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Arts and culture

Past events

14 October 2021

Women in Australia – How safe? How equal?

With recent reports of the gender pay gap widening, greater numbers of women dropping out of the workforce, and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic and family violence, Edwina and Alison will reflect on the current status of gender equality in Australia, specifically for people living in poverty. They will explore the impacts of COVID on work, caring and families, responses needed for women’s safety, and how economic decisions can entrench or challenge gender inequality.

About the speakers

Edwina MacDonald (she/her)

Edwina is Deputy CEO at the Australian Council of Social Service, the peak body for the Australian community services sector. She has over two decades of experience in driving change on social issues and social justice, human rights, gender equality and civil society, and has worked on research, policy and advocacy in government, university and community sectors.

more about Edwina MacDonald

Alison Aggarwal (she/her)

Alison is a feminist human rights advocate and activist is currently the Director, Policy Advocacy and Research at Chief Executive Women. She has previously held policy roles promoting gender equality and human rights in the federal government, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and in community legal centres. She has also promoted gender equality and human rights through international development projects, and through her work with feminist movements and organisations across the Asia Pacific.

Categories
Arts and culture

Sue Butler

9 September 2021

Weaponising Words
How to insult people effectively

In a world of media and political ‘spin’ we need to be aware of the ways words are weaponised to influence the reader and listener.

There are several ways of influencing debate with words. There is the blunt-weapon approach. Then more subtle ways which turn straightforward and positive meanings on their heads by the application of irony. Finally, to empty a word of all meaning and fill it with the meaning you want it to have against your opposition.

About the speaker

Sue Butler

Sue was the Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, Australia’s national dictionary, and, as Editor, was largely responsible for the selection and writing of new words. In 2017 the Seventh Edition of the dictionary was published, with a revised and updated range of dictionaries in print, online and in digital and app forms. Susan retired as Editor at the end of 2017.

She has written The Dinkum Dictionary published in its third edition in 2009. In 2014 she wrote The Aitch Factor a commentary on usage matters in Australian English. She published an e-book called New Words Changes in Australian English in early 2020 and has published another book on language matters, Rebel without a Clause, in October 2020.

She is also a regular commentator on Australian English on radio, television and the internet and was a TEDxSydney speaker in 2015.
In 2021 she was a speaker at the Adelaide Writers’ Week. She is, as of June 2018, an Honorary Lecturer at the ANU in the College of Asia and the Pacific.
In June 2018, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

more about Sue Butler

Categories
Arts and culture

Ray Kington & Bruce Spence

12 August 2021

COVID-19 & the Performing Arts

Performers such as actors and musicians are being particularly effected by COVID-19. We have two speakers who will brief us on what their respective organisations are doing to help address the plight of performers during the pandemic.

Bruce Spence, as Chairman of the Actors Benevolent Foundation, will explain the foundation’s work of providing assistance to actors, young and old, while Ray Kington, Station Manager at 2MBS Fine Music Sydney, will discuss how his radio station is supporting musicians and composers through awards, music education and the delivery of workshops and showcase broadcasts.

About the speakers

Bruce Spence

A renowned actor with a career spanning almost 50 years, including 100 films, multiple roles in theatre companies in Australia and internationally, as well as TV performances. Bruce Spence will tonight speak as Chairman of the Actors Benevolent Fund (ABF). He will explain the role of the ABF in providing multiple forms of assistance to actors, young and old, and all those associated with the Performing Arts during COVID-19 and beyond.

more about Bruce Spence /Actors Benevolent Fund

Ray Kington

A broadcast professional with a 23-year career in radio at stations including 4VL Charleville, Sun FM QLD, 3BA Ballarat, Hope 103.2 and most recently 2MBS Fine Music Sydney. In his role as Station Manager at 2MBS Fine Music Sydney, Ray is responsible for supporting music education and the promotion of Australian musicians and composers through a variety of award, scholarship and broadcast opportunities.

more about Ray Kington / Fine Music Sydney

Categories
Education

Dr Jen Skattebol

10 June 2021

COVID-19 and its effects on children & young people

As we take a rear-vision view of the lock-downs of 2020, we know now that substantial inequalities opened up as our schools and early childhood centres closed. Families were unequally prepared for the challenge of teaching their children at home.

It was hard on children to be socially isolated, to learn online, and some children were confined to home environments that were not always safe. Many simply vanished from the school system and have not returned. All these experiences cast a shadow forward from 2020 into the future.

Teenagers have also faced a loss of work and earning opportunities. At a time when social engagement is so important, most are still learning online at TAFE and Universities.

Where will this new-normal take us? What social policies are required to ameliorate the problems that have been created?

About the speaker

Introduction by Margaret Vickers

Dr Jennifer Skattebol, Dip Ed (EC), B.Ed., PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at SPRC, UNSW Sydney. She has worked extensively with government and non-government bodies on issues related to early years education, child and youth poverty and how service systems might better meet the needs of these young Australians and their families.

MORE ABOUT Dr Jen Skattebol

Categories
HEALTH

Mary-Louise McLaws

13 May 2021
Mary-Louise McLaws

COVID-19 update:
13 months after the pandemic began, we are adjusting to a ‘new normal’: closed borders, QR codes and caution about possible new outbreaks. Will widespread vaccination bring this situation to an end?

About the speaker

Mary-Louise McLaws is an epidemiologist with extensive national and international experience in disease control. Her COVID-19 related activities include: member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program Experts Advisory Panel for Infection Prevention and Control Preparedness, Readiness and Response to COVID-19 and member of the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission COVID Infection Prevention and Control taskforce

MORE ABOUT MARY-LOUISE McLAWS

Categories
Politics

Geoffrey Watson SC

18 March 2021
Geoffrey Watson SC

Sleepwalking towards a cliff

Confidence in Government is shattered. How did this happen? How can we fix it? Why we need a National integrity Commission.

About the speaker

Geoffrey Watson SC specializes in product liability, professional negligence, general insurance and appeals. He has a national practice, appearing in the High Court, the Federal Court and the Supreme Courts of each of the States and Territories; his clients include governments both Federal and State, government agencies, all major insurers; and the major mining, industrial and banking houses. He was the former Counsel assisting in ICAC and the Police Integrity Commission. He is active in pro bono work for asylum seekers. Geoffrey Watson also pursues academic work and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the university of Notre Dame. He is currently a Director at the Centre for Public Integrity.

MORE ABOUT GEOFFREY WATSON QC

Categories
Politics

Bruce Wolpe

16 December 2020
Bruce Wolpe

US Election Wrap-up

Bruce will discuss the Nov 3 US presidential election and the vote by the Electoral College that is to occur on December 14 in the US. This is a special pre-Christmas 1-hour event, with plenty of time for questions and discussion.

About the speaker

Bruce Wolpe is a Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the United States Studies Centre. Bruce is a regular contributor on US politics across media platforms in Australia. In recent years, Bruce has worked with the Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama’s first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM’s chief of staff. He is author of The Committee, a study of President Obama’s legislative agenda in Congress (University of Michigan Press, 2018). From 1998-2009, Bruce was a senior executive at Fairfax Media in Sydney. He is also the author of Lobbying Congress: How The System Works (Congressional Quarterly Books, 1990, 1996).

MORE ABOUT Bruce Wolpe

Categories
Politics

Pat Anderson+Prof. Megan Davis

12 November 2020
Pat Anderson & Megan Davis

Uluru Statement from the Heart: an update

Professor Davis joins Pat Anderson in bringing to the Balmain Institute a recounting of the long tradition of Aboriginal activism leading to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, with an update of its current status, and take your questions.

About the speakers

Pat Anderson AO, is an Alyawarre women, who has a long and distinguished career as a champion for social justice and Constitutional recognition for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. Her many accomplishments include being instrumental is promoting health services for First Nations peoples. She is currently Director of the Lowitja Health & Research Centre, and was formerly co-chair of the Referendum Council which facilitated 10 Regional discussions about forms of recognition desired by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.

MORE ABOUT Pat anderson

Megan Davis is a Cobble Cobble woman from the Barrungam Nation. She currently is the Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous, Professor & Belnaves Chair in Constitutional Law at UNSW. She is known for her scholarly articles and her activism in promoting the rights & recognition of First Nation people. Professor Davis was part of the Referendum Council canvassing First Nations peoples in the ten Regional Councils resulting in the Uluru Convention leading to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017.

MORE ABOUT MEGAN DAVIS

Categories
Politics

Bruce Wolpe

8 October 2020
Bruce Wolpe

One month from the US elections: An update

Bruce will discuss the state of the presidential election campaign and the strategies of President Trump and Vice President Biden; look at the national polls and the key swing states and the Electoral College; and provide an overview of the congressional elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives.

About the speaker

Bruce Wolpe is a Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the United States Studies Centre. Bruce is a regular contributor on US politics across media platforms in Australia. In recent years, Bruce has worked with the Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama’s first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM’s chief of staff. He is author of The Committee, a study of President Obama’s legislative agenda in Congress (University of Michigan Press, 2018). From 1998-2009, Bruce was a senior executive at Fairfax Media in Sydney. He is also the author of Lobbying Congress: How The System Works (Congressional Quarterly Books, 1990, 1996).

Categories
Politics

Professor Sarah Palmer

17 September 2020
Prof. Sarah Palmer

Confronting Covid-19What are the prospects for the Covid-19 pandemic in the months and years ahead? Should we be hopeful?

The new coronavirus, 1000 times more infectious than the flu and with far greater potential health complications, has now spread worldwide and caused the largest human pandemic since the emergence and spread of HIV in the early-1980s.

This presentation will discuss what makes this novel virus so dangerous, debilitating and deadly, how we can best confront and contain it, and the impact of the pandemic on those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and persons living with HIV. Looking ahead, the talk will also assess current progress toward a vaccine—the most likely pathway for getting back to a “new normal.”

About the speaker

Sarah Palmer is the Co-Director of the Centre for Virus Research at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research and a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney School of Medicine. She is a world-renowned HIV researcher who received her PhD at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden focussing on medical virology. She conducted her post-doctoral studies at Stanford University, Centre for AIDS Research. For 8 years Professor Palmer directed the core virology laboratory for the HIV Drug Resistance Program at the National Institutes of Health in the USA. Her expertise in identifying parts of HIV proteins likely to stimulate human white cell responses has now been applied to an on-going COVID-19 project at Westmead.

Categories
Politics

Brigit Busicchia

Thursday 13 August 2020
Brigit Busicchia

The question of food security –
from household to global

There are many ways to think about food. You can think about political and cultural aspects, about natural or agricultural aspects, about ethics, or about economic activity. If food can provide pleasure and gratification, it can also be a source of anxiety particularly when access to food becomes problematic.

During the COVID 19 lockdown, Australia and many other economies experienced something very unusual: some market shelves were empty day after day, of staple items such as pasta, rice, sugar, flour. Why did this happen? What are the politics of and changes in food production and distribution highlighted in the context of pandemics such as COVID-19?

The government took the initiative to reassure us by reaffirming that Australia was food secure and there was no reason to panic. But how did everyday people feel?

This talk discusses these issues of food security using the example of flour to show what happens when the established order surrounding our basic food supplies are disrupted.

About the speaker

Brigit Busicchia PhD and Associate Lecturer in Sociology, Macquarie University.  One of her favourite research areas is the political economy of food where she tries to understand the key historical and political drivers organising the production and redistribution of food resources.  In addition to her lecturing and teaching appointment, she is also interested in the question of food justice.  Her latest research is about food insecurity among Australian university students.  She is a regular contributor to The Conversation.

Categories
Politics

Prof. Veena Sahajwalla

Thursday 16 July 2020
Prof. Veena Sahajwalla

The new microrecycling science and microfactories
for transforming waste into value-added materials

About the speaker

Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer, and inventor revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials.’

In 2018, Veena launched the world’s first e-waste MICROfactorieTM and in 2019 she launched her plastics MICROfactorieTM, a recycling technology breakthrough. She is producing a new generation of green materials and products made entirely, or primarily, from waste.

Veena heads the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits. In 2019 she was appointed inaugural Director of the Circular Economy Innovation Network by the NSW Government through its Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer.

Categories
Politics

Michael West

Thursday 11 June 2020
Michael West

The rising power of corporations in democracy

Veteran Journalist, Michael West reluctantly turned media entrepreneur, will talk about the crisis in media, the rising power of corporations in democracy and what we can do about it.

About the speaker

Michael West spend eight years at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and eight years at Fairfax Media (now Nine Entertainment) before striking out on his own to produce journalism of high public interest.
West is a Walkley-award winner and Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

Categories
Politics

Bates Gill

Thursday 14 May 2020
Bates Gill

How will Australia’s relations with its number one trading partner look in the post Covid-19 era?

As the political and economic disruptions of the pandemic become clearer, what impacts can we expect it to have on Australia’s critically important relationship with China?

This presentation will examine both the promise and perils of ties with our giant neighbour, and whether we  should expect Australia-China relations to remain the same or change dramatically in the years ahead.

About the speaker

Bates Gill  has a30-year career as a professional China-watcher. He is an  author, scholar,  policy advisor, and  internationally-respected expert on Chinese politics and foreign affairs.  He has lived and worked  in China, Europe, and the United States, and is now Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University.   Dr Gill  co-authored  China Matters: Getting it Right for Australiaa go-to guide for understanding the risks  and opportunities ahead for Australia-China relations.

Categories
Politics

Kribo Ackerman

Thursday 5 March 2020

Acting locally on climate change

In this time of climate anxiety it’s more important than ever to take action in our private lives and local communities to create a low-carbon future.

Join Kribo Ackerman, Engagement Officer with the Green Living Centre (an initiative of Inner West Council), for an interactive discussion about the most effective actions we can take and how to connect with others taking action in our community.

Categories
Politics

Rick Emory McGary

BI-web-banner-Rick-Emory-McGary

Thursday 14 November 2019

It didn’t end with the Hougoumont –
The ongoing penal colonialisation of Indigenous Australia.

*The Hougoumont was the last convict ship to arrive in Australia – 1868

Rick Emory McGary is a legal academic and is currently obtaining a PhD in law at the ANU’s National Centre for Indigenous Studies on the topic of Racism in the Criminal Law of Australia studying under Professor Mick Dodson.

Rick has a long personal and family history of fighting institutional racism in the courtroom. He is himself a mixed race Texan with significant Cherokee Indian ancestry, a former researcher for the Innocence Project of Texas, the son of an international womens’ rights lawyer, and the grandson of the attorney who desegregated Texas public schools. Currently living in Canberra, Rick is incredibly grateful for the opportunities he is receiving in Australia, and hopes to help make a difference here as well.

more about Rick Emory McGary
Categories
Politics

Shayne Higson

BI-web-banner-Shayne-Higson

September 12, 2019

Dying with Dignity: one small step or one giant leap?

For most Australians providing this compassionate option is a natural progression in end of life care but for others it is considered a ‘crossing the Rubicon’ moment for our society.

Join Shayne Higson, Vice President of Dying with Dignity NSW, in an interactive discussion about voluntary assisted dying laws, why they are needed, how they differ around the world and when we are likely to see the next Bill introduced in NSW.

more about Shayne