Australia 2020 Summit

19 Apr

I am currently watching the opening of the 2020 Summit on ABC1. The Governor-General is speaking at the moment, and very well too. But I was simply knocked out by the speaker immediately before him. Only 25, of Torres Strait Islander/European background, she said exactly what I have sought in vain to say in so many posts. I haven’t caught her name*, unfortunately, but will return to what she said at the first opportunity. She spoke of having spent her first 25 years living conflicting stories, and trusted that in the next 25 years this would not be so, as all our stories would be accepted fully.

Put aside your cynicism, put aside “politics”, put aside expectations of instant fixes, put aside the habits of thought of the past twenty years. This, I really believe, is a great moment for us and for our future. Embrace it, people.

ABC News coverage.

Who is at the 2020 Summit (PDF): I notice Nicholas Jose among the participants, so I know at least one. 😉


This is an interesting reaction — not the only one of its kind I hope — from a new WordPress blogger.

Kevin Rudd addressed the cynics thus:

…this Summit, we argue, is just the beginning of the process of responding to those challenges. Already there are those who are predicting that the Summit will fail. In fact some have predicted that it has already failed. Some have said it is too big. Some have said it is too small. Some have said that it is not representative enough.

I challenge anyone to find a group which could ever claim to be fully representative of any nation, it is very hard. Some say that consensus on anything is impossible because it produces the democratic divide.

Whereas I say on certain fundamentals, the challenge is in fact, to build a consensus around those things that really count for the long term.

I say to everyone here, we should just be relaxed about any such criticism.

It is great. It is a reflection of a democracy in which we live. Roll with the punches. That is what it is all about. I say it is worth having a go through this Summit, even if we fail. After all, what is there to be lost from trying?

And as I have said before, what is our simple objective here: to shake the tree and to see if from the great talents, energies and enthusiasms and ideas of this nation, we can through this process of the next two days bring forth, say a dozen new ideas about how we can shape our nation’s future, together. We do that, we will have done some really good work here…

To conclude, the job of government is to set a strategic vision for the nation.

I have a simple view which is that without a vision the people do perish. A nation needs a vision. Government must then invite the nation to respond to that vision and to give that vision flesh and bones and to advance ideas to translate a vision into reality. As a nation I think we face two overall choices. We can either drift into the future or we can plan for the future. I say it is time, well and truly time to seize the future with both hands, to build a new Australia. To build a better Australia, a better Australia for all of our people, as well as turning this great nation of ours Australia, to an even greater force for good in the world.And now ladies and gentlemen, summiteers, it is over to you.

* Thanks to SBS News, I can now say she is Sana Nakata, LLB, BA (Hons).

Sana, a Torres Strait Islander, first came into residence at Trinity in 2001 to study Arts/Law at the University of Melbourne. After completing her Law degree in 2005 she spent some time in the US as an intern for an African-American senator. Having now completed her Arts Honours in Politics, Sana intends to start her PhD, also in Political Science, next year.

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2 responses to “Australia 2020 Summit

  1. bookishness

    April 20, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Hi and thanks for the link. I, too, was extremely impressed with Sana Nakata. It blew me away when she said she was only 25. Just the sort of passionate, articulate, intelligent and motivated young person that Australia should be aiming to produce more of!

  2. ninglun

    April 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I hope the text of her speech becomes available somewhere. It really was excellent.

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