If ‘we are in this together’, then it follows that close attention should be paid to the question of who is included in our understanding of ‘we’, because the assumptions embedded in that definition will inevitably dictate the subsequent choices about policy and resourcing.

Recently, I heard a government official praise collective action to flatten the curve, because – and I’m paraphrasing – ‘there are people whose elderly parents are alive today because of our actions’. So, people are defined as those old enough to have ‘elderly’ parents (and the word elderly really should be eliminated from public dialogue). Are older parents also people? And where are the children and young people? Take a look at discussions of recovery, you will find an overwhelming focus on people from 20-60 in our definitions of ‘we’.  What choices does that enable? What and who gets left out?

We need a public conversation about what it means to Build Back Better that includes all people.

We need to expand our understanding of ‘we’.


Kirsty Nowlan

Exec Director, Strategic Engagement, Research & Advocacy @benevolentAU Co-Chair @EveryAgeCounts and @everychild_AU @PensionPoverty
16 August 19

Campaigning for Every Child

The Every Child campaign is a national movement launching Tuesday August 27th to ensure all children and young people can thrive because families are able to get the right support at the right time.

19 August 19

Opinion: Protecting vulnerable children – policy lessons from public health

The launch of the Every Child Campaign is an ideal opportunity to reignite the conversation about the more than 45,000 children who live in care in Australia today. This number is unacceptably large and it’s well-documented that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are the most significantly affected.

15 April 20

A joint statement of solidarity between the generations

In the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever before, generations need to work together. This is a joint statement of solidarity between EveryChild and our sister campaign, EveryAGE Counts - a campaign aimed at tackling ageism against older Australians.   

18 June 20

Language and COVID - Expanding our understanding of 'We'

If ‘we are in this together’, then it follows that close attention should be paid to the question of who is included in our understanding of ‘we’, because the assumptions embedded in that definition will inevitably dictate the subsequent choices about policy and resourcing.

19 May 20

The Time For Action Is Now

Together - we can build back better.

One of the most remarkable features of 2020 has been the revelation that we have not lost that most fundamental of skills in liberal democracy: the ability to listen and to adapt to feedback. I watch in real time as changes are made to policies on advice from groups that would previously have been lined up on the other side of an ideological war. We will need this skill more than ever in the recovery phase.

08 May 20

Lets Talk About What It Means To Build Back Better

When I left international development to work in the Australian community sector five years ago, I was struck by the differences. In rich economies there is data! There is money! And, while we love to whinge, there is a broadly competent government!