In Conversation: Is Australiaʼs Democracy Healthy?

Is Australiaʼs Democracy Healthy? In the era of Trump and the rise of the oligarchs across the world, is Australiaʼs democracy vulnerable to an oligarch, if not, why? Is Australia really a classless society? After decades of economic prosperity, is there greater income disparity now than in 1945? How does this impact on the health of our democracy? How do we treat minorities? How do we treat our First Nations people? Join us for a stimulating discussion about the health of our democracy with a Panel of Senator Kristina Keneally and Professor Andrew Jakubowicz with Moderator Quentin Dempster. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Our guests will be welcomed by Genia McCaffery, President of the North Sydney Community Centre Committee of Management, and previous Independent Mayor of North Sydney.

A glass of wine will be served on arrival.

*Please note event panel members may change due to speaker availability at this particularly busy time leading up to an election.

Panellist: Kristina Keneally

Senator for New South Wales. A Member of the Parliament of New South Wales from 2003–12, Kristina is the 42nd Premier of New South Wales (2009–11) and the first woman to hold the office. Kristina served as the CEO of Basketball Australia from 2012- 2014. She was part of the Sky News team that won a Walkley Award and a Logie for its live coverage of the Australian federal election in 2016. Kristina served as an Adjunct Professor at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, where she directed the Women in the MBA (WiMBA) program. In 2015 Kristina was appointed by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as a Member of the Referendum Council to advise on progress and next steps towards a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. Ms Keneally has served on a range of benevolent boards and charities including her role as the Chairman South Cares, the charitable arm of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, as a Board Member of The McKell Institute and as a Board Director of The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. She is an Ambassador of both Opportunity International Australia and The John Berne School. Ms Keneally is the former Patron of Stillbirth Foundation Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Dayton in Ohio. She has published many articles in academic and popular publications on religion, politics and feminism.

Panellist: Andrew Jakubowicz

Andrew Jakubowicz (BA Hons, PhD, FRSN,MAICD) is Emeritus Professor of Sociology in the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the author of books on multiculturalism, media racism and diversity, and cyber-racism and community resilience. His many articles are standard references in teaching around Australia, ranging from his study on media manipulation during the first Iraq War (The Invisible Ally) to Political Islam in Australia. His nearly 50 pieces online in The Conversation have received 250,000 visits and 4000 comments.

Facilitator: Quentin Dempster

Quentin Dempster is a journalist, author and broadcaster, currently contributing editor of The New Daily, an online Australian news website. For 30 years he was a presenter, producer, interviewer, investigative and political reporter at the ABC. He has just completed four years as chairman of the Walkley Foundation, a not-for-profit media industry leader administering the annual Walkley awards for excellence in journalism and programs for the professional development of journalists. He is a former staff-elected director of the ABC and is a well known advocate for public broadcasting. He is the author of three books: Honest Cops (1992), Whistleblowers (1997) and Death Struggle - how political malice and boardroom power plays are killing the ABC (2000). In 1992 he was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services “to the media, particularly in the fields of journalism and current affairs”.

Facilitator: Genia McCaffery

Genia McCaffery was Mayor of North Sydney from 1995 - 2012. She was President of the Australian Local Government Association from 2010 - 2012. She was President of Local Government (NSW) from 2004 - 2010. During her time as Mayor she served on a number of Boards including the EPA and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Genia is an Independent and is passionate about the Environment, recognition of our First Nations People and the community. Sheʼs currently Mentoring Mayors and Councillors in NSW, rediscovering her artwork and active in resident action in North Sydney.