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The Moral High Ground

Jacqueline Maley, Julia Baird & Osman Faruqi

Moderated by Edwina Throsby

Morally bankrupt, moral challenges, a moral vacuum - commentary on politics often circles around right and wrong. What role does morality play in contemporary Australian politics?

On Stream | Talks & Ideas | Live from Sydney Opera House

“The ethical foundations of liberal democratic politics are eroding in Australia.” 
Simon Longstaff

The good, the bad, and the halls of power

Morality is increasingly used to frame Australian political discourse: leaders share personal stories to boost their integrity. Immigration and the climate crisis are discussed in ethical terms. Blow ups around the treatment of women and MPs' sexual conduct damage the perceived moral characters of politicians. The Prime Minister's religion gets weaponised - first Rudd, then Abbott, and now most of all Morrison.

So with an election looming, it's time to ask: what role does morality play in politics? Is it just a cynical ploy to win hearts and votes? What does religion have to do with virtue? And can we hope for a government motivated by honesty and justice? Join these seasoned political commentators as they wrestle with Australia's moral conscience.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

More about Jacqueline Maley...

Jacqueline Maley is a columnist and senior writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers, where she writes about politics, people and social affairs. She has also worked on staff at The Guardian in London and at The Australian Financial Review, as well as contributing to numerous other publications including Gourmet Traveller and Marie Claire. In 2016 she won the Kennedy Award for Outstanding Columnist. She lives in Sydney with her daughter and partner.


More about Julia Baird...

Julia Baird is a globally renowned author and award-winning journalist. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. After taking up a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, she became a columnist and senior editor at Newsweek in New York. Her third book is Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder, and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark. She lives near the sea with two children, a tyrannical cat and an abnormally large dog.

More about Osman Faruqi...

Osman Faruqi is an award-winning journalist and head of audio at Schwartz Media. He is the editor of their daily news podcast 7am and hosts their weekly arts and culture podcast, The Culture. He has worked as an editor at the ABC and was a reporter with the flagship audio documentary program Background Briefing. He’s hosted shows on Melbourne’s Triple R and Sydney’s FBi radio station, and is regularly published in The Saturday Paper, The Guardian, and The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

More about Dr Edwina Throsby...

Respected producer, director and curator Edwina Throsby is Managing Editor of Arts at the ABC. The former Head of Talks and Ideas at the Sydney Opera House and Curation of TEDxSydney, Throsby has dedicated her 20-year career to bringing complex topics and stories to the broadest possible audience across platforms and media. In her three years overseeing the artistic and creative vision for TEDxSydney, the ideas festival grew to almost 130,000 attendees, millions of online views and more than 150 satellite events.

Prior to TEDxSydney, Throsby founded and produced the ABC’s flagship multi-platform ideas program, Big Ideas, hosted by Tony Jones, which quickly expanded from ABC2 to the main ABC network and ABC News 24.

Throsby has worked as a documentary filmmaker, garnering the Best Documentary award at Flickerfest (2008) and Best Documentary Short award at Melbourne International Film Festival (2008) for Dance Like Your Old Man. She has also worked on esteemed news and current affairs programs, including Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A.

Edwina holds a PhD in political science, her thesis was about undecided voters in Australia.

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