Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd received a swag of ideas and a standing ovation Sunday from the 1,000 delegates he handpicked for a weekend of brainstorming at Canberra's Parliament House. ( dpa )
"This has been a very Australian gathering," Rudd told an audience full of those who had helped him to office in November's general election. "Can you think of another country in the world where this could happen?
The self-congratulatory tone continued with Rudd telling his back-slapping chums that the reason Summit 2020 had succeeded was "because it's been characterized by a whole lot of good humour, a whole lot of mutual respect, and a whole lot of very classical, undeniable Australian directness."
The delegates met in groups of 100, each group expected to come up with big ideas for the future.
Cate Blanchett, the Hollywood actor picked by Rudd to chair the creativity group, said her 100 delegates had agreed that 1 per cent of all government spending should be on the arts.
Blanchett, creative director of the Sydney Theatre Company as well as high-priced endorser of cosmetics, said that "creativity was central to all human endeavour" and that by "2020 we want to be celebrating the fact that creativity is central to sustaining and defining the nation."
The idea to get the biggest clap at the close of the summit was for Australia to cut itself free from the British monarchy and become a republic - a proposal rejected in a referendum in 2001.
Ideas also touted that were familiar to most Australians were for higher taxes on junk food, cigarettes and alcohol.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon, co-chair of the health group, said eating healthier food, particularly fruit, was a really good idea.
"The final one of the out-of-the-box ideas is that by 2020 we would like all sedentary jobs to be redesigned so that at least half an hour of physical activity was part of the daily work," Roxon said.
Rudd has pledged to respond to all the ideas by the end of the year.
"Some of these ideas we will be able to embrace, others we will not, and some we will take in part and change," he said.