Festival of Ideas 2017 program

Festival of Ideas –

Is democracy in Australia Working?

Saturday 14th October 2017. Manning Clark House Canberra

9.30 am Arrival and ticket entry Cast your vote at our ballot box on whether you think democracy in Australia is working, then give us your views by writing on paper provided
10.00 am


Welcome and introduction Sebastian Clark – President Manning Clark House Inc
10.15 am


The results of a 30 year survey on what people think of our political system? Professor Ian McAllister – Professor Political Science ANU
11.00 am




Power play in our democratic process including how external groups, the public sector all impact upon our democracy. Dr Russell Ayres – independent policy consultant and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra (UC)

Dr Elizabeth Cham –independent policy consultant based at University of Technology Sydney

12.00 pm Citizen panel – sectoral views on how democracy works for their sector Moderated by Mr Kim Hunyh – politics and international relations lecturer ANU ABC Radio Canberra Drive, presenter and an independent candidate in 2016 ACT election.
12.45 pm Community comments Review of attendee voting and summary of attendee comments
1.00 pm Break for Lunch – multi cultural food available or bring your own Speakers corner –2 min each, pre- registration necessary
1.45 pm Music from Manning Clark Choristers – a short selection of songs sung by choir
2.15 pm The challenge of coverage of different policy in our democracy including in election campaigns Introduction and moderated by Prof Andrew Podger ANU, Press Council member

Prof Steve Garlick – Professor, economist, applied ethicist & wildlife behaviourist

Mr Kim Hunyh – ABC radio presenter and Independent candidate in the last ACT election

3.00 pm Overseas elections and lessons for democracy in Australia – The French election results David Ritchie – former Australian Ambassador to France
3.45 pm If Democracy is failing us, then what can we do about it?Followed by attendee discussion Dr Jean Paul Gagnon – University of Canberra
4.15 – 4.30 pm Finish


Dr Russell Ayres

Dr Ayres is independent policy consultant and an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra (UC). He recently left the Australian Public Service after a career spanning 30 years in and outside the public sector. His professional career has included senior policy roles in early childhood education and care, mental health, disability, Indigenous affairs and higher education and research, and administrative roles in research and evaluation, program delivery and corporate governance. He has represented the Australian Government in various forums, including the OECD, UN and Commonwealth-state negotiations. His research interests include policy development and government decision-making, especially in social policy contexts. Dr Ayres holds a PhD in public administration from UC, with a thesis that considered the role of competitive markets in the provision of policy advice to governments.

Dr Elizabeth Cham

Dr Cham has worked in philanthropy for the last two decades, initially for philanthropic grant-making foundations including the Felton Bequest and was CEO of Philanthropy Australia for ten years from 1996. Last year she was awarded a PhD for a thesis on trustee companies and their role in Australian philanthropy. She has been a director of The Australia Institute for the last four years and is a Research Fellow in the Business School, University of Technology Sydney.

Professor Steve Garlick

Prof Garlick is a spatial economist, applied ethicist, & wildlife behaviourist; founder and was President of Australian Animal Justice Party for seven years. Currently he is honorary professor in the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the founder and joint owner of Possumwood Wildlife organisation. This is a self-funded treatment and accommodation facility and sanctuary for severely injured and traumatised native animals. Through engagement and research it also seeks to learn more about the behaviour of these unique animals to enhance their prospects.

Dr Jean Paul Gagnon

Dr Gagnon is Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Canberra and fellow of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis. A political theorist and philosopher, his work centres on democratic theory and can be accessed at ResearchGate. He is presently writing his next book West by Not West: Essays on Democracy from Parts Unknown.

Kim Hunyh

Kim Huynh teaches politics and international relations at the ANU. He ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 ACT election (GoKimbo.com.au). He has written fiction (Vietnam as if… Tales of youth, love and destiny) and creative non-fiction (Where the Sea Takes Us: A Vietnamese-Australian Story). His academic efforts include co-authoring Children and Global Conflict and co-editing The Culture Wars: Australian and American Politics in the 21st Century. He has also written for Australian newspapers, BBC Vietnamese, is a columnist for The RiotACT and is currently a presenter on ABC Radio Canberra Drive.

Professor Ian McAllister

Professor McAllister is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The Australian National University. He has been director of the Australian Election Study since 1987, a large national post-election survey of political attitudes and behaviour. His recent books include The Australian Voter (University of New South Wales Press, 2012) and Political Parties and Democratic Linkage (Oxford University Press, 2011). Political Science ANU

Manning Clark Choristers

The Manning Clark House committee is keen to establish a choir associated with Manning Clark House. Fleur Millar, renowned vocalist and performer, has agreed to take on the task of establishing the choir under the auspices of her company Fleur De Lys Enterprises. The choir formed in June this year and new members are most welcome. It has a wide repertoire including excerpts from Manning Clark’s History of Australia – The Musical, written in 1988 but never performed in Canberra. For further information please contact Fleur Millar: mob – 0421187688; email – fleurmillar@yahoo.com.au

Professor Andrew Podger

Professor Podger is an honorary Professor of Public Policy at ANU, Adjunct Professor at Xi’an Jiao-tong University in China and Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University in China. He has been a Public Member of the Australian Press Council since 2012.Since joining ANU, initially as an adjunct professor in 2005, he has coordinated and contributed to many workshops of academic experts and practitioners on issues of contemporary relevance to government, including through the Greater China Australia Dialogue on Public Administration, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the HC Coombs Policy Forum. He has published widely on retirement incomes policy, health and health insurance policy, the relationship between politics and administration, public finance management and public personnel management. He spent 37 years in the Australian Public Service in a range of portfolios, specializing mostly in social policy and public management. He was Secretary of the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care from 1996 to 2002, and previously headed the Departments of Housing and Regional Development and Administrative Services. He was Public Service Commissioner from 2002 to 2004.

David Ritchie

David Ritchie was the former Australian Ambassador to France. He joined DFAT in 1975 and had postings in Rome, Tel Aviv, Apia (High Commissioner), Colombo (High Commissioner), London (Deputy High Commissioner) and Paris (Ambassador).  His placements in Canberra included Ministerial Speechwriter (for Gareth Evans), head of the Americas and Europe Division and head of the Pacific Division.  He spent a year at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris, a year as private secretary to Bill Hayden and two years in the Office of National Assessments.  Since retiring in 2012, he has done various jobs for DFAT, the National Security College and the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at the ANU, and, working with former DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese, undertook a review of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the USAsia Centre at the University of Western Australia.

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