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2020 Summit

Submissions to Australia 2020 Summit

Well I finally got my rejection letter from the 2020 summit (he says leaving himself open to gratuitous comments).

If only I had quoted my stage, acting, dancing and singing experiences I might have had a show. Maybe they have enough tenors.

The web site is asking for submissions:

This risk is that government may think that all the ideas and arguments have taken place (after this summit) and that those people who have not submitted anything will be ignored.

In other words - this could be used to entrench the current or slightly changed systems for many more years:

- "We consulted and thought about that so now the systems is final."

An alternative:

- "we gained a lot of insights and ideas which we are working on and implementing but we are always happy to hear suggestions or have concerns raised"

I would like to see the family law system gutted, CSA basically chucked, removal of support systems for selected groups - substituting with social and support infrastructure and less invasive government systems.

Am I less likely to try to get sensible outcomes just because 1000 people talked for day?

So - people here on this site can contribute individually or with some weight of support (other than 1000 people chucking the ideas around).

Any ideas probably should be framed in the conceptual model the government has already adopted.

Submissions must be received by 9 APRIL 2008 - these will be used as input to the discussion.

For me its a bit like various government agencies who produce report and suggestions - usually with the weight of opinion behind them OF THOSE WHO WERE INVITED and ATTENDED. Its a sample but somewhere, somehow, someone needs to assess the sense of applicability of ideas  (not from a political sense) - what are the unintended consequences, who gets helped , who gets hurt, how does it help our SOCIETY (not just designated victim groups)

So rush in to submit things the best and brightest can discuss or build well supported and argued position statements which reflect the vast majority of Australians and represent sensible and principled outcomes.

Maybe a better strategy would be to try to get into movies so I can get invited to the next one.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Submissions to the Australia 2020 Summit close on April 9th

Submissions to the Australia 2020 Summit

Contributing a submission to the Australia 2020 Summit is a way for all Australians to be involved in bringing the best ideas forward to address Australia's long term challenges.

All submissions will be made publicly available on this website and will be presented to the Australia 2020 Summit participants to stimulate discussion and ideas about addressing our future challenges.

Individuals, schools, groups, and organisations are invited to make submissions.

You can contribute a submission online, by downloading a form and mailing it, or by contacting the toll free number to have a form mailed out to you.

Submissions must be received no later than 5:00pm Wednesday 9 April 2008.

Written submissions are limited to 500 words per topic and should focus on one of the ten identified areas. You may contribute a submission in one or more policy areas.

Submissions will be collected by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is acting as a secretariat for the Australia 2020 Summit.

All submissions require a 'name for publication'. This can be an individual, group or organisation. In addition to this, each submission is required to include a contact person, their name and details. These contact details will not be published.

Your submission can play an important role in our national discussion about our future and facing Australia's long term future challenges.

What do I have to do to contribute a submission?

You can contribute a submission online, by downloading a form and mailing it, or by contacting the toll free number to have a form mailed out to you.

Submissions must be received no later than 5:00pm Wednesday 9 April 2008.

Before completing the form please read all the information provided on this page to assist in completing your submission.

All submissions require a 'name for publication'. This can be an individual, group or organisation. Your name will appear with your submission when they are published online.

You will also be required to include contact details - your name, address, email address and a contact phone number. These details are collected in case we need to contact you in the lead up to or after the summit to discuss your ideas further. Your details will only be used for this purpose and will not be published.

If you are making a submission as a group, please include the details of a contact person for your group.

How does the online submission form work?

The online submission form requires you to complete your personal details and a 'name for publication'. This may be your name or your group's name.

You will then be able to complete a submission for one or more of the topic areas.  You do not need to complete each topic, nor do you need to complete the topics in order.

Once you have completed the form you will be able to preview your submission and make any final changes before submitting it.

Each submission may be up to 500 words per topic to ensure that delegates are able to consider each of the submissions. If just one in every 1000 Australians comments on just one of the ten topic areas, each delegate may have to read more than one million words in the lead up to the Summit. Keeping your contribution concise will ensure that all submissions receive the attention and consideration they deserve.

For this reason attachments, publications, photos and images may not be included in your submission, though you may make reference to any of these you consider useful including by providing references to further material.

You will need to complete your submission in one session. If you close your browser or navigator before completing the submission form, your submission may be incomplete and you may have to start again. To avoid this you may like to draft your submission in another document and paste the text into the online form. Your responses will be held as you progress but you MUST complete the process through to preview and submission for these to be saved.

If you provide your email address in the form you will automatically be sent a copy of your completed submission.

Editorial guidelines

Submissions will be published subject to editorial control that restricts any offensive material or material inappropriate for publication being made public.

If you are hand writing your submission, please be sure your writing is clear and legible to ensure your submission is able to be considered.


Any enquiries regarding the Summit should be directed to:

Australia 2020 Summit Secretariat
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
1 National Circuit

Toll free number: 1800 703 599 (during business hours Eastern Standard Time)


Privacy and confidentiality

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is committed to the protection of your privacy in accordance with the Federal Privacy Commissioner's Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government World Wide Websites. These guidelines outline the requirements for transparent collection, appropriate and ethical use and secure storage of personal information. Our aim is to provide an online environment which will ensure the information you provide to us is handled in a secure, efficient and confidential manner. All information gathered will be treated in accordance with the website's Privacy Statement.

The information you provide to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through the 2020 Summit submission form will be used for the purposes of the 2020 Summit only and for no other purpose, except as required or authorised by law.

Only your 'name for publishing' and your submission will be provided to delegates for consideration in their deliberations of 19-20 April 2008, and in this way may be incorporated into the Summit Outcomes.


There are a several alternative formats of the submission form on this page. If you have any problems accessing these forms, need alternative formats or assistance with other languages please contact us through the toll free number 1800 703 599.


Please note:

- Internet and email are not secure mediums to transfer information. If you have concerns about using this form, please contact us via the toll free number to have a form mailed out to you.

- Please be aware that "clickstream data" and personal information is logged in accordance with the sites Privacy Statement.

Paper form for print or download

- Australia 2020 Summit Submission Form for Print/Download RTF 211KB | WORD 127KB | PDF 66KB

The Department has provided a number of alternative formats for the form on this page. If you have any problems accessing these forms, need alternative formats or assistance with other languages please contact us through the toll free number 1800 703 599.

Calling any 20/20 Summit 'Rejectees' - Ideas Wanted (Life Matters)

ABC - Radio National - Life Matters
9am - 10am live with Richard Aedy

Calling any 20/20 Summit 'Rejectees'

If you're one of the 7,000 deep thinkers who missed out on an invitation to attend the Ideas Summit we want to hear from you!

Email us a few lines on what ideas you're keen to share at
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You can also leave a message on the Listener Line - 02 8333 1430

And you don't have to be a would be summiteer to do this. If you've got an idea that's worth airing, that ought to be heard at the 2020, please get in touch as well.

2020 Summit Participants - Unfriendly to Fathers

There are a number of 2020 Summit participants who are decidedly unfriendly to fathers - actually they are toxic to fathers, especially separated fathers.

Interestingly, they are not balanced by any known people who are father friendly.
Dads on the Air said
Dads on the Air

For all their fence sitting, prevarication and cruel failure to properly reform either the Family Court of Australia or the Child Support Agency, at least the previous conservative government headed by John Howard acknowledged that fathers existed.

But the inclusion of a divisive single mother's advocate such as Kathleen Swinbourne in Kevin Rudd's massive 2020 Summit talk fest, supposedly bringing together the country's 1,000 brightest brains, while totally ignoring all the highly intelligent and hardworking figures in the fatherhood movement, shows exactly where their heads are at. That Swinbourne from the Sole Parents Union is regarded as one of the country's brightest is a tragic farce. Figures who were overlooked and who would have leant much needed balance to the debate include Tony Miller from Dads in Distress, Professor John MacDonald from the University of Western Sydney, Warwick Marsh from the Fatherhood Foundation, and the list goes on - and on - and on.

Instead the government has decided to put together a list that reads more like an Australian left wing feminists' who's who than a genuine list of people who could contribute to the debate on families. Believe it or not, they have the audacity to use the word "social inclusion" while ignoring every single figure in the fatherhood movement from coast to coast. In announcing the Summit, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that they wanted to hear ideas from across the spectrum, ideas that could suprise and unsettle them. Nothing, it appears, could be further from the truth.

While professors and doctors clutter the list, the inclusion of an even more divisive figure than Swinbourne, the former chief justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson, shows that the academics who organised the conference have no idea of the real world. Surely if anyone had been aware of the low esteem with which Nicholson is held by hundreds of thousands of separated dads and separated families they would have passed over him for someone much more worthy. Critics argue that on his retirement Nicholson left the court in a shambles and its reputation at an extremely low ebb, both in the public eye and within the legal profession as a whole. His inclusion is a disgrace.

What makes the choices in the Summit under the family and social inclusion section so questionable is that this is the Summit which is meant to set up the paramaters of the debate and propose an agenda for the next decade of the Rudd government.

Kevin Rudd declares at that: "The Summit will help us shape a long term strategy for the nation's future - covering the economy, the nation's infrastructure, our environment, our farmers, health care, indigenous Australians, the arts, national security, how we improve our system of government, and how we strengthen our communities and ensure nobody is left out of Australia's future. It's a big agenda, but we need to think big."

That agenda clearly doesn't include fathers or anyone from the fatherhood movement; and thus we as a nation are sentenced to yet another cycle of despair amongst broken families. Ultimately the country as a whole will pay the price for the left's continuing contempt for fathers and their vital role in bringing up children.

John Howard blew a rare historical confluence of public and professional opinion when he balked at introducing proper shared parenting and opted for a meaningless notion of "shared responsibility" for separating families. Now, with the left in power from coast to coast and alternative and progressive views from the fatherhood movement ignored by the reactionary elements within the massive family law industry, we are all paying the consequences for his timidity, fence sitting and courting of the feminist vote.
Another feminist nutter has surfaced as a participant in the forthcoming Ruddfest 2020 Summit.

Her name is Robyn Slarke, from WA, and she is a member of the misandrist, feminist nutter group Global Sisterhood Network (GSN), who REALLY hate men. She is also "a video producer from Perth. who has worked for many years with women" and "an advocate for women's and indigenous rights in Australia".

Slarke has been assigned to the "Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world" subgroup.

She is in addition to:

- Alastair Nicholson (ex-boss of the FCA and decidedly anti-father, who is assigned to the "Options for the future of Indigenous Australia" subgroup)

- Kathleen Swinbourne (separated and single mothers' rights activist [Sole Parents Union], who is assigned to the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup)

- Joan Kirner (ex-Victorian premier, feminist socialist founder of Emily's List designed to elect more ALP-only feminist socialist women to parliaments, who is assigned to the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup)

- Freda Briggs ('academic' specialising in children and allleged 'child abuse', and cellmate of Elspeth McInnes, who is assigned to the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup).

- Ms Zoe Scott Rathus (Senior Lecturer and Director Clinical Programme, Griffith Law School, Qld, feminist and associate of Alastair Nicholson via the so-called
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World Congress on Family Law & Children's Rights and background in a Women's Legal Service and lecturing in family law, who is ALSO assigned to the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup)
Zoe Rathus

Legal Aid Queensland - Governance and control - Board member since November 2001

Zoe Rathus is a senior lecturer in family law and professional practice, and clinical program director at the Griffith University Law School. She made the move to academia in 2005 after 15 years as Women's Legal Service coordinator. She is admitted as a solicitor and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Queensland. Ms Rathus was the chairperson of the Queensland Domestic Violence Council from 1991 to 1994 and deputy chairperson of the Taskforce on Women and the Criminal Code in 1999. She has worked on the problem of violence against women in South Africa and is deeply committed to making the legal system accessible and relevant to the community.
Ramona Koval is in there too ("Towards a creative Australia" subgroup).  She was an ABC presenter some time back, with strong feminist leanings.

No doubt there are more.

There are no known fathers' group participants, especially in the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup.

See the attached spreadsheet showing the participants in the "Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion" subgroup. It reveals that 62% of participants are females.  And quite a few of the blokes are 'academics', clerics (religious) or ethnics (not that there's anything wrong with that; just noting the facts).

Percentage of Women to Men in Family Subgroup

I understand that a Margot Cairnes will be attending and that she has some association with Warwick Marsh and the Fatherhood Foundation. However, she is participating in the "Future directions for the Australian economy" subgroup.  I have posted details, of a request for information for Margot, in a separate post below.

Request for information on the economic benefits of involved fathers

Colin George said
Request for information on the economic benefits of involved fathers

The Fatherhood Project will be represented at Prime Minister Rudd's Australia 2020 Summit on 19 and 20 April by one of our newly elected board members Margot Cairns, a brilliant mind. She will be on the economics committee and we need to show the economists and financiers why and how fatherhood has a massive impact on our economy.

I am compiling a dossier to aid her presentation on what economic benefits accrue from supporting actively engaged fathers and fatherhood organisations.

If you have any hard evidence about…

1. The real costs to government of fathers being separated from their children

2. The real costs to the corporate world of fathers being separated from their children

3. The economic impact of fathers staying connected with their children

4. The economic benefits to the nation both corporate and government of programmes for fathers, support for fathers in all its myriad forms and how that economically impacts on family

5. Any other aspects of this discourse that will assist those working with fathers to be funded

Please let me know ASAP.

Highest regards,

Colin George
The Fatherhood Project
Unit 9, 6-8 Burringbar Street
Mullumbimby NSW 2480
Tel 02 6684 2309
Email Colin George
I had some ideas for the summit but I don't think they will be looking at these issues really.

2020 discussion points

1) How do we eliminate a culture of fear and distrust.

2) Under what circumstances should government interfere in people's lives and choices.

3) How much legislation is too much.

4) Is it possible to hand out too much money and support to designated victim groups.

5) Are we concerned that there less men and men live shorter lives, work harder and for longer periods.

6) Should governments be responsible for making babies.

7) How do Australian people get self respect and self confidence.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Love the questions Jon!

These are all topics for tertiary study of philosophy - ever thought of going back to school?

I have been studying philosophy via distance education as well as on campus at Utas and it really helps the world make sense.

I wonder whether there are any philosophers at the Summit ?  Seriously, those questions do need answering before any others.
Jon Pearson said
5) Are we concerned that there less men and men live shorter lives, work harder and for longer periods.
Can we amend that to parents?

Both genders are affected by all government policies, both genders are clients of CSA and the Family Court  and women too are under pressure from government policies and working harder for longer.

Thanks for the comments Katie.

Framing questions really is the key.
I spoke to a philosopher once or twice - he explained to me that his job was to find the questions.

The men thing is about I suppose the decline of  numbers of men in the population and the imbalance. This is not about jobs, etc - alternative

8) whats the right ratio in the population of males to females?

Parenting question could be
9) Should children live in home where a male and female love each other and raise the children together?

I am surprised that youth are not more represented because they ask REALLY GOOD questions.

I continue to try to rediscover the simple ideas that stare everyone in the face but are completely overlooked due to (many things but) our sophistication and desire to be clever.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Debate and doubt re the 2020 Summit continues

Separated Dads aren't the only ones noticing that the so-called summit is a tad manufactured and working toward desired ALP outcomes.
The Summit is being stage- managed to promote the Rudd agenda.

What's the bet that DV and shared parenting / family law will be issues that are identified as needing a feminist/socialist 'correction'.
The Australian
10 April 2008

Debate will stick to ALP script
By Kevin Donnelly

I did not apply to join Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit nor was I invited, but I had assumed it was being held to foster open and spirited debate on the burning issues of the day, says Kevin Donnelly.

That was until I read the summit background paper entitled Education, Skills and the Productivity Agenda. The loaded title alone is enough to show that the conference has been organised to mimic the Rudd Government's agenda, with little scope given to those who might disagree.

The first mistake is to define education in terms of its economic and utilitarian value.

Education, instead of being dealt with in its own right, is valued for its ability to contribute to "prosperity, productivity and global competitiveness", completely ignoring the cultural role of learning or the need to give young Australians a strong and enduring ethical and spiritual framework.

The paper's arguments for early childhood education and the need for investment to overcome disadvantage simply mirrors ALP policy documents released before the federal election.

Why go to the trouble and expense of organising a summit to endorse policies that have already been agreedto?

There is more evidence that the summit is more about spin than substance in the way contested issues are presented as if they are settled beyond dispute. It is accepted as given that early childhood education is good, that more government investment is essential, that Australian students perform well and that educational disadvantage is pronounced.

Yet those following the early childhood education debate in Britain will know that experts such as Steve Biddulph and Penelope Leach argue that formal day care is often counterproductive, both financially and in terms of child and family wellbeing.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Education at a Glance 2007 and the McKinsey report How the World's Best-performing School Systems Come Out on Top agree that more investment is not the solution and that there are more effective ways to raise standards.

Other claims in the briefing paper are simply disingenuous. It claims, for example, that "at primary and secondary level, Australian students perform well compared to their international peers", but cites only one test result, the Program for International Student Assessment 2003 test organised by the OECD. Not only do the more recent 2006 PISA results show Australian students dropping from second to sixth place on the literacy ladder, but the more credible Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, carried out in 1995, 1999 and 2003 in Years 4 and 8, consistently place Australian students in the second XI when it comes to performance.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard argues that Australia's education system reinforces disadvantage and the summit background paper argues "there are wide variations across sectors, socioeconomic status and culture" when it comes to performance.

Once again, the facts prove otherwise. Based on research undertaken by Unicef investigating how effective education systems are in reducing disadvantage and published in a 2002 report, Australia is ranked fifth out of 24 countries.

Based on the 2006 PISA results, in the words of Geoff Masters, the head of the Australian Council for Educational Research, "the relationship between socioeconomic background and student achievement in Australia is weaker than the OECD average; Australia is high quality-high equity".

One way to determine if an event like the 2020 Summit is rigged is to ask what has been excluded from the agenda. From what the background paper and related questions leave out, it is clear that the summit is biased towards a predetermined outcome. Incredibly, the summit paper fails to address the question of what should be taught in our classrooms.

Debates about Australia's adoption of a substandard, politically correct curriculum, best illustrated by Tasmania's Essential Learnings and Western Australia's introduction of outcomes-based education at Years 11 and 12, are conveniently ignored.

Also missing is any hint of discussion on rescuing schools from provider capture or what we can learn from the world's best education systems when developing a national curriculum.

And the fundamental question of the purpose of education in an age when many of the young are disengaged and culturally illiterate is not on the agenda.

Kevin Donnelly is director of Melbourne-based Education Strategies and author of Dumbing Down (Hardie Grant Books).
We're obsessed with feminist political correctness.
The Australian
10 April 2008

Merit can wait: 2020 gets the balance right
By Bernard Salt, Demographer

The forthcoming 2020 Summit provides a glimpse into the who's who of Australia's intelligentsia.

Just over a week ago, a list of 882 names was released that nominated this nation's so-called best and brightest in 10 areas of expertise.

This list is an important social document; it has a lot to say about our nation and our values.

The first thing it says is that we are a people preoccupied with political correctness.

Women represent 50.6 per cent of the delegates. This compares with the female proportion of the national population at 50.3 per cent.

The number of women on this list has been engineered to an accuracy of 0.3 of a single percentage point. Or at least that's the way it appears after the kerfuffle over women's poor representation among session chairs.

If I was a woman at the summit, I would now wonder whether I was selected on merit or whether I was selected on gender.

The same logic applies to state representation. The difference between the proportion of delegates and each state's share of the national population varies by no more than plus or minus three percentage points. For example, some 253 delegates, or 30 per cent, are from NSW, which also contains 33 per cent of the Australian population.

The only variations from this theme are the ACT, which has almost 10 per cent of delegates but just 2 per cent of the population, and Queensland, which delivers 13 per cent of delegates but has 20 per cent of the population.

This raises the question whether there really are that many clever people in Canberra. And indeed, one also wonders whether there really are so few in Queensland.

I can see the organiser's dilemma. This is a list of the best and brightest, but it must also precisely balance between men and women and between the states on a population-weighted basis. But because key administrators are based in Canberra and because one of the themes is indigenous communities, the population weighting will be skewed towards the territories.

The mathematically inclined will see exactly where I'm going with this argument.

If it is necessary for the territories to be over-represented, then a choice must be made about which of the states will be under-represented. And it would seem that that choice was made in the direction of Kevin Rudd's own state, Queensland.

Perhaps the Prime Minister's presence at the summit notionally offsets the absence of the 30 Queensland delegates that would be required to lift this state's delegate representation to within three percentage points of its proportionate demographic share.

Perhaps I'm being too obsessive here. But I reckon I'd be pretty annoyed if I was an unsuccessful Queensland delegate, knowing that my spot had been snaffled by an overload of Canberrans. Diddled again by those damned southerners!

The delegate list also spells out titles and honours. The most common title is Ms. Indeed, some 302 women labelled themselves as "Ms". A further 27 preferred the title "Mrs" and most of these were within the "rural" theme. Not one female delegate opted for the title of "Miss". It would seem that by 2008, "Miss" is regarded as a worthless anachronism by the Australian intelligentsia.

The balance of the titles reflect a rich and colourful range of skills and interests. There are 125 Professors, 111 Doctors and seven Honourables. There are two knights of the realm as well as an assortment of Mayors, Monsignors and Reverends. There are two Fathers but no Sisters. There's a Reverend Professor but not a Reverend Mother.

I am also intrigued by the streaming of delegates into various themes. It is a stroke of pure genius that places my good friend and ANZ bank economist Saul Eslake among the creative arts. As I have always said: there is only one thing that tops a creative accountant and that's a creative economist.

But, sadly, those responsible for streaming the delegates missed a wonderful opportunity. If "Towards a Creative Australia" is able to snaffle the latent artistic talent of Eslake, then surely "Future Directions for the Australian Economy" should not be denied the economic insight of Cate Blanchett.

Now you see what separates the intelligentsia from the hoi polloi. The latter would have put Eslake in economics and Blanchett in arts. But where's the fun in that?

I am also intrigued by Gen Y financial wunderkind Scott Pape's inclusion in the rural communities stream.

Beyond the delicate political balance between genders and states, and the quirky streaming of some delegates, the 2020 Summit has specific relevance to the property industry. And the reason is that I can find no name on the list that represents practitioners in this industry. (I regard myself as a generalist.)

No PCA or UDIA or Urban Task Force name pops up. In fact both "property" and "miss" are notably absent from the list. Perhaps it's that none of the themes for discussion are clearly property issues - although I would have thought property players could have made a contribution to discussions around health, rural, economy and water.

Perhaps the property industry should respond with its own summit where the best and brightest, regardless of state or gender, get together to map out bold new directions for this industry over the next 10 years.

Let's invite Saul Eslake and put him in "statutory planning".

KPMG partner Bernard Salt is a 2020 Summit delegate
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