La Trobe and OurSay talk sustainability

OurSay Logo

Fate or Free will: Can we create our future?

"Our habits are having negative impacts on the quality of life across the planet. Can humans solve problem of climate change, global poverty and human rights abuses? Is the future in our hands or the hands of fate? What type of knowledge will change the way we approach these issues?"


La Trobe University and OurSay would like to know what questions need to be asked in order to create a better future.

The three questions with the most votes will receive an iPod Nano and be the topic for a live panel discussion on Thursday the 12 July at La Trobe University as part of the Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC).

What's an 'OurSay'?

Inspired by citizen journalism, OurSay provides the community the opportunity to ask questions of decisions makers and thinkers the questions that matter to them most.

While social media has meant we are connected like never before, it has also means that we have become disconnected from politics and leadership, which is driven by the 24 hour media cycle, sounds bites and superficiality.

OurSay is based on the belief that media is driven by fast paced, controversial and conflict based reporting, rather than allowing citizens to voice their concern on genuine issues. It works like this:

  • Post! Post a question you want asked, about the issues that matter to you.
  • Vote! Check out other peoples questions and vote for the ones you like (Remember you only have 7 votes!).
  • Get friends to vote! Use social media to spread the message about your favorite question or theirs.
  • Watch! the most voted on questions will then be taken to decision makers and people in charge for response.
  • Discuss! Talk about the response and bring new ideas to the table!

Sounds interesting?

Our respondents

Chair: Professor Carol Adams

Professor Carol Adams is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) at La Trobe University and was previously Dean of the Faculty of Law and Management.  Professor Adams is also the Director of the La Trobe Institute of Social and Environmental Sustainability. As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) she works to embed social, environmental and economic sustainability into the fabric of the University through research, education and operations.
Professor Kate Auty, Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability

Professor Kate Auty, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability 

Kate Auty has an extensive legal and academic background. She has worked as a magistrate in Western Australia and Victoria, and she established the first Victorian Koori Court and acted as inaugural Koori Court Magistrate. She has undertaken a number of consultancies, including a project on local government and climate change for the National Environmental Law Association. Professor Auty was appointed as the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in 2009.

Prior to her current appointment, Professor Auty was a Charles Joseph La Trobe Fellow with the Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities at La Trobe University. She also served as Chairperson of the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council for Climate Change Adaptation and as a member of the Premier’s Reference Group on Climate Change.
Professor Dennis Altman, academic and author

Dennis Altman, Academic and Author

Professor Dennis Altman is a writer and academic who first came to notice with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation in 1972. A renowned activist, he is the Director of the Institute of Human Security at La Trobe University and was appointed the Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University in 2005. He is an expert in human rights and justice, gender, culture and sexuality. He is the author of 11 books, including Gore Vidal’s America, and 51st State? which explores sexuality, politics and their global interrelationships.
Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia

Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia

Andrew Hewett joined Oxfam in 1991 initiating Oxfam’s advocacy programs and coordinating Oxfam’s international response to the Timor-Leste crisis between 1999 and 2001. He became the Executive Director of Oxfam Australia in 2001. A renowned voice on climate change, global poverty and humanitarian issues, Andrew is a contributor to the ABC’s The Drum and The Punch. He is a committee member for the Australian Council of International Development and a co-chair of the Make Poverty History coalition.