Annual Gala Dinner and Lecture 2023
Donate today!
Your support will help build a better future.
Your Donation at WorkDonate Now
Event banner featuring name, date and the keynote

Related Content

Watch the VideoView the Photos

Date & Time

Thursday, 27 July - Thursday, 27 July 2023
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm AEST

Annual Gala Dinner and Lecture 2023

Tickets begin from $295 and are inclusive of GST, to save on the Eventbrite booking fee please contact CIS directly to pay by invoice or with credit card. Contact the Events Team via email at or by calling 02 9438 4377.

Questioning Orthodoxies

The John Bonython Lecture series began in 1984 to honour the founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees and has had a tremendous impact on fostering debate and injecting new ideas into the broader public-policy discourse. We are honoured to present Jason Riley as this year’s keynote speaker on The Soul of Black Conservatism.

There is a long history of conflating the interests of racial minorities in the western world with those of organizations, journalists, academics and other elites who speak on behalf of those minorities. The media lazily continues to turn to these groups, as if they speak for all those racial minorities.

The US is a good a good example. Several prominent Black Americans – most notably the legendary 92-year-old philosopher Thomas Sowell, who delivered the 1988 John Bonython Lecture – have challenged the conventional wisdom on racial and cultural topics. These are scholars who have thought for themselves instead of marching in step and chanting familiar refrains.

As Sowell, who has spent a lifetime challenging orthodoxies on race, economics, education and culture has argued: “The sins of others are always fascinating to human beings, but they are not always the best way to self-development or self-advancement.” His impressive body of scholarship, rooted in the classical liberal tradition of pragmatic individualism, remains so relevant to western public discourse on everything from minimum wage laws and policing to social justice and identity politics.

Join us for an evening filled with thought-provoking conversation. Our Annual Gala Dinner and Lecture gathers CIS supporters, members and friends and provides the opportunity to further our commitment to the core principles for which we stand.

Pricing Table Seat
VIP Speaker’s Table N/A $695
VIP Director’s Table N/A $595
Platinum Table $4,950 $495
Gold Table $3,950 $395
Standard Table $2,950 $295

Jason Riley

Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where he has published opinion pieces for more than 20 years.  Topics include politics, economics, education, immigration, social inequality and race. He’s also a frequent public speaker and provides commentary for television and radio news outlets.

He is the author of several books, including Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell(Basic Books). Riley is widely regarded as one of America’s leading figures in the Black conservatism movement. His perspectives on contemporary issues promise to be insightful and thought provoking. Incidentally, Sowell delivered our John Bonython Lecture in September 1988 which can be read here.

After joining the Journal in 1994, he was named a senior editorial page writer in 2000 and a member of the Editorial Board in 2005. He joined the Manhattan Institute, a public policy think tank focused on urban issues, in 2015. In 2008 he published Let Them In, which argues for a more free-market oriented U.S. immigration system. His second book, Please Stop Helping Us, which is about government efforts to help the black underclass, was published in 2014. In 2017, he published False Black Power?, an assessment of why black political success has not translated into more economic advancement. In 2021, he published Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell(Basic Books) a biography of the iconic economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell and narrated the documentary film Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World. Incidentally, Sowell delivered our John Bonython Lecture in September 1988 which can be read here. Riley’s most recent book is The Black Boom, an analysis of black economic progress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has also worked for USA Today and the Buffalo News.