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Event description



Climate change or climate crisis, global warming or global heating, climate catastrophe or catastrophisation? We can’t even agree on what to call it, let alone the science or politics. Public debates are generally toxic and dysfunctional. People are divided and fragmented in their attitudes, to whatever it is (see bottom of page). 

This is not an event for those who want a scientific or political debate, or any debate, let alone a noisy one. It's a dialogue. Our purpose, as always, is to hear three knowledgeable speakers with very different views state and discuss their differences, certainly, but only as a lead-in to an exploration of common ground and possible agreed solutions.

It is an event for curious, civic-spirited, open-minded people who want to understand a big, complex problem better and seek ways forward. And, as always, it will be conducted under The Brisbane Rule:

All participants agree to listen carefully, speak civilly and concentrate on the content of discussions, not on personalities - before, during and afterwards, online as well as offline.


The Big Dialogue will be framed along the lines of:

“We may never agree on much about climate change - nature, causes, severity, urgency - but what might we agree to do about it in terms of practical policies and grassroots measures, e.g. on energy alternatives, public technology investment, private sector decarbonisation, adaptation, conservation, development aid?”



Hon John Anderson, AO, former Deputy Prime Minister, and host, "Conversations with John Anderson" YouTube channel and podcast, will moderate the discussion. John is widely respected across the political spectrum in Australia and obviously brings great experience in difficult policy discussions. The major theme of his extensive public communication over the past 3 years has been about improving the quality of policy discussions, resonating closely with the mission of The Brisbane Dialogues. 


Julieanne Alroe, Chair - Infrastructure Australia and the Queensland Ballet, professional director and chair, recently CEO of Brisbane Airport Corporation, director or member of numerous public and private boards


Professor Hugh Possingham - currently the Queensland Chief Scientist, a distinguished environmental scientist and mathematician, until recently Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy

Dr Maia Schweizer - CEO of CleanCo, the Queensland Government's renewable energy generator/retailer, biogeologist and former McKinsey consultant and Origin Energy executive

Emeritus Professor Robin Batterham AO - Professor of Engineering at University of Melbourne and Chair of Net Zero Australia project, former Chief Scientist of Australia and Chief Technologist of Rio Tinto


  • Links to reading materials will be distributed in the lead-up
  • Guests will be able to submit questions for the speakers by SMS before and during the stage discussion
  • The Tivoli in seated, small group format is congenial for social discussion before and afterwards (with food and beverages available throughout)
  • Come early, on your own or with friends, family and colleagues, stay late and carry on the discussion
  • Speakers will be invited to mingle with the audience after the stage discussion
  • Review the discussion from the high quality video recording included in the ticket (no live stream)
  • Really get involved - volunteers always needed!

Escape the small screen for a proper, real, live, physical, in-person, multi-speaker event on the big stage at the wonderful Tivoli. Buy a ticket, bring a friend or get a table together and join in the discussion, before, during and after!

Produced by:

The Brisbane Dialogues (TBD) is Australia’s first dedicated civil discourse organisation and a growing corner of the public square - a wholly independent, neutral, intergenerational, not-for-profit, volunteer-based project to stimulate better discussions about big ideas and issues. We aim to demonstrate what good public discussions look like and to support other organisations to turn one-way talks and one-sided discussions into genuine, respectful dialogues.

In collaboration with:

The Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences exists to promote excellence in the arts and sciences, to stimulate activity in those areas that lie on the intersection between disciplines, and to provide independent scholarship and advice for social and public policy. 


Tickets are priced from $10 to make the event widely accessible, made possible by:

  • the generous donation of the use of the Tivoli by its owners
  • the time and expertise of all the speakers and volunteers, and
  • Black (premium) ticket sales and donations

Hard costs of $30-40 pp still need to be covered and we rely on ticket sales and donations to cover our modest overheads between events, so please consider buying a premium (Black) ticket or making a donation to keep events accessible and The Brisbane Dialogues independent and sustainable.

If you wish to access the minimum $10 ticket, post a short (20-60 seconds) selfie video on why you are interested in this subject, event or The Brisbane Dialogues generally to social media and email the links to, also attaching the video for use in marketing. We will send you a personal booking code.


Doors open: 6:00pm til late
Dialogue: 7:00pm til 8.30-8.45pm
Date: Monday 26 Jul 2021
Venue: The Tivoli, 52 Costin St, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006

The Big Dialogue will start at 7pm sharp, so please arrive no later than 6.45pm and preferably earlier to have a snack and drink and talk to fellow guests.

This is a family-friendly event and teenage attendance is encouraged.

Photo ID may be required - tickets are not transferrable unless arranged prior.

The What’s Golden bar adjacent to the main auditorium will be open from 6:00pm until late. Food and beverages can be ordered at the front bar or via a phone app at your table, if you are seated at one. Orders made via your phone will be delivered to your table.

Seating will be socially distanced, at small tables downstairs and at seats along the balcony upstairs, according to The Tivoli's Covid-safe plan.

After the dialogue on stage, the speakers will be invited to join guests at tables for relaxed follow-on discussions. Higher-paying guests will be seated towards the front and will enjoy the best opportunity to engage with the speakers.

All guests will be able to socialise at the bar or tables and carry on the discussion until late, at the discretion of venue management.


Source: Huntley, R. 2019, Renewing democracy in a time of environmental crisis, MSSI Oration Series Paper No.3, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne

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