Far from being ‘rusted-on’ voters, rural Australians are deserting the major parties in greater numbers than their city counterparts. And they’re not just abandoning status-quo politics, but finding new ways of inspiring community action and taking policy change into their own hands.

So what are urban policymakers getting wrong about rural voters? And what policy lessons should we be taking from the countryside and applying to the country?

On this week’s podcast, hosts Martyn Pearce and Jill Sheppard hear from a journalist, a political scientist, and two rural leaders at the forefront of community politics. Listen here: https://simplecast.com/s/586a64eb

Gabrielle Chan has been a journalist for more than 30 years. Since 2013, she has worked for Guardian Australia as a political correspondent, Politics Live blogger and senior writer. Her latest book, Rusted Off: Why Country Australia Is Fed Up was released in September 2018.

Peter Holding is on the board of Directors for Farmers for Climate Action – an alliance of farmers working to see the agricultural sector get support and investment to adapt to a changing climate, as well as be part of the solution. He is a third-generation farmer in south-east NSW, growing crops such as canola and wheat, as well as running sheep for wool.

Denis Ginnivan is President and a foundation member of Voices for Indi, a community group based in northeast Victoria, which seeks to encourage citizens to engage and participate in politics and democracy. He is also co-chair of Totally Renewable Yackandandah. He was raised on farms near Benalla where his family had been farming for five generations.

Carolyn Hendriks is an Associate Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy. Her research is broadly concerned with how to strengthen citizen agency in the governance of collective problems. Over the past two decades she has made substantial contributions to international debates on the practice and theory of citizen engagement, democratic innovation and deliberative democracy.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Rusted off: Why country Australia is fed up by Gabrielle Chan

Australian values survey: ANU / The Social Research Centre study led by Jill Sheppard (PDF)

Totally Renewable Yackandandah

Voices for Indi

Farmers for Climate Action National Farmer Climate Survey

Publication on Citizen-led Democratic Reform in Indi by Associate Professor Carolyn M Hendriks. Published in Australian Journal of Political Science.

Alpine Valleys Community Leader Program 

Pathways to Politics Program for Women 

The Brief: Sanctioning Myanmar with Trevor Wilson

Is Australia’s policy machinery fit for purpose? with Glyn Davis and Helen Sullivan

A vision for the North with Peter Yu

Crowding out the Pacific by Matthew Dornan, Richard Curtain and Stephen Howes

Policy Forum Pod is available on iTunesSpotifyStitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to podcast@policyforum.net. You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or find us on Facebook.

This episode of Policy Forum Pod was written and produced by Martyn Pearce and Nicky Lovegrove. It was edited by Martyn Pearce.

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