Turning Point: Australia after the Voice referendum
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Date & Time

Tuesday, 16 July - Tuesday, 16 July 2024
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm AEST

Turning Point: Australia after the Voice referendum

Join us for an event exploring the nature of Australian identity, politics, and social cohesion through two books: The End of Settlement by Damien Freeman and Beneath the Southern Cross by edited by Peter Kurti. This event will also feature Nyunggai Warren Mundine & Dr Tanveer Ahmed.

In the lead up to the 2023 referendum last year, Government, business and many vested interests echoed the same message, Vote Yes! Initial support was high, however as October 14 loomed, public opinion shifted and Australia decisively voted to reject the Voice in a 60/40 result.

The divisions opened by the referendum are symptomatic of deeper changes in the cultural and political mood of Australia. As recriminations about racism, colonialism, enslavement, and genocide are regularly levelled by so-called elites at those who question the new orthodoxy, there is mounting concern that the fabric of Australia’s previously tolerant society is fraying.

In an era of diminishing trust and increasing polarisation, it seems that settlement politics may no longer be possible, instead giving way to populism and identity politics.

What does it mean to be Australian in the 21st century? What binds us together as a society and nation? What promotes the social cohesion for which Australia is noted?

Damien Freeman is a writer, lawyer, and philosopher who was appointed a member of the University of NSW’s John Howard Prime Ministerial Library advisory board in 2022, an honorary fellow of Australian Catholic University in 2023, and a research fellow of Catholic Schools NSW’s Kathleen Burrow Research Institute and a fellow of the Robert Menzies Institute at the University of Melbourne in 2024. His books include Abbott’s Right: the conservative tradition from Menzies to Abbott.

Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist, author, and columnist for the Australian Financial Review.

Peter Kurti is director of the Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society program at CIS and is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Law and Business at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Together with Warren Mundine, he edited Beneath the Southern Cross: Looking for Australia in the 21st Century.

Nyunggai Warren Mundine is director of the Indigenous Forum at CIS. He is author of several books including Warren Mundine in Black and White: Race, Politics and editor of Beyond Belief – Rethinking the Voice to Parliament.