a little east of reality

Sunday, February 03, 2008

nice one, kevin!

Kevin Rudd (our Prime Minister) has decided to hold a super talkfest to find answers to what he describes as the 10 critical problems facing the nation:
  1. the economy
  2. economic infrastructure
  3. sustainability
  4. rural industry
  5. health
  6. social inclusion
  7. indigenous people and services
  8. the arts
  9. governance, and
  10. national security
One thousand of our best and brightest will be invited to Parliament House for a weekend in late April, with no businesses, unions or lobby groups represented. Rudd described the summit as a chance to "shake the tree" and see what suggestions fall to the ground. Cute.

I do think it's a bit of a wank to have 'the arts' in there. That's an industry that is quite capable of coming up with its own ideas, given a little funding. I'd much rather have seen him include education. We only have six states and two territories - it can't be that hard to plan for standardised education across the nation. And they could have tried to fix some of the damage that the Howard government inflicted on schools and universities. I'm hoping that 'sustainability' includes the water shortage. People might slot that in as a 'rural' problem, but there are a few capital cities under water restrictions that would beg to differ.

One aspect of the plan that I really like is that the focus in on long-term plans. So often governments only look as far ahead as the next election, and issues that require long-term solutions get left on the back-burner. Let's hope the Rudd government doesn't lose sight of that goal down the track. I think the public can support long-term goals where no solution will be evident until after the next election. It all depends on how it's explained to them.

Each area will be tackled by a group of 100 delegates. The delegates will be chosen by a summit steering committee of 10 people co-chaired by Mr Rudd and Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis. I'm not sure how he got the job, as I've never heard his name come up before, but I'm curious to see who ends up with an invite.

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