Past Events

  • Digital Manipulation of Democracy

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    Event 2 in Victorian Fabians Spring Series, "Digitisation and Democracy".

    SPEAKERS: Stilgherrian and Vanessa Teague

     

    Intensive manipulative techniques are being applied to democracy, voting processes and voting behaviours and public political sentiment. Since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, there has been much more interest about the extent to which digitisation and big data is being used by narrow sectional interests to manipulate and capture political power. 

    In mature democracies we have developed a suite of checks and balances which help to mitigate some of the more egregious tiltings of the democratic playing field. But are there effects of digitisation and the structures that support it, that because of its newness, pervasiveness and power, we are particularly ill defended against?

    Who are the new power brokers? How is your vote affected? How is Australia affected?

    Come to our next Fabians event to join in the discussion.

     

    Stigherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and broadcaster who covers the politics of the internet and the way it’s changing power relationships at every level of society. He’s particularly interested in security, privacy, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

    He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide range of media and technology work that’s included ABC Radio, magazines and online media. He survived the first dotcom boom.

    Stilgherrian currently writes for ZDNet, Crikey and others, produces the podcasts Corrupted Nerds and The 9pm Edict, is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and in his own words, tweets far too prolifically.

     

    Vanessa Teague is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at at The University of Melbourne.

    She is also a brilliant and legitimate hacker who has demonstrated that virtually no encrypted system is secure. At the same time she has a passionate commitment to people’s ownership of their own data and to democracy.

    She has been invited to appear before several parliamentary inquiries into elections at the state and federal level, to answer questions on electronic voting. She opposes electronic voting on security grounds, and she is very involved in the debates over big data.

     

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    Event 1 in Victorian Fabians Spring Series, "Digitisation and Democracy".

    SPEAKERS: Janet McCalman and Chris Culnane.

     

    When your data is captured and shared by government, what are the benefits and costs?

    The Turnbull government touts public and private use of open government data as a wellspring for better public and private service delivery and economic well-being.

    Digitisation and tracking of government data allows better understanding of causes and solutions to inequities in our changing communities, and consequent adjustment of services and amenities. But use of government data is also encouraged for private profit making business opportunities.

    Digitised government data may be used well or badly by both government entities and private ventures. Does open government digital data improve equality of access to democracy and its benefits and empower all?

    Janet McCalman is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the Centre for Health Equity in the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, at the University of Melbourne. She is an historian who specialises in historical population health, and the author of Struggletown (1984), Journeyings (1993) and Sex and Suffering: women health and a women's hospital (1998).

    Janet uses government data extensively for her research and is a proponent of open availability of government data for positive research outcomes that benefit all Australians.

    Janet says: "I'm calling my talk, ‘From Clinical Material to Big Data’. I’ll be arguing strongly for govt data to belong to the people i.e. The State and not to be sold for commercial gain - e.g.. Insurance companies, private analytics groups, etc."

     

    Chris Culnane is a Research Fellow in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne.

    He has researched electronic voting. He was the technical lead on the SuVote project to design, develop, and deploy an end-to-end verifiable electronic voting system in the 2014 state election in the State of Victoria, Australia.

    More recently he was part of the team that discovered weaknesses in the anonymisation of the Australian Government MBS/PBS dataset release. The dataset consisted of a 10% sample of Australian Medicare billing records over a 30 year period.

    He is also interested in how the original notion of open government has morphed into the more general notion of open data. As a result, an increasing number of open government data releases are not about the Government itself, but are instead about the population.

    Chris says "...an increasing number of open government data releases are not about the Government itself, but are instead about the population. ...Such releases raise important questions about data ownership; does the data belong to the government, or is it merely the custodian? Should data that is collected compulsorily, or via access to essential government services, ever be released as open data, given the lack of an opt-out or alternative? If such data is released, does that mean a greater dependence on government services increases the likelihood of being a subject in a data release, and therefore incurs a greater privacy risk?"

  • How to Advocate for Equality

    Join the Queensland branch for their winter series on equality.

    This event is the first of 3 over winter in the sunshine state.
      
    We all know that excessive inequality makes capitalism less inclusive. It hinders people from participating fully and developing their potential. If left unchecked growing inequality risks further splintering our social fabric and entrenching social, economic and spatial divisions in our community.

    Increasing inequality of income and wealth is dividing many modern societies and poses a threat to the global economy. Australia is no exception with a concerning long-term trend of growing inequality.

    Inequality is dividing our nation and threatening the wellbeing of our communities and the longer-term stability of our economy.

    Which is why the Australian Fabians is hosting a Panel Discussion and Workshop to enliven the important national debate - How can each and everyone of us advocate for equality.

    Our workshops will be held across most capital city's and other major centres and will form part of our next National Essay - Addressing equality in Australia.

    Your Queensland event will happen in 2 parts -

    1. Panel Discussion from the following speakers:

    • Linda Ford (Social Worker from Mt Isa and AASW national Board member)
    • Tony Stevenson (CEO of the Mental Illness Fellowship)
    • Kevin Cocks (Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner)
    • Bill Marklew (CPSU Queensland Secretary)
    2. Workshop - to add your thoughts on how to tackle inequality.

    So in short, we want to hear from you and we want to ensure that this important debate is not lost over the coming months and years.

  • Labor's philosophy in action

    Join us at NSW Parliament for a keynote address from the NSW Deputy Labor leader and Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Michael Daley MP.

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    The NSW Fabians are delighted to invite NSW Conference delegates and attendees to the launch of our new Fabian pamphlet ‘A New Vision for NSW: Ideas for the Next NSW Labor Government’. 

    In this pamphlet, the authors set our their ideas and policies for the next State Labor Government. Authors include Ryan Park, John Graham, Jodi McKay, Penny Sharpe, Daniel Mookhey, Tim Ayres and others.

    Speakers will include John Graham MLC, Jodi McKay, Tim Ayres and Elly Howse. Copies of the pamphlet will be available.

    You can guarantee a copy of the pamphlet by contributing to our crowfunding campaign at chuffed.org/project/fabianideas


    WHEN: 1:15pm, Saturday 29th July
    WHERE: Lower Town Hall 2

     

  • A Tasmanian Fabians discussion of the Essay – Tax Settings and Inequality with the authors Terri Butler MP and Andrew Giles, hosted by Chairperson Julie Collins MP.

    This is a free event.

  • Tax Settings and Inequality

    Australia needs a completely different conversation about taxation policy.
     
    The decisions to be made about taxation - such as how much is to be raised, and by what means - affect much more than just finding the revenue to secure the provision of necessary services.
     
    Today, Australians are experiencing record levels of inequality. Unchecked, this will get worse, separating the experiences and opportunities of Australians, dampening all of our prospects.
     
    Join Terri Butler MP & Andrew Giles MP as they discuss their recent Fabian essay on the links between taxes & inequality.
  • Tax Settings and Inequality

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    Join the Queensland branch for their winter series on equality.
    This event is the Third Event of Three over winter in the sunshine state.
     
    At this event, join in the discussion as we discuss the Essay - Tax Settings and Inequality with the authors - Terri Butler MP and Andrew Giles MP.
     

    About the Panel: 

    Terri Butler MP
    Terri is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities, and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality. She is the Deputy Chair of the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education & Training, and a member of the House Standing Committees on Procedure, and Tax and Revenue. She's on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.  She is co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Innovation and Enterprise group, and convener of Labor Friends of Tourism.
    Andrew Giles MP 

    Andrew Giles is the Federal Member for Scullin in Victoria. Prior to being elected in 2013, Andrew was a principal lawyer at Slater & Gordon, practicing in employment law, where he helped people uphold their rights at work and resolve the issues they face in their workplace. Andrew holds a degree in Arts and Law, having graduated from the University of Melbourne. Andrew serves on a number of parliamentary committees: Public Accounts and Audit; Privileges; Environment; Infrastructure and Economics. Within the Parliamentary Labor Party, Andrew is the chair of the Education, Research, Science and Arts Committee, and a member of the Economics Committee. Reflecting his keen interest in urban development, he is the convenor of the Cities sub-committee.

  • Tax Settings and Inequality - Townsville QLD

    We are proud to announce that we have secured Terri Butler MP and Andrew Giles MP in Townsville, to present on their Essay - Tax settings and Inequality. 
    At this event we will also be lunching the North Queensland Committee of the Australian Fabians.
    When you RSVP to attend this event, as it will be at state conference we will send you an update for the Room location at a later date.

    About the Panel: 

    Terri Butler MP
    Terri is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities, and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality. She is the Deputy Chair of the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education & Training, and a member of the House Standing Committees on Procedure, and Tax and Revenue. She's on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.  She is co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Innovation and Enterprise group, and convener of Labor Friends of Tourism.
    Andrew Giles MP 

    Andrew Giles is the Federal Member for Scullin in Victoria. Prior to being elected in 2013, Andrew was a principal lawyer at Slater & Gordon, practicing in employment law, where he helped people uphold their rights at work and resolve the issues they face in their workplace. Andrew holds a degree in Arts and Law, having graduated from the University of Melbourne. Andrew serves on a number of parliamentary committees: Public Accounts and Audit; Privileges; Environment; Infrastructure and Economics. Within the Parliamentary Labor Party, Andrew is the chair of the Education, Research, Science and Arts Committee, and a member of the Economics Committee. Reflecting his keen interest in urban development, he is the convenor of the Cities sub-committee.

     

  • Tax Settings to Reduce Inequality: Terri Butler and Andrew Giles

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    This is a Victorian Fabians Special Event with Terri Butler MP and Andrew Giles MP

    How might a new approach to tax achieve greater equality? 

    Have you read Terri Butler and Andrew Giles' essay for Australian Fabians on how tax measures can be used to achieve greater equality?  If not, access your copy here.

    Now is your chance to hear them discuss their ideas... At this event Terri Butler and Andrew Giles will outline the ideas put forward in their essay, followed by an exploration of its implications with Alison McClelland AM (former Productivity Commissioner) and questions from you! 

    In their essay they argue:

    "Today, Australians are experiencing record levels of inequality. We are on course for a future which promises a new Gilded Age for a lucky few, at the expense of confined and insecure lives for the many. To reverse this trend to inequality we need more than a set of policies: we need a consistent argument for the changes needed to deliver growth that is inclusive and sustainable. This has to be anchored by a new approach to tax."

    Andrew Giles is the Federal Member for Scullin; Terri Butler is the Federal Member for Griffith.

     

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    When:         Wednesday 2 August at 6.30pm

    Where:        Purple Room MCC Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

    Cost:           $5 members; $10 non-members