For many years, it has been said that the Nordic Countries have pioneered public policy and initiatives that have made them equal, happier, wealthier and more environmentally responsible. In Australia, the public discourse on work/life balance, climate change, mining taxes, independent and humanitarian foreign policy, prison reform, gender equality, retraining for workforce participation and media diversity have been highly partisan and often rancorous – resulting in the phenomenon of the “culture wars”’.

Yet in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland this policy shift has been far more consensual across their political spectrum. Nordic countries have taken a “ja, we can”’ approach to these and other issues. Their experience shows that progress in these areas is not only possible, but that it can be achieved while increasing prosperity and community wellbeing.

In the book The Nordic Edge, edited by Professor Andrew Scott and Rod Campbell, successes, as outlined by leading Australian and Nordic thinkers and policy practitioners, are analysed and assessed against their possibilities for Australia. Professor Andrew Scott is Professor of Politics and Policy at Deakin University, co-editor of, as well as contributing author of three chapters in, new book The Nordic Edge: Policy Possibilities for Australia; and author of five previous books.

For the latest book, he conducted extensive interviews with Margot Wallström, Sweden’s Foreign Minister from 2014-2019, about her leadership for a feminist foreign policy, Sweden’s provision of generous and effective foreign aid, and the importance of nations not just acting transactionally in their inter-relationships but rather in a way which helps build trust so as to prevent conflict.

Professor Scott teaches Australian politics, international comparative politics, economic policy, social policy, and political history. His books and articles comparing labour parties and the feasibility of social democratic policies have been extensively discussed in Australia and overseas.

Professor Scott’s approach draws from his experience before entering academia as a senior national policy adviser on employment and training issues, as a research officer for a major trade union and as an elected student leader.

Watch The Nordic Edge: What can Australia learn about equality, happiness and the environment from Nordic countries and their approaches? (and the Housing chapter)