The Fifth Estate

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at Deakin Edge, Federation Square

Social Economics

The Brexit result, the ascendance of anti-establishment figures like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the rise of minor parties ... across the Western world we’re seeing signs of growing frustration with the status quo. How, exactly,  did we get here? What can we learn from past mistakes? What can we learn from past successes?

In a sweeping discussion, presented in partnership with Melbourne Writers Festival, we’ll hear from two writers who favour the long, broad view in their writing about economics: New Yorker staff writer George Packer and veteran Australian journalist George Megalogenis. In their recent books, The Unwinding (Packer) and Australia’s Second Chance (Megalogenis), both Georges have considered the slow, tectonic shifts in society driven by economics, politics and history. Packer’s book describes how economic upheavals in the past three decades have impacted on the lives of individual Americans, while Megalogenis’s looks all the way back to 1788 to trace Australia’s economic and demographic history.

In conversation with Sally Warhaft, join two outstanding Georges for a conversation about the bigger economic picture.



Portrait of George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. His books include The Australian Moment, which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George is also the author of FaultlinesThe Longest Decade, Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era, Australia’s Second Chance and Quarterly Essay 61: Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal.

Portrait of George Packer

George Packer

George Packer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003, covering the Iraq war, American foreign policy, domestic politics, and books. He is the author, most recently, of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (2013), a New York Times bestseller, which won the National Book Award for non-fiction. He has published four other works of non-fiction, including The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq (2005), which received several prizes and was named one of the year’s ten best books by The New York Times Book Review

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

The Fifth Estate

Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. In 2018 – over 100 episodes in – the anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues, as she responds to the most important debates of the day and reignites stories that have fallen off the front pages.

Every second Tuesday, Sally hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs. It’s an event series and a live podcast taping rolled into one. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.


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