Australia’s biggest conference for community leaders, the 2023 Communities in Control Conference, set itself the challenge this year to define the soul of our nation.

They say: “This is the only Australian conference where community leaders can meet the thinkers and doers who have shown how social change can happen.”

BSSC student and Student Leadership Team member, Adler Pickering, was there—and described the event as, “incredible and awe-inspiring” and says he was blown away as he was encouraged to look beyond his preconceived ideas.

“Emma Dawson presented the conference with stats and data showing inequality is growing in Australia,” Adler says.

“She helped me realise the consequences of this and asked us all to think about what policies our governments should be adopting to correct it.”

The other speakers were equally impressive and Adler says he feels like his brain has actually grown and he’s been inspired to think about the unconscious biases he unwittingly holds.

“Why we might be unaware about our blindness to certain issues was addressed impressively by philosopher and ethicist, Simon Longstaff AO, who talked about how so many Australians have been taught to see separateness while First Nations Peoples see everything as connected.

“They already understand that you hurt one thing—the Land, the Natural environment, or the People—and you hurt everything and everyone else.”

Below: Year 12 student Adler Pickering