It's the Community, Stupid: Putting people and the planet back in the picture

Communities in Control 2016

It's the Community, Stupid: Putting people and the planet back in the picture

Conference opened 30 May 2016, Melbourne

Last year the budget crisis was all the rage, and if we didn't balance the damn thing this very moment the living were going to envy the dead. This year, not so much.

The new thing is nation-building. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told his Industry Minister to release his "inner revolutionary" and find a few big ideas to make Australia more innovative - and told him to stop worrying about how to pay for it. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wants to disrupt aid. Change is upon us.

Power is shifting - has already shifted. What was inconceivable suddenly seems possible, even obvious. An avalanche of tipping points is upon us - women's equality, family violence, human rights, refugees. What more will it take to move these things, and the others, all the way to the end of the road?

Modern technology is shaking everything up, disorienting us but also clearing paths to new possibilities and new coalitions. We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore, and now we don't have to, because some of that technology is putting people back into the centre, where we belong. Now we can find all the others who feel the same way and rally them to our cause, whichever that is.

Because if anyone's looking for big new ideas, it's the community sector - these are the planners, the questioners, the dreamers. It's the community sector that holds Australia's values in its keeping.

The community sector knows what has to go when disruption sweeps through our systems, and what we must hold fast. It has more respect, more trust, more love than business and government combined. It's time to seize that power and wield it.

Download / print brochure
Added 31 May 2016

Celeste Liddle

Aboriginal Women Talking For Themselves

The voices of Aboriginal women are continually obscured by politicians, policy makers, news media and, of course, a society which continually privileges the views of white men. Understanding how Australia can move forward and be a better place from perspectives of Aboriginal women is integral to a more positive future.

Added 31 May 2016

Prof. Ian Harper

The Purpose of Place

For our country to be prosperous and successful, our cities and towns must be better. For our places to be better, there must be deep collaboration between government, communities and individuals. The mining boom is over. The time is now. The communities are yours. The person is you.

Added 31 May 2016

Peter FitzSimons AM

After the Evolution

Sometime in the next decade, perhaps the next five years, Australia is going to have a party like no party before - our first night as a free-standing Republic. Who's in?

Added 31 May 2016

Abraham Nouk

Words Have Meaning

"It takes courage to be kind.


So how brave are we?"

Added 31 May 2016

Magda Szubanski


Through her creation and portrayal of a slew of memorable and colourful characters, Magda Szubanski has provided a humorous (though sometimes dark) window on some of the colourful characters that make up our communities. But as great as these characters are, as much as they tell us about ourselves, the woman is far more interesting than her creations. Hear all about it. In her own words.