Summary of The New Institute’s Activities



“Ideas for Newcastle” Ross Whitelaw; John Roberts; Ross Kerridge;

The Forthcoming Election;- Margo Kingston, Journalist

“A place with breath, voice and presence: why regional identity matters.”  Associate Professor Phillip O’Neill, Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Newcastle.




‘Sex, Gender & Football’,  A/Prof Cathy Lumby, Sydney University

‘What do we want a theatre for anyway?’   (Multiple speakers inc Daniel Ballantyne, Newcastle Civic Theatre)

‘Troy to Gallipolli and September the 11th’; Bernie Curran, Newcastle University

‘Remembering Polio – 50 years on’;  Norrie Stevens, Polio Survivor; Prof Gordon Kerridge, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Craig Dalton, Public Health Physician

‘The role of Public Advocacy and the Cornelia Rau case’  Prof Ray Watterson, Newcastle University School of Legal Studies

‘The University of the Future’ – Prof Nick Saunders, Vice Chancellor, Newcastle University;

‘It’s time for League & Union to combine’ – Debate including Knights Chairman Michael Hill, and NSW Rugby Union Coach  Brian O’Shea.

‘W(h)ither the Labor Party?  Peter Botsman, Whitlam Institute;




‘Disease-mongering – the new epidemic’;. Professors Joel Lexchin, (Toronto Canada), & Leonore Tiefer (New York), plus Roy Moynihan (Sydney).

‘Remembering when abortion was illegal’  Prof Alan Hewson, Gynaecologist.

‘Is Australia Outsourcing execution?’  – Pauline Wright & Michael Walton, NSW Council for Civil Liberties

‘The Theory and Practice of the Rule of Law in a Modern Democracy.’  Nicholas Cowdery QC, NSW Director of Public Prosecutions.

‘Why TV is good for kids’ – Prof Cathy Lumby, Sydney University, and Prof Graeme Vimpani, Paediatrician

‘A Miracle of History – The survival of Awabakal culture’  Shane Frost, Awabakal Descendant;  &  Bernie Curran, Newcastle University

‘The Ethical conflicts of a Property Developer’ – David Kennedy, Director, CVC Developments Ltd.

‘The ‘Shoot-Out’ Story’ – Kristi Street, Co-Founder of Newcastle’s innovative 24-hour filmmaking festival.




Public Forum of major candidates for the State Seat of Newcastle, who will be questioned by a panel of media and community representatives. (Held on Newcastle City Hall, Feb 22nd )

‘Mapping the History of Newcastle on the Google Earth Canvas’   Gionni di Gravio, Newcastle University Library Archivist

Will the Institutional Churches survive the 21st century? Monsignor Allan Hart, Rev. Gary Dodds, Pastor Paul Scarfe

‘Alcohol and Inner-City violence’.  Forum including Hoteliers association; Police, Hunter Health, & Newcastle Youth

‘Why are we depressed, and What can we do about it’  –  Prof Trevor Waring, Chancellor Newcastle University;  and Prof Vaughan Carr, Psychiatrist

The lost generation – the Fairbridge scheme”   David Hill

Educational choices – Beyond Public vs. Private

The New Economics – Ross Gittins

Australia’s next Decade:- Hugh McKay.

Town Hall Forum – What do we want from the next Federal Government?  – Panel of local commentators

‘The Future of the Mass Media in Regional Australia’. Jeff Eather, Media Consultant, and Mike McLusky, ABC




Prostate Cancer Screening – ‘Is a little prick better than no prick at all?’ Dr Terry Doyle, Dr Paul Ainsworth, and the NSW Cancer Council

Safe cycling in Newcastle.  On April 8th a panel including Garth Russel, (ABC); Olivia Gollan, (Amy Gillett Foundation) Ben Ewald (Newcastle Cycleways) and Kyle Loades (NRMA)

Looking forward to the US Elections    Michael Ondaatje

“Thirty years as a Foreign Correspondent”  ABC journalist Peter Cave

“Coping with Climate Change”  – Prof. Gary Willgoose, Newcastle University, and Dr James McGregor, CSIRO Energy Centre

‘Ruddfest – An Imagineers view of the 2020 Summit’ A/Prof Alison Jones

Public ‘Town Hall Forum’ – Candidates for Newcastle’s Lord Mayor

The University and the Community of Newcastle – Past and Future  Dr Bernie Curran, Newcastle University Foundation




Analysing the Obama victory     Michael Ondaatje.

The Family Court     Justice Graham Mullane

The ‘Renew Newcastle’ project      Marcus Westbury

The Economics of Water Management –    Steven Lucas, of Newcastle Uni, and Kevin Young of Hunter Water,

‘Economics after the Global Financial Crisis’.    Ross Gittins.

Transport in Newcastle – What are Tram-trains?  Allan Squires, Tony Proust, Joan Dawson, Peter Shinnick.

A Vision for the Hunter:-      Hunter Development Corporation

Shaping Our Image – Can you ‘Brand’ Newcastle?.    Dee Madigan, Advertising Commentator, Mike Preston (Peach), Brian Daly (Enigma),

The Hunter Environment – Now for the good news.      NPWS; and   Hunter Wetland Centre




March – Dr Michael OndaatjeObama’s first year: -A record we can believe in?

April – Howard Dick & Brett Derwin – A Strong and Effective Voice for the Hunter

May – Tony Ross, Louise Duff, David Eland, Gordon Patrick, June Cameron & Leone Woolnough – How can we better support our voluntary organisations?

June – Roger Pryor, Craig Wilson, Carol Duncan, Pip Cleaves & Gordon Whitehead – Twitter and Social Media – What’s it good for?

July – Professor John Warhurst – Whatever happened to the Australian Republic……and what happens now?

August – Peter Saul – Dying in the 21st Century

September –Stefano Manfredi – Food, Wine, and Australian Society

October – Ross Gittins – The Happy Economist

November – Dr Norman Abjorensen The State of Democracy in Australia




March – The Seat of Newcastle – NSW Election Candidates Forum

April – Changes in the Middle East

May – War in the 21st Century

June – Healthy Advertising

July – Brand Newcastle

August – Youth Homelessness

September – Lessons learnt (perhaps) from the Pasha Bulka storm

September (additional event) – The Divided Brain and the unmaking of our world.

October – Building an Ideas City

November – The Church and THAT problem




February1942: Singapore, Changi and the Burma Railway 

March – Obama’s America: A Critique of the Critics

April – Moving past Gridlock – Transport Options for Newcastle

May – Developing the Hunter

June – Reinventing Newcastle’s Night Life

July – Introducing: The Newcastle Institute

August – Arrangement with the University of Newcastle –  Cheryl Kernot: Newcastle University Society & Health Lecture 2012

September – Choosing Newcastle’s Lord Mayor

September – Newcastle on the Couch

October – The Future of the University – The Future of Newcastle

November – The Economics of Just about Everything




March – Opening of the Creating Spaces Conference

April – Champions for the Hunter

May – Religion in Political Life

June – The National Disability Insurance Scheme – How will it work?

July – Federal Candidates’ Forum

August – New Futures for Work in Newcastle

September- Martin Luther King Jr: The Man, the Dream, the Reality

October – The Art Gallery Fiasco:- What have we learnt?

November – Understanding Shari’ah Law – and its future in Australia




March –The obesity epidemic – Why is it happening and what can we do about it ?

April – Medicare Locals – and the Future of Healthcare

May – Redeveloping Newcastle:- Why? What? How?

June – Cycling – a transport solution for Newcastle

July – Latest thinking in sustainable technologies and coal alternatives

August – Williamtown Now and in the Future

October – Candidates’ Fora

 November – Lord Mayoral Candidates’ Forum




March – First event for 2015 – NSW Election Forum

May – The Railway Stalemate – Is There Another Way?

June – Budgets, Bulldust and Bastardry

July – Smart Creative City

August – Newcastle: Can we have our Heritage cake and eat it too?

September – Newcastle’s New Entrepreneurs

October – New Newcastle

November – The NDIS and the Stockton Centre. What will happen to the severely disabled?




March – Fear is to terror as hope is to the lottery

April – April 13th: The US Presidential Election

May – May at the Newcastle Institute

June – Cyber Security and State Sponsored Cybercrime

June – Public Forum – Federal election: Hunter Senate candidates forum

July – Do we need to say No to America?

August – Drug Myths and Realities: Medical Marijuana, and Ice

September – Cancer Breakthrough? – A Doctor’s Extraordinary Journey

October – Ethics in the classroom – lessons from the first five years

November – The Politics of Indigenous Organisations




March –  Understanding the Trump Phenomenon

April – Renew Newcastle:- Now and Then

May – What are the solutions to the electricity supply crisis?

June – Navigating the Truth in the Post-Truth Era

July – Conversation Number One – Nathan Rees

August – Mayoral Candidates’ Forum

September – Conversation Number Two – Conversations with Campbell Newman

October – Our democracy is broken:- Is there a better way?




March – Ross Gittins – Rent-seeking, the ‘game of mates’, and the stuff-ups of economic reform

April – Roy Green – Potential futures for the Port of Newcastle. You can also see further information following this presentation at this link

May – Women and Equality

June – Urban Planning in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter

July – Schools of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

August – Taking control of our energy future

September – September Event: Margaret Henry Memorial Lecture

October – Speaking for the Region

November – Last event for 2018 – Michael Ondaatje – Following the US situation



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