Australia Fair: A New Initiative for All Australians
Australia Fair, a new national initiative to create a fair go for all Australians was recently launched in the media and with a website www.australiafair.org.au
As we remember the history of organisations and individuals taking collective action to advance the interests of low income and disadvantaged Australians, this initiative provides new technology and new tools to connect people to talk about poverty, disadvantage and related issues.
Recent polling, released as part of Australia Fair, suggests 91% of Australians think 'a fair go for all Australians' is an important Australian value. Australia Fair comes at an opportune time to focus on what values unite us as a country and what we can do to turn these values into practice.
Australia Fair took a broad and participatory approach to the development of its priorities by asking Australians first what they thought were the vital elements in making Australia a fair place. What would we need in the land of the fair go?
In both consultations ACOSS conducted and polling by Roy Morgan Research, Australians were remarkably consistent about what are essentials to make Australia a fair place.
These essentials are: Fair Education, Fair Health, Fair Welfare, Fair Environment, Fair Work, Fair Community, Fair Reconciliation, Fair Housing, Fair Services, Fair Rights & Responsibilities.
This follows polling ACOSS conducted at the outset of forming the name and theme for Australia Fair in 2005 which suggested that many people could identify who was not living a decent standard of living and wanted the government to do more for those Australians not getting a fair go.
New tools for engagement
It is this broad level of concern for the fairness of communities and Australia as a whole that Australia Fair hopes to harness with the help of organisations and individuals from every postcode across the country. On the website, individuals can enter their residential postcode, provide photos and/or discuss with others what is fair and unfair in their area, read more about the 10 essentials to make Australia fair or stories from what is happening in their area and around the country.
Australia Fair provides individuals and communities with the capabilities to contact their local decision makers. Entering your postcode online can bring up a range of actions. As we developed last year, people can write to their local politicians but now people can also contact their local newspaper editor or talkback radio to help steer the agenda of their communities towards the issues of fairness they care most about.
Australia Fair's online tools are complemented by a range of participatory tools to encourage face to face learning and interaction in communities around issues of fairness.
For example, Australia Fair Learning Circles gather together groups of friends, colleagues, board or committee members or neighbours to undertake open discussion and exercises to facilitate learning around fairness in Australia. These learning circles are designed to pool the individual perspectives and experiences people have to facilitate a better understanding of our value of fairness and what can help uphold this value in local communities and across the country. …