Below is a recent video from Thomas Piketty, discussing the key themes of his new book Capitalism in the 21st Century. This is one of the most significant economic contributions for some time.
Thomas Piketty is a French economist who specialises in the study of economic inequality. Piketty challenges conventional wisdom, bringing together a combination of evidence, theory and philosophy to ask the big questions about how we grow economies and societies that benefit all.
To read why it matters for Australia, visit the new OL post here.
doing it differently - imagining the future
Tom Bentley writes on Open Labor's Sunday event, Imagining the Future
How might Australia become a better society over the next generation? What changes can we imagine improving our life as a community, and what would it take to bring them about?
These questions formed the heart of Sunday afternoon’s Open Labor event, Imagining the Future, at the Melbourne Bowls Club.
More than 60 people came and took part, travelling from places such as Bendigo, Geelong and many parts of Melbourne to be there. Participants were in their 20s and in their 90s and all ages in between. There were members and non-members of the ALP and people from many walks of life, including former Deputy Premier of Victoria John Thwaites and former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Brian Howe.
A quick summary of the event is here, with a more detailed discussion of policies and ideas put forward to follow. What brought participants together was an interest in the more open, optimistic, courageous and decent politics that Open Labor advocates and a commitment to renewing the Australian Labor Party.
The event demonstrated how it is possible to grow and share ideas for the future, and it generated many positive leads for Open Labor’s work. Best of all, a lot of people had a chance to express and share ideas, and that is something we haven’t seen in political parties for a long time.
The meeting opened with John Thwaites’ overview of the issues and trends confronting Australia, drawn in part from his work on the National Sustainability Council, whose report you can find here http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/sustainable-australia-report-2013-conversations-future
John reminded us that things can and do get better, pointing to growth in life expectancy, real income and water efficiency over the last two decades in Australia. The OECD’s Better Lives index ranks Australia as the best place in the world to live http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/.
Yet, as social surveys show, while most Australians know that their financial income and material living standards have increased in recent years, they often feel that the wider quality of our lives is under pressure. Twice as many people believe that physical and emotional wellbeing and overall happiness have got worse in the last twenty years than think that they have improved.wellbeing and relationships have got worse.See the lucky country? slide in Progressive Australia research atwww.openlabor.net.au
John outlined five big challenges for our future: the growth of inequality and new forms of disadvantage; the need to decouple economic growth from environmental damage, notably the need to address climate change; the need for more business innovation to ensure we remain prosperous, the governance of our cities, where four-fifths of our population lives and four-fifths of Australia’s GDP is produced, and the health of a community in which people both live longer yet are suffering more from chronic disease.
John’s overview was followed by five two-minute ‘lightning talks’ in which four women and a man, members of the Open Labor community, put forward their thoughts on what matters most to our future and is therefore worth fighting for.
This set a vivid scene for a lively series of ‘world café’ discussions in which groups of eight or so participants shared, discussed and recorded their ideas for the future and what it would take to bring them about.
As well as some eye-catching ideas, strong common themes quickly emerged. People saw a need to rebalance our public culture to strengthen the efforts of people who work together to meet the needs of others, support greater integrity and long termism in political and institutional leadership, and to relocate politics in a stronger, broader and more open community life.
Many different ways to achieve this were discussed, from new newspapers to new forms of local governance, new cities to new ways of sharing food and providing childcare.The event generated a lot of ideas in a short space of time by involving everybody in thinking, talking and listening to each other.
It also demonstrated that it is possible to hold political discussions which are lively, positive and inclusive, something which many participants said they had not experienced for a long time at a Labor party meeting.
We want to spread this approach to ideas and involvement further and wider, and will continue to publish ideas and proposals from Sunday’s event for further discussion and hold meetings in other places. Thanks to all those who took part!
new perspectives - progressive research
Nick Martin - Australian Political Reality
Nick Martin, Chair of the Chifley Research Centre, outlines key market research around the time of the 2013 election.
Nick presented this research as part of the 2013 Progressive Australia Conference in Sydney, hosted by Chifley. It outlines the mood of the Australian community, what has changed and what challenges it presents for progressive politics.
The research is useful for anyone who wants to develop and communicate ideas and strategies that might resonate with the wider Australian community.
in the news - our launch party!
More than 150 people joined us for our Launch Party in Melbourne on 1 December. It was a lively event, as political conversations should be. For those who couldn't make it, we've pulled together some of the highlights from our Open Mic and Vox Pop sections for you below. To see all video from the launch party, click here.