Forum 19 February 2020: Voices and Values in the Public Sphere

By | Past Forums


Speakers: The Hon. Dr Ken Crispin QC

When: 7.30pm 19 February 2020

Where: Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

During recent decades public attitudes to issues such as divorce, contraception, abortion, drugs, sexuality and gender identity have changed dramatically. Some see such changes as evidence of moral decline whilst others insist that they reflect moral principles such as fairness and respect for others. Intemperate statements and child abuse scandals have led many to dismiss Christians as sanctimonious, if not hypocritical, moralists. Perhaps paradoxically, long-recognised rights and freedoms have been eroded by new laws and unprecedented government secrecy. Whistle blowers are being prosecuted for revealing government misconduct. Faith in democracy is waning. Within this maelstrom of change, we need to reflect upon the values we affirm and the voices we raise.

The Hon Dr Ken Crispin QC is a leading jurist having occupied the position of DPP for the ACT, a Supreme Court Judge, President of the Court of Appeal. He is currently the Commissioner for Standards for the Legislative Assembly. His most recent publication is A Sceptics Guide to Belief.

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Forum 20 November 2019: Getting the Democracy we want: government with the people

By | Past Forums

“Getting the Democracy we want: government with the people” in partnership with the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD)

Speakers: Beth Slatyer, Peter Tait, Sue Ingram and Petra Cram.

When: 7.30pm 20 November 2019

Where: Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

People everywhere are questioning what is happening to democracy and how governments could better work with “We, the people”. Some have called the current failures of trust and integrity a “democratic recession”.

CAPaD is a community group committed to making democracy work better, through citizen deliberation and action. CAPaD wants a democratic Canberra — where citizens trust their elected representatives, hold them accountable, engage in decision-making, and defend what sustains the public interest. The ACT is an ideal test bed for exploring how to achieve reform.

The group is actively working in three domains:

  • finding ways to create genuine citizen participation in decision making
  • understanding the role of MLAs, the relationship between citizens and their representatives and what a richer notion of accountability might look like
  • exploring community level agenda setting and monitoring, to build system and policy literacy and create the basis for government accountability

Four CAPad members will share what the group is doing and learning, ideas for democratic renewal in the ACT and actions we can take as individuals and in our groups and associations.

Beth Slatyer has a background in health policy and system reform and is an Honorary Fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Through her work with governments and civil society in Australia and overseas she has developed a deep appreciation of how good governance, public interest institutions and accountability underpin equitable and sustainable social and economic systems.

Peter Tait has been a General Practitioner for 38 years, 30 in Aboriginal health in Central Australia. He was the 2007 Royal Australian College of General Practitioners General Practitioner of the Year, and 2017 Public Health Association Australia Sidney Sax medalist. He attained a Masters of Climate Change at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2010. He is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Population Health at ANU Medical School. Peter believes a person’s health is grounded in a healthy society, and a healthy society in a well-functioning ecosystem.

Sue Ingram has a deep interest in governance building on a professional career as a senior executive in the Australian Government, as a senior member of post-conflict peacebuilding missions in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands, as principal governance adviser in AusAID and as an international governance consultant. She holds a PhD in political science based on research into the post-conflict political settlements in Timor-Leste and Bougainville and has joined international election observation missions for the last three national elections in Timor-Leste and Bougainville.

Petra Cram has been a Primary school teacher for 25 years, is committed to excellence in education and also cares deeply for the well-being of Earth and its complex living systems. She is passionate about finding participatory and democratic solutions to the problem of the corporate takeover of our and political lives, and is convinced that a cohesion of our diverse civil society groups, will garner the power needed to create a balance between economic, civic and political forces in our society.

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