Reconstructing Australia After COVID-19

Reconstructing Australia After COVID-19

This event features a conversation with co-authors of the new book, What Happens Next? Reconstructing Australia After COVID-19 (Melbourne University Press, 2020). Emma Dawson, Professor Janet McCalman and Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young will discuss a way forward for Australia, in particular the role that education and not-for-profit organisations can play in a post-pandemic “reconstructed” Australia.

When: via interactive Zoom on Tuesday 10 November 2020 at 11.00am (NSW/VIC) and 10.00am (QLD).

View this session on YouTube at (52’18”)

Why This Book

“Our book is about bringing Australians together to heal our society. The pandemic has opened up old wounds and found its way into the cracks in our armour: under-paid, unprotected employment with no sick pay for our care workers; under-regulated aged care; under-funded childcare; shortages of social housing; of expecting the market (e.g. international students) to pay for our own universities and research. Looming over it all is climate change and the severe inequality that has grown over the past four decades.

“Our economy was not doing well before the pandemic and people were finding themselves falling behind. We can do better. We need to have the courage that Australia had during and after World War 2 when we built our welfare state, our manufacturing industries, our research universities, much of our irrigation schemes, our airlines, our homes and our education systems. At the end of the War, all countries were deep in debt, but they spent their way out of it and built a new world better than before. We have a similar opportunity again if we can find a new ‘green accord’ and invest in a renewables-led economy that works for people, not just big corporations. We need a new national partnership between all sectors of society.”

Emma Dawson in Q&A on Booktopia website

About the Book

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the global economy, a reset to serve the wellbeing of people and the planet was plainly needed. As Australia rebuilds, after the immediate health crisis has passed, it must be with the explicit purpose of constructing an economically and ecologically sustainable world After the Great Depression and the Second World War, economic thinking was transformed across the Anglosphere, with a determination to create a more equitable society and support every child, regardless of background, to achieve their full potential. Australia’s leaders reshaped our economy through a determined and coordinated program of post-war reconstruction. Their reforms set us up for decades of prosperity and the creation of perhaps the most prosperous and stable society on earth.

With contributions from some of Australia’s most respected academics and leading thinkers, What Happens Next? Reconstructing Australia After COVID-19 (edited by Emma Dawson and Janet McCalman) sets out a progressive, reforming agenda to tackle the twin crises of climate change and inequality. It provides a framework through which our collective effort can be devoted to improving the lives of all Australians, and the sustainability of the world in which we live. In addition to Emma Dawson and Professor Janet McCalman AC, contributors include: The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, Thomas Mayor, Dr Liz Allen, Professor Clinton Fernandes, Dr Shireen Morris, Osmond Chiu, Michele O’Neil, Professor Fiona Stanley, Professor Mike Daube AO, Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young and Dr Jim Chalmers.

About the Session Presenters

Emma Dawson is the Executive Director of Per Capita. Formerly, she was a senior advisor on sustainability and inclusion at Telstra, executive director of the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society, University of Melbourne, and a senior policy advisor in the Rudd and Gillard governments. Dawson has published articles on public policy and social affairs in academic journals and the mainstream press, and is a regular panellist on The Drum on ABC TV. She is a graduate of LaTrobe and Monash universities, and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Emma previously presented to CCA’s annual conference in Melbourne in 2017 on infrastructure funding (link to her presentation – PDF).

Professor Janet McCalman AC is known for her award-winning books, Struggletown, Journeyings and Sex and Suffering, all published by MUP. As a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, she has always been fascinated by the experience of historical cohorts and the interplay between private life and the public world of politics and policy. In 2018 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young has experience as a teacher and school principal, research director and public servant. She is an Honorary Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (University of Melbourne) and in 2019 was a Visiting Professor at Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta. Researching in the Learning Sciences at the University of Nottingham, she explored physical and virtual learning spaces in England and Australia, and consulted to higher education regarding technology use for learning. She led the registration of online courses for educators at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Elizabeth is a board member of the Skyline Education Foundation, and Chair of its Futures Committee,  and an advocate for gender equality as a founder of Honour a Woman.

Media, Reviews and Articles

Late Night Live with Philip Adams, Radio National, 12 October 2020 (podcast)

Feminist Writers Festival FWF Quarantine Q&A: Emma Dawson

What Happens Next? Book Launch with Anthony Albanese, 28 September 2020 (video)

The Hawke Centre, University of South Australia panel discussion, with Dr John Falzon and Professor Fiona Stanley (video)

“Australia has sleepwalked into a society where profit trumps quality care,” by Emma Dawson, extract from the book in The Guardian Australia, 21 September 2020

Results of CCA contest: describe what will the future be for Australia in a post-COVID world

CCA held a contest for members to describe in 25 words or less what the future of Australia will be in a post-COVID world. The winning two entries – who both receive a copy of the book – were:

“There is no post-COVID world. The hands of time, as they say, having written, move on. Empires come and go. Epochs rise and fall. We walk our walk amid the chaos of it all, reminded again of what is enduring and what is transient.” (EW)

“A more caring and understanding society where people realise that we are all in this together. No more squabbles over trivialities. Back to the period (year 2000) when Sydney had the Olympics.” (EC)