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Lunchbox / Soapbox

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at The Wheeler Centre

Julian Burnside: Mind Your Language

Unhappily, many people for whom language is a central part of their life’s work are a bit careless about the way they use it. Go into any court or any parliament any day and see whether you find the language inspiring, or even intelligible. If we were carpenters, we would probably leave our hammer and saw in the rain. The point of language is to convey meaning. Ideally, it should do so accurately. Not all writers honour this ideal. The purpose of language may be betrayed by carelessness, foolishness or malevolence, by representatives of big business, bureaucrats and politicians.

Julian Burnside will speak about each, and will finish with some recent reminders that language can be used powerfully and effectively if only we take enough care.

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Portrait of Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside is a Melbourne barrister. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989. He specialises in commercial litigation, and has acted in many very contentious cases - the MUA Waterfront dispute; the Cash-for-Comment enquiry; cases for Alan Bond and Rose Porteous - but has become known for his human rights work and has acted pro bono in many refugee cases. 

He is an outspoken opponent of the mistreatment of people who come to Australia seeking protection from persecution. His latest book is Watching Out: Reflections on Justice and Injustice (Scribe).

Lunchbox / Soapbox

We love exploring ideas at the Wheeler Centre, and encouraging others to do the same. That’s why every Thursday lunchtime we hand the microphone over to the great thinkers, dreamers and orators of our time.

With a dazzling range of passionate speakers and unusual topics, our soapbox provides a platform for the eclectic, topical and enlightening stories you won’t hear elsewhere. This is the most memorable lunch break you’ll have all week.

If you’re in need of sustenance of body as well as mind, the MOAT lunch cart will be serving delicious $10 lunchboxes in the Performance Space from 12.20pm.


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