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Is Democracy Fragile?


Event Status

Head to the inaugural Sorrento Writers Festival with the Wheeler Centre as broadcaster Sally Warhaft and a panel of esteemed experts investigate the strength of our contemporary democracy.

Please visit Sorrento Writers Festival’s website for ticketing updates.


For this special edition of the Wheeler Centre’s long-running Fifth Estate series, host Sally Warhaft will be joined by award-winning climate scientist and author Dr. Joëlle Gergis, former Attorney General Michael Lavarch AO, distinguished journalist and author Kerry O’Brien, and media and culture professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA for a far-reaching conversation about the future and frailty of democracy in Australia and around the world.

Together, they will examine the current state of our global democratic landscape and the dangers it faces, while offering insights and potential solutions for the path forward through some of the most pressing political challenges of today.

The Fifth Estate

For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn’t get any better than The Fifth Estate. This long-running series, hosted by Sally Warhaft, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne.


The Fifth Estate


Joëlle Gergis

Dr Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer at the Australian National University. She served as a lead author for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and is the author of Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia. Joëlle has also contributed cha... Read more

Michael Lavarch

Michael Lavarch AO holds directorships on a range of boards and has expertise in areas of public policy, corporate governance, regulatory frameworks and strategic directions. He was the Attorney General in the Keating Government, and served in public office at the Federal level and in local governme... Read more

Kerry O’Brien

Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected journalists with six Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism including the Gold Walkley, and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership. Other industry awards include a Logie for public affairs coverage. In a career spanning mo... Read more

Julianne Schultz

Professor Emeritus Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the Chair of The Conversation. She was the publisher and founding editor of Griffith Review, and is Professor Emeritus of Media and Culture at Griffith’s Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, and a member of the board of the Sydney Wr... Read more

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians’ lives in the fog of ... Read more


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