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From the Editors

#SetTheAgenda: What The Conversation’s readers want politicians to address this federal election


At The Conversation we’re committed to politics coverage that goes beyond sound bites, photo ops and the gaffe of the day. We agree with US media academic Jay Rosen: if the media lets political spinners define the agenda we have no hope of talking about the things that matter to us most.

That’s why we asked you, our readers, to help us #SetTheAgenda. Your response has been terrific. So far, more than 6,000 people have answered our survey, providing thoughtful suggestions for articles and also giving us some great data about what matters most to you.

Climate change (65%) and the environment (28%) topped the list as the issues that have the greatest impact on your lives. The cost of living (20%), misinformation (17%), housing (15%) and aged care (13%) comprise the remaining top spots on the list, followed by education, mental health, gender equality and COVID-19. These issues will all be prominent in our coverage.

But numbers only ever tell part of a story: if you lean on them too heavily you can miss important insights. That’s why we are going to spend some time reflecting on all your article ideas and feedback, such as this comment which is a great template for how we can cover the election:

I want to know their policies, how they plan to successfully implement their policies and what benefits the general population and Australia as a whole can expect from them. More about the evidence based positive change they will make, much less bashing the others ‘at least I’m not that guy’ nonsense.

The #SetTheAgenda survey will be open for a while yet, so please fill it out if you haven’t done so yet.

We are also going to host two events during the campaign to give you a chance to hear from our Chief Political Correspondent Michelle Grattan and tell us the questions you want answered.

The first will be held at The Church of All Nations in Carlton at 6pm on Friday April 29. It will feature Michelle Grattan in conversation with Politics + Society editor Amanda Dunn and Sean Kelly, author of The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison. Seats are limited, so if you’d like to attend please book here.

The second event will be held at 2pm on Sunday May 1 at the Woollahra Library at Double Bay in Sydney. I will interview Michelle Grattan and take questions from the floor. Book here.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read The Conversation and for sharing your thoughts. The health of our democracy depends on citizens who are willing to participate and stay informed. On that score, the signs couldn’t be more promising.

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