In his speech for the Ninth Annual Hawke Lecutre, Greg Combet asks How can we, as Australians, create a democratic consensus around the issues which are important to our present and to our future? Although Australians differ amongst themselves over many issues, our national identity and beliefs have been broadly underpinned by a shared aspiration for economic prosperity, the attainment of a fair society, and security from external threat. Our nationhood was founded in a policy consensus around these three pillars. But at this early point in the 21st century there is no consensus. Rather, there is division, and deliberate deceit and distraction from the real issues.