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Is Australian media weakening democracy?

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Is Australian media weakening democracy?

A bold plan to rebuild truth and integrity

7-8pm | 14 Feb | Online event

No matter how we consume it, we’re surrounded by news. But how many of us know exactly how the news is created, how it’s shaped and manipulated by journalists, businesses and politicians? Does that process affect or even damage culture and public opinion? And what happens when the creation of that media begins to undermine the institutions that our democracy rests on?

With one of the most consequential elections looming, how the media works is a crucial question that we all need to engage with. To help us understand the answer, the Community Independents Project has assembled a peerless — and fearless! — panel who know intimately the impact of the news media on Australia’s democracy.  

Join storied former ABC journalist, Kerry O’Brien, as he hosts an incredible discussion with two former Prime Ministers, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, and pioneer of the independent movement, former MP for Indi, Cathy McGowan.

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia

Kevin Rudd served as Australia's 26th Prime Minister (2007-10, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010-12). He has been president of the Asia Society Policy Institute since 2015 and global president of the Asia Society in 2020. In office, Mr Rudd led Australia's response to the Global Financial Crisis, ratified the Kyoto Protocol, delivered the National Apology to Indigenous Australians and implemented the mandatory renewable energy target. His new book on US-China relations “The Avoidable War” is on sale in April.

Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia

Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-2018) had international careers in law, business and the media before entering politics at the age of 50. As Prime Minister, he reformed Australia’s personal income tax, education and childcare systems, oversaw the legalisation of same-sex marriage and announced the construction of Snowy Hydro 2.0. Since leaving politics, Mr Turnbull has been a senior adviser to KKR and an investor in, and adviser to, many Australian technology businesses. He is also a director of the International Hydropower Association and Chairman of Australian Fortescue Future Industries.

Cathy McGowan, former independent for Indi

Cathy McGowan is recognised as one of the pioneers of the modern independent movement. In 2013, Cathy became the first independent member for Indi and the first female independent to sit on the parliamentary crossbench. Over two terms, Cathy worked to develop policy around regional development, a national integrity commission, a code of conduct for politicians, and drought policy. Cathy has also worked as an academic, researcher, and company director. Her book, “Cathy Goes to Canberra”, enjoys widespread acclaim as a frank account of becoming and being an Independent MP in the Australian Parliament.

Kerry O'Brien, Journalist

For over 50 years, Kerry O’Brien has been one of Australia’s most distinguished journalists with six Walkley Awards including the Gold Walkley, and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership. He was editor, presenter and interviewer for ABC TV’s 7.30 Report for 15 years, presenter and interviewer at Four Corners for five years and for Lateline across six years. Kerry’s interviews with former Prime Minister Paul Keating were broadcast on the ABC in 2013, followed by his book expanding on those conversations in 2015. His memoir was published in 2018. In 2019-20 he helped advise the Queensland Government on a pathway to treaty and truth-telling to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

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