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Australian Democracy in 2013


Event Status

It’s been a tumultuous term in the federal government – and now it’s time for us voters to decide if we’re ready for change. And as we prepare to exercise our democratic duty to vote our government in (or out), the Wheeler Centre is hosting a robust look at Australian democracy in action.

What does it mean? Does democracy work? What does democracy mean to different people, and does everyone in Australia truly have access to it?

Prominent Australians will each share a snapshot of what Australian democracy means to them in 2013.

Renowned feminist – and firebrand – Anne Summers will talk from the perspective of women’s rights. Margaret Simons, director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism at The University of Melbourne, will talk about democracy and the media. Kon Karapanagiotidis of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre will explore the contentious ground that he has made his life’s work. Former speechwriter and Age journalist James Button will give his own unique perspective, as will left-wing historian Humphrey McQueen.

We’re inspired by the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka – which will explore the evolution and future of democracy, through interactive and immersive exhibitions.

Immerse yourself in some of the issues that will be crucial to the next government.

Hosted by Peter Mares.

Twitter: #AusDemocracy


Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University. In 2015, she won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism. Her recent books include Six Square Metres, Self-Made Man: The Kerry Stokes Story, What’s Next in Journalism?, Journalism at ... Read more

Peter Mares

Peter Mares is lead moderator with The Cranlana Programme, an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to developing the ethical decision-making skills of Australia’s leaders. Peter is also contributing editor at Inside Story magazine and adjunct fellow at Swinburne University’s Centr... Read more

Kon Karapanagiotidis

Kon Karapanagiotidis is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the largest independent human rights organisation for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. They assist thousands of people each year, with the help of over 1200 volunteers and 125 staff.   Kon grew up in ... Read more

Anne Summers

Dr Anne Summers AO is a journalist, researcher, commentator and best-selling author of nine books, including the classic Damned Whores and God’s Police, first published in 1975, and still in print. Her most recent book Unfettered and Alive, a memoir, was published in 2018. In 2021 Anne was appoint... Read more

James Button

James Button is a former journalist and speechwriter. James was a journalist at The Age for 20 years, including three years as Europe correspondent, and roles as deputy editor, opinion editor and senior writer. He has won two Walkley Awards for feature writing. In 2009 he was a speechwriter for form... Read more

Humphrey McQueen

Humphrey McQueen is a freelance historian and cultural commentator. Widely known in Australia through his books, radio commentaries, articles and public speeches he is in demand as a guest lecturer, critic and consultant. Humphrey is the author of 19 books that cover history, the media, politics and... Read more

Jane Smith

Jane Smith is inaugural Director of M.A.D.E (Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka) which opens on 4 May 2013 in Ballarat. Her smarts include analysing technology platforms, film, broadcasting, content generation and consumer behaviour. Jane was CEO of the NSW Film and TV Office, ran Hugh Jackman... Read more


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