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Edition 27

Food Chain

We are what we eat, and in an era of global warming, food is the canary in the mine.

Food prices are rising, droughts and storms are affecting farmers and the global model of food production is under challenge.

Food Chain explores the dimension of this looming problem, and our complex relationship with the food we eat and the food we drool over.

The source, supply and price of food is likely to change significantly. Policies to reduce the impact of climate change will have a profound impact on the food supply here and around the world. Food is particularly vulnerable to global warming. Droughts, storms, pestilence and the increasing cost of fuel are already taking a toll on the reliable supply of affordable food.

Food Chain explores the dimension of this looming problem, and our complex relationship with the food we eat and the food we drool over.

In a stimulating lead essay Margaret... Read more

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Edition 26

Stories for Today

A new world is taking shape, driven by globalisation and the increasing complexity of our era. We are at a point in history where the artists and story tellers are best placed to define us to ourselves.... Read more

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Edition 25

After the Crisis

The global financial crisis is different to other recessions. It challenges many economic fundamentals. Its resolution will fundamentally change the world and the way business is done.

After the Crisis projects this new future, analyses the causes and historic parallels, examines the limits of the growth, and graphically reports what is happening on the front line around the world.

The corruption of banking is at the heart of the global financial crisis. Like an internet virus, it is a contagion that has spread with remarkable speed and destruction. It has highlighted the weaknesses in the financial system and the economic order – the burden is not falling evenly.

In the lead essay acclaimed author and business journalist Gideon Haigh goes beyond the clichés and the predictable explanations to make sense of what is happening and why. His essay critically examines the practices of banking and the finance industry and the consequences for us... Read more

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Edition 24

Participation Society

The world is on the cusp of profound change, triggered by the global financial crisis and climate change.

At the same time the internet provides limitless opportunities for civic engagement for new forms of engagement.

This is not a moment for despair. Participation, openness, collaboration, innovation, sustainability and social capital are the new buzz words.

In the lead essay Cheryl Kernot argues that there is a need for swift and decisive action to nurture social entrepreneurs who have the agility and imagination to respond to these challenges.

New forms of participation learn from the past, and range from cyber-activism and micro-loans to a fundamental rethink of the nature of democracy in an information-rich world.

An outstanding collection of writers conjure new models to shape the future and make business as usual a thing of the past.

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Edition 23

Essentially Creative

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd included the arts and creativity in the 2020 Summit it was more than political window-dressing with famous faces. It was a sign that artists, actors, writers, musicians and others engaged in the creative economy were being taken seriously.

Essentially Creative draws on the insights and debates aired at the Summit to present a bold new agenda. It argues that the arts, creativity, innovation and cultural policy deserve a place at the centre of the national agenda and suggests ways this might be realised.

The arts can no longer be regarded as decorative indulgences. More than ever they define who were are and how we are seen. The skill, dedication and commitment required to produce enduring works of art needs to be celebrated and rewarded. The creativity which inspires those who produce and enjoy these works needs to be nurtured and encouraged.

Helen O’Neil ‘s lead essay argues that... Read more

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Edition 22

MoneySexPower

Money makes the world go around, but when it stops flowing the consequences are profound.

From masters of the universe who lose their magical touch, to remote communities where the unwritten laws of money, sex and power can cause misery.

This edition explores how power is wielded, how it can evaporate and can be renegotiated in unexpected ways. In the lead essay the influential thinker and writer Marcia Langton dissects the abusive nature of ‘big men politics’ in Indigenous communities and the grave effects of lateral violence.

The heady mix of MoneySexPower is unravelled with flair and insight.

From Faustian banking deals to prison codes, virtual identities to the culture of coal mines, the reign of the image and the price of privacy to brothels and the raw edge of political power.

This is contrasted with the intimate choices of desire and exchange and lifts the lid on the potent... Read more

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Edition 21

Hidden Queensland

Queensland is the new centre of political gravity in Australia. Twenty years ago it was a repressive and corrupt place out of step with the rest of the nation.

Hidden Queensland explores the most remarkable transition in Australian political history: in the people, the politics and the policies – and also exposes the lingering impact of secrets.

The election of Kevin Rudd as prime minister signalled a momentous change in Australia – political power moved north for the first time. As he said, ‘You can take the boy out of Nambour, but you can’t take Nambour out of the boy.’ This edition explains how this happened and what it means for Australia.

The lead essay by Julianne Schultz provides a fresh and comprehensive analysis of how today’s leaders and visionaries forged their ideals in the ashes of corruption and conflict. She describes the way networks with radical roots were formed and nurtured in... Read more

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Edition 20

Cities on the Edge

For the first time in history most people in the world now live in cities. This is an enormous change of profound importance.

The sheer pressure of numbers will test the old adage, that cities are the heart of civilisation. Many already teeter on the brink of chaos.

Climate change is the great new challenge confronting cities and the billions of people who live in them.

The lead essay by outstanding urban planner Brendan Gleeson examines this and other stress points and suggests solutions to make cities better places to live and work. His expansive essay sets the big agenda for a new generation of thinking about the increasingly complex nexus with Nature. Making cities more liveable, more sustainable and more fun is one of the great new global tasks.

The human, cultural and environmental implications of the global drift to cities are evoked in moving essays by outstanding writers including... Read more

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Edition 19

Re-imagining Australia

Australia is a product of political imagination. The boldness of the vision that turned a continent into a nation was remarkable. It was not without fault, but it was a big idea – pragmatic, progressive and bristling with possibility.

It is now time to re-imagine Australia again, to learn from the past and imagine a future for a new century.

Leading legal activist George Williams declares the system of government has passed its used-by date with antiquated rules of democracy that limit involvement. He proposes a way to repair this and build on the traditions of the past to solve the blame game that paralyses change in Australia. This is a compelling, once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Re-imagining Australia is not a political wish list. It paints the big picture of how the nation evolved and where it might go. It is optimistic and tough minded – personal, political and unpredictable.

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Edition 18

In the Neighbourhood

In the Neighbourhood explores Australia’s increasingly close connections with Asia from business, trade and education to migration.

But public debate and understanding of what this may mean, has not kept pace. The rapid changes in the region will shape the Pacific Century. This demands tough new thinking. Location provides both opportunities and challenges.

Michael Wesley argues in a provocative essay that history has not ended, but the future will be shaped by a resurgence of the world’s oldest civilisations.

Australian engagement is crucial. This goes beyond business and security to questions of identity, belonging and culture. When Kevin Rudd spoke in Mandarin at the APEC forum, he suggested Australia could play a new and important role in regional geo-politics, on its own terms.

In the Neighbourhood presents a rich tapestry of the diversity of the region – a mosaic of cultural and social interaction that touches the heart. Writers with deep knowledge take us... Read more

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