By Neville Norman
The ESSA did it again with a well-attended value-for money (what money?) Q&A session hosted by (almost Tony Jones) Steven Long, himself a prominent ABC Lateline performer, together with other media stars, public figures and world-ranked academic Max Corden. The evening traversed two fundamental issues: immigration policy and two-speed economy, both central planks relating to Australian international-economic policy. The panellists were at all times to sensitive to non-economic/humanitarian issues of family re-settlement, asylum-seekers and social implications of a booming export sector. Research studies and reports were cited to support many propositions, which blended well with the emotions. Personally, I felt rather ‘foreign’ when Max Corden asked for a show of hands of those who themselves or through their parents were born outside Australia: I remained one of the few with hands down! While coming at both topics from different perspectives most proponents supported active immigration and re-settlement but did not support any specific intervention to cool the mining boom or offset any of its consequences. There was minority opposition to both these propositions from the floor.
This is time to pay tribute to Karen Lee, creator and driving force behind the ESSA as she soon steps down to graduate. It is vital for the Society to have a good succession line to ensure the legacy of this hard-working and ever-charming dynamo continues long in to the future.