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Is the concept of a country obsolete?


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Responding to a huge volume of your questions on borders, refugees and migration, Geraldine Brooks, Tom Elliott, Voranai Vanijaka and host Mark Colvin will search for insight and progress on this charged and crucial subject – taking a pragmatic and personal perspective to the problem.

As a nation composed mostly of migrants, modern Australia’s relationship with refugees and asylum seekers runs deep: through regional and global wars, famine and disaster, and economic and political upheavals. In recent years, that discussion has become increasingly polarised and fearful. Meanwhile, asylum seekers continue to suffer in conditions that most people agree are unacceptable, cruel.

Throughout all this, Australia’s challenge and policy response has made world news. Now, with Europe’s dramatic influx of refugees mostly from Syria, the question has renewed urgency – of a kind that demands answers beyond the obfuscation of politics.

Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.



Mark Colvin

Mark Colvin is an Australian journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster. He has been the presenter of PM, one of the flagship Australian radio current affairs programs on the ABC Radio network, since 1997. As a foreign correspondent, Mark covered such major stories as the American hostage crisi... Read more

Geraldine Brooks

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs. She worked for the Sydney Morning Herald and in 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University. Later she worked for the Wall S... Read more

Voranai Vanijaka

Voranai Vanijaka is the editor in chief of GQ Thailand. He teaches political communication and intercultural communication at Thammasat University. From 2008 to May 2014, he was a political commentator with the Bangkok Post newspaper.  He teaches political communication and inte... Read more

Tom Elliott

Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW’s Drive program. He is also a director of Melbourne-based wealth management firm Beulah Capital. Tom writes a weekly opinion column for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper and appears regularly on the Nine Network’s Today and A... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.