Past events

Watch the recording Voice to Parliament

On 30 August, Wesfarmers Lecture Theatre was filled with people representing a broad cross section of society for UWA PPI's Voice to Parliament: Constitutional and legal implications for Australians panel discussion.

The timely event coincided with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's earlier announcement 14 October had been locked in as the date Australians would vote on whether we should enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

The now-formalised Yes case paints the Voice as an opportunity to improve the conditions of First Nations people. It says: “Vote Yes for unity, hope and to make a positive difference.” The No case, on the other hand, states that the change is divisive and legally risky, with unknown consequences. “If you don’t know, vote no,” it states.

So what are the legal implications of enshrining The Voice in the Australian Constitution?

The incredible Barry Winmar gave a heartfelt Welcome to Country, followed by a respectful and informative discussion and Q&A session by our esteemed panellists Ken Wyatt AM, Kim FarmerRobert French AC and Aurora Milroy. The event was moderated by Murray Wesson and brought to a close by Paul J. Maginn.



Policy Taboo Series: Corporate managers and woke capitalism with David Yermack (14 August, 2023)

A collaboration with Forrest Research Foundation

Watch the recording Policy Taboo Series | Corporate managers and woke capitalism

Until recently, public pressure on major corporations has originated almost exclusively from the political left. Companies have accordingly taken stances on issues like climate change, immigration and gender equality that are now criticised by the political right as "woke capitalism". Disney, Anheuser-Busch and other companies have found themselves embroiled in controversies for which management was ill-prepared.

On 14 August, UWA Public Policy Institute Interim Director Associate Professor Paul J. Maginn, Forrest Research Foundation Director James Arvanitakis and Professor Raymond Da Silva Rosa welcomed industry professionals and academics alike to the first of UWA PPI's Policy Taboo Series.

At the talk, visiting NYU Stern Business School Professor David Yermack dissected (anti) woke capitalism, and discussed the challenges faced by major corporations which are increasingly caught between competing political forces that refuse to allow them to sit on the side-lines of the "culture wars".



Official launch of Indian Ocean Futures: Prospects for regional success (23 June, 2023)

A collaboration with the ASEAN-Australian Strategic Youth Partnership

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Moderator: Professor Shamit Saggar (Director, UWA Public Policy Institute)
Panellists: Negah Rahmani (Australian High Commission First Secretary in Malaysia), Anu Rammohan (UWA Business School International Relations Director and Professor of Economics at The University of Western Australia), Racheline Tantular (ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership Chief Executive Officer and analyst at the Asia strategy firm Lydekker)

On Friday, 23 June, the UWA Public Policy Institute had the privilege of launching its signature report—"Indian Ocean Futures: Prospects for shared regional success" at the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. From a reimagining of the Ocean as a trade destination rather than simply a route through which trade passes, through to using quinoa to alleviate food insecurity in South Asia, and unlocking the boundless potential of the African diaspora in Australia, Indian Ocean Futures is a prospectus for a concentration of minds, stimulating fresh debate about the extent, limits and nature of greater regional cohesion.



Matters of Life and Death: Let's get it right (24 May, 2023)

A collaboration with Perron Institute 

Matters of Life and Death: Let's get it right (24 May, 2023)

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Moderator: Professor Shamit Saggar (Director, UWA Public Policy Institute)

Panellists: Professor Samar Aoun (Western Australia’s 2023 Australian of the Year), Roselyn Scolaro (carer) and Dr Fiona Findlay (Silverchain Group Medical Director)

Considered the 'last taboo', death is celebrated, embraced and feared the world over. How well we navigate it can have a profound effect on both the dying and the family and friends left behind. UWA PPI Director Shamit Saggar chaired an expert panel to discuss compassionate solutions to the biggest issues facing patients and their families.


Breakfast by the Bay: The Albanese Scorecard (17 May, 2023)

Moderator: Professor Shamit Saggar (Director, UWA Public Policy Institute)

Panellists: Hon. Patrick Gorman MP (Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister), Kate Chaney MP (Independent Federal Member for Curtin), Professor Peter Robertson (UWA Professor of Economics)

One year on from his appointment, our esteemed panellists dissected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s performance across a broad range of policy issues, including the economy and inflation, anti-corruption and integrity, climate and the environment, Australia’s relationship with China and the Voice to Parliament. 



In Conversation with Rod Sims AO (2 May, 2023)

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Guest: Rod Sims AO (former Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

The UWA Public Policy Institute is pleased to present an online discussion between former Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims AO, and Professor Shamit Saggar on the big lessons for government and business from over a decade of being in the hot seat of Australia’s consumer and competition watchdog.



Putting A Value On Nature: Environmental costs and policy (23 March, 2023)

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Moderator: Professor Shamit Saggar (Director, UWA Public Policy Institute)
Panellists: Michelle Andrews (Director General, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation), Jon Chadwick (ESG Leader and Partner, PwC), Professor Owen Nevin (Chief Executive Officer, The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute)

The ‘value’ of nature is culturally-dependent and socially constructed, as deeply historical Indigenous ways of knowing and engaging with Country as custodians do not rely on market value, costs and trade-offs, and political agendas. How can we integrate the ‘invaluable’ into management decisions and policy budgeting? How do we account for the future invaluable quality of nature and its intergenerational costs in policy settings?


Lobbying regulation in Australia: where we are now and options for reform

Professor Sarah Murray speaking with Associate Professor Yee-Fui Ng at the front of a lecture theatreWatch the recording

ModeratorProfessor Sarah Murray (UWA Law School)
SpeakerAssociate Professor Yee-Fui Ng (Monash University)

Although lobbying is integral to democratic representation, there are concerns regarding the undue influence of professional lobbyists, which may ultimately lead to corrupt conduct by lobbyists and/or officials. This seminar explored the history and evolution of lobbying regulation in Australian federal and state jurisdictions. It also considered the effectiveness of lobbying regulation and makes recommendations for reform towards achieving transparency, political equality and fairness. Associate Professor Ng unpacked the history of Australian lobbying regulation and what changes are needed in this space to ensure a transparent and level-playing field.


ESG investing: best practices and environmental impacts

Screenshot of people on Zoom callWatch the recording

ModeratorJemah Harrison (UWA Public Policy Institute)
PanellistsHolly Cullen (Adjunct Professor at the UWA Law School), Melissa Grove (Founding Director of Consulting Alchemy), Tanya Kerkvliet (Director at KPMG, Climate Change, Sustainability and ESG), Alex Whitebrook (ESG Communications Manager, Minerva Analytics).

The recent rise of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations in business and corporations reflects the global progress on sustainability and climate action. ESG considerations are increasingly important for companies who wish to operate with a strong social license, as individual and institutional investors are lifting their expectations of companies in their ethical considerations. Join our panel as we discuss how companies must be alert to their clients' interests, while also securing their bottom line. We focus primarily on environmental considerations, with some room to discuss social and governance aspects.



From modern slavery reporting to human rights due diligence: global trends in business and human rights

Screenshot of people on Zoom callAn event in collaboration with the UWA Law School and UWA Modern Slavery Research Cluster.

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Moderator: Associate Professor Fiona McGaughey (UWA Law School)
Panellists: Gabrielle Holly (Senior Adviser, Human Rights and Business, Danish Institute for Human Rights), Tegan Hoddy (Director – Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability, Alcoa), Freya Dinshaw (Acting Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre), John Southalan (Barrister, Adjunct Professor at UWA), Serena Grant (Head of Business Engagement, Walk Free). 

The Modern Slavery Act is currently undergoing review and commentators are increasingly looking to superior models for protecting human rights in businesses and their supply chains. The human rights due diligence model has been described as the ‘gold standard’ in business and human rights. We ask, what is ‘human rights due diligence’? What is the difference between the Modern Slavery Act and the ‘human rights due diligence’ model? How would such a model work in Australia?



An Asian Century retrospective: the future of Asia-oriented public policy

Screenshot of people on Zoom callWatch the recording

ModeratorProfessor Shamit Saggar (UWA Public Policy Institute)
Panellists: Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar (Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Nanyang Technological University), Emeritus Professor Peter Drysdale (ANU Crawford School of Public Policy), Professor Helen Sullivan (Dean, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific), Hon. Peter Tinley AM, MLA (Former Minister for Asian Engagement, 2019-2021).

In 2012, the Gillard government launched the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper, heralding an emerging era marked by Asia’s rise and influence in the world order. However, a decade later, the Asian Century lies almost forgotten as a cohesive national policy strategy. What happened to the Asian Century? What were the relative successes and missed opportunities of the White Paper in the past decade? How do we best foster Asia-literacy and centricity across our policy landscape? Why is an outlook towards Asia important for future public policy? 



Imagining a new policy agenda for Australian arts and culture

Moderator and panellists on stage for arts policy event by the UWA Public Policy InstituteWatch the recording (some audio issues)
Download the transcript

Moderator: Dr Christopher Lin (UWA Public Policy Institute)
PanellistsOron Catts (Artist and Director, UWA SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts), Shelagh Magadza (Executive Director, Culture and the Arts, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries), Dr Catherine Noske (Senior Lecturer, UWA School of Humanities; Editor of Westerly Magazine) and Jeremy Smith (Senior Producer, Performing Lines WA).

With a new federal government in place and a forthcoming new National Cultural Policy, the current moment provides a timely opportunity to discuss a new policy imaginary to reinvigorate the arts. How might we reframe attitudes towards the arts in ways that foreground both its social value as well as its economic capital? How do we re-centre the arts as a public good? What reforms are needed to foster a sustainable environment for artists and related workers? What types of knowledge exchange might take place between arts organisations and other sectors to ensure flow of mutually-beneficial ideas and resources?



A new reform agenda for Australian schooling policy

Screenshot of speakers via ZoomA collaboration with the UWA Graduate School of Education

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ModeratorAssociate Professor Glenn Savage (UWA Graduate School of Education)
PanellistsLaureate Professor Jenny Gore (Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle), Dr Zid Mancenido (Senior Manager (Research and Evaluation) of the Australian Education Research Organisation); Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education), Bevan Ripp (President of the Principals Federation of Western Australia), and Dr Marnee Shay (Senior Research Fellow, School of Education, The University of Queensland).

The new federal government has a golden opportunity to influence the decade to come in education reform. Next year, a new National School Reform Agreement will need to be established, to replace the existing agreement that ends in 2023. The development of the new agreement provides a rich opportunity to assess the impact of recent policies and set a new course for education for the decade to come. This webinar brought together schooling leaders and practitioners to consider opportunities for schooling reform.



Sustainable food systems: food production and security in a changing climate

Screenshot of speakers via ZoomWatch the recording

Moderators: Chris Crellin and Jemah Harrison (UWA Public Policy Institute interns)
Dr Ben Cole (Managing Director of Wide Open Agriculture), Ronni Kahn AO (CEO and Founder of OzHarvest), I-Lyn Loo (Director Regional Development, Wheatbelt Development Commission), and Dr Caitlin Moore (UWA School of Agriculture and Environment).

Do you know where your food comes from and how it got to your plate? Focusing on food production, this event honed in on one key problem of the food system: food security. In the face of climate change, land degradation, current land management practices, and a doubling population by 2050, Western Australia’s agriculture sector and food security will be affected. Our panel discussed the steps needed to mitigate against and adapt to these challenges.



Who run da world: What stands in the way of gender equity?

Five panel members on chairs on stageA collaboration with the State Library of WA for the 2022 Disrupted Festival 

Watch the recording (starts at 1:32:09)

Panellists: Professor Romola Bucks (UWA Pro Vice-Chancellor Health and Medical Research); Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa (performer and filmmaker); Linda Savage (former Member of Parliament); Jessica Smith (co-founder of She Runs).

Back in 2006, Australia stood 15th in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, which ranks countries based on gender equality in economic participation, political empowerment and educational attainment. By 2021 we slipped all the way down to 50th. Are we going backwards, or is the rest of the world progressing at a much faster rate? 

In this panel discussion and Q&A for the Disrupted Festival on Saturday 18 June 2022, we assembled key figures known for their advocacy for gender equity and for accelerating and embedding change. We spoke to them about corporate life and overcoming barriers to women achieving senior roles, on gender bias in the legal and political domains, and the cultural reasons behind low glass ceilings for women from minority groups. What will it take for us to reach parity in the next thirty years? 



Dissecting Australian life after the election

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Panel members at post-election event on stageOpening address: Eve Howell, Member of the UWA Public Policy Institute Board
PanellistsThe Honourable Colin Barnett (former Premier of Western Australia [2008 - 2017]; Adjunct Professor at the UWA Business School), The Honourable Professor Carmen Lawrence (former Premier of Western Australia [1990 - 1993]; Emeritus Professor and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the UWA School of Psychological Science), Dr Sue Boyd AM (Immediate Past President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (WA); former head of diplomatic missions in the Australian Foreign Service), and Martina Ucnikova (co-founder of She Runs).

This is a recording of a free, public event in the State Theatre of Western Australia on 25 May 2022. It was convened by the UWA Public Policy Institute to discuss the national and WA implications of the recent federal election, highlighting key new commitments on the economy, climate change, national security, social policy and public trust in government.

Australia went to the polls on 21 May and cast their votes. The 2022 federal election was the first national political test since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the easing of international and state borders, a stuttering national economic recovery, and the fading impact of the COP26 Glasgow climate change summit. Furthermore, the Russian invasion of Ukraine presents a fresh uncertainty to the international rules-based order, to regional dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, to the national security priorities of the West, and to gas and oil markets.

The Liberal-National Coalition’s record through the past three years was at stake, notably on the public health crisis, Australia’s 2050 carbon-zero commitment and increasingly fractured rows about integrity issues at senior level in the government.

The challenges facing the next Commonwealth government are substantial, and will be overshadowed by heavy national debt, calls to strengthen integrity in political life, and escalating tensions with China as President Xi Jinping enters a third term. What are the prospects for the new administration?



WA 2050: How do we make WA a thriving place?

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Panel speakers on stage for WA 2050 eventOpening address: Professor Peter Klinken AC, Chief Scientist of Western Australia
PanellistsSonia Arakkal (Policy Fellow at Perth USAsia Centre), Chris Rodwell (CEO of Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA), Sisonke Msimang (Head Storyteller at Centre for Stories) and Rebecca Tomkinson (CEO of the Royal Flying Doctors Association WA).

Western Australia in the past 30 years has enjoyed tremendous prosperity, coupled with safety from conflict and being shielded from infectious disease. How assured is the next 30 years?

It is large, remote, resource-rich and a place of immense biodiversity, but its future can only be secured by addressing key challenges now. Areas needing reform centre around the growth of WA’s future population and the infrastructure needing to accommodate over a million more people. Equally, we must develop a diverse economy and support for new businesses, ensure regional areas are connected through quality health infrastructure, and greater integration with our neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region. Finally, to truly unite this enormous state, we should be connected to and encouraged to share our stories and histories through a thriving cultural and creative arts sector.

At this launch of the WA 2050: People, Place, Prosperity report on 11 May 2022, we heard from a distinguished panel of experts on policy ideas and proposals that are best placed to deliver a vibrant future for WA.



The future of suburbanisation, spaces and infrastructure in WA

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Professor Fiona Haslam McKenziePanellists: Adjunct Professor David Caddy (Chairman of the Western Australian Planning Commission), Dr Kate Hislop (Dean and Head of the UWA School of Design, and registered architect), Associate Professor Paul Maginn (urban planner/geographer in the UWA Department of Geography), and Winthrop Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie (Co-director of the UWA Centre for Regional Development).

In this webinar held on Thursday 28 April, 2022, our expert panel answered questions about infrastructure needs that will deliver social, economic and environmental outcomes for WA’s future. 

Infrastructure is crucial when planning for Western Australia’s success in the next thirty years. In this webinar, we look at place-making in WA and the physical infrastructure—such as urban planning and transport—needed to prepare for connected, resilient, inclusive and vibrant places.

How should WA prime its infrastructure to adapt to the climate and the needs of cultural heritage? How do we plan for sprawling suburbanisation to ensure connected spaces and people? What critical infrastructure is needed to ensure universal design for all Western Australians to flourish?



In conversation with Omar Khorshid: The future of healthcare in WA

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Dr Omar KhorshidGuestDr Omar Khorshid, President of the Federal Australian Medical Association

Health policy has rarely been higher on the international agenda than the last two years. The pandemic has seen Western Australia’s health infrastructure go through its greatest and most unexpected stress test. With recent events in mind, looking beyond this crisis and further into the future towards 2050, how might the WA health system respond to emerging challenges facing healthcare? What new funding and service models are needed to facilitate better care? Can the recent responses to the pandemic help catalyse change in the WA health sector?

This is a recording of a webinar on 31 March 2022. Join Director Professor Shamit Saggar as he speaks with Dr Khorshid about the future of healthcare in WA. The audience also had their chance to ask questions about the WA medical system and workforce, healthcare trends, and what they might expect from the next thirty years.



Women on top: Progression, not participation, in Australia's top roles

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Diane Smith-Gander AOModeratorDiane Smith-Gander AO, Chair of Zip Co Limited.
Panellists: Toni Emmanuel (WA Industrial Relations Commissioner), Shelagh Magadza (Executive Director, Chamber for Arts and Culture WA), Winthrop Professor Alison Preston (UWA Business School), Jessica Shaw MLA (Member for Swan Hills).

The rapid feminisation of the workforce in the corporate business sector and in new and traditional professions has not been accompanied with significant gender rebalancing of senior executive roles and boards. Similar, male-heavy leadership also persists among universities and the creative sector, and it is especially noticeable in the federal parliament.

Australia is therefore in danger of becoming an outlier in comparison to the gains made at the top in other advanced economies, creating a reputational doubt about bias in senior roles. The impacts can undermine the sensitivity of parliament to women’s needs, the ability of businesses to appeal to the market as a whole, and the capacity of institutions to design solutions that are fit for purpose.

In this discussion you'll hear about research findings on the pace of gender equity in different sectors, the measures that have worked, and perspectives of senior women who have driven change. This virtual panel discussion and Q&A was broadcast on Thursday 25 November 2020.



UWA Public Policy Institute lecture with the Law School

COVID myth-busting: power, rights and the law

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PanellistsAssociate Professor Meredith Blake and Dr Murray Wesson (UWA Law School).
ModeratorProfessor Sarah Murray (UWA Law School)

Public panel and Q&A event in the Law Lecture Theatre, The University of Western Australia, on Wednesday 27 October 2021. A collaboration between the UWA Public Policy Institute, UWA Law School and Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

In an attempt to contain virus spread as well as harmful economic and social impacts, governments around the world have harnessed their powers to impose extraordinary obligations on their citizens. From lockdowns, curfews and travel bans to vaccine passports and tracking and tracing apps, we have become aware of and felt the effects of concentrated executive power every day. 

In Australia, the extended use of these exceptional measures have been challenged on constitutional grounds. They have led to heated criticism by civil rights advocates, and a recent series of ‘freedom marches’ across the country. Are our constitutional rights actually being subverted? What alterations to our social fabric are permissible under the law? How much faith can we have in conventional checks and balances?