VC's Update - the upcoming Federal Election

3 May 2019

Hi everyone,

It's great to be back in the office this week. I enjoyed some time with my parents visiting from Canada over the Easter long weekend - and I hope you had a relaxing break and overindulged with chocolate and hot cross buns. I made my own sourdough ones with Kiaran Kirk's 'mother' starter.

This fortnight I am meeting with every Research School across campus to discuss the National Institutes Grant. Already this funding has allowed ANU to deliver a great legacy in the sciences and humanities which has helped build our intellectual capabilities as a nation. But now it is time to think strategically about the projects we are supporting in the long-term and the new approaches we can take to ensure we continue to deliver on our responsibilities as the national university for Australia. I look forward to giving an update soon.

With the federal election only a few weeks away, it has been hard to miss the constant barrage of political ads, particularly on social media. One of the interesting observations for me has been the shift of coverage from the 2016 election to now. Research from the ANUpoll has indicated that Australians feel disengaged with politics and, in general, people are less trusting of media and government. Elections need substantial discussion on policies and alternatives. Australia is about to elect our government for the next three years. As the national university, we can help people make informed decisions about who they are voting for and what the future of Australia is going to look like.

So the ANU School of Politics and International Relations has helped to adapt Smartvote, an online platform to understand what you think about issues impacting Australia and everyday life, and how your views align with your local candidate or the political parties. I encourage you to try it out before the election.

Also over the last few weeks, I have been following many of the discussions from our expert academics who are supporting the 2019 ANU Federal Election Series. From Professor Rory Medcalf and Jacinta Carroll debating the current policy challenges for security policy, to Professor Owen Atkin and Professor Robert Furbank discussing the future of food security in Australia, or the engaging debate this Tuesday from Dr Liz Allen, Professor Bob Breunig, Professor Tony Dreise and Professor Mark Howden discussing 'wicked policy' issues, there are a wide range of conversations happening across campus that show how far reaching our expertise is and how valuable ANU is at informing the public. I've also been enjoying the discussions of one of our newest recruits to the Australian Studies Institute, Mark Kenny, on his podcast, Democracy Sausage, which examines the week that was in politics, featuring many familiar ANU voices.

There are also still two events in the Federal Election Series, discussing the importance of the first 100 days after the election, and how Australia fits into the world. I'll be at the Press Club on Tuesday 14 May to hear what some of experts across campus think will happen post-18 May.

Whoever wins the next election, ANU is going to continue to do the research which provides the basis of evidences which Members of Parliament use to inform their policy-making decisions.

Have a good weekend,

Brian