Australia’s unprecedented run of economic growth has failed to deliver a more stable or harmonious society. Individualism is rampant. Income inequality is growing. Public education is under-resourced. The gender revolution is stalling. We no longer trust our major institutions or our political leaders. We are more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more overweight, more medicated, deeper in debt and increasingly addicted – whether to our digital devices, drugs, pornography or ‘stuff’.
Yet esteemed social researcher Hugh Mackay remains optimistic. Twenty-five years ago, he revolutionised Australian social analysis with the publication of Reinventing Australia. Now he takes another unflinching look at us and offers some compelling proposals for a more compassionate and socially cohesive Australia. You might not agree with everything he suggests, but you’ll find it hard to get some of his ideas out of your head.
We found this book thought-provoking and readable. Book discusses ideas about our society that are important for us to think about and encouraged group conversation.
Develop community and compassion. Know & help your neighbours, listen to other points of view. Join book clubs & conversation groups, attend local picnics in parks and local street parties, connect with locals.
Strengthen public education. Inequity of public money funding private schools. Offer quality education to all. Phase out government money for private schools.
Mentor young teachers. “School-teaching has more impact on the kind of society we will become-more impact on the heart of the nation-than any other profession you can think of.”
Published in 2018. We would be interested to read what Hugh Mackay would have to say about Australia now, post covid.
Final chapter has a list of wants. “I want to live in a society where we treat other people as we ourselves would want to be treated.”
We would recommend this book to other bookclubs. 9/10 for provoking thought, discussion & listening. Ready by the MJ Readers