Deakin politics expert re-imagining Australia’s policy possibilities with a 'Nordic edge'

Research news

05 October 2021

Climate and energy. Work/life balance. Mining taxes. New research is capturing how the Nordic approach can shape Australia’s future for the better.

Deakin University politics and policy expert, Professor Andrew Scott, spoke recently at the Nordic Edge Expo & Conference in Stavanger, Norway – a smart city expo-conference acting as a driving force in developing smart, sustainable and liveable cities – about his new co-edited book, The Nordic Edge: Policy Possibilities for Australia.

The Nordic Edge explores policies adopted by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland and the exciting possibilities they provide to overcome Australia’s seemingly intractable problems.

Leading Australian Nordic thinkers and policy practitioners, including Sweden’s recent Foreign Minister, outline proven approaches to help Australia become a fairer, wealthier and more environmentally responsible country.

In his speech at the Nordic Edge Expo, Professor Scott, from Deakin’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, outlines some of the ways English-speaking countries can learn from policies in which Nordic countries are global leaders.

He also discusses what Nordic countries can learn from Australia, as part of the two-way global dialogue now needed for the world to tackle its social and economic, as well as its pressing environmental challenges.

“Nordic nations have achieved a great deal with healthy urban design; affordable, environmentally positive, medium-density housing options encompassing secure, good-quality rental options; and a continuing strong presence of co-operative housing.

“This contrasts with the endless suburban sprawl in three of Australia’s largest cities as part of a quest for universal, private individual home ownership which can no longer be attained.

“The Nordic region, with its world leading policies, is inspiring us here in Australia to sharpen our own policies and capture similar advantages,” Professor Scott said.

However, Professor Scott also suggests ways these cutting-edge countries can learn from Australia, in particular our success with multiculturalism.

“It is clear better integration of immigrants and refugees will be needed in Scandinavian countries to sustain Nordic leadership in policy. In this respect, Nordic countries can learn from Australia’s multiculturalism.

“Currently immigrants in Nordic nations are concentrated in large numbers in particular centres like the City of Malmö in southern Sweden, and experience lower employment rates than in Australia. Sweden clearly needs more effective job creation strategies for immigrants as part of facing up to its big challenge in paving the way for a more successful ‘integration’,

“I hope Australia can continue to explore global two-way comparisons, as we work together on effective policies to tackle urgent problems such as the increasing threat of climate change,” Professor Scott said.

The partnership between Deakin University and the Australia Institute for the Nordic Policy Centre, which enabled Professor Scott’s speech, has received significant support from ambassadors across the Nordic region.

More information:

Watch Nordic Edge Conference - Andrew Scott

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Professor Andrew Scott outlines some of the ways English-speaking countries can learn from policies in which Nordic countries are global leaders.

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Professor Andrew Scott outlines some of the ways English-speaking countries can learn from policies in which Nordic countries are global leaders.

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