The Lucky Country Conference

Communities in Control 2014

The Lucky Country Conference

Conference opened 26 May 2014, Melbourne
In 1964, Donald Horne wrote "Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck." It was a searing criticism that has now been adopted as a nationalistic boast.

Luck: it's a millstone round our neck. We take it for granted, and we don't ask why. We don't say we work harder than other countries, or that we're stronger or smarter or more creative, or even that we've been blessed by destiny. We're just luckier. And that leads nowhere.

If the world is ruled by luck then we start over every morning. There's no need to think about our history, or our advantages, or our faults; they're not relevant. There's no reason to think we have any responsibility to anyone. Let them win their own lottery. There's no reason to be concerned about the future: we've always been lucky before. We don't have to feel guilty, or grateful, or responsible.

At Communities in Control Conference 2014 we sought to bring values back into the equation - to shine the spotlight on what we've gained and lost as a society, and how we can organise ourselves to get from where we are to where we need to be.

> Download 2014 conference brochure (PDF)

Added 27 May 2014

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Leaders Walking Eight Abreast

Australia has so many blessings that it should produce countless leaders, Michael tells us. But there are barriers - xenophobia, racism, discrimination, inequality of opportunity. Tolerance is not enough. We must embrace diversity.

Added 27 May 2014

Hugh Mackay

What Makes a Life Worth Living?

Seduced by the merchants of happiness on the one hand and the blandishments of materialism on the other, it's easy to lose sight of what makes a life worth living. But a moment's reflection on the idea of 'goodness' will remind us that the good life is a life lived for others; a life in which we focus more on Who are we? than Who am I?

Added 27 May 2014

Linh Do

Light Bulb Moments

Linh is part of a new breed of social change advocates, digital natives who are harnessing the power of the internet to build a better world.

Added 27 May 2014

Jane Caro

From Bush Telegraph to Twitter

From the penny post to fibre-to-the-home, every successive mode of information transfer has empowered some groups and put the means of oppression into the hands of different interests. Between government surveillance, Facebook bullying, shockjock rabblerousing, and Twitter-based flashmobs it's hard to find a niche in the public consciousness for community messages and the public interest.

Added 27 May 2014

Peter Hartcher

How Australia Made its own Luck: and could now throw it all away

In a time when the authoritarian success story of China is strong, Australia offers a better model: a democratic success story.

Is it perfect? Of course not. But on some of the most important and apparently intractable problems of the modern world, Australia, believe it or not, is as good as it gets.