Future Leaders is a national Initiative about leadership and the future of Australia. It seeks to involve, inform and inspire young people.
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Climate Health and Courage

Climate Health and Courage

The past year has seen human health and the health of the planet become inextricably linked in Australia, with the loss of millions of animals and destruction of their habitat from out-of-control wildfires foreshadowing another warning from the natural world – the unknowable consequences of a pandemic. Climate, Health and Courage brings together scientists, psychologists, researchers and thinkers who have hope for the future and provide a range of approaches and suggestions to help us come to grips with the challenges of climate change, even as we continue to struggle with the challenge of COVID-19.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence for Better or Worse

The past decade has seen such exponential growth in technology and applications of artificial intelligence, it can sometimes be overwhelming to evaluate their impacts, large and small. The contributions to Artificial Intelligence for Better or Worse examine a range of areas that have experienced enormous changes and continue to be shaped by AI. The positive uses of AI, such as the ability to monitor events in the natural world to better assess how we can care for our surroundings, and the myriad applications available in healthcare, are remarkable. Yet the misuse and intrusiveness of AI, undertaken by many actors, including governments and corporations, is a daily concern. The authors in this book provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges of AI, with suggestions and recommendations for dealing with the concerns they raise.


Valuing Australia’s National Heritage

Valuing Australia’s National Heritage describes the progressive development of a national heritage consciousness from early settlement onwards. It shows the different ways this consciousness led to national heritage protection for natural areas, Indigenous places and historic sites. The book describes the origins and development of the Australian Heritage Commission and includes a personal memoir describing the author’s role in helping to establish the Commission and set it on its future course. Valuing Australia’s National Heritage laments the current neglect of national heritage, the apparent unwillingness to add places to the national lists, and the complete inadequacy of funding available. It concludes with suggestions for more enlightened policies. The book includes images of UNESCO World Heritage listed sites including of Lord Howe Island by Jack Shick.

Fragility and Hope

Fragility and Hope in a World of Uncertainty

We live in an uncertain world with change occurring faster than most of us would like. The changes encompass political, social, medical, technological and environmental domains that have an impact on us all. Fragility and Hope in a World of Uncertainty seeks to provide a measured and timely response to our concerns, with contributions from well-known Australians who care deeply about the issues that continue to challenge us, including climate change, generational and gender inequality,mental health, and nuclear weapons. The selection of essays in the second part of the book showcases the themes and talent of the Young Writers who participated in the Future Leaders Writing Prizes.

Genes for Life

Genes for Life

There is an explosion of knowledge in human genetics. Today scientists can assess all three billion chemicals of the whole genome in any individual in a matter of hours. This can result in prediction of future disease allowing individuals to take steps to prevent or at least minimise the risk of problems from genetic disease. Testing can prevent future generations from having a familial disease through testing of an established pregnancy or through use of in vitro fertilisation. However, there are major ethical and legal issues arising from genetic testing. Genes for Life, written by Australian and International academics and writers, provides information about the latest advances in genetics, how people can benefit and, conversely, be harmed by this ever evolving and exciting technology.

Media Innovation Disruption

Media Innovation & Disruption

Media Innovation & Disruption, written by leading journalists, academics and media executives, explores the demise of the old crumbling traditional media models, fragmented audiences and declining investor interest and the rise of new disruptive media technology, which is creating new markets and investor value. The book looks backward, takes a realistic view of the present and peeks into the future. It explores the wealth of opportunity and creativity which is emerging in the media innovation and disruption landscape. The many challenges in this new landscape, including the growth and influence of social media, are also discussed by the authors: Margaret Simons, Sue Green, Michelle Guthrie, Andrew Jaspan, Denise Ryan Costello, Tim Dunlop, Penny O’Donnell, Matthew Ricketson, Bill Birnbauer, Belinda Barnet, Andrew Dodd and Julian Thomas.

Humane Rights

Humane Rights

This book is about your rights and those of others. The chapters in Humane Rights, written by leading advocates, academics and jurists, cover rights in Australia and Internationally. They are challenging and demand much attention. We should all be greatly concerned about the issues discussed in this book by Michael Kirby, Julian Burnside, Kelley Johnson, Gillian Triggs, Kate Auty, Ian Lowe, Gareth Evans, Spencer Zifcak, Phoebe Wynn-Pope, Pip Ross and John Riordan.

Book Cover - Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain: Living With NCDs

Dancing in the Rain: Living With NCDs is an optimistic book about preventing and living with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), those burgeoning global illnesses that affect millions of people each year such as cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, mental illnesses, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. In our modern world with unprecedented access to high energy foods and sedentary lifestyles, the medical, social, economic and environmental issues associated with these conditions deeply concern our public health leaders, in the rich and poor countries. Dancing in the Rain highlights that living with NCDs is like dancing in falling rain; you get wet but life can still be a lot of fun. The second part of the book features writing by young people; winners of the Future Leaders writing awards.

Book Cover - Proof of Birth

Proof of Birth

Australia has not yet achieved universal birth registration, which means that many people without a birth certificate struggle to enjoy the benefits of citizenship. In particular, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, rural and remote communities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, are over-represented in the number of unregistered births. Without a birth certificate these individuals are unable to realise many of their basic human rights. This book draws together the work of a range of experts from diverse fields who present recent developments and strategies designed to overcome the barriers to accessing the birth registration systems. It provides recommendations to help communities, governments and civil society work together to ensure ALL Australians are able to obtain a birth certificate to enable them to fully participate in Australian life.

Book Cover - No Not Equal!

No Not Equal!

Despite the efforts over the past 150 years to change laws to benefit women, and more lately to change different aspects of society, inequality between men and women remains deeply entrenched. Yes – it’s true many women are now highly educated and financially independent, but many more struggle in low-paid jobs or no jobs, and often with little help to raise their children. It is apparent that men and women continue to allow unconscious bias to govern their beliefs and expectations about gender that shape so many personal and professional decisions. No! Not Equal sets out a way forward to help overcome the economic and social gender inequality in Australia that continues to hamper women’s ability to realise their full potential.

Book Cover - Living Life Loving Life Young and Old

Living Life Loving Life Young and Old

Living Life Loving Life Young and Old is about ageing with style and poise. Why not head off troubles early, navigate the bumps in the road, and stay engaged and involved in the joys of life. In the first part of the book inspiring authors from the fields of medicine, finance, law and the social sector share their knowledge and experiences of getting older. They tackle health concerns and everyday life challenges of managing finances, maintaining family harmony, and transitioning into new phases of life. The second part of the book features writing by young people; winners of the Future Leaders writing awards.

Book Cover - A Year in the Life of Australia

A Year in the Life of Australia

A Year in the Life of Australia tells the story of politics,sciences and the arts in contemporary Australia from some of the country’s sharpest academic minds. It is a collection from 2014, looking back with an eye to the future.

Book Cover - Science Matters

Science Matters

How will science address the challenges Australia faces today and in the future? This book is an inspiring collection from some of the nation’s sharpest minds, showcasing the role of science in navigating our collective future. It allows readers to better understand the value of supporting scientific endeavour in Australia. Authored by recognised experts – including past and present Chief Scientists, Nobel Laureates and others – it is grounded in a language and style accessible to all.

Book Cover - A Love of Ideas

A Love of Ideas

How can we look to the future with optimism and courage, when so many problems seem insurmountable? A Love of Ideas draws together the proposals of a diversity of thinkers and their solutions to the difficulties we face. This is a book that will inspire, motivate and educate the reader. Young award-winning writers are also presented in the second part of the book.

Book Cover - Space Place Culture

The Story of the 2013 Election

The Story of the 2013 Election goes beyond the soundbites and presents informed discussion of the issues that defined the political campaign, as well as those that should have. Featuring some of Australia’s leading academics, the book contains curated highlights of The Conversation’s election 2013 coverage. With articles spanning democracy, asylum seekers, climate change, fact-checking and daily campaign happenings, it’s both a compelling first draft of history and a rigorous account of the issues facing Australia in 2013 and beyond.

Book Cover - Space Place Culture

Life Surfing Life Dancing

Life Surfing Life Dancing is about living a healthy happy life. It brings together inspirational writers to discuss their views on wellbeing and health, based not only on their clinical and research roles, but also from their life experiences.

Book Cover - Space Place Culture

Space Place & Culture

Space Place & Culture explores ways in which we manage our space, our place and our culture, and provides insights for the future. It also features creative writing by young people, winners of Future Leaders writing prizes.

Book Cover - 99 and Counting, Medical Myths Debunked

99 & Counting Medical Myths Debunked

How many times have you heard the statement ‘We only use 10% of our brain’ or ‘Chicken soup cures the common cold’? Many ideas about medical problems and general health are passed down through the generations and become firmly embedded, while others have emerged more recently, such as ‘The flu vaccine will give you influenza’. 99 & Counting Medical Myths Debunked seeks to dispel all of these ill-founded notions and explains how the wrong interpretation or conclusions have arisen. This book provides a much-needed antidote to the sage advice family and friends may proffer, through well-researched studies by medical scientists who have taken these medical ‘myths’ and truly debunked them.

Book Cover - More or Less

More or Less: Democracy & New Media

More Or Less is about democracy, free speech and new media, separately and together. It examines how digital media influences democratic processes, political institutions and modes of political communication and in what ways it is impacting on our lives with respect to freedom of expression, civil society, government transparency and the rule of law. The book also includes first hand and detailed accounts of legal cases, which have had far reaching consequences for individuals and disparate, disadvantaged groups of people. The second part of the book features fine creative writing by young people, winners in the Future Leaders Writing Prize.

Book Cover - Health


Health, written by leading academics and researchers, covers chronic disease, climate change and health, Influenza, health policy, education of doctors, child and adolescent health, indigenous health, ageing and health, mental health, rural health, global health and the control and eradication of malaria from a preventative health perspective. Gandhi’s words remind us that, ‘It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver’.

Book Cover - Future Justice

Future Justice

Future Justice is concerned with what those living today leave behind for future generations. In the first part of the book leading academics and thinkers explore the meaning of future justice and our responsibilities with respect to the environment, Indigenous Australians, refugees, science, human rights education, sexuality, economics, Southeast Asia, a Human Rights Charter, the United Nations and the Australian Constitution. The second part of the book features writing by young people on violent conflict, dementia, identity, death, love, celebrity procreation and climate change.

Book Cover - Climate Change

Climate Change On for Young & Old

This book is about climate change and its increasing threat to human civilization. In the first part, leading Australian academics, environmentalists and thinkers write about the effects and experience of rapid climate change in Australia and globally. In the second part, talented young writers, entrants in the Future Leaders Climate Writing Award, offer a combination of gloomy assessment, despair and hope in looking at the current and potential impacts of climate change. It is clear from the contents of the book that we must move with great speed and effectiveness to secure our future. As Sir Nicholas Stern pointed out, ‘There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.’

Book Cover - Perspectives


The writing by leading Australian thinkers in the first part of this book looks at fine tuning of our democracy, perspectives about the future and adequately meeting the needs of vulnerable people. In the second part, aspiring talented young writers similarly address a range of societal issues including mental illness, old age, human rights, peace and divorce. These essays, submitted for the Future Leaders Writing Prize, show admirable understanding of the frailty and strength of the human condition.

Book Cover - Issues of Our Time

Issues of Our Time

This book is about significant issues in our society today. It aims to be an accessible resource about these issues and an inspiration for young people engaged in writing about experiences, observations and concerns they feel are important. The first part of the book features writing by leading Australian thinkers who address various issues such as climate change, children, democracy, Indigenous discrimination, higher education, housing, sexuality and bioethics. The second part contains selected essays submitted for the Future Leaders Writers’ Prize and Future Leaders Climate Writing Award in 2007. The writing by talented young Australians covers many issues including depression, racism, homelessness, nuclear waste and the war on terror. The writers’ clarity of thought and analysis and skill in communicating the issues under discussion is cause for much hope.

Book Cover - What Difference Does Writing Make?

What Difference Does Writing Make?: Leading Writers on Writing

This is a book about writing. Its aim is to encourage young people to develop their talents as writers and to show in how many different ways writing matters. The first part of the book contains five essays by well known Australian writers. Novelist Alex Miller, playwright Hannie Rayson and poet Dorothy Porter show how creative writing can expand our consciousness, why 'passion and intensity' matter and how engaged writers enter into a free and frank discussion with their moment in history. Indigenous lawyer and novelist Larissa Behrendt and journalist Louise Milligan describe the role of writing in other contexts. The second part of the book contains selected essays submitted for the Future Leaders Writers’ Prize in 2005 and 2006.