Welcome to the Democracy in Transition Conference
Hosted by the Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Hello from the University of Melbourne
The Melbourne School of Government is a bold new school that brings together disciplines traditionally divided – Business & Economics, Law, and Arts – to seek to answer the complex issues facing our rapidly changing world.
Globally we are witnessing an evolution of democratic ideals and models, with new insights and solutions that have the potential to transform democratic societies. With these changes come opportunities for building better systems.
This conference will present new insights on:
- The 21st century challenges faced by democracies around the world: citizen disengagement, civil rights and freedoms, security and cohesion, with expert insight on how to reshape your policies, practices and implementation to create greater benefit for citizens, consumers and communities.
- Problems with political leadership. The phenomenon of policy gridlock. Do central governments have too much power? Organisational democracy? New governance models emerging in indigenous and local government settings, with collaborative approaches to redesign governance and decision- making systems.
- Expert analysis of the impact of social media, clicktivism, and special interest group influence.
- Alternative approaches to political renewal emerging in a number of non-Western jurisdictions, as well as current debates around illiberal and radical democracy, including unique insights into the global challenges of statelessness and crippling debt, and how to manage competing priorities.
- How corporations are responding to the democratic challenges, including analysis of free trade agreements (TPP), and industry disclosure frameworks (ESG).
- The opportunity to network with outstanding industry, public sector, non-profit, and academic change-makers from across the world.
You may also be interested in our related website DemocracyRenewal, which is a resource and forum for discussion on creating better democratic systems.
Please join us for this conference and help lead the debate on the future of democracy.
Foundation Director Melbourne School of Government
The Hon. Xanana Gusmão
The Honorable Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, leader of the resistance struggle for self-determination and the liberation of the East Timorese people. This led to his imprisonment, where he continued to work for East Timorese independence from Indonesian rule. After achieving independence he served as the first President (2002–2007) and subsequently, the fourth Prime Minister (2007–2015) of East Timor where he led the building of the new State and consolidation of democratic governance. On February 16, 2015, Xanana Gusmão announced that he was stepping down as Prime Minister to make way for a new generation. He was then appointed and currently serves as the Minister Mentor and Minister of Planning and Strategic Development in East Timor.
The Hon. John Brumby
The Hon. John Brumby was Premier of Victoria (2007 – 2010) and has immense experience in public life serving for more than 10 years as Treasurer and then Premier of Victoria, 6 years as Leader of the Victorian Opposition and 7 years as Federal MHR for Bendigo during the period of the Hawke Government.
Since retiring from politics, Mr Brumby has accepted a number of appointments including: Professorial Fellow at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University; Chairman of the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) Superannuation Fund; Independent Director of Huawei Technologies (Australia) Pty Limited; and National President of the Australia China Business Council.
Mr Brumby was Chair of the COAG Reform Council from January 2013 to June 2014. He is widely published on a range of issues including Federation, tax reform and China.
Dr. Erika Feller
Dr. Erika Feller (LLB(Hons)/BA 1972), is the former Assistant High Commissioner at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), responsible for overseeing the protection of 34 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people through the development of UN policies, law, procedures and framework. Currently, she is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government, and her conference presentation is titled, 'Global people movement: an ultimate challenge to democracy'.
Dr. John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). He is the co-founder and director of the Sydney Democracy Network (SDN). His Life and Death of Democracy was short-listed for the 2010 Non-Fiction Prime Minister's Literary Award. It is the first full-scale history of democracy for over a century. He is renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy.
Mukulika Banerjee is Associate Professor in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and the Inaugural Director of the LSE South Asia Centre. She grew up in India, took a first degree in English followed by Masters degrees in Sociology, all at the University of Delhi. She completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford in 1994 and was appointed a post-doctoral Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College Oxford the same year. She took up her first Lectureship in 1996 at University College London and joined LSE in 2009. Her latest book Why India Votes? was published by Routledge in 2014. She is currently working on a monograph on democracy and village life. Her doctoral research was on an anti-colonial movement of non-violent civil disobedience among the Pashtuns of the NWFP that was published as The Pathan Unarmed (2000). She is also a co-author of a book on the modernity of fashion, The Sari (2003) and edited Muslim Portraits (2007). Mukulika also has an active interest in music and the arts, gives regular public lectures on a wide range of subjects and has been part of the leading cast of an international feature film. She has also made a documentary (with CultureWise) for BBC Radio 4 on the Indian elections and makes regular appearances on radio and television.
Keping Yu (俞可平) is the new Chair, Professor and Dean, School of Government, Peking University, Beijing. He is the former Director of the Center for Chinese Government Innovations at Beijing University. He is an internationally renowned speaker and scholar. His noted books include Democracy is a Good Thing. In addition to his academic work he has also acted as an advisor on political reforms to the Chinese government. Yu is also the New World Senior Fellow in the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
List of Speakers
Dynamic, intimate, engaged format
This two day conference will be interactive and dynamic, with plenary and panel sessions having a high involvement from the audience made up of 200 leading decision-makers from government, industry, the public service, peak bodies, non-profit organisations and universities from around the globe. Register now, as numbers are limited to provide the opportunity for valuable sharing, collaboration, and networking.
Ph.D Panel, 'Democracy in Transition' Conference
Sunday 6 December 2015, 1pm-4.30pm
The Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Swanston Street, University of Melbourne, Carlton
Download the program [docx]
Sunday December 6th, Left Bank, 1 Southbank, 5.30-7pm
You are invited to meet and mingle at our Welcome Reception at Left Bank, which is situated on the Yarra river with magnificent views of the city, and the history of migration walk-way bridge. The Welcome reception is included in your conference registration.
Monday December 7th, Sake, Hamer Hall, 6.30pm-10pm
Please join us for a fun and relaxed conference dinner at Sake, situated alongside the breathtaking Yarra River. Enjoy Executive Chef Wayne Brown’s innovative Signature Dishes menu and indulge in mouth-watering dishes that combine the very best of modern and classic Japanese, with much-loved local Melbourne flavours. Dietary requirements are catered for, and can be noted on your registration form.
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Uncovered - Business Breakfast, Day Two @ 7.15am
Experts looking at the Issues & Challenges
Tuesday 8th December, 2015, 7.30am-8.30am, Langham Hotel Melbourne
Book your ticket here (please note the TPP breakfast is included in your conference registration, but is also a stand alone event)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed trade agreement between 12 pacific rim countries representing a quarter of world trade and a third of world GDP. In a time of lower global economic growth, it has the potential to create new trade and investment opportunities for Australia in the Asia-Pacific region. However, concerns have been raised about the secrecy of its negotiation and its content (such as investor-state dispute settlement). In this session, a panel of experts will explore some of the implications of the TPP for democracy and public policy in Australia.
Registrations open: NOW OPEN
Registrations close: Wednesday 2nd December, 2015
The registration deadline is Wednesday 2nd December, 2015
Please select one of the following options:
|Registration - Standard||$550 (incl GST)|
|Registration - Early bird (prior to 31st Oct, 2015)||$495 (incl GST)|
|Registration - Not-for-Profit registrant||$450 (incl GST)|
|Registration - UoM/MSoG Alumni||$450 (incl GST)|
|Registration – Student concession||$350 (incl GST)|
*Group discount: A 20% discount applies when registering 3 or more participants from the same organisation. Registrations must be processed and paid for together. Please contact Claire Tanner for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration Cancellation & Refund Policy:
The registration deadline is Wednesday 2nd December, 2015. Refunds, less a $100 cancellation fee, will be provided for cancellations received, in writing, prior to the deadline. Following the deadline, no refunds will be given.
You may transfer your registration to another person, at no additional cost. Transfer requests must in be made, in writing, by the registered person.
All cancellations and transfers requests must be made, in writing, to Claire Tanner.
*Please note registration is inclusive of the Sunday evening Welcome Reception, program, day one and two plenary and panel sessions, morning and afternoon teas, and lunch. (The Conference dinner is not included in the registration fee)
If you have an inquiry regarding your registration or the workshops, please contact
The conference will be held at The Langham, Melbourne, on the banks of the magnificent Yarra river.
Delegates and speakers who wish to book the hotel directly may secure a 10% discount. This will apply to the dates that the conference is in progress and the night of Saturday 5th December. Click here to book The Langham, Melbourne.
Hosted by the Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne
Generating knowledge and bold policy solutions. Leading informed, independent debate. Inspiring those working in and with government.
The Melbourne School of Government is a whole of University interdisciplinary School, harnessing the resources of the University to create and deliver new Masters Programs, Research@MSoG, executive education and international partnerships.
The Melbourne School of Government provides a platform for informed, independent debate on contemporary issues of great significance to the future of Australia and our region.
By bringing together expertise from across the University and various disciplines including, but not limited to, economics, political science, international relations, sociology, development studies, philosophy and law, the School seeks to unite policy makers, industry leaders and citizens through ideas that are both actionable and that provide lasting solutions.
Melbourne, at the head of Port Phillip Bay, is Australia's second largest city and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria.
Melbourne is Australia's cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. Its 4-million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad.
Reasons to visit Melbourne include major sporting events, using it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as the Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and visiting Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of the TV soap opera Neighbours.