Past Events

  • The NSW Fabians will be launching their new pamphlet ‘Preparing to Govern: Ideas for the next NSW Labor Government‘, outlining policy ideas for a progressive state government.
    Following the success of last year’s pamphlet, the Fabians have put together another pamphlet with a number of NSW Labor Shadow Ministers and other prominent members, who have written essays outlining their thoughts on an range of policy ideas for state government.
    Contributors include Michael Daley, Adam Searle, Prue Car, John Graham, Linda Scott, Eva Cox, Felicity Wade, Emma Dawson, Tim Lyons, Tilly South and Labor for the Arts.
    - Adam Searle MLC, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
    - Linda Scott, City of Sydney Councillor and President of Local Government NSW
    - Felicity Wade, National Co-Convenor of the Labor Environment Action Network
    Early copies of the pamphlet can be obtained through a donation to our crowdfunding campaign at
  • 2018 Whitlam Oration: The Information that Democracy Needs

    • Tuesday, June 05, 2018 at 07:00 PM
    • Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, Australia
    • $15.00 AUD

    You are invited to attend the next Whitlam Oration, which will be delivered by one of Australia's leading constitutional lawyers, Bret Walker SC.

    Bret Walker is not only highly respected for his fierce intellect, he is also known for pursuing projects of conviction. A Past President of the NSW Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia, he was Australia’s first Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

    Date and Time: Tuesday 5 June at 7:00 pm
    Venue: Riverside Theatres, Parramatta

    Get your tickets today

    “Bret Walker is widely acknowledged as one of the finest legal minds in Australia. He is renowned as a skilful advocate and writer, not only in the law but also in hard and critically important issues of contemporary politics and governance.” – the Hon. John Faulkner, Whitlam Institute Chair

    The Whitlam Oration is the Institute’s flagship event, attracting an audience of leaders in Australian politics, business, civil society and policy, as well as the general public. Whitlam Orators address a theme that reflects the issues Gough Whitlam championed during his public life. Speaking on The Information that Democracy Needs, Bret Walker will offer an important insight to the Institute's policy work on the Future of Australian Democracy.

  • Can we Fix Inequality?



    This is Event 3 of Victorian Fabians' Autumn Series on 'What do we mean by Equality?'

    The first two events of our Autumn series explored the effects and degree of economic inequality, as well as the renewed concept of 'class' as revealed through social and cultural inequality in Australia. Our next event will look at how to address the consequences of inequality, now and in future. What will be the developments in society that might lead to increased or diminished future social and economic inequality?

    What societal and policy changes, both to the nature of work and the provision of social services such as education, health and welfare, are needed to redress the inequality imbalance?

    Are our institutional responses up to the task? What sort of governing institutions and policies are needed to promote equality?




    Jim Stanford

    Jim Stanford is an economist and the Director of the Centre for Future Work, based at the Australia Institute.

    He is a Canadian who has relocated to Australia, much to our benefit! In Canada, he served for over 20 years as an economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly Canadian Auto Workers).

    In Australia he has pursued interests in precarious and insecure work, the effects of automation on work, the strategic importance of public sector work, and how governments could support better wages and working conditions for all.


    Shelley Mallett

    Shelley Mallett is Professorial Fellow in Social Policy in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and General Manager for Research and Policy at the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

    Shelley's research interests include homelessness, youth transitions in out-of-home care and similar settings, and gender and health inequities. Shelley has also written on how a Universal Basic income may be utilised in such a way as to support youth transitions in the precarious years of early adulthood.


    Not in Melbourne?

    This event will be live-streamed on the Australian Fabians Facebook where you can submit questions during the evening and uploaded afterwards to the Fabians Youtube. Subscribe to these pages to catch it from anywhere in Australia or the world.

  • Cultural and Social Inequality


    This is Event 2 of Victorian Fabians' Autumn Series on 'What do we mean by Equality?'

    Please note the date for this event has changed to Friday June 15 (from May 30), we apologise for any inconvenience from this change of date. Our second speaker has also now been confirmed as Prof Janet McCalman.

    Inequality is bound up with demographic factors beyond the purely economic. Class, race, gender, age and disability also determine one's life outcomes and experience of inequality.

    We are at a moment in time when race and gender are much in discussion. Less acknowledged are notions of class, disability or age as contributors to inequality. Many of these are further bound to economic inequality in complex ways. They also have social status implications well beyond that conferred by financial status, but are intimately connected to both equality of opportunity and life outcomes.

    How can we think about cultural inequality inclusively, to make sense of all of these factors?





    Tony Moore

    Tony is a Former Fabians editor, and currently Associate Professor and Program Director for the Master of Communications and Media Studies at Monash University.

    He has recently authored a book chapter on the role of class in inequality.

    (Moore, T., Gibson, M., & Lumby, C. (2017). Recovering the Australian Working Class. In D. O’Neill & M. Wayne (Eds.), Considering Class: Theory, Culture and the Media in the 21st Century. Brill.)

    Phillip Adams interviewed him about it on Late Night Live.



    Janet McCalman

    Janet McCalman is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health and a much published author of books which have changed Australians understanding of themselves. Janet will talk on how life inequality is heavily influenced by circumstances of birth and early childhood.

    Janet asks: "Do we need a new tack? There is a lot of science now showing that inequality starts in the womb (and with grandparents) and accelerates during the first 5 years of life so that by the time children who have grown up amidst domestic violence, neglect, substance abuse, and deprivation in all ways, are up to 2-3 years behind their peers when they start school and that they have measurable cognitive impairments and underdevelopment. Perhaps we need to spend some time discussing the deep structural nature of inequality not only in the human life course but in inheritance and property."

    Janet is a Victorian Fabians Board member.

  • NSW Fabian Reading Group: 2nd July

    Is it possible to have democracy without transparency?

    Recent work by Transparency International has ranked Australia the 13th "least corrupt" nation in the world. This is a "notable" slip of 8 places over the last 6 years - with the 2012 score 85/100, and the 2017 score 77/100.

    What factors led to this, and how might this impact our democracy? And, with over 82% of voters polled supporting a Federal ICAC - what is the path ahead for greater transparency?

    We will be reading three short articles this week, from the ABC, the SMH, and the Australia Institute.

    Printed copies may be available in small numbers on the night, and we will be meeting again at the Royal Exhibition Hotel in Surry Hills, at 6pm for a 6:30 start.

    A small bar tab will be available on the night for refreshments, including soft-drink.

    Texts below:
    Australia Slips in Global Corruption Rank, Peter Ryan, ABC 22 Feb 2018

    The Case for a Federal ICAC, Hanna Aulbry, The Australia Institute 21 Aug 2017 (pdf downloadable from site below)

    and on the other side:
    The Flimsy Case for a Federal Anti-Corruption Watchdog, Richard Mulgan SMH 4 Feb 2018

  • Want to know how to do good social policy making more effectively?  Join other Fabians in an initial half day workshop.

    There are serious shortfalls of socially oriented policies that address the gaps in policies that cover social inequity, fairness and social well being on progressive political parties agendas and relatively few are being promoted by advocacy and community groups. Too much of the present focus is on policies that adjust some obvious flaws in neo-liberalism, so there are few that seek the necessary radical changes that restore social goals as priorities and put economics back to offering the means to pay for them.

    At the same time there are angry voters, who are expressing both protests at what is and is not happening. This is fuelling a major distrust epidemic which is undermining the legitimacy of democratic processes. While protesters are identifying their discontents, there are few offering alternatives so their activities have limited effects. Little happens as those seeking and/or in power rarely have the vision necessary to conceptualise alternatives to what they offer to 'buying' voter approval. So little is changing.

    If we want changes, we need to show that there are social rather than economic alternatives, both to attract voters with credible visions of better futures and convince those in power that they need to listen. So we need policies that offer the public (voters) greater fairness and a sense that their future government is listening to options for creating more equal and civil societies.

    We need to develop policy proposals as possible agenda items, which replace the current limited policies, by those that have social goals, not just economic ones. To develop and distribute these, we need to tap into wider ideas and viewpoints, so we are exploring the option of offering a half day plus workshop as an intro to social policies options that can  be used to lobby for and advocate more progressive priorities.

    This is intended to be a brief introduction to putting together ideas for policies that can effectively create a paradigm shift so we are citizens, not customers who live in a society not an economy, so we can restore trust in social democratic governance. It will explore both some good social policy possibilities and how they can framed and promoted.

    This workshop is open to all, however, will we be asking non-Fabian members to make a small donation to help cover costs for the workshop.



    Session One: Policy 2pm

    • Introductions
    • What the participants can expect from the day
    • Welcome to Country
    • House keeping


    Part one

    A. What is social policy? How does social policy differ to economic policy making? How do Governments organise and communicate their policy agenda? What can the Fabians do to promote it?

    Comparing Models:

    Post war social democratic model of the welfare state.

    1980s onward- neoliberalism, market-based society.

    B. State of the Nation: Filling the gaps: Why we need to work on how is social policy written, advocated for in the current climate, and how do we can retrieve community, care, and social wellbeing?

    • Discussion & Questions

    Objective: Develop analytical skills for exploring both policy and political problems and the development of solutions

    C. A case study – Fixing the welfare mess: Case Study on how does one collect evidence and mount a case for a UBI? Writing a policy submission. Handout: Our policy submission. format; or community services, returning the local and non profit model  

    Objective: Develop skills in both critiquing and proposing policies. You need to be able to offer critiques of current broad policy directions and dominant paradigms, and develop proposals for particular policy changes, within an advocacy or activist framework.


    Session Two: Advocacy

    • Introduction
    • How does policy get made and unmade: the political structures and who has the power to decide? Exercise/Quiz about the following

    Who are the players? What are the processes? How does social change come to fruition? How is power brokered through the Senate and the House of Representatives? What is the role of political parties? What is their influence and how do they operate? What are the broad differences in jurisdiction between the Commonwealth and states and local governments? What is COAG?

    • Exercise: Taking the UBI or a community service and write a brief for a political campaign strategy
    • Media campaign strategy for a UBI or other examples to ensure public support and effective pressure.

    Objective: Understand the operations of power in and out of formal institutions and the ways in which political process might be transformed by the influence of stakeholders, social movements and political activism.

    • Discussion
    • Questions

    Planning for next steps forward


    Handouts to come:

    • Good Society Manifesto
    • Good Society Outlining the Problems
    • Samples of the Policy Submission


    Please provide the following details:

    Intention to attend the workshop for catering purposes (definitely/most probably/maybe/another time)

    Any particular areas of interest

    Current/usual job

    Membership of organisations related to the policy process

    Related qualification/area of study ?

    Age group (<20/20-30/31-40/40 plus)


  • Countless reports and research point to growing intergenerational inequality in Australia: housing prices are unaffordable for most young Australian; higher education is costing more and more; young people are experiencing discrimination and exploitation in paid work and in internships; and now big business are getting tax cuts while younger Australians continue to struggle. So what can Millennials and younger generations do to fight back against economic inequality and social injustice? Hear from leading young Australians share their progressive policy ideas for the next generation.



    Eamon Waterford - Evatt Foundation

    Dean Parkin - Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity

    Neha Madhok - Digital Director, Democracy in Colour

    Ruby-Rose O’Halloran - GetUp!

    Ella Bickley - Oxfam


    Free entry for Fabians members, $5 for others (includes a bar tab).

  • NSW Fabian Reading Group: 14th May

    What makes progressive policy progressive? We're establishing a reading group to question this very idea - with members welcome to contribute suggestions for short articles, excerpts, or chapters that resonate with left-wing politics in Australia.

    With the first meeting on the 14th of May, you are warmly invited to come along to the Royal Exhibition Hotel at 6pm for drinks and the chance to discuss a selection of texts. Learn, debate, and enjoy the chance to build on your knowledge of progressive policy matters in an open and respectful discussion.


    Progressive Social Democracy in Action: Scandinavia
    This week both the readings focus on the social-democratic model that (some argue) is pursued in Scandinavia: described by Andrew Cumbers as a kind of "economic democracy". Is there a rationale behind this level of economic and social cohesion? Is it a myth - are these societies as cohesive as they first appear? Please read both articles (neither are lengthy!) and come ready to discuss your own interpretations next Monday, 6pm, at the Exhibition Hotel. 

    Andrew Cumbers: New Index of Economic Marginalisation Helps Explain Trump, Brexit, and Alt-Right, The Conversation 13/01/17
    Andreas Moller Mulvad, Rune Moller Stahl: What Makes Scandinavia Different? Jacobin 04/08/2015
  • WA Fabians 2018 AGM

    Please confirm your attendance with details below for our AGM on Sunday 27th May.

    We will hear a report on activities over the past year (also summarised here). This year we elect Committee members and office bearers. Nominations from current financial members of Australians Fabians for the following positions are now open:



    Membership Officer

    Committee Member (four positions)

    Nominations can be submitted by email to the Returning Officer, Tim Dymond at: by 5:00 pm Friday 25 May, 2018.

    We will be holding several small group discussions during the morning to plan for activities over the year ahead. 

    If you wish to join Fabians you can do so here or renew your membership here.

  • Winter warmer drinks with Terri Butler MP

    The South Australian Fabians invite you to join Labor frontbencher Terri Butler MP for winter warmer drinks and conversations at the Seven Stars Hotel.

    Her razor sharp wit and progressive conviction has seen her rise through the parliamentary ranks to her current position as Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality, Universities, and Young Australians and Youth Affairs.

    This is a free event and all progressives are welcome.

    Snacks will be provided, and food and drinks are available from the hotel bar.

    Please RSVP for catering purposes. We look forward to seeing you there.