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

30 – 31 May 2016

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.

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