Behind every policy strategy, of government or business, lies a narrative that contextualises and justifies a course of action. Restrictive immigration policies are necessary to prevent an oversupply of labour and a taxing of our natural resources…allegedly. Who develops these narratives and how well informed are they? Often they derive from the thinking of influential foreign and supranational organisations, or the conventional wisdom and philosophies of domestic political parties and powerful media organisations.
In the 2014 Keith Hancock lecture, Simon Ville argues that the design of narratives that best shape our future must draw deeply upon our national historical experience. The newly-published Cambridge Economic History of Australia provides a modern statement of our past experience to guide our economic narratives for the Asian century, highlighting our sources of resilience and exposing our potential frailties.
The lecture is now published as Academy Papers 1/2015 (web publication).