New society to challenge public policy decision-making norms

| October 30, 2014

The Society for Progress and Wellbeing is a movement where progress and wellbeing considerations will be just as important as financial considerations in decision making. Its Director Andrew Thornton says the Society wants to inspire like-minded people to champion this concept. 

A new society focussing on progress and wellbeing was been launched to take on Australian policy makers’ and academia’s emphasis on economic considerations when recommending and making decisions and enacting legislation.

In officially launching the Society, inaugural Chairman and President, Mr Andrew Gale, said “too often measures of progress in society were measured in mono-dimensional terms, in particular financial terms”.

“Yet there are many aspects of life which are more important than purely financial measures. These include quality of education, health, civil freedoms, quality of life, happiness, the environment and so on. All important considerations of the holistic realm of progress and wellbeing,” Mr Gale added.

The Society for Progress and Wellbeing emerged out of a 2011 GAP taskforce of senior government, business and academic executives, chaired by Stephen Bartos, which considered fresh and inclusive definitions of Australian economic and social progress and discussed the importance of integrating them into national policy making.

“Why do non-financial progress and wellbeing considerations not feature as predominantly in the deliberations and decision making of governments and corporations and even individuals?” Mr Gale said.

“And how do we, as individuals and families, assess how we make progress? Is it because measurement frameworks for non-financial dimensions do not exist? Or is it because potential users of such frameworks and concepts don’t know how to use them? Or is it simply that there is low awareness and engagement with such issues? ”.

The Society aims to be a strong membership based organisation which enables like-minded people to champion the concepts of progress and wellbeing as being integral to the thinking and decision making of individuals, communities, businesses and governments in Australia. Members will benefit from connecting with each other through Society facilitated networks.

“We have been encouraged by the early interest in the Society and have already attracted a number of founder members”, Mr Gale said. “We expect this interest to grow significantly over the ensuing months now that the Society has been officially launched.”