Report from the First Annual CCL Australia National Conference
Friday, Sept. 11, 2015
On Friday, Rod led a sunlit outdoor planning session, and we got ready to go see Tony Abbott’s staff. We went to the incredible Parliament House, with a lawn that travels up and over the building—a nod to the prioritization of the people over those who hold office, and a reminder that the work of government is service.
The structure is so beautiful, it seems worth all the cost it took to pull it together. We all agreed: to have such a temple of democracy should be a priority for any country.
We had a quick lunch in the cafe just above the public entrance, and finalized our planning for the meeting.
We were met at the desk by Jules, who escorted us to the Prime Minister’s offices, where we met with his senior climate adviser Craig MacLachlan. Craig had been through a flurry of very high-level meetings on a range of topics that morning, so his spending time with citizen volunteers was very much appreciated.
We gave him a warm and welcoming environment and when this became clear to him, he settled in and spent a little extra time with us. He was a defender of the government’s position, of course, but also forthright and open with us.
We went to the cafe to debrief, and also met with a senior climate adviser to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Rob offered us 35 minutes, but stayed for 50. It was a genuine occasion for citizen engagement, despite all the stresses of the moment, both in domestic politics and geopolitically.
On Friday evening, we had drinks and dinner at Alivio, together with a steady stream of volunteers coming in from around the country. For many of us, it was our first time meeting, though we have heard and seen each other on video conferences pretty regularly for some time.