Victoria: Lectures at St Michael’s: Make Australia Great Again ….

How do we see the future? What are the main challenges facing Australia as we try and reconcile our history and our geography? How do we see our place at a time of mounting international, not to say, planetary, turbulence? Back by popular demand, Professor Joseph Camilleri OAM will present this two-part lecture series on 5th and 12th of September at St Michael’s Church, Collins Street, Melbourne.


These two lectures focus on Australia: how we see ourselves and ‘others’, how we understand our place in the world, what kind of future we envisage for ourselves and the Earth.

Ours is a time of turbulence, but now on a planetary scale. Many in the western world, Australia included, are anxious about the future, unsure where to turn for guidance or inspiration.

Some seek to exploit these anxieties, offering black and white explanations of our predicament. For some, the problem is immigration, for others Islamic fundamentalism, or simply Islam.

For others still, it is the conspiracy about global warming, or the forces driving globalisation. And so, for them the cure for all our ills is just as simple: cut immigration, or ban Muslims, or keep the coal industry going, or find security in the barrel of a gun.

Hence, Trump’s catch cry ‘make America great again’ and Marie Le Pen’s promise of a revolution of ‘patriots’. Australia’s equivalent voices are less well known but no less shrill.

The questions we need to ask – Tuesday 5 September
Australians are justifiably proud of having built a multicultural society in which people of widely different ethnic, religious and language backgrounds can live peacefully side by side. Yet, many remain suspicious of refugees and boat people, unconvinced of the benefits of immigration, disinclined to learn other languages, uncomfortable about acknowledging Indigenous Australians as custodians of this land.

This lecture will address some of the critical questions now before us:
Are we ready to enshrine in our constitution a ‘Voice for Australia’s First Nations’?
What should be the requirements of Australian citizenship?
How should we respond to the terrorist threat?
How can we best engage with Islam and with our Muslim communities?
What is the appropriate role of religion in the public sphere?

The choices that await us – Tuesday 12 September
Our political leaders often act as if the choice is between economy and environment. This lecture will argue that this is a false choice, and that reconciling economic and environmental priorities holds the key to Australia’s future.

Much has rightly been said about the fragility of Australia’s environment to which our agricultural and industrial practices, our lifestyles and patterns of consumption, and above all our carbon footprint have greatly contributed. Conventional wisdom has it that caring for the environment cannot come at the expense of our economic
prosperity. Similarly, responding to the challenge of climate change cannot mean placing international obligations above our national interests.

But the conventional wisdom may be mistaken. The lecture will canvas other ways of looking at ecological, economic and social wellbeing – and what this means for the national conversation and our public institutions. We have reached a critical point that calls for a radical rethink not just of policies, but also of institutions – and this includes parliaments, political parties, courts, media, schools and universities.


Time and Date: Doors open at 6pm, lecture starts at 6.30pm, Tuesday 5 and 12 September

Location: St Michael’s Place, Hall, Ground Floor, 120 Collins St, Melbourne

Tickets: $20 per lecture or $35 for both (Seats are limited, book early to secure yours)

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