The Australian Future Directions Forum hasn’t generated an avalanche
of mainstream press coverage, which probably reflects public and media
apathy towards the question of resolving Indigenous disadvantage in
Australia, something the group of 90 “future leaders” concluded should
be the nation’s number one priority over the next 15 years.

Whilst the broad “Left” did have a slight numerical advantage at the
forum, the decision to go out on a limb on Indigenous disadvantage was driven on the floor of the
final plenary session by an unlikely coalition of three from the
“right.”

However, the strong across-the-board support for that decision is again
borne out by these survey results. The public can read the
recommendations of the 11 working groups here
(after the five page “vision statement” that was worked up by about ten
delegates over two days) and then compare them with the survey results
in which delegates could indicate their level of support.

Clearly, the Creative Industries statement received the least support
and our statement on Leadership and Governance was the most popular,
although it’s also probably an area that lends itself to broad support.
However, the Indigenous Statement wasn’t far behind, so it will be
interesting to see if the group follows up on its call to meet with Mal
Brough, the new possibly Indigenous Indigenous Affairs Minister, to try
and get some new momentum to tackle what is clearly Australia’s
greatest failing as a nation.

Policy Statement Strongly Support Support, with reservations Don’t Support
  1. Australia’s Creative
    Industries
42 32 9
  1. Economy
57 16 1
  1. Education
67 16

  1. Environment
69 14 1
  1. Foreign Policy and Regional
    Engagement
70 13
  1. Health
66 17
  1. Indigenous Statement
72 10 1
  1. Leadership and Governance
77 7
  1. National Values and Identity
72 11 1
  1. Society – Communities – Social
    Cohesion
66 18
  1. Work and Families
73 8 3

Peter Fray

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