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Lucky but lame — Australia’s unhappy relationship with risk with Mark Kenny
Presented as part of 'A Foreign Country: Travels through the Past' series
'A Foreign Country: Travels through the Past' is a series of fortnightly lectures hosted by the State Library of NSW on Tuesday evenings at 5.30 pm between 31 August and 9 November 2021 .
Australia used to be revered as a social laboratory, unencumbered by class and possessed of a free-wheeling confidence in modernity. Home to the oldest union-based labour party in the world, it was the first country to mandate an eight-hour working day, the minimum living wage and compulsory arbitration, and the first to extend the full electoral franchise to women. Many other reforms followed. Yet in the twenty-first century, the ‘young and free’ country exhibits a social and political arthritis. This lecture contrasts Australia’s image as secular, progressive and egalitarian with the reality of its risk-averse politics.
Host of the popular ANU podcast, (Democracy Sausage) the Australian Studies Institute’s Professor Mark Kenny is the author of countless articles and columns and is a regular commentator on Australian and international TV and radio. His most recent publication is: ‘Banks, Marriage Equality, Climate: How Malcolm Turnbull’s retreat hastened his own demise’ in From Turnbull to Morrison: The Trust Divide, edited by Mark Evans, Michelle Grattan and Brendan McCaffrie. He is a former chief political correspondent/national affairs editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times, and is currently vice-president of the National Press Club.
A Foreign Country: Travels through the Past series includes
- 31 August Will Christie, ‘A public lecture on public lecturing’
- 14 September Anna Johnston, ‘The platypus journal and the felon press: Science and print culture in colonial Tasmania’
- 28 September Trevor Burnard, ‘Legacies of Atlantic slavery and British colonialism’
- 12 October Victoria Haskins, ‘Family histories and the memory of nations: Reflections on my great-grandmother’s fight against Aboriginal child removal in the 1930s’
- 26 October Mark Kenny, ‘Lucky but lame — Australia’s unhappy relationship with risk’
- 9 November Jennifer Milam, ‘Thomas Jefferson’s gardens’