Whitlam Institute


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Posts in Future of Aus Democracy
Human Rights + Technology: A Community Consultation with the Australian Human Rights Commission

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.

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Legacy of a Leader: Whitlam's Reforms and Modern Australia

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

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Whitlam Oration: The Information That Democracy Needs

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.”

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Neoliberal Government and its Implications for Public Office and the Welfare State

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.

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Gough Whitlam's vision of the Australian Res Publica: Creating civil possibility in rhetoric and action

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. 

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Gough Whitlam’s Vision of Social Democracy

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.

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Contemporary Relevance, Comrade: Gough Whitlam in the 21st Century

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.

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All living things are diminished

In All living things are diminished: Breaking the national consensus on the environment, the Honourable Bob Debus AM, draws deeply from his knowledge and experience to distil a large body of historical material, policy precedent and political experience to argue that it is not only possible to seriously tackle the environmental issues that bedevil us but that our own experience over recent decades demonstrates what can be achieved.

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Climate Change in a New Democratic Age

Dr Randal G Stewart, author of Climate Change in a New Democratic Age: Why we need more, not less, democratic participation, examines the role of three key groups in the climate change debate - scientists, economists, and the bureaucracy - as the lens through which to consider the capacity of democratic decision-making processes to establish effective climate change policy.

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The Reward of Public Life is Public Progress

"Let me say finally to Mr Tony Whitlam who is here this evening on behalf of the Whitlam family: please pass on to the old man my warmest affection – nay, love – and convey to him, notwithstanding that my words here tonight could not do his public service proper justice, some sense of my belief that he is Australia's greatest white elder and friend without peer of Indigenous Australians."

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Precarious Work

Precarious Work: The Need for a New Policy Framework, by former NZ Attorney General and Labour Minister Professor Margaret Wilson, is a written detailed account of the rise of precarious work arrangements in Australia and New Zealand. Professor Wilson argues that since precarious work is identified with those who work on the margins of the labour market, such as women, young workers and older workers, we must look at how best to structure the policy agenda to protect those who are currently the most vulnerable.

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Politics, Independence and the National Interest: the legacy of power and how to achieve a peaceful Western Pacific

In a speech delivered to a large audience which included politicians from both sides of the House, Mr Fraser called for greater cooperation between political parties. His wide ranging address also covered issues of immigration and foreign affairs including the nation's alliance with the United States and our relationship with China.

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