From everyone here at Policy Forum, we would like to take the opportunity to wish you all the very best for the holiday season and a prosperous and safe New Year.
2018 has been a turbulent year in global policy and politics. Here in Canberra, Australia, where Policy Forum is based, we’ve seen the throwing out of a Prime Minister (and not for the first time), and a gross failure to get to grips with energy and climate change policy coupled with an increasing dissatisfaction from the country’s citizens (proudly led by the nation’s school children) on these key issues.
In our region we’ve seen issues that have reverberated around the world, such as Myanmar’s ongoing treatment of its Rohingya people, and China’s treatment of the Uighurs (brilliantly explained by Thomas Cliff in this podcast). China has also continued to test boundaries, both physical and metaphorical, while North Korea has been wooed by a US leader that has moved on from calling Kim Jong-un ‘little rocket man’ to making Hollywood-style short movies to win him over to democratic reform.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Britain continues to plan its Brexit from the European Union – an effort that is going so well that as we write this the UK government is reportedly planning to deploy the country’s armed forces to deal with disruption from a possible ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
Chris Farnham, our esteemed writer and presenter of the National Security Podcast, thought long and hard about calling his podcast on the Helsinki Summit ‘LOL, WTF?’ Eventually he settled on different wording, but the sentiment could be applied to any number of head-scratching policy and political issues around the world.
We’re proud to say, though, that much of this change has been documented and analysed by our team of incredible writers, contributors, and pod panellists. Over the last 12 months, we have published some 300 articles and 79 podcasts. In June our regular Policy Forum Pod series was joined by the National Security Podcast series which we put together with our friends at the ANU National Security College. In July we also launched The Brief, a short, sharp podcast covering recent policy issues in Australia and beyond. Our regular Policy Forum Pod continues to go from strength to strength, covering a huge range of policy topics and proudly bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to discussions. We also hosted or co-hosted several highly successful events on topics ranging from peace in the Pacific, to the future of the public service, to rural policy.
Ultimately though, Policy Forum and all the things we do are only successful because of you – our readers, listeners, and contributors. Your thoughtful comments are what makes the site and podcast such a thriving success. We try our best to acknowledge all your contributions, but with a fast moving site covering a huge range of issues it can be hard to keep on top of it all.
As we move towards the end of the year, we thank each and every one of you – for reading, for writing, for listening, for tweeting at us, and for every other way you reach out to us, let us know your thoughts, and show us your support. You are the best kind of people – even those who write to tell us how wrong we are! We don’t want everyone to agree with us, but we do want people to engage on the decisions that are being made that affect our future.
From everyone here at Policy Forum we hope you have a good break and a fantastic new year, and very much look forward to sharing 2019 with you.
Quentin, Martyn, Julia, Lydia, Sophie, Tessia & Cherry.