Past events

Thursday 27 August 05:00pm

In 2020, the threat of a new Cold War between China and the United States deepened. A trade war between the United States and China is now being conducted. President Trump routinely blames China for the coronavirus pandemic. He refers to China not as a competitor but as an “enemy”. But what of Australia? For years, we claimed that Australia did not have to choose between the US and China. Recently relations have changed. Canberra angered Beijing by banning Huawei from its 5G network and calling for a truly independent investigation into the origins of the pandemic. Beijing responded by placing a ban on Australian imports and warning about Australian racism. At La Trobe’s Ideas and Society Program the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Linda Jakobson, the director of “China Matters”, will discuss three questions critical to the future. Why have relations between China and the United States deteriorated? Why has Canberra apparently followed the lead of Washington? Can a new Cold War between China and the United States and its allies be avoided?

Wednesday 08 July 05:00pm

There have been several reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a significant increase in anti-Chinese and anti-Asian racism in Australia, with some verbal and even physical abuse that has created a feeling of uneasiness amongst the Asian Australian population.

Hand leaning against frosted glass

Tuesday 02 June 05:00pm

As a consequence of the comprehensive social shutdown necessitated by the current pandemic, family members were required to stay together for protracted periods. Under these conditions, the frightening possibility of an increase in the number of the instances of domestic violence loomed. We are very pleased that two great young Australian writers—Jess Hill and Rick Morton will join us to discuss domestic violence, its causes, and the possible implications of the COVID-19 social shutdown.

Community seeking refuge during bushfires

Tuesday 17 March 06:15pm

Following the Australian Government’s recommendation to cancel non-essential, organised events over 500 people, La Trobe University has made the decision to cancel this event.  The health and wellbeing of the La Trobe University and broader community is our primary concern and we hope to re-schedule this event at a time when it is appropriate to do so.   All ticket holders will be refunded.  If you have any questions in relation to this event and the cancellation please contact the event organisers at

Corporate worker and tradesman

Wednesday 30 October 06:15pm

The Ideas and Society Program at La Trobe University is very pleased to present two outstanding Australians to discuss this topic. Bill Kelty, as Secretary of the ACTU, was a key player during the Hawke and Keating years and one of the fathers of compulsory superannuation. Jennifer Westacott has been an outstanding public servant and is now an energetic and respected Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia. It is an interesting fact about our country that both came from unprivileged family backgrounds but rose to the top of their professions through hard work, university education and, of course, talent.

A year in review: videos of previous Ideas and Society events