Intelligence Squared Debates
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As the old truism would have it, ‘Whoever you vote for the Government always gets in’. By the end of last year, the Australian electorate’s sense of fatigue and disillusionment was palpable. Differences between Labor and Liberal felt incremental, and the big stories seemed to centre on alternatives, from the Greens to the Independents. Have the old forces in Australian politics lost their way?
Arguing in favour of the proposition will be, in order of appearance, Carmen Lawrence, Greg Barns and John Hewson. Arguing against the proposition will be Helen Kroger, Shaun Carney and Penny Wong.
Greg Barns is a barrister and writer. He practices in the areas of criminal law, administrative law and family law and is a member of the Tasmanian, Victorian and WA Bars. Greg is a graduate of Monash University (BA/LLB) and spent over a decade working as a political adviser to a number of state and federal ministers and premiers. He ran the 1999 Republic Referendum campaign and was Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000–02.
Shaun Carney is a journalist and memoirist.
John Hewson is an economic and financial expert with experience in academia, business, government and the financial system.
He has worked as an economist for the Australian Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the IMF and as an advisor to two successive federal treasurers and the prime minister. He is currently a professor at the Crawford School ANU.
Senator Helen Kroger has been in Federal Parliament since 2008 following an extensive career in small business, corporate fundraising and Human Resource Management.
Carmen Lawrence is Winthrop Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. She is a former Premier of Western Australia and federal government minister.
Penny Wong was born in Malaysia and moved to Australia when she was eight.
Before entering Parliament, she was a barrister and solicitor in Adelaide, and worked as an adviser to the Carr Government in New South Wales. She was elected as a Labor Senator for South Australia in November 2001 and began her term in July 2002.
In Opposition, Penny held the portfolios of Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility and Public Administration and Accountability.
In December 2007 Penny was appointed to the Federal Cabinet in the Rudd Labor Government as the Minister for Climate Change and Water, and in March 2010 the Prime Minister added the Energy Efficiency portfolio to her responsibilities.
In September 2010 Penny was appointed as Minister for Finance and Deregulation in the Gillard Labor Government.
After the 2013 election, Penny was appointed as Opposition Leader in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment.
The Intelligence Squared debates rage on in 2014 with a whole new range of topics as compelling as they are polarising. In these highly participatory debates, once both sides have had their say, the decision as to who emerges victor lies entirely in your hands.
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