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July 28, 2020
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


A Zoom event under Chatham House rule
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The coal curse — resources, climate and Australia’s future.

Take a break with Judith Brett

Hosted by:
Pamela Creed

July 28, 2020 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


Where will we be when the world stops buying?

Australia is a wealthy nation with the economic profile of a developing country — heavy on raw materials and low on innovation and skilled manufacturing. Once we rode on the sheep’s back for our overseas trade; today we rely on cartloads of coal and tankers of liquefied natural gas.

So must we double down on fossil fuels, now that COVID-19 has halted the flow of international students and tourists? Or is there a better way forward that supports renewable energy and local manufacturing?

Judith Brett traces the unusual history of Australia’s economy and the “resource curse” that has shaped our politics in her recently published and insightful Quarterly Essay, The Coal Curse.

In this paper about leadership, vision and history, she looks at the costs of Australia’s coal addiction and asks: Where will we be if the world stops buying?

Judith is emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University and one of Australia’s leading political thinkers. She joined La Trobe in 1989 to teach and research Australian politics, political biography and political history and retired in 2012.

A former editor of Meanjin and columnist for The Age, she won the National Biography Award in 2018 for The Enigmatic Mr Deakin. The book was also shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, NSW Premier’s History Awards and Queensland Literary Awards.

Her other books include From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage, Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People and Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class.  She is the author of four Quarterly Essays.

Committed to political research, Judith has shared the fruits of her enquiry through her books and other writings. We are grateful she will do so once more at this special Melbourne Forum event. Please join us.