Ideas and Society

The Ideas and Society program is a series of debates and public lectures convened by Professor Robert Manne that consider critical questions of the times. The program brings some of Australia's leading thinkers and public figures to the university.

In 2018, the Ideas & Society Program will engage with some of Australia’s pre-eminent community leaders in their respective fields to discuss how do we become a Better Australia?

Events are streamed live on the day.

How human rights can be defended and extended

Gillian Triggs and Julian Burnside come together for what promises to be a fascinating conversation of national importance as they consider how the regime of human rights in Australia can best be defended and extended.

Australian Foreign Policy in a contested Indo-Pacific Region

Keynote Address from the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs followed by a La Trobe University panel discussion.

Looking Outward: The Case for Compassion and Hope with Tim Costello

Join Tim Costello and Jon Faine for what promises to be an enlightening conversation, examining pathways towards building a better Australia.

Bendigo writers festival

Since 2013 the festival has hosted a changing lineup of distinguished authors, publishers, creative artists and writers of all genres.

Kevin Rudd on China’s rise and a new world order

As President Xi Jinping consolidates his power, China increasingly presents a confident and at times assertive face to the wider world.

The Rise of the Right?

Will the future of politics in the West be determined by the kind of anti-establishment populism these separate developments seem to represent?

The Hon. Paul Keating on our role in Asia in the Trump era

The Hon. Paul Keating on our role in Asia in the Trump era

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and World History: A Centenary Reflection

February 2017 marks the centenary of one of the most significant moments in the history of the twentieth century—the Russian Revolution.

How to respond to China’s rise?

Hugh White will debate his thesis with leading China foreign and defence policy expert Linda Jakobson

Australian politics from Whitlam to Turnbull: change and continuity

Michelle Grattan and Robert Manne discuss Australian political culture.

Islam: What are we afraid of?

A discussion between Waleed Aly and Robert Manne.

Australia's 'hunting grounds': power, privilege and preventing violence

Ideas and Society panelists discuss power, privilege and presenting violence on university campuses.

Writing in dark territory

Ramona Koval talks with Helen Garner and Anne Manne about writing on some of the darkest aspects of human experience.

Hope, at last? Prospects for the planet after Paris.

A conversation between Clive Hamilton and Robert Manne.

The Reef - A Passionate History

Iain McCalman talks with Robert Manne about this wonder of nature and what needs to be done to protect it.

Fear and Greed? Australia-China Relations

How should Australia navigate its relationship with China, are we prompted by greed, fear or some other mix of forces?

Words and Images

Anne Manne talks to Robyn Davidson and Raimond Gaita

Intergenerational Fairness

Will the next generation be worse off than the last?

Beyond Extreme

Internationally respected commentator Tariq Ali talks with Australia’s foremost political anaylst, Robert Manne, about what needs to change and how that can happen.

The Future of the Australian University

Hear Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University and Chair of the Federal Ministerial Universities’ Legislation & Financing Working Group, on the prospects for the University in Australia.

What really happened at Gallipoli?

A Conversation between Robin Prior, Carolyn Holbrook and Robert Manne

What's next for Journalism?

Emeritus Professor Robert Manne and guests explore the future of journalism.

Australian Futures Project Forum

Emeritus Professor Robert Manne co-hosts a forum with the Australian Futures Project that explores enabling business leaders to drive change for a flourishing Australian future.

The Future of Australian Manufacturing

Emeritus Professor Robert Manne and guests explore the future of manufacturing in Australia.


Professor Raimond Gaita and author Alex Miller come together for a conversation about Mr Miller's remarkable award‐winning novels set in what he calls the Stone Country

In Search of Lucidity

Professor Robert Manne and Professor Raimond Gaita meet for an Ideas and Society event in the midst of the Bendigo Writers Festival

Our Nation's War

Joan Beaumont in discussion with Ideas and Society Convenor Professor Robert Manne about the centenary of the First World War.

Racism in Australia

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane and Robert Manne in conversation on amendments to the Race Discrimination Act.

Communicating science

Professor Adrienne E Clarke, Robyn Williams, Elizabeth Finkel and Robert Manne discuss the challenges of communicating science to the public.

Sport has the power to change the world

Mick Malthouse, Russell Hoye, Margot Foster and Robert Manne debate sport's power to make change.

Is Melbourne still the intellectual capital of Australia?

Watch Melbourne's intellectual heavy-hitters fight for the city's reputation at this free panel discussion at Melbourne Now.

What will the Abbott government do?

Panellists explore the economy, climate change, and asylum seekers.

The Personal and the Political

with Bob Brown, Dennis Altman and Robert Manne

Sex, Desire and Nature in Australian Fiction

Hear from Carrie Tiffany and Kerryn Goldsworthy

Global Warming: Do the math

Hear from the USA’s most important climate change writer and activist, Bill McKibben.

Julian Assange and Wikileaks | Philosophy, Politics, Plight

Greg Barns, Julian Burnside AO QC, Robert Manne, and Mary Kostakidis (Chair)

The Science and Politics of Climate Change

A discussion on climate change between Prof. David Karoly and Prof. Robert Manne

Can We Feed 9 BILLION in 2050?

Panel: Tim Costello, Elizabeth Finkel, Philip Keane, and Snow Barlow

Big FAT Ideas

BFI-tile-thumb2Focused, Ambitious and Transformative ideas - The latest series is online now.