Democracy today with an eye on tomorrow

Event Date: 
19 August 2013
Event Type: 
Public Forum
Event Location: 
Trades Hall Auditorium 4 Goulburn St Sydney
Event Time: 
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Event Cost: 
Monday 12 August 2013 to Valerie Wilden at the Whitlam Institute by email to or by phone on (02) 9685 9187
A public conversation

The Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, Catalyst and Unions NSW are jointly hosting this exceptional gathering of internationally renowned thinkers for an all too rare public conversation on the questions that are shaking western democracies to their foundations.

•Can democracy develop or flourish except as it is bounded, contained and framed by the constitutional state?
•Is representative democracy really past its 'used by' date?
•Can 'direct' democracy deliver?
•Is there a point at which inequality destroys any claim to democracy?
•Is there a future for social movements in nurturing social learning and shaping public policy?


Peg Birmingham, Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University, has carved out an international reputation for her work on contemporary political thought, ethics, human rights and feminist theory. She is the author of Hannah Arendt and Human Rights (Indiana University Press, 2006) and co-editor (with Philippe von Haute) of Dissensus Communis: Between Ethics and Politics (Koros, 1995). She is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled: "Hannah Arendt and Political Glory: Bearing the Unbearable".

Michael Goodhart, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburg, is breaking new ground on the interplay between democracy, human rights and globalisation, exploring questions such as political responsibility for injustice and on the global appeal of human rights. He is the author of Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom and Equality in the Age of Globalisation (Routledge, 2005), contributing editor of Human Rights: Politics and Practice (Oxford, 2009; 2012), and contributing co-editor of Human Rights in the 21st Century: Continuity and Change since 9/11 (with Anja Mihr, Palgrave, 2011). He recently chaired an American Political Science Association Presidential Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World and authored its report, Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship (2012).

Martin Loughlin, Professor  of Public Law at the London School of Economics & Political Science, is recognised as one of the leading contemporary thinkers and writers on public law and constitutional theory. His publications include The Idea of Public Law (2003) and Foundations of Public Law (2010). He is currently Crane Fellow in the Law & Public Affairs Program and Visiting Professor, Princeton University. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. This is Martin's first visit to Australia.

Anna Yeatman, Professorial Fellow at the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, leads the Institute's premier public policy program, Human Rights and Public Life. Professor Yeatman returned to Australian in 2008 to found the Centre for Citizenship and Policy at UWS where she was Director from 2008-2012. Prior to her return she was a Canada Research Chair in Political Science at the University of Alberta. She has published consistently with her next work (co-edited with Peg Birmingham) The Aporia of Rights: Explorations in Citizenship in the Era of Human Rights, to be published by Continuum.

If you have an interest in hearing from and talking with leading contemporary thinkers on matters democratic, you will not want to miss this 'conversation'. This is a free event and seats will be available on the night but to be sure of a place book your seat early.

Arrival and light refreshments 5:00pm