The Takeaway is Hope: CHANGE NOW!

30 – 31 May 2011

It doesn't have to be this way. The Berlin Wall fell. Nelson Mandela walked out of prison. And now the crowds across the Middle East are marching out into the streets and saying, no, we don't have to go on doing the same things in the same way, we can kick over the board and start with a clean slate. We have seen the power of hope, and the power of despair, and the explosion of youth.

Yet here in Australia, we go on in the same old way, carrying out our good works in our own corners, while our politics and our media and our public discourse becomes more and more dysfunctional. Reforms and reports and inquiries are announced endlessly, but nothing much seems to change. Our good intentions trickle away into the sand. At a time when seismic changes in technology and ecology and commerce and world politics and culture batter us, nobody seems able to act decisively. Are we satisfied with what we've got?

It's time to stop waiting for the government to act. The community sector in Australia is big enough to move on its own - bigger than agriculture, bigger than media, bigger than the car industry. We don't have to confine ourselves to minimalism and incrementalism. If we knew our own strength, if we weren't so domesticated, if we really believed in the values that we espouse, what could we achieve?

At Communities in Control 2011, we undertook to get moving, immediately, together.

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