The Festival of Questions
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What are the most important questions facing Australians – today and in the future?
At the first Festival of Questions session, we’ll scan the horizons, break deadlocked debates and dust off the issues rotting for too long at the bottom of the nation’s too-hard basket. And we’re bringing together some of the sharpest thinkers we know to help us do it.
Each of our speakers will present their ideas on the issues Australia needs to confront head-on. Then it’s over to you. Should there be a citizenship test to buy property in Australia? Should the public really have a say about ‘marriage equality’? Is compulsory voting bad for democracy? The Wheeler Centre has travelled the country asking these questions, and now it’s Melbourne’s turn.
As Australians, who do we want to be and how are we going to get there?
All sessions of The Festival of Questions will be Auslan interpreted.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Festival and City of Melbourne.
Gareth Evans is a writer, academic, lawyer and former cabinet minister.
He was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Governments for thirteen years, as Attorney General, Minister for Resources & Energy, Transport & Communications, and Foreign Affairs; Leader of the Government in the Senate for four years; and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representative for three years. After 21 years in the Australian Parliament, he led the Brussels-based International Crisis Group from 2000-2009.
Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who specialises in commercial litigation and is also deeply involved in human rights work, in particular in relation to refugees.
Geraldine Doogue is a highly accomplished Australian journalist and presenter whose career in print, television and radio includes Four Corners, the Australian, Life Matters, Compass and Saturday Extra.
Jack Latimore is an Indigenous researcher with the Centre for Advancing Journalism. He is currently involved in the development of several projects aimed at improving the quality of Indigenous representation and participation in the mainstream media-sphere. His journalism work has appeared in Koori Mail, Guardian Australia, Overland and IndigenousX.
Shireen Morris is a lawyer, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School, and a senior adviser on constitutional reform to Cape York Institute. She is the author of Radical Heart (MUP, 2018), the co-editor of The Forgotten People: Liberal and Conservative Approaches to Recognising Indigenous Peoples with Damien Freeman (MUP, 2016) and the editor of A Rightful Place: A Roadmap to Recognition (Black Inc, 2017). Shireen is a regular commentator on TV, radio and print media.
Helen Razer was a broadcaster and is now a writer. Her appointments in radio were at the Triple J national network and ABC Melbourne. Her books include A Short History of Stupid, co-authored with national affairs correspondent Bernard Keane, a 2015 work on the history of bad Western thought shortlisted for the Russell Prize; and Total Propaganda, a popular work on Marxism recently published by Allen & Unwin.
Helen has written on social and political matters for the Age and Australian. She now contributes news and cultural analysis to outlets including Crikey, the Saturday Paper, Daily Review, Frankie, SBS and Atlantic digital publication Quartz.
Jamila is author of the best-selling Not Just Lucky, a career manifesto for millennial women, and The Motherhood, an anthology of letters about life with a newborn. She is Editor-at-Large of the Nine Network’s Future Women and host of their podcast Future Women Weekly. She's also a regular commentator on The Project, Today, The Drum, Q&A, an occasional host on ABC Melbourne and co-founder of the popular event series Tea with Jam and Clare.
She previously worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard Governments, advising on issues including media, women, childcare and employment. Jamila is an Ambassador for CARE Australia and board member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. She has been named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Jeremy, son Rafi and many loads of clean but regrettably unfolded washing.
Deborah Frances-White is a stand up comedian, writer, speaker and podcaster. She is best known as the creator and host of The Guilty Feminist Podcast – which has had 20 million downloads in its first 18 months. It has just been nominated for a 2017 Aria Award for Best Podcast. She is currently writing a Guilty Feminist book for Virago at Little, Brown.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's most respected researchers on social and consumer trends, and head of research at Essential Media. She is the author of Still Lucky: Why You Should Feel Optimistic About Australia and Its People.
Treat yourself to The Festival of Questions – a series of thoughtful, quick-witted and exhilarating discussions that will change how you see the world. It’s one whole day of querying, questioning, wondering and asking why.
In four sessions across one day, we’ll bring together some of the sharpest and funniest thinkers we know. They’ll wrestle with the big questions facing Australia, and the world, today. Think: culture, class and climate; politics and punditry; philosophy and feminism. What are the issues that divide and unite us? Do terms like ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ still have meaning today? Is the world changing too fast, or not fast enough?
Join us for a day of storytelling, comedy, debate, discussion and ... possible disarray. We’ll open our minds and mind the whole world’s business. #festivalofQs
Catch up on some recordings
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