With all the current fuss about the 2020 Summit, it's easy to forget how close 2020 actually is. It's only twelve years away, the same number of years as the life of the 1995-2007 John Howard era of government or the 1983-95 Hawke-Keating era. For baby boomers like me who still remember the 1983 election vividly, that's not long.
The 2020 Summit is really looking at stuff that's quite short term, though at least its thinking will go beyond one electoral cycle. This is a good start in imagining the future (and not just the next three or five years) as something that will be different ... yet in ways that we can actually influence. But why not think beyond that?
Admittedly, a point arrives when there's so much contingency that it scarcely helps to speculate, but surely we can think at least a few decades ahead. One bright idea that the 2020 Summit probably won't think of (though maybe it'll surprise me in the morning!) is to follow up, not too long down the track, with a 2050 summit. That would give us all a chance to think in a much more visionary way about Australia's future, not just about what might be done during the forthcoming Rudd era (if Rudd ends up being as resilient a politician as Howard).
How about it?