“No is not enough – it is time for big, bold yeses to rally behind.”

-Naomi Klein

 

You are invited to a gathering like no other

You are invited to a special retreat in the Kangaroo Valley of New South Wales to identify the bold ideas needed for the future of Australia: solutions capable of overcoming the overlapping challenges we face as a nation, and in a time of climate emergency. 

Bringing together some of Australia’s top thinkers and most collegiate workers, the gathering aims to foster dialog, cross-pollinate expertise, ignite new thinking and articulate the beginnings of an integrated, values-based set of solutions (rather than a set of disconnected policies) for the future we want.  

These solutions are transformational, connect across issues and are both deeply relevant to your own work, and to the society we collectively believe in – as articulated in the Vision for Australia reMADE.  

We will also be watching the process we are using, noticing the critical thought pathways that help us define something as a transformational solution, so that we can learn what helps and hinders, keep doing what works  and share what we are learning with others.     

Over two days, our discussions will be bold, our sights high, our hearts and minds open and ignited. 

After the gathering we also expect, each one of us, to carry forward the baton in our own way – using our own spheres of influence and expertise, as well as the new and renewed relationships we’ve fostered, to bring these ideas to life.  

 
 
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Why we’re gathering

We’ve known for some time that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. There is fantastic work being done in so many areas, including the current push towards a ‘Green New Deal’ in Australia.  And yet we find that we do not have a shared master plan for the alternative to neoliberalism. 

There are many reasons for this – from the need to prioritise immediate problems in order to stop things from getting worse to the issue-driven scope of our work. Quite simply, there’s a sheer lack of time and resources for big-picture, holistic agenda setting, planning and coordinating among us. 

After an extensive qualitative research and engagement process, Australia reMADE has developed a vision of what we believe most Australians want, a map of the society we’re aiming for. 

It is time to now name and claim the landmarks along the way to this vision. We need to galvanise behind bold ideas that will inspire others and drive tangible, transformative change grounded in synthesis, not silos. As a movement, we need this bold and beautiful blueprint for a society where people and planet come first. 

It is time to grab hold of our future and move towards something we believe in and are excited to create, regardless of who holds power federally. 

 
 
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When

The retreat will commence after lunch on Monday 28th October and conclude after lunch on Wednesday 30th October.  Invitees are asked to attend the entire retreat and to expect to be actively engaged with others for most of the time we are together – whether in formal sessions or informal breaks.  

Retreat venue

Ian Darling and Malinda Wink have kindly offered Australia reMADE the use of the tranquil and beautiful Shark Island Institute Kangaroo Valley for this retreat.  The Institute is a private residence and a space for Shark Island Institute activities, and we are deeply grateful to Ian and Malinda for agreeing to share this place with us. 

Shark Island Retreat is a mountain lodge with a separate play-shed for screenings, workshops, rehearsals and meetings; a great place to nourish body, mind and soul and to inspire our collective thinking.  Delicious meals will be provided by a local chef.

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Who is being invited?

We are assembling a small group of about 20 people: people who are leaders and deep thinkers, who care about the future of Australia and are called to be part of shaping a course for change.  

Every person attending has been recommended by someone else. You are known to have a depth of knowledge in one or more of the pillars of Australia reMADE and to have the capacity to respectfully listen to others, seeking fresh solutions that come from combining the wisdom of everyone in the room. You are also invited as someone who has the influence, capacity and desire to carry forward this work after the retreat; to feel a personal stake in the solutions proposed and in how we advance them. 

Undoubtedly there are many other people who could, and would want to, be part of these discussions. And yet we are the ones that have been invited and will have this opportunity – no better and no worse than others – but with a deep responsibility to bring our best. We commit to be there fully, to listen intently, contribute wisely and expect that what we do together will be a significant addition to our collective capacity to bring about change.  

You can find our more about those attending the retreat here. If you have not yet sent in your image and bio please do so ASAP.

What can I expect?

We will spend time together in workshops, in small group discussions and informally over meals, walks and around the campfire.  We may share some content (a DVD, poem or reading) - but the bulk of our time will be in simple, generative dialogue, designed to unearth new insights and unprecedented possibilities. 

You can expect to be delighted as well as challenged intellectually and emotionally; and to leave the meeting changed as a result of the interactions we have. You should know that conversations will be Chatham House rules to allow for more vulnerable sharing of views and ‘out of the box’ ideas on how to move forward.

With deep respect for your leadership and expertise, every retreat participant will be invited to help shape the content and program of the retreat prior to it being finalised.  

Will I have to prepare?

We will curate a small number of critical articles for you to review in advance, but beyond that, the best preparation you can do is to marinate on the big challenges, with the idea that every problem is a solution in disguise. 

Let ideas percolate. Think about the systems, practices and institutions that have led us to the place we are at today and what would have to change if we were to succeed.  Talk to other people; others who think strategically, people most disadvantaged by the current order, etc. How do we bring their needs and desires into the centre of our thinking?