Talking Justice 2015 Program announced

Talking Justice logo Is there always a clear and just solution to every legal problem? How do we approach a conversation around justice that respectfully acknowledges different perspectives? What is the place of the law and justice in a free society?

Quality public discussion around justice issues is critical. Our understanding of what is meant by ‘justice’ has real and immediate impacts on our lives and the health of our community. At Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre we believe that open dialogue around issues of justice is essential to the success of our work.

In 2014 we held a series of public lectures around issues of justice. Talking Justice 2014 brought some of Australia’s finest writers and thinkers to Bendigo. Our speakers came from diverse backgrounds and perspectives but were distinguished by their passion and active engagement in public life.

More than 240 people bought tickets to our inaugural event and several sessions were booked out. We aim to build on last year’s success in 2015. In 2014 we were thrilled that Martin Krygier agreed to present our speakers and moderate questions. In 2015 we are fortunate to have Melbourne Barrister Dr David Neal SC.

We hope you can join us for a two days of stimulating and provocative discussion at Bendigo’s magnificent new performing arts venue, Ulumbarra Theatre.


On Friday night, at the tail end of Law Week 2015, former Australian of the Year Professor Mick Dodson will open the event with a discussion about welfare, entitlement and recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Professor Dodson will be followed by Dr Helen Szoke, CEO of Oxfam Australia, who will consider these issues in a national context, then shift our gaze to the global context, where need continues to outstrip compassion.

On Saturday morning, we anticipate a lively and emotive discussion as Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, Muslim activist Lydia Shelly and Rob Stary unpack the complex issues surrounding racism, radicalisation and free speech.

After lunch, former Boyer lecturer Eva Cox, Research Economist Warwick Smith, Haven CEO Ken Marchingo and Professor Mick Dodson take Joe Hockey’s “lifters and leaners” comments as their departure point for a discussion around entitlement and obligation, wealth and poverty.

Later, doctor and non-communicable diseases activist Dr Allesandro Demaio, Member for Ripon Louise Staley MP, and Ange Barry, CEO of Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Project, debate health and state intervention.

Friday Night Opening (15 May 2015) 
6:30 Welcome to country
6:45 Mick Dodson – is constitutional recognition enough?
7:20 Helen Szoke – entitlement, obligation and global poverty
7:55 Questions
8:15 Drinks/canapés

Saturday Morning (16 May 2015)
Engagement in a Context of Hostility
9:35 Tim Wilson
10:00 Lydia Shelly
10:25 Robert Stary
10:50 Panel Discussion – Tim Wilson, Lydia Shelly, Robert Stary

Saturday Afternoon 1 (16 May 2015)
Lifters and leaners. Is it that simple?
1:05 Eva Cox (via Skype)
1:35 Warwick Smith
2:00 Panel Discussion – Mick Dodson, Eva Cox, Warwick Smith, Ken Marchingo

Saturday Afternoon 2 (16 May 2015)
Obesity, health and freedom of choice
3:35 Dr Allessandro Demaio
4:00 Louise Staley MP
4:25 Ange Barry
4:50 Panel Discussion

To download Talking Justice 2015 poster, please click here.



Professor Mick Dodson

Mick DodsonProfessor Mick Dodson AM is Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at The Australian National University and Professor of Law at the ANU College of Law. Mick Dodson has been a prominent advocate on land rights and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as a vigorous advocate of the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples around the world.

In 2009, Mick Dodson was named Australian of the Year by the National Australia Day Council for his work, which includes the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, as a barrister at the Victorian Bar, the Northern Land Council, as Counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, as a member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Advisory Council and secretary of the North Australian Legal Aid Service. He served on the board of Reconciliation Australia and was, until recently, its Co-Chair. He is the current Chair of Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), and is also a member of AIATSIS and was a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Helen Szoke

Helen SzokeDr Helen Szoke is a human rights advocate who has worked for many years to stop race discrimination in Australia and who is passionate and vocal about women’s rights and gender equality here in Australia and around the world.

Helen commenced as Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia in January 2013. Prior to this appointment, she served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, following seven years as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.

Helen is currently an appointed member of the C20 advisory group, which advises the Australian Government on civil society engagement with the G20 and Co‐Chair of Make Poverty History. She is both an Executive Committee member of the Australian Council For International Development (ACFID) and the ACFID Humanitarian Reference Group (HRG) Champion.

In 2011, Helen was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Award for her contribution to human rights. In 2014 she received the University of Melbourne Alumni Award for leadership.

Tim Wilson

Tim WilsonTim Wilson was appointed Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner in February 2014. Dubbed the “Freedom Commissioner”, Tim is a proud and passionate defender of universal, individual human rights. As Commissioner he is focused on promoting and advancing traditional human rights and freedoms, including free speech, free association, religious freedom, property rights. He is also strongly committed to equality before the law and government. Mr Wilson also acts as the de facto Commissioner for sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status issues.

Prior to his appointment Tim was a public policy analyst and a policy director at the world’s oldest free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs. He has also worked in trade and communication consulting, international aid and development, as well as politics. He has served as a Board member of Monash University’s Council, Alfred Health and on the Victorian Board of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. He has extensive experience in public debate and has had many regular radio and television commitments, with both commercial and public broadcasters.

Lydia Shelly

lydia shelley cropLydia was born in Australia and was raised as Catholic before becoming a Muslim after earth changing events. Lydia is a community advocate and is admitted as a solicitor with the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia. She is a practicing solicitor in Sydney and a member of many civil liberties organisations, including the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.

Lydia is deeply concerned about the erosion of fundamental legal principles with the introduction of further counter-terrorism legislation, as well as the implications for social cohesion and human rights. She is a strong supporter of equality for women. She regularly provides commentary to the media on issues affecting the Australian Muslim community, feminism, the law and civil liberties. She has been featured in Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, BBC, ABC, SBS, Channel 10, Channel 9 and Triple M, to name a few. Her articles have also featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, New Matilda and Australian Muslim Times. She is a wife and mother and believes that a Bill of Rights for all Australians is necessary to ensure that civil liberties and human rights are protected.

Robert Stary

Rob Stary cropRobert Stary is one of the most experienced criminal legal practitioners in Victoria. He has practised law since 1980 and is currently Principal of Robert Stary Lawyers. Since 2003 Robert has been the Chairperson of the Law Institute of Victoria Criminal Law Section. He is the current President of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association.

Robert is best known for defending Julian Assange, as well as Jack Thomas, the first Australian to be convicted under anti-terrorism laws introduced in Australia after the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in the United States. He has been a vocal critic of the legislation.

Eva Cox

Eva CoxEva Cox is a public commentator, writer, community change agent, well-known feminist, Boyer Lecturer (1995) and active social and political researcher. She has taught policy, advocacy and research methods, run research consultancies, worked as a public servant, political adviser and consultant.

She is currently working on evidence bases for social policy with UTS Jumbunna: Indigenous House of Learning with an emphasis on income management.

 Warwick Smith

warwick cropWarwick is a research economist at the University of Melbourne and a freelance writer. His current research is on carbon tax economics and how farmers can make use of carbon pricing to make money, revegetate their land and restore biodiversity. Warwick’s research interests are very broad, including evidence in public policy making, taxation economics and the history and philosophy of economics. He publishes the blog Reconstructing Economics.

Ken Marchingo

Ken Marchingo smallKen Marchingo is the founder and CEO of Haven; Home, Safe, Australia’s only vertically integrated affordable housing association and homelessness services provider. He is a pioneer in the field of social housing and housing affordability. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Ken is Chair of the International Housing Partnership, a founding director and Patron of the Bendigo and Central Victoria Community Foundation, and a former director of the Bendigo Health Care Group Board.

Established in 1994, Haven became Victoria’s first registered Affordable Housing Association in 2005 and currently owns and manages over 1000 affordable rental properties. In partnership with the Sidney Myer Foundation and the Victorian Government, Haven will manage the $6+million Sidney Myer Haven Program in Somerville Street, Bendigo, combining a 23-unit medium-term residential complex supported by an intensive development program that works to help participants to step up and become valuable and engaged community members.

Dr Allesandro Demaio

Allesandro DemaioDr Alessandro Demaio is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Health and NCDs at Harvard Medical School and an Assistant Professor at the Copenhagen School of Global Health. Dr Demaio is the co-founder of NCDFREE, a global social movement against Non-Communicable Diseases, which reached more than 2.5 million people in its first 18 months.

Dr Demaio trained and worked as a medical doctor in Melbourne. While working as a doctor at the Alfred Hospital, he completed a Masters in Public Health including field-work in Cambodia. Dr Demaio lectures for the University of Copenhagen, The University of Melbourne, Coursera (MOOC) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin. He is also a columnist with The Conversation (AU and USA) and lead blogger for PLoS Translational Global Health.

Louise Staley MP

Louise Staley MPLouise Staley MP was elected to the Victorian Parliament in November 2014 as the Member for Ripon. Prior to her election Louise served as a non-executive director of East Grampians Health, Fed Square Pty Ltd and Grampians Medicare Local and is a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors. She was also a Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs for nine years concentrating particularly on food policy, obesity and rural regulation. Louise holds a Masters in Public Policy. Louise farms with her partner Stephen near Ararat.

Ange Barry

Ange BarryAnge Barry is the Chief Executive Officer of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Ange has led the development and expansion of the Program from three Victorian schools in 2006 to over 700 schools across Australia in 2014. The lives of thousands of children and their families are now being enriched by this innovative, successful model of pleasurable food education.

Ange has played a vital role in building the Government, corporate and community relationships that have fostered the rapid growth of the Kitchen Garden Foundation. The Foundation’s work is supported by all levels of government, including Health and Education Departments, and is referenced by health prevention bodies as a key contributor to promoting healthy behaviours in children and addressing the current childhood obesity crisis.

The Kitchen Garden Program model attracts international interest from many other agencies, and Ange continues to mentor many organisations looking to the Foundation as a leader in food education for children. The Program is currently being replicated by Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project, which is bringing a similar model to hundreds of schools across the UK.

David Neal

MHC_9067_300dpiDavid Neal combines his academic interest in theories of justice with the practical operation of justice systems. His PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley reflects that mix as does his varying career path. He is presently senior counsel at the Victorian Bar but on the way he has been a senior lecturer in law, a Law Reform Commissioner, head the legislation branch of the Victorian Attorney-General’s Department and the foundation chair of the National Model Criminal Code Committee.

David’s publications reflect the same themes. His book, The Rule of Law in a Penal Colony, is a study of law and power in early New South Wales. On the practical side, he first published on the delivery of legal services in 1978 – an empirical study of the early work of the Fitzroy Legal Service – and was co-editor of the original Legal Resources Book in 1977. More recently, on behalf of the Law Council of Australia, he has directed the preparation of two reports by Pricewaterhouse Coopers on legal aid funding and published a retrospective on legal aid policy, Law and Power – Livin in the 70s.


Talking Justice 2015 would not be possible without the generous support of the following sponsors.


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