On meeting people on their terms

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Kudos to Kate Auty, Commissoner for Environmental Sustainabilty, who travelled the State in conversation with community. She proposed a conversation about sustainability, and listened her way around the State. Returning, she observed (and I paraphrase): There’s a vibrant, informed and intelligent inventivenss at work in communities of place, that government just doesn’t get.

This terrible failure is one consequence of the methodological assumptions bought to policy development.

In holding a public discourse over 5 years, and sticking to her mandate, in less than favourable winds, Kate is for me an exemplar of public service. She made a place where the worlds of policy, science and people could speak, a place where the discourse was up for grabs and held open to other ways of speaking, and other ways of being.


See Kate’s lovely exposition of the unfolding of her methodology in her Many Publics report (see page 154, Appendix One). And read a chapter or two of the Many Public report, where people say ripping things like this (p 63):

a non Indigenous person, reflecting a comment made by a senior Indigenous man in the west of the state. said –

‘… Melbourne doesn’t know everything that is happening.’

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