26 September 2023

Griffith Review 67: Matters of Trust

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Edited by Ashley Hay, Text Publishing, $27.99.

Who, what and how we trust are now matters of passionate debate in Australia. The intense question remains: are we ready to embrace the personal and political dimensions of trust?

Ashley Hay introduces us to the factors of foresight, hindsight and the present day. Griffith Review #67 sought stories of change and reform. “… What has come into focus are complexities and collaterals, suggestions and alternatives. There are careful dissections of the nature of trust – where it should and shouldn’t be expected or required, ad the multiplicities of power and risk such complex relationships involve.”

“We are a country skeptical of our government, a country asking profound questions of our institutions in light of three mighty Royal Commissions of Inquiry: into the banking and finance industries; into the institutional abuse of children; and into the provision of aged care. All have exposed vast betrayals, extraordinary examples of corruption and the urgent need for broad reform.”

Being explored is the magnitude and opportunities of this breakdown in trust, from policy and diplomacy to the dynamics of the most familiar personal relationships. The contributions form a forensic examination of how we can, in increasingly divided and disrupted spaces, attempt to connect again. Matters of Trust offers stories of transformation, epiphany and hope.

From our first experiences to our last, institutions structure our world – through education and medicine to politics, justice, civics and religion. In recent years, however, even the most entrenched of institutions are seemingly on the edge of implosion.

New social forces have issued a comprehensive challenge to the established order, either through deliberate political attacks or as an effect of wider disruption.

One argument is for 2020 to be the year of reckoning, not reconciliation, with Australia’s past.

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