Ideas & Society: Does Wikileaks matter?

The 251, 287 semi secret cables published by Wikileaks and their supposed impact on US foreign policy and national security has been the focal point of many debates around the world since December 2010.

wikleaksHas the impact been as grave as we have been led to believe? Doesn’t the technology already exist to allow whistleblowers to leak data and documents while maintaining anonymity? Or is the need for Wikileaks more acute than ever given the collapse of investigative journalism?

Does Wikileaks Matter? will be considered by a panel of leading thinkers on Monday 13 June between 3pm and 5pm at the Wheeler Centre.

Chaired by Peter Beilharz, the panel comprising Robert Manne, Eleanor Townsley, Guy Rundle and Peter Vale will explore WikiLeaks and its implications for access to information, security, first amendment rights and innovation.

The forum is one of the highlights of Word, Image, Action: popular print and visual cultures – Festival of Ideas that runs from 7 – 15 June.

The Festival of Ideas, an initiative of Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology, La Trobe University, includes lectures, invited papers, plenaries, film screenings, artist discussions and a live performance from punk art band The Histrionics.


Eleanor Townsley is the Assistant Professor of Sociology at Mount Holyoke College, USA whose research examines the possibilities of intellectual life in contemporary societies.

Peter Vale
is the Nelson Mandela Professor of Politics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa whose research focuses on social theory and the predicament faced by the humanities in South Africa and elsewhere.

Guy Rundle is a co-founding editor of Arena, a magazine of political and social comment. Formerly a theatre critic for The Age and contributes regularly to The Age, The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald and Spiked, and is currently a Crikey’s global correspondent-at-large.

Robert Manne is Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, Chair of the Board of The Monthly magazine and a frequent public affairs commentator in the press and on the ABC.

Details about the Forum are at:

A webcast will be available following the Forum when it can be downloaded from:


Mark Pearce, Director, Media and Communications Unit on 03 9479 5246 or 0423 783 756.