Announcing: Covid Democracy Webinar Series
I’m excited to be able to announce the first three in our new Covid Democracy Webinar Series, giving you the opportunity to hear from and talk with an array of leading thinkers, advocates and activists from around Australia and the world.
The Coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the deep and ongoing injustices in our society. But it also provides a moment to re-evaluate and reset our political conversation. This series, every second Thursday evening, will stimulate our thinking and give us practical ideas to help us work together for the changes we know we need.
We will start, as is appropriate, next Thursday evening with a session on the gaping wound at the heart of Australian democracy – the genocide and dispossession of the first peoples of this land.
We’ll have the privilege of hearing from and talking with Lidia Thorpe and Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng, both of whom addressed last year’s conference and who I think need little introduction to Green Institute supporters.
A Wakka Wakka and Wulli Wulli woman, Tjanara is a globally recognised educator, artist, and transformational leadership strategist. She will discuss Indigenous leadership and democratic philosophy, and how they can and should inform us all in this moment. Lidia, a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman, was the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian Parliament and is currently Indigenous Rights Lead with Amnesty International Australia. She will talk about the Sovereign Hubs program, paying the rent, and other practical steps we can take right now.
Around the world, there’s a growing sense that Universal Basic Income could be an important part of how we make our societies more democratic, fair and resilient in the face of the rolling crises that will be the signature of our era. Campaigns are building in Europe and the USA, and there is tremendous interest in Australia.
For this webinar, we will be joined from Europe by Guy Standing, one of the world’s leading UBI researchers and advocates, Professorial Research Associate at the University of London, Honorary Co-President of the Basic Income Earth Network, and author of several books including “A Precariat Charter”, “Plunder of the Commons” and “Basic Income and How We Can Make It Happen”.
Alongside Guy, we will hear from Professor Jane R Goodall, whose superb recent book “The Politics of the Common Good” explores UBI among a suite of policy options for building a better, fairer democracy, and NSW Greens MLC, Abigail Boyd, who has recently launched a campaign for UBI as a central economic policy for these times.
Beyond discussing how a UBI might be an ideal part of the policy suite for our era, this webinar will discuss how we might be able to make it happen, and seek to build a campaign for a UBI in the aftermath of the Covid crisis and before the next crisis hits.
The political response to this crisis, with authoritarian over-policing and stimulus geared to supporting capital over people, shows how our current governing systems are skewed in favour of the powerful. At the same time, the community response, coming together in mutual aid projects, and the overwhelming majority of people choosing to self-isolate and physically distance while connecting with each other online, demonstrates that a different way is possible.
Scott Ludlam, former Greens Senator who needs to introduction, is putting the final touches on his book about “people and movements who have changed the world for the better”, and is a powerful critic of government captured by the interests of the wealthy.
Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks, from the ANU’s Crawford School is one of Australia’s leading researchers and experts on democratic deliberation and citizen engagement and a Senior Visiting Democracy Fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation. I’ll be joining Scott and Carolyn for what promises to be an inspiring conversation about building from the ashes.
That’s not all…
We’ve already got three more webinars with brilliant speakers in the pipeline, ready to announce soon, so watch this space. But in the meantime, I hope we’ll see you and hear from you at one, two, or all three of these exciting events.
It’s not too late to register to take part in the Reset Reading Group, hosted by our friends at the Commons Social Change Library, which I will be curating the Revitalising Democracy session for. The program starts soon, but you’ve still got time to get involved, alongside over 700 others across Australia.
It’s truly heartwarming that, with each email, a few more of you join the Green Institute’s regular donor program. We know that many of you will be struggling at this time, but for those who are fortunate enough to be financially stable, we ask you to please consider supporting our work with a small monthly donation. As everyone who understands systems thinking knows, each little push in the right place can make a huge difference. You can sign up to donate now.