The Future of Australian Democracy
Australian Parliamentary Democracy
Eminent speechwriter Graham Freudenberg AM nominated the preservation and enhancement of Australian parliamentary democracy as Gough Whitlam's life-long cause, 'from which all else flowed'. Whitlam was a great parliamentarian, and he deliberately cultivated parliamentary skills because he believed that the parliament’s authority, process and outcomes were central to Australian democracy.
This public policy work area draws on the historical foundations of our Parliamentary system to facilitate responsible Parliamentary government in the 21st Century.
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.
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
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.”
The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University and Nura Gili, UNSW Sydney hosted a one-day Symposium in February 2018. Read some of the papers and presentations, including a rallying speech by the Hon. Linda Burney MP, here.
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.
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.
The four authors of these papers address the topic from different disciplines and experiences: philosophy, history, the law, political science, management practice and politics.
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.
The Whitlam Institute is pleased to announce an exciting upcoming event Run For Your Life: Former NSW Premier and Foreign Minister Bob Carr in conversation with Whitlam Institute Chair the Hon. John Faulkner.
As part of the memoir-launch, Carr and Faulkner will offer audiences personal insight into the Whitlam legacy and in particular the impact Gough Whitlam had on one of Labor’s most long-serving and formidable leaders.
Tim Soutphommasane will deliver his final speech as Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Whitlam Institute, looking back at the nation-building significance of the Racial Discrimination Act (1975), the importance of a bipartisan approach to race, and reflect on contemporary debates relating to race and identity. Tim’s speech will be followed by a bipartisan panel discussion featuring the Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP and Dr John Hewson AM. Panellists will provide frank and robust responses to the speech, and engage in an audience Q&A. We look forward to respectful debate and open-minded contributions.
Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders explores the stories of a selection of NSW women who were leaders and trailblazers in public sector work, alongside the perspectives of women working in key public sphere roles today.
Melding past and present, this unique exhibition asks provocative questions about women, the public sphere and leadership. Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders is a new exhibition curated and produced by State Archives and Records NSW, presented at the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University from 26 April to 27 July 2018.
To celebrate the arrival of touring exhibition The Way of the Reformer | Gough Whitlam in his Century in Broken Hill, the Hon. John Faulkner, Chair of the Whitlam Institute, will speak at Trades Hall about the legacy of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the government he led.
What has happened to the project of Indigenous self-determination initiated by the Whitlam Government? Join us for a one-day symposium to reflect on the project of Indigenous self-determination and its various dimensions, presented by the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University and Nura Gili, UNSW Sydney.
“If everyone thinks outside the box, what happens to the box?”
Fixed four year terms – are they as logical and straightforward as they seem? What are the real or perceived obstacles, and how can they be overcome?
Indigenous Australians make up 27% of the national prison population – a statistic that has almost doubled from 14% at the time of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Almost 79% of Indigenous Australians in custody have been in prison before.
The Honourable Michael Kirby – jurist, academic and former Justice of the High Court of Australia, has warned that holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage legislation would set a dangerous precedent in this country.