Griffith Review 51: Fixing the System sets out to examine Australia’s political and social system and to investigate why so many believe it to be unfit for the purpose.
While Australia has never been richer, its people better educated and the country better connected internationally, there is a widespread perception that systems and key institutions are broken. Interest groups flex their muscle and block each other. Risk management has paralysed the system. Commentators proclaim the ‘end of the reform era’. They lament the rise of a ‘new volatility’ in the nation’s electoral politics; the demise of the capacity and will to lead; and the paucity of debate of the problems and challenges facing Australia. They complain about the resistance to change and openness to bold new ideas, and the ability to talk frankly and fearlessly about the kind of society we want to build for the future. All this is happening in a world that is changing rapidly, but without a clear road map.
Edited by Julianne Schultz and Anne Tiernan, Fixing the System examines this chorus of complaint. It asks what is broken and examines the reasons how and why. It considers what needs to be done to revive the lucky country.
Contributors include Carmen Lawrence, Clare Wright, Peter Van Onselen, Paul Ham, Gabrielle Carey, Chris Wallace, Jonathan West, Megan Davis, Stephen Mills, Anne Coombs, Graham Wood, Lee Kofman and many more. Julianne Schultz
is the founding editor of Griffith Review. She is a member of the Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research and chairs the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She sits on the editorial board of The Conversation and is a member of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Pool of Peers. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate
(Cambridge) and Steel City Blues
(Penguin), and the librettos to the operas Black River
and Going Into Shadows
. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year. She is a thought leader on media and culture and an accomplished public speaker and facilitator. She has served on the board of directors of the ABC and Grattan Institute, and chaired and been a member of many advisory boards with a particular focus on education, journalism and creativity, including the Centre for Advancing Journalism, A Companion to the Australian Media, the National Cultural Policy reference group and the Queensland Design Council.
Anne Tiernan is a Professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University. A political scientist, who had earlier careers in government in the Commonwealth and Queensland, and in teaching and consultancy, Anne is respected for her independent, professional and research-informed analysis and commentary on national politics, public administration and public policy. Her research focuses on the work of governing. Anne is author of books including: Lessons in Governing: A Profile of Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff and The Gatekeepers: Lessons from Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff (both with R.A.W. Rhodes, Melbourne University Publishing, 2014), Learning to be a Minister: Heroic Expectations, Practical Realities (with Patrick Weller, Melbourne University Press, 2010) and Power Without Responsibility: Ministerial Staffers in Australian Governments from Whitlam to Howard (UNSW Press, 2007).