Category Archives: Events

Secret trials: The illegal bugging of the Timor Leste Cabinet and the extraordinary prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Monday 18 February 2019 at 5.30 for 6pm

Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

Australians reading about secret trials in foreign countries tend to content themselves in the belief that in Australia we have an open court system and an independent judiciary. After all, freedom of speech, the rule of law and an open and independent court system are basic bulwarks of our democracy. Aren’t they? In this talk Ernst Willheim will challenge that comfortable assumption drawing on the extraordinary prosecution  of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery and Witness K for disclosure of the illegal bugging of the Timor Leste cabinet by Australia’s intelligence agency ASIS in the course of bilateral boundary negotiations between Australia and Indonesia. Another Australian intelligence agency ASIO later raided Collaery’s legal office and seized confidential legal advice to his client Timor Leste. The proceedings are being shielded from public scrutiny. Ernst will discuss the importance of openness in judicial proceedings and the importance of the constitutional principle of freedom of political communication in relation to disclosure of wrongful conduct by public authorities.                 

Speaker:  Ernst Willheim is a Visiting Fellow in the College of Law at the Australian National University. Before his retirement he was a senior officer in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department where he headed several policy divisions, established the Office of General Counsel and was its first head, led numerous Australian delegations to international conferences and appeared as counsel for the Commonwealth in the High Court and other appellate courts. He has published widely on international, constitutional, refugee and indigenous law matters. Ernst was a member of the Australian delegation in several rounds of negotiations with Indonesia on the ‘Timor Gap’. He has published and lectured on the importance of open courts and freedom of political communication, two of the issues to be addressed in his talk.


MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $10

Non-members $15.00


20th Manning Clark Lecture with Ken Henry AC

Tuesday 12 March at 6.30pm

Lecture Theatre, Cultural Centre, Kambri Precinct, ANU

(precise location, parking details and a map will be available shortly)

Dr Henry will deliver this year’s lecture in the brand new

Kambri Precinct (to be opened in mid-February).

There will be a Q&A session at the end of the lecture


Dr Henry is an economist, visionary and successful former public servant. He was the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury from 2001 to 2011, serving under both Coalition and Labor Governments. He chaired the Australia’s Future Tax System Review (the Henry Tax Review) in 2010. Following his retirement in March 2011 he was appointed as Special Advisor to Prime Minister Rudd and chaired the committee which produced the White Paper, Australia in the Asian Century, released in mid-2012. Ken Henry was the Chairman of the National Australia Bank until his recent resignation, and is Chairman of the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation at the ANU. He’s also a passionate campaigner for the endangered northern hairy nosed wombat.


MCH members $25; MCH concession members $15; concession

(Government Support) and full-time students $20; non-MCH members $30



End of Year Conviviality


Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

BOOK HEREpartytime

Another year has passed!

A full and rich program has been the hallmark of our 2018 program of activities.

Please join us at MCH for drinks, music and convivial conversation to mark the end of our program for this year. 

MCH members, concession (Government Support) and full-time students –  FREE. Non-members – Gold coin donation

PS: There is a birthday to celebrate as well.

Annual day of ideas – reinterpretation of Australian political stories around World War One and The Dismissal?

Sunday, 11 November, 2018

Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, ACT

10am – 4.30pm

Tickets include lunch – $30 MCH members, $35 concession, $45 non-members

Book here

Day of Ideas

Discussion, food and music – this event has it all. Join us and have your say.

One hundred years ago,  World War One, “the war to end all wars” ended. Exactly 57 years later on the 11th November 1975, the Governor-General Sir John Kerr sacked Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

For Australians, both events are linked by more than just coincidence of dates.

World War One was followed by the worst sectarian divide in Australia’s history, partly caused by the bitterness and rancour surrounding the issue of conscription.

This divide was later exacerbated by the terrible economic slump known as the Great Depression.

The Dismissal also left a deep scar in Australian public life. The heroism and loss of life in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was hailed as the arrival of a distinctive Australian nationalism, but nearly 60 years later The Dismissal raised fundamental questions about the nature and direction of that Australian nation.

The shaping influence of these two key events, and what we should do as Australians to make this a better society, will be addressed in a challenging program of highly respected speakers and discussion.

Program covers presentations and discussion by:

  • Professor Nicholas Brown: Introduction: Is the past really with us in the present?
  • Dr Emily Robertson: Missing in Action: the German enemy
  • Dr Deborah Jordan: Vance and Nettie Palmer, War, Women and Peace
  • Professor Frank Bongiorno: Australia, WWI and the Centenary
  • Mr Percy Knight, Wiradjuri Man: War and Indigenous Australians
  • Professor Jenny Hocking: Why the Dismissal of The Whitlam government matters today.” 
  • Ms Leanne Smith, CEO and Dr Mark Provera, Research Manager, Whitlam Institute
  • Mr Andrew Clark, Senior Journalist, Fairfax media: Wrap Up.
  • Manning Clark Choristers: Fleur Millar, Director – Sam Row, pianist.






Beyond Gallipoli and Anzac Day

MARTIN BAYER: International Remembrance of the First World War

Monday 22 October at 5.30 for 6pm

11 Tasmania Circuit, Forrest, ACT.

MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $10, non-members $15.00


Martin-Bayer-300x386Martin Bayer is a German-born photographer and independent scholar of war serving on an Australian-German research group on First World War commemoration. This talk will discuss differing modes of commemorating that war in various countries and will consider the Australian experience as part of a wider narrative arc examining the international perspective on commemorations.                     

Speaker: Martin Bayer holds a Master of Peace and Security Policy Studies (IFSH/University of Hamburg, Germany) and a BA in War Studies (King’s College London, UK) and besides his vocational education as photographer (Lette-Verein Berlin, Germany). He is author of a First World War centenary study for the German Federal Foreign Office, Not just on Flanders Fields – The First World War as Topic of International Cultures of Commemoration.

Under the label, he gives lectures on topics such as the cultural dimensions of war and organises art exhibitions, such as Landscapes and Memory at the Bavarian Army Museum, Ingolstadt. In 2015-2018, he took part in an Australian-German research group on the contemporary commemoration of the First World War (ADFA/University of New South Wales/Freie Universität Berlin).

His exhibition Germany’s Dead: War, Grief, and Remembrance with photos of German First World War memorials can be seen at the Australian War Memorial, Saunders Gallery, from 5 Oct to 2 Dec 2018.


2018 Dymphna Clark Lecture – Clare Wright’s ‘You Daughters of Freedom’

Wednesday 17 October at 7.00pm

RN Robertson Lecture Theatre, Building 46, ANU

MCH members, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $20

Non-members $25.00


 september 9, 2019 _ 2_00 pm _ findlay residence(1)

Clare Wright’s new book, You Daughters of Freedom, brings to life a time when Australian democracy was the envy of the world—and the standard bearer for progress in a shining new century. For the ten years from 1902, when Australia’s feminist activists won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration.

This epic new history tells the story of that victory—and of Australia’s role in the subsequent international struggle—through the eyes of five remarkable players: the redoubtable Vida Goldstein, the flamboyant Nellie Martel, indomitable Dora Montefiore, daring Muriel Matters, and the artist Dora Meeson Coates, who painted the controversial Australian banner carried in the British feminist activist marches of 1908 and 1911.           

 Speaker:  La Trobe University historian Associate Professor Clare Wright has worked as an author, academic, political speech-writer, historical consultant, and radio and TV broadcaster. Her earlier book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Award for Literature and was shortlisted for many other awards.


Australia’s Intelligence Agencies and the Brave New World of Home Affairs: how we got there and how it matters

Wednesday 19 September at 5.30 for 6pm

Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $10

Non-members $15.00



In December 2017 the Department of Home Affairs was created, assuming many functions from the Attorney General’s Department, including national security policy and coordination, criminal law and law enforcement.

The functions it took over from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet included cyber- and counter terrorism policy coordination, and the new department absorbed the whole of the former Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Professor Blaxland will discuss the implications of these administrative re-arrangements for Australia’s intelligence agencies.

About the speaker:  John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. He is a lead author in the three-volume official history of ASIO, having authored Volume II, The Protest Years, 1963-75 (Allen & Unwin 2015), and co-authored The Secret Cold War, 1975-89 (2016).  John has also published works on the intervention in East Timor, the Australian Army, and on counterinsurgency. He makes regular appearances in the print and electronic media as a commentator on intelligence and security matters.



The problem of justice – Prosecuting Japanese for War Crimes after the Second World War

22 August 5.30 for 6pm

Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $10

Non-members $15.00



After the Second World War in the Asia and the Pacific, the victorious Allied powers prosecuted thousands of Japanese military personnel for war crimes.

The scale of atrocities during the war had been remarkable, but pinning responsibility on specific individuals proved to be more difficult than expected. As a result, some of the justice was rough and ready.

About the speaker: Robert Cribb is Professor of Asian History at the Australian National University. His research focuses on Indonesia, especially issues of national identity, mass violence, environmental politics and historical geography. He has also researched the histories of Japan, Mongolia, Korea and Myanmar. His most recent book, with Sandra Wilson, Beatrice Trefalt and Dean Aszkielowicz, is Japanese War Criminals: the politics of Justice after the Second World War (Columbia 2017), which won the New South Wales Premier’s History Award in the General History category. He is also author of Wild Man from Borneo: a cultural history of the orangutan (Hawai’i 2014, with Helen Gilbert and Helen Tiffin) and the Historical Atlas of Indonesia (Curzon 2000). He is currently working with Sandra Wilson to explain Japanese war crimes in Southeast Asia during the Second World War.


Absolute Power – the pope in the modern world

Speaker: author Paul Collins

13 September 5.30 for 6pm

Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) & full-time students $10

Non-members $15.00


BookPaulCollinsThis is the remarkable story of the last two centuries of the papacy. In 1799, the papacy was at rock bottom: The Papal States had been swept away, Rome had been seized by the Revolutionary French armies, and the cardinals were scattered across Europe. With the next papal election uncertain, it seemed that even if Catholicism survived, the papacy was doomed. And yet, just over 200 years later, the pope’s influence reaches across the world—from Cuban politics to gender equality to the refugee crisis.

Speaker: Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster and writer. A Catholic priest for thirty-three years, he resigned from the active priestly ministry in 2001 due to a dispute with the Vatican over his book Papal Power (1997). He is the author of fifteen books, the most recent of which is Absolute Power. How the pope became the most influential man in the world (New York: Public Affairs, 2018). A former head of the religion and ethics department in the ABC, he is well known as a commentator on Catholicism and the papacy and has a strong interest in ethics, environmental and population issues. He has a Master’s degree in theology (Th.M.) from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in history from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra.

Dead Right – how neoliberalism ate itself and what comes next

Author Richard Denniss in discussion with Genevieve Jacobs

31 July 5.30 for 6pm

 Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

MCH members $5, concession (Government Support) and full-time students $10

Non-members $15.00


Dr Richard Denniss is the Chief Economist and former Executive Director of The Australia Institute. He is a prominent Australian economist, author and public policy commentator, and a former Adjunct Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

Denniss is the author of best-selling Quarterly Essay, Dead Right: How neoliberalism ate itself and what comes next. In Dead Right, Richard explores what neoliberalism has done to Australian society, looks at ways to renew our democracy and discusses everything from the fragmenting Coalition to an idea of the national interest that goes beyond economics.

Genevieve Jacobs has been a journalist for 30 years, working in print and radio. She is the former ABC Mornings presenter and works with a wide range of organisations including the National Folk Festival, Canberra International Music Festival, M16 artspace and Conflict Resolution Service. She has just completed co-chairing the consultative committee for the ACT’s first Reconciliation Day public holiday. Genevieve has an enduring interest in building and strengthening community engagement.