The state of language education in Australia has long been described as paradoxical. Oscillating between periods of increased attention and seeming invisibility, over the last thirty years, the language learning sector has been punctuated by a succession of aspirational declarations and funding injections with little long-term impact on its overall standing. Despite the increasingly multilingual makeup of Australian society, language education at all levels has largely remained stuck amidst monolingualising education policies and alarmist discourses. The latest instance of this paradoxical condition is a fee-reduction incentive for university students to study a language, which, in practice, stands to further weaken the language offerings in many Higher Education institutions. In this paper, we use the imagery of circularities and ripples to explore the challenges facing language education across sectors in Australia. Through data collected in Queensland secondary schools, we discuss how these challenges transcend the traditional delineation of macro-, meso-, and micro-levels of language policy and planning. We argue that challenges go both in circles within the same level (circularity) and flow outwards to other levels (ripples), which include Higher Education. For this reason, siloed approaches to funding and scholarly research contribute to a wicked state of inertia and, ultimately, diminish opportunities to break free from these cycles in the future. We conclude by acknowledging our complicit roles and ethical responsibilities as Higher Education scholars in the perpetuation of these cycles, as but a first step in engaging productively with the possibilities of leveraging these rippling circularities.