About Ideas and Society

La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society Program has been holding public events on some of the most pressing issues facing our country and world since 2009.

La Trobe University has a proud tradition of civic engagement. Our academic staff have included some of Australia's leading public intellectuals--Judith Brett, Marilyn Lake, Dennis Altman, Inga Clendinnen and John Hirst. As a part of that commitment, since 2009 La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society Program, convened by Robert Manne, has been holding events on some of the most pressing issues facing our country and the world.

The Program believes in the value of discussions of a depth unavailable to the mainstream media and of a general interest not commonly found in the university seminars of academic specialists. In 2021 participants in our events have included:

  • Kevin Rudd
  • Malcolm Turnbull
  • Bec Strating
  • Raina Macintyre
  • Norman Swan
  • Deb Gleeson
  • Tim Flannery
  • Alan Finkel
  • Katie Holmes
  • David Anderson
  • Andrea Carson.

The subjects in 2021 have been the future of the ABC, climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenge of China and the tragedy of Afghanistan.

During the pandemic all our events have been conducted online. This has allowed us to reach larger numbers than ever before with registrations as high as 5,000. As our events always include a Q & A segment, ample opportunity is provided for lively audience participation.

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