On Wednesday 20 March 2019, the Whitlam Institute hosted a Community Consultation on Human Rights and Technology, as part of a major review by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow and Whitlam Institute Director Leanne Smith discussed the implications of emerging technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Human Rights, and the large audience shared their thoughts and questions. Watch the video here.
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG reviews Whitlam’s particular interest in international law and relations. His strong emphasis on international law, and treaty law in particular, was timely, and became a signature theme of his government and life.
On Friday 8 March 2019, the Spy: Espionage in Australia opened to a sold-out crowd at the Whitlam Institute.
This exhibition, on tour from the National Archives of Australia, reveals the personal experiences of secret agents and the curious history of espionage and counter-espionage in Australia, from Federation through to the present day.
On 6 March 2019, Director Leanne Smith was the guest of Albury City Council, addressing a crowd of Albury locals at the LibraryMuseum on the legacy of the Whitlam Government and Gough’s special relationship with the region. The visit coincides with the showing of Whitlam Institute exhibition The Way of the Reformer: Gough Whitlam in His Century at the Albury Library Museum, on display until 24 March 2019
Professor Hilary Du Cros, E. G. Whitlam Research Fellow A lunchtime symposium delivered at the Whitlam Institute on Tuesday 19 February 2019.
Professor du Cros research presentation included a discussion of the urgent need for up-to-date national mapping of sites of historical and cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
New research from the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University calls for a national database of places of Indigenous historical and cultural significance following revelations that national protection for significant places for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which were introduced during the Whitlam era, have been severely diminished under subsequent governments.
The UN estimates that 90% of casualties in contemporary conflicts are civilians, the majority of whom are women and children, but despite this impact fewer than 4% of signatories to peace agreements and less than 10% of negotiators at peace tables are women.
Professor Heidi Norman presented a symposium on her research into land rights in south eastern Australia, reflecting on the legacy of the Whitlam Government which, she says, was the first government in Australia to seriously take on land rights.
Whitlam’s courageous and monumental final shift away from the White Australia Policy has, and will continue to, go down in Australian history as fundamental building block of the national identity and national unity we share today. There is no going back.
In his Oration, Bret Walker SC spoke to “the need to require our elected representatives and especially their executive delegates in the Ministry and Cabinet, to allow us sufficient information to check them, test them, and remind them of their representative capacity…this irreducible need for information about government is not to be seen through an individualist prism: it is not a personal right, but rather an imperative of a representative, parliamentary democracy.”
In Charting Uncertainty Professor Sharon Bell sounds an alarm for universities that are missing opportunities to ‘help address those great challenges of our time and tie the higher education sector to an urgent national and global endeavour’.
This 17th Perspectives paper is by Justine Grønbæk Pors, Associate Professor in the Copenhagen Business School. It makes a claim for a deeper conversation about education, which is captured in the paper title: What kind of children will we get out of this?
Twenty-five years on from the first release of Michael Pusey's work Economic Rationalism in Canberra, five diverse authors including Pusey himself reflect on how economic rationalist ideas - now more commonly referred to as neoliberal ideas - have shaped policy and debate in Australia.
While there is a great deal to consider in each of these papers the underlying message is the need not simply to be diligent in affirming and preserving the proven strengths of our key democratic institutions but to be looking at this time to institutional development that aligns with our expectations of an open, fair and genuinely democratic society.
Offering a unique perspective as a diplomat, academic and Australia's first Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Dr FitzGerald called on Australia to be confident in pursuing a foreign policy that is independent and also which has a keen eye to our own national interests, and that is principled and consistent both domestically and abroad.
The sixteenth publication in our Perspectives series (released February 2017), The Question for Our Times: Institutional Design for Free Society, by Whitlam Institute Professorial Research Fellow Professor Anna Yeatman, examines what lies beyond market neoliberalism and makes a compelling argument for the existence of a genuine alternative.
As the government looks to frame our engagement with the world in the years ahead, Associate Director Leanne Smith argues that we must find a better coherence between our domestic and foreign policy based on the core principles of our democracy.
The Hon Bob Debus AM explores how lessons from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and beyond have been neglected or ignored. It is the “practical things” that Debus focuses on. “Practical things” that we must not equate with minimal reforms, but see as the actions upon which reform is built and meaningful change is realised.
Gough Whitlam was a master of rhetoric. Professor Yeatman explores the central importance of political rhetoric for creating civil possibility, for articulating and therefore continually creating institutions such as the parliament, the political party, the public sector and the federal system of government.
Dr Edward Nik-Khah's Smoke and Thalidomide is an enthralling examination of the power of economists - and their constructed institutions - in the mobilisation of the US pharmaceutical industry in the 1970s, and their continued influence in how the industry controls our knowledge about drugs today.
Professor the Hon Gareth Evans, in the Perspectives paper, The Role of International NGOs: The International Crisis Group as a Case Study, examines how non-state actors are increasingly of more importance in the prevention and resolution of crisis and conflict.
Examining the role of legislation in catalysing and embedding social change, this paper delivers a succinct history of the Racial Discrimination Act, its passage through Parliament, and its impact on Australia today.
In Gough Whitlam’s Vision of Social Democracy: Parliament and Party, the Honourable Dr Barry Jones AC, takes you on a political expedition spanning several decades from the Whitlam years to present, exploring the international shift away from Social Democracy in the late 1970s through the modern ‘growth as consumption’ economic mindset that has resulted in investment in research, environmental protection or heritage being seen in negative terms.
It is well-nigh impossible to understand contemporary Australia without an appreciation of the origins of neoliberalism, its emergence as the dominant political philosophy of the last thirty years and its institutional impact. These are matters of public interest that go well beyond any one political tradition.
Dr Liz Giuffre has trawled the archives to give us this refreshing cut on the genesis of Double J, in a way that not only captures something of the times and the place that Double J has come to hold in the lives of many hundreds of thousands of young Australians, but also stakes a claim for Double J’s enduring significance.
In its own way, each of these essays suggests that feminism, as a practical political philosophy of civic and public import, has to be brought into relationship with social liberalism and social democracy.
The Whitlam Institute hosted this very special event at St Kilda Town Hall on the evening of Wednesday the 4th of March 2015. Gough's friend and confidant, the unsung hero of Australian public life, Graham Freudenberg AM delivered The Whitlam Institute's Commemorative Gough Whitlam Oration. Graham's chosen topic: Contemporary Relevance, Comrade: Gough Whitlam in the 21st Century. It was an extraordinary occasion.