Published: 28 May 2018


Ms FORREST  (Murchison) - Mr President, I believe lifelong learning and personal and professional development are important in all professions and workplaces.  We all come to parliament with our own life experience, background and knowledge from prior professions and community involvement.  None of us comes with a complete set of skills and knowledge of all the areas we are called on to consider in our roles here. 

Furthermore, trust in and respect for our profession or our roles as members of parliament is not high.  We need to work to build trust and respect through honesty, integrity and a willingness to listen and learn.

This learning includes an openness to change when new learnings create new understandings.  If we wish to have a positive impact on our state and country, we need to enhance our learning and build our capability to be strong and effective leaders who are well regarded, trustworthy and respected.

The Australian Futures Project is a non-profit company whose mission is to fix 'short termism' in Australia through building government capability and accountability.  They acknowledge this is a big task, but they also state their concern that short termism is blocking a flourishing future for Australia.

I recently attended an event celebrating five years of the Australian Futures Project at which the plan for the next five years was outlined.  From extensive research the Australian Futures Project team has concluded that until short termism is fixed, Australia will not be able to seize the opportunities and address the challenges that will ensure a flourishing future and create the future Australians actually want.

On its website, the Australian Futures Project states -

Until short-termism is fixed … We won't have meaningful tax reform, address Indigenous disadvantage, or prepare for our ageing population.  We won't have affordable housing, affordable childcare, or the skills for jobs of the future.  We won't address climate change and the energy crisis, increase our engagement with Asia, or achieve equality for women.  We won't build adequate infrastructure, address the mental health crisis, or kick-start our stagnant productivity.  The list goes on.  But we are optimists.  We deeply believe Australia has the determination and know-how to address these issues.  We know that powerful levers exist to fix short-termism.  We know there is widespread hunger to act. 

To fix short-termism Australian democracy needs three things: 

1.       Vision:  Politicians who offer relevant and compelling visions for the future of the nation 

2.       Capability:  Governments that solve Australia's big challenges

3.       Accountability:  A simple way for the public to hold government leaders (politicians and public servants) to account for the future they are creating on behalf of all Australians

The focus of the company is on capability and accountability; its website says -

It is the job of politicians to offer the vision.  The Australian Futures Project therefore focusses on capability and accountability.  We do this by finding and building catalytic initiatives that:

•           Equip governments (politicians and public servants) to solve Australia's biggest challenges …

•           Empower Australians to hold government to account for creating the future Australians want

Mr President, the Australian Futures Project runs programs and projects seeking to achieve this.  The twenty-first century public service offers customised courses and solutions for building its culture and capability to solve complex challenges for Australia's future.

The other, the Parliamentary Leaders Program, is a specialised program for parliamentarians.  I undertook this program last year and found it extremely beneficial. I encourage all members to consider undertaking the program.

Over the next five years the Australian Futures Project team plans to continue improving government capability and accountability.  It has a number of strategies to identify catalytic fixes for systems and cultures that surround government and build accountability to address the ongoing disconnect between government promises and public expectations.

I intend to remain engaged and informed of the work of the Australian Futures Project because I believe that learnings from its work are relevant and will benefit me in my role.  Change is constant and we too need to adapt and change as we increase our knowledge, capability and accountability.

All decisions we make in our communities, particularly as members of the Legislative Council, need to be made with an acute awareness of the need to bring long-term benefit to fellow Tasmanians.  I strongly believe we must avoid short-termism if we are to solve the big challenges in health, education, housing, planning and infrastructure - just to name a few - and to see our state flourish.

I offer the same challenge the Australian Futures Project put to the organisation and their supporters.  They ask -

Is this audacious journey for you? 

We're on an audacious, mission focussed journey.  We commit to being big picture, catalytic, bold, agile, constructive and honest.  … to create the future Australians want, there is no room for cynicism or waiting.  And every bold journey begins with a single courageous step.  It is not for everyone. 

Will you join us as we fix short-termism in Australia?

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