Skip to main content
  1. Australian Unity Media Centre
  2. News & Media
  3. Democracy round table

Democracy round table

Thought Plus
31 Jul 2015

The forum discussion focused on how the prevailing ethos of the friendly societies – self-reliance, mutual aid, entrepreneurship and community – could once again be harnessed to drive better social and economic policy outcomes for the country.

Major events such as Federation and the creation of a Constitution, and demographic and social challenges such as the creation of a social safety net, were all affected in no small way by the “friendly societies” of which so many Australians were members through the mid-to-late 1800s and into the 1900s.

Attendees discussed whether the non-government form of welfare provided by the nation’s “friendly societies” could be adopted more broadly and whether the co-operatives and mutuals sector had a bigger role to play in the provision of public services.

The forum included federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister Paul Fletcher; Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen; Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh); Professor Glenn Withers from the Crawford School of Public Policy, Jeremy Sammut, research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies; Su McCluskey, Regional Australia Institute CEO; Melina Morrison, Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals CEO; Australian Unity chairman Glenn Barnes, and Mr Megalogenis.

See the extended footage from the democracy round table