A new hope for a new era
— Written by Karl Tischler, Founder and Managing Director
Like many, my phone and inbox has been filled with messages of Saturday night’s election result. Overwhelmingly, those messages are filled with a sense of renewed optimism and positivity.
Amongst those many messages, hope was writ large.
To me, hope is a source of courage, and strength—and it’s in this context that I think about how profound the change last Saturday night really was.
We saw twenty women elected to the Lower House, with more than a dozen elected for the first time. We saw strong Aboriginal women elected and a pledge to enshrine the Uluru Statement from the Heart in our Constitution. And we saw a multicultural and linguistically diverse set of fresh politicians who truly reflect the communities they serve.
Like many in the for-purpose sector, I’m hopeful that a government that leads with decency, respect and kindness means that Australians will place a higher value on what we do. A collective shift in how we look after our most vulnerable people and our natural environment could be an incredible turning point for the causes we all devote our professional lives to.
We have all been subject to an empathy void in our country’s leadership, which has been hugely successful in creating division and disharmony in our society
Empathy defines our sector and many of those who work within it—we understand its transformative power and how it can be harnessed to drive great societal change. A new, more empathetic government with a promise to unite, listen and try to understand the viewpoints of others is what many of us have been crying out for.
The progressive movement—the many causes we love, the ideals we sacrifice our time for— this is the idea whose time has come, and the change in language and attitude is so welcome because it’s inclusive of each and every Australian.
For those that know me, they will be aware that climate change is an issue that dominates much of my time. It consumes me. When it comes to climate change, we don’t just have an obligation to many future generations, we have an obligation to all humanity and life that surrounds us—we can no longer afford to be mere bystanders.
For an embarrassingly long time, we’ve known the science and the research, we’ve known of the dire predictions and when we have the solutions to act and prevent a very bleak future from happening, our politicians have chosen not to.
Yet we all know that unless urgent and tangible action is taken to mitigate climate change, representation and empathy alone won’t help us.
And there is absolutely a sense of urgency that’s borne out of research and science. In ten years, I will be 62. The next decade is not just the most important of my lifetime; it’s also the most important of all and any time.
I’ve not heard nor read much about action on climate change and what that means for the sector I dearly love; what it means for the many progressive causes that need to be championed and that are the source of much sacrifice and hope.
Yet I come to a simple conclusion; climate change is an existential threat to all civil society and to every cause within our sector. It will make our work so much harder and challenging than it already is. In the face of this, I worry about the future of our entire progressive movement because I think it’s a future for which we are very poorly prepared.
But this election has given us a new opportunity, and now is the time for not just hope, but a sense of active hope.
After the darkness of the last decade we can bring the values of our sector to light on a profound new level. Today is the time for the entire progressive movement and its inherent values and idealism to be heard. Where we have been focussed on a fight for survival, we can now fight for a society worth living in, for all.