Policy Forum has marked its fifth birthday with a fresh look, new layout, and a renewed focus. But the site’s commitment to showcasing the best analysis of the region’s policy challenges remains, Quentin Grafton and Martyn Pearce write.
A lot can change in five years. In Australia, we’ve had three Prime Ministers come and go in that time. In the UK they’ve polled the electorate five times, if you include the two referendums.
Public policy shifts quickly. Back in 2014 there was little talk about multi-national tax avoidance (it took the Panama Papers to really shine a light on that); whether billionaires should exist at all; what a ‘Brexit’ would actually mean; or the dramatic changes to come in the shape of the election of Donald Trump or the influence of China. In the time since 2014, some issues have become even more important such as the threat posed by climate change, and the massive world-wide response from people through the climate strike movement and Extinction Rebellion.
Today Policy Forum has its fifth birthday. It is now running, talking and a real dynamo at any public policy party. To mark our five candles we have a newly designed homepage, a simpler more user-friendly structure, and a greater focus on important topical issues through our In Focus pages. These changes are part of growing up and getting bigger with more impact.
Since 2014, we have covered a huge range of policy challenges affecting Australia, our region, and the world. Our coverage has included pieces on a range of policy topics, from the South China Sea and Chinese influence in Australia, to a focus on poverty and inequality, to studying how sports are being used as a diplomatic and soft power tool. We have provided a platform for tackling what many would not and provided a link with the very best practitioners, thinkers and specialists. Our contributors come from academia, politics, the business world, NGOs, and beyond.
We have published an extraordinary number of high-quality writing; around 2000 pieces from more than 1400 authors. We thank everyone who has worked with us to produce those pieces and also you, our audience, who have helped us grow and to provide the global policy insights that you need. We simply could not have achieved what we have over the last five years without both our contributors and our readers.
In the past couple of years we have scaled up our evidence-based insights to the world. We now publish three podcast series – Policy Forum Pod, Democracy Sausage, and the National Security Podcast. So far, we have produced over 200 podcasts. Our podcasts bring together researchers and experts from diverse backgrounds to give their special insights on policy problems and how to resolve them.
Our podcast Facebook group is dynamic and engaging and provides a constant source of feedback, great discussion, and inspirational and thought-provoking ideas, some of which are highlighted in the podcasts.
The redesign of our site is an important step forward in our journey to be the Number One site for Australian and Asia-Pacific public policy thinking and solutions to the problems we face. Join us on our journey to listen, to engage, to understand and to act. We look forward to sharing the next five years with you and, with your support, we will confront the many policy challenges that lie ahead.