Australia21, the nation’s not-for-profit “Think Tank for the Public Good” is seeking a new home.
Formed in 2000, and inspired by the success of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Australia21 (A21) has assembled many of the nation’s brightest minds to tackle some of our thorniest problems and recommend solutions to government, the media and public.
A21’s objectives are to:
- Promote interdisciplinary and inter-institutional discussion and germinate new research on topics pertinent to Australia’s future.
- Build networks between researchers, community and business leaders and policymakers.
- Improve community understanding of the factors that will contribute to a better future for our children.
In the past two decades the organisation has produced more than 50 reports on topics ranging from climate change, resilience, ecosystem services, social inequality, democracy, health drug laws, mindfulness, refugees, migration, public violence, the future of work and assisted dying, to the development of Northern Australia, the transformation of Australian landscapes and threats to the future of the human species
The group has depended in the past on a small group of volunteer Australians who generously gave their skills, time and money to the main tasks of hosting national roundtable discussions between leading thinkers from academia, business, government and the community. It was this ability to hand-pick and focus the nation’s best minds on issues critical to our common future that distinguished its contribution to the national policy debate. The group currently enjoys tax-free status for donations.
Two current ongoing Australia21 projects that continue to contribute to national thinking and policy formation are “The Council for The Human Future” and the “Mindful Futures Network”.
The Council for The Human Future (CHF) is an independent alliance of researchers and concerned citizens dedicated to finding and developing solutions to the greatest challenge in human history – the complex of catastrophic global risks that now confront us all. Led by former politician John Hewson and science author Julian Cribb, the mission of the Council is to raise global awareness of humanity’s growing existential emergency that is resulting from failure everywhere to develop a coherent long-range plan for human survival.
Also, working with other like-minded groups, Australia21 is taking a lead role in coordinating work on mindfulness, empathy and compassion in the Australian context by establishing a Mindful Futures Network, with links to international groups working in the field.
The methods developed over 20 years by A21 for bringing leading Australian minds together to share their ideas on “wicked problems” are today needed more than ever before as we face an increasingly uncertain future. The two existing networks continue to work for a brighter, safer future, provided they can be properly housed and funded.
The deaths and disability of many of its foundational members and directors has meant that Australia21 in its current guise must now change or close. As a result, we seek new partners and directors from a younger generation to lead and inspire the national debate on the issues that will define all our futures in the remainder of this century.
This represents a major opportunity for an energetic and far-sighted group, academic unit, think tank or company who wishes to help shape the nation’s destiny in turbulent times, by enhancing and clarifying our public discourse on vital issues.
- Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas AO is a retired Public Health academic and has been actively involved with Australia 21 since his retirement 23 years ago. He would welcome contact from interested people and organisations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org