Thursday, September 27, 2012

OCTOBER 2012

One of the highlights of September was attending an event at which U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich presented Anne Gallagher with a ‘hero’ award for her work in combating human trafficking. The talks are enlightening but best of all was the reading by the singer Kamahl of the Gettysburg address to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (starts at about 12 minutes 30 seconds at the following link).


Tuesday 2 October
Title: Resolving the conflict between agriculture and mining over prime land on the Liverpool Plains
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Australian Academy of Science, Shine Dome
Cost: Free, registration required

The Liverpool Plains in the Northwest of New South Wales is often referred to as Australia’s food bowl, but beneath its highly-productive soils are rich deposits of coal and coal seam gas worth many billions of dollars. This lecture by Independent Member of Parliament, Tony Windsor, MP, will provide an overview of the conflicting interests of agriculture and mining in sensitive landscapes such as the Liverpool Plains, and will consider the challenges facing the planning system to minimise the risk of permanently damaging our best land.

Tuesday 2 October
Title: If Mother Nature Could Sue: Wild Law and the Rights of Nature
Time: 6:00 – 8:30pm
Venue: Spark Helmore Lecture Theatre, College of Law, Fellows Rd, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required

What if ecosystems, rivers, plants and other living creatures had legal rights? By giving nature legal status, rather than dismissing it as an unfortunate externality, its interests could compete with those of corporations and human communities. Could such a concept of ‘wild law’ really work and what might it mean for how we see ourselves and our place in the world? Cormac Cullinan will explore these and other ideas that he first wrote about in his book, “Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice”. Here’s a taste of what Cullinan has to say: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/500/

Tuesday 9 October
Title: Managing the world’s most precious resource: Australia's leadership in creating a new discipline
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Venue: Haydon Allen Lecture Theatre, The Tank, Copland Courtyard, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required

Management of Australia’s scarce water resources has been a major preoccupation as long as there have been people in this country. It has re-emerged as a highly-charged political issue over the last ten years. Coming out of this, however, have been important developments in the reporting of water and the rights to it and, in a world first, Australia is set to publish a water accounting standard to ensure consistency across entities and time. Might Australia’s progress in this field set a standard for a new discipline that the rest of the world might follow? Professor Jayne Godfrey is Dean of the College of Business and Economics at The Australian National University and has been one of the leaders in developing the new standard.

Wednesday 10 October
Title: In the Footsteps of Jeannie Gunn
Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm
Venue: Friends Lounge, National Museum of Australia
Cost: $12, booking required

National Museum of Australia curator Anne-Marie Conde will examine the work of Jeannie Gunn, author of the famous Australian books ‘The Little Black Princess’ (1905) and ‘We of the Never Never’ (1908). The original diary that Gunn kept while at Elsey Station in the Northern Territory is on loan to the Museum and on display in its Landmarks gallery. Ms Conde did a research trip to Elsey Station earlier this year looking into how Gunn drew on her diary while writing the books.

Thursday 11 October
Title: The nature of time
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Venue: The Finkel Lecture Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required

Time is a concept familiar to us for it affects all aspects of everybody’s life. Despite this, and the fact that the laws of physics incorporate time as an essential feature, time itself remains a mystery. The significance of gaining an understanding about time goes to the core of human existence, perception, and our desire to understand ourselves and the universe that we inhabit. In this lecture, Dr Peter Riggs of the ANU’s Department of Quantum Science will discuss the latest research into the characteristics of time and our current understanding about it.


Sunday 14 October
Title: Stories from Ancient India
Time: 2:00pm
Venue: Temporary exhibitions gallery, National Gallery of Australia
Cost: Free

Kiran Shah will bring to life the paintings in the ‘Divine Worlds’ exhibition at the Gallery by telling the stories of Hindu gods and other ancient tales from India. There are a range of talks and other events taking place at the Gallery in connection with this exhibition. See link above for more details.

Thursday 18 October
Title: Managing the Parliament House landscape with biological controls
Time: 12:30pm
Venue: Australian National Botanic Gardens Theatre
Cost: Free

Who would have thought Parliament House would need a pest management program (except one that eradicates some of the pests on the back-benches and in the press gallery)? But if you’ve walked in the gardens that surround the building, you’ll be aware there are large and diverse areas of vegetation that provide homes to many species of birds and other fauna. Paul Janssens will describe the biological control methods, such as releasing predator insects, that are utilised to control the pest insects.

Tuesday 23 October
Title: Book talk – The Great Race
Time: 12:30 – 2:30pm
Venue: National Library of Australia
Cost: Free, registration required

The maritime and overland exploration of Australia by Europeans contains many great stories. Stories of unbelievable coincidences, tragic near-misses, extraordinary encounters with local people and amazing navigational feats. Among these stories, the near-simultaneous circumnavigation of the continent in 1801-02 by the English and the French – under the command of Mathew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin respectively – ranks among the most dramatic. And the legacy of their voyages remains in the myriad names of features along the Australian coastline and of the flora and fauna. Historian David Hill has written about these voyages in his latest book.

Wednesday 24 October
Title: Mission impossible? Achieving social justice through constitutional change
Time: 5:30 – 7:30pm
Venue: Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House)
Cost: Free, registration required

Professor George Williams is one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers. He is the Anthony Mason Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. His newspaper articles on constitutional law issues are always illuminating (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/by/george-williams). In this year’s Henry Parkes oration, Professor Williams will examine the profound and long-term effect that Australia’s Constitution has on the nation and our quality of life. This leads to one of Prof Williams’ abiding concerns – how constitutional change can be used to achieve social justice in areas such as health, education, environmental protection and Aboriginal justice.

Wednesday 24 October
Title: Book talk - Speechless
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Paperchain Bookstore, Manuka
Cost: Free, registration required

‘Speechless’ is journalist James Button’s personal account of the year he spent working as a speech-writer for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Button has politics in his blood: his father was revered Labor Party Senator John Button, who was a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments. Publication of the book has caused some consternation in official circles (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/book-on-rudd-draws-criticism-20120920-2691s.html). But, leaving that aside, it is (at least according to one reviewer) a "beautifully written", "tender and wise" and "brutally honest" book (http://inside.org.au/father-and-sons/).

Thursday 25 October
Title: Book talk – Black Bag Moon
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Paperchain Bookstore, Manuka
Cost: Free, registration required

Launch of ‘Black Bag Moon: Doctors’ Tales from Dusk to Dawn’ by Susan Woldenberg Butler. The book gives a glimpse inside the lives of GPs around the world as they confront euthanasia, Alzheimer’s Disease, mental disorders and a whole range of other issues.

Tuesday 30 October
Title: Development and human rights – an unsustainable marriage?
Time: 12:30pm
Venue: Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU
Cost: Free

Professor Sundhya Pahuja will consider current global institutions and the institutions that are being developed in terms of their ability to meet perhaps the two most important challenges that we are facing – environmental sustainability and economic inequality. Sundhya Pahuja is jointly Professor of International Law at the University of Melbourne, and Research Professor in Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Her most recent book is “Decolonising International Law: Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality”. You can learn about some of Prof Pahuja’s views at the following link (although it might spoil the lecture for you): http://www.themonthly.com.au/international-law-and-its-poor-sundhya-pahuja-2651



* The information on this site is drawn from the websites of various institutions. The web addresses are supplied. Check the websites to confirm details.

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