Budget, Books And Big Tech
I’m super excited to be bringing you three fantastic events covering diverse and important issues over the next six weeks.
Please join us to discuss how we can resist austerity in a post-budget event with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, how to move from climate grief to action in a virtual bookclub with Scott Ludlam and Danielle Celermajer, and how to face up to big tech’s challenges to democracy with Dave Paris and Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker.
Their Budget; Our Lives – May 13, Canberra and online
We know already that next week’s Federal Budget will include keeping income support at its atrocious post-COVID level well below the poverty line, as well as the ongoing and ever nastier punitive and surveillance measures like “DobSeeker”. The government is also trying to gut the NDIS, and is doing nothing to address housing affordability.
The impact of this on people’s lives is immense. But, after a reprieve at the peak of the pandemic where we effectively ran a hugely successful trial of unconditional basic income, we’re back to a politics which simply doesn’t care. We have to work out how to change direction.
So we’re partnering with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, the Antipoverty Centre, the Disability Justice Network, Vintage Reds and others to present a post-budget forum where we can hear from people with lived experience and discuss what we can all do to resist and respond to this austerity approach, from mutual aid to political activism.
Join us at the Polish Club in Turner, if you’re in Canberra, or online if you’re elsewhere. It’ll be a great trial of hybrid in-person and online conversation, too!
Grief => Possibility => Action – virtual bookclub, May 27
The devastating fires across eastern Australia at the beginning of the 2020s burnt a dark black line across history – before the fires and after. We’ll be grappling with them and their after-effects for a long time to come.
Former Greens Senator and ever-popular Institute guest and supporter Scott Ludlam and Professor Danielle Celermajer both faced the fires from terrifyingly close up. And their remarkable new books, Full Circle and Summertime, take them as the starting point for deep reflection on the past, the present and the future, and on how we are to live together, at one with each other and the natural world we are part of.
These are two of the most powerful and stimulating books I’ve read recently, and I’m delighted to be presenting a sort of virtual bookclub with the authors to discuss them. Don’t miss it! Register now.
Big tech let the world burn – webinar, June 17
When the Australian Government tried to push through the news media bargaining code earlier in the year, the Australian public faced the power of big digital platforms first hand. Facebook banned any pages in the country that fit under the broadest definition of ‘news’ imaginable, blocking not just the pages of The Guardian and The Australian, but also the Bureau of Meteorology and several emergency services.
The debacle highlighted the might of digital companies, but also the systemic failures of successive Governments in reigning in big tech. As Dave Paris recently argued in Green Agenda, it illustrated that there is a lot of damage to undo – from regulating and taxing tech companies, implementing proper privacy protection, inadequate support for journalism and media diversity, and combating the rampant rise of online disinformation.
Look forward to seeing you at one or more of these great events!