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Using the COVID-19 pandemic to bring fundamental change for good

Picture of a person being swabbed by someone in protective clothing

The coronavirus is a crisis which took the world by surprise. We ask, in the wake of the crisis is fundamental reform possible?

As you know, our program of lectures, monthly lunches and research projects has been suspended. We are, however, actively monitoring responses to the pandemic and the disastrous health and economic consequences of this new disease which has so shocked the world.

What sort of world will we inhabit post pandemic? How well do we think our governments have responded to the damage caused by such a widespread health and subsequent economic emergency? And importantly, does the very fact and severity of the crisis offer opportunity for longer term changes?

We invite you, our supporters and fellow progressive thinkers, to use this opportunity to suggest ways in which our response to current challenges could bring fundamental change for good.


As a start to an occasional series in which we publish post-virus reform ideas we are republishing here an article by education expert and long-time reformer Dean Ashenden on possible changes to funding of school education in the new world beyond 2020.

Dean Ashenden is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne and well known consultant on education. This article was published in Inside Story in April 2020.

If you would like to submit other ideas for reform for which there might now be political will please email us here.

Best wishes and good health to all,

Faith FitzGerald
John Cain Foundation

Past Events

  • Dr Kerry Bennett and post-graduate students

    Student market drives Victorian economy (November lunch)

    Postgraduate students comprise 30% of all enrolments in Australian universities. In 2001, 73% of postgraduate enrolments were domestic students. By 2026, there will be more international than domestic postgraduate students at Australian universities. Victoria is leading the way in the push to embrace post-graduate students – particularly those from overseas. Dr Kerry Bennett, the CEO […]

  • Terry Moran and John Cain Senior and Junior

    Focus on local communities key to restoring trust in democracies (John Cain lecture)

    The less well off have been the most affected in a significant power shift from the states to Canberra, according to the former head of the Victorian and federal public service. Terry Moran AC told about 100 people who attended the annual John Cain lecture on November 27 2019 that there had been a a […]

  • Tina Hogarth-Clarke

    Greying population brings challenges and opportunities (October lunch)

    By 2036, almost a quarter of Victorians will be over 60. Outside Melbourne, that will be almost a third of the population. The shift to an older population will bring challenges but also opportunities. The CEO of the Council of the Ageing Victoria, Tina Hogarth-Clarke told our October lunch that older Victorians bring a wealth […]

  • Historians John and Hatice Basarin

    Quest for oil fired the Gallipoli campaign (September lunch)

    The move from a coal to an oil-fired navy drove Britain to embark on the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. The empire failed to take the Dardanelles. It did, however, carve up the Middle East in its quest for oil. Historians Dr John Basarin OAM and Hatice Basarin told our September lunch that these arbitrary borders gave […]

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