At Australia21, we improve public policy decision-making by producing and promoting high quality, evidence-based research to ensure a fair, sustainable and inclusive future for all Australians.
We tackle real-world ‘wicked’ problems that defy simple solutions, using a multi-disciplinary research approach that brings together people with different perspectives to engage openly and think laterally about effective strategies that will address the challenges confronting Australia.
Since 2001, Australia21 has been generating important conversations on difficult issues including climate change, environmental management, refugee and asylum seeker policy, assisted dying, illicit drug use, inequality and youth wellbeing. Now we need you help to continue our work.
In 2017, we used grants and public donations to mobilise thousands of hours of pro-bono expertise across a variety of projects.
- We completed and launched a groundbreaking report on a safer and more effective response to illicit drug use, with recommendations for law reform and a new emphasis on treatment for problematic use instead of punishment, endorsed by senior police, prison officers and lawyers.
- We trialled and released Smarter About Drugs: A conversation pack, a teaching resource designed to give secondary school students the tools for informed discussion and evidence-based analysis of drug policies.
- We launched videos demonstrating the positive classroom impact of Smarter About Drugs: A conversation pack in Victoria and our Smarter About Drugs pilot in South Australia.
- We held a national Roundtable dialogue aimed at developing more effective preventive, treatment and recovery strategies for Post Traumatic Stress among first responders, including police, paramedics, firefighters and SES crews.
- We launched the Mindful Futures Network, to map and connect research into the science of mindfulness, empathy and compassion at a systems level, particularly their application in public and private organisations.
- We designed and piloted Making Our Future Work, a workshop designed to gauge the experiences and attitudes of young Australians to employment and give them a voice in the development of policies relevant to the future work environment.
- We completed and launched a report on the potential for algal farming to support regional economies as well as the environment.
- We partnered with ANU to produce a report on existential threats, including climate change.
- We expanded the diversity and active involvement of our youth advisory group, YoungA21, and launched a network to connect professionals under 30 who are interested in helping to shape public policy.
- We expanded our volunteer program, to assist with research, events and communications.
- We ran a Communications Strategy to promote the results of our research more widely and drive public policy debate and decision-making.
- We provided analysis on a range of issues previously researched by Australia21, including: refugee and asylum seeker policy, during the Manus Island protest; assisted dying, while the Victorian and NSW parliaments considered bills; energy policy, when the federal government announced the new National Energy Guarantee; pill testing, when the ACT government was deciding to give it the go-ahead for the Spilt Milk Festival; effective school drug strategies, when the SA Opposition was calling for sniffer dogs to be sent into schools; the evidence against random drug testing for welfare recipients when it was promised by the federal government; and general analysis of the federal budget.
- We kept overheads low, at about 10% of our total organisational costs.
Now we need your help to fund our 2018 initiatives
Over the coming year we plan to:
- Complete and launch our PTSD First Responders report and deliver our recommendations to government.
- Convene a further Illicit Drugs Roundtable focusing on the inter-relationship between drug use and social disadvantage.
- Through the Mindful Futures Network, foster effective partnerships and proactively identify new projects and collaborations that support socially effective decision-making.
- Increase school uptake of Smarter About Drugs: A conversation pack.
- Run Making Our Future Work for young people in various locations around Australia.
- Convene a Roundtable on inequality, addressing the case for and against a new economic model in Australia
- Continue to grow youth engagement, our volunteer force, stakeholder partnerships and public support.
We believe our public policy work is more important than ever for three key reasons.
- Fake news and sloganeering are ‘dumbing down’ key issues and encouraging ineffective, unsustainable solutions;
- Distracted politicians are disenfranchising the public;
- Government decision makers are relying more on their political advisers instead of expertise within the public service, making it harder to have evidence-based policy options considered.
If you’re also concerned about these trends, now is the time to help shape a better future.
So please donate to Australia21 at givenow.com.au/australia21.
Get informed. Be heard. Shape the future.