One of my key extra-curricular activities is my role as a foundation director of Australia 21.
Australia 21 is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organisation which was established in 2000 to develop and promote new frameworks of understanding regarding the complex problems which Australian society faces in the 21st century.
It was established in the belief that the big issues that now confront Australians are so complex as to require independent, non-ideological, collaborative inputs from our best thinkers and researchers from many intellectual disciplines around the nation.
Australia 21’s charter commits it to:
- Promote interdisciplinary and inter-institutional discussion and germinate new research on topics pertinent to our national and regional future
- Build open networks between researchers, community, corporate, business leaders, policy makers and decision makers
- Ensure that we are open and accessible to the policy and decision makers who will shape our nation’s future.
Australia 21 operates by drawing on outstanding researchers and experts from diverse institutions and disciplines, nationally and internationally, and from various sectors of society – the research community, government and business. We bring together in roundtables and ongoing research networks of the best minds available and provide them with opportunities to interact in ways that are not usually available.
Whereas most of our national research institutions very sensibly contour their research efforts around established research teams, our tendency is to start by identifying a crucial question and then go looking for the multidisciplinary, inter-institutional team that can answer it. We do not claim that this is a superior approach, simply that the nation needs both approaches.
We undertake inclusive, integrated analysis in four thematic programs:
- Australians in society (how we develop and interact with each other)
- Australians in the landscape (how we interact with our natural environment and the landscape over which we exercise custodianship)
- Australia in the world (how we interact with the rest of the community of nations)
- Building Australia’s resilience (building our capacity to withstand shocks and adverse events).
We see all present and future Australians as our stakeholders. We serve them by working to enhance the links between science, business and policy, through our focus on complex long-term issues. We produce distinctive outputs of relevance to governments, corporations, universities and communities.
Australia 21 is registered by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations as an approved research organisation, and is gift tax exempt.
Our independence is assured by the fact that we are entirely dependent upon donations, grants and in-kind assistance. If you wish to support our work, please visit our website www.australia21.org.au, where you can make a secure on-line donation.