In conversation with Glyn Davis

Glyn Davis will be in conversation with Helen Sullivan on his new essay On Life's Lottery, which raises a dilemma long at the heart of philosophy, religion and politics: what are our obligations to others in a world of inequality and personal set-backs?

Birth is a throw of the dice. The consequences last a lifetime. We like to think of Australia as the land of the 'fair go', a land of choice and equal opportunity. But behind the facade of meritocracy lies an uncomfortable truth: much of your life is already decided by the lottery of where you are born and who you are born to. Entrenched inter-generational poverty, like the property of the wealthy, can be handed down from parent to child.

With one in eight adults and one in six children living below the poverty line in Australia, Glyn Davis asks the question: If life is a game of chance, what responsibility do those who are given a head start have to look after those less fortunate? As in other nations, the role of government in looking after citizens who fall behind is a core topic of political debate.

Professor Glyn Davis AC is Chief Executive of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, which works to end intergenerational poverty. He also holds a chair in political science at The Australian National University, and a visiting professorial role at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. Professor Davis was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne from 2005 to 2018.

Professor Helen Sullivan is Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU. Helen's scholarship explores the changing nature of state-society relationships and public policy and service reform. She also has a longstanding commitment to bridging the gap between research and policy. In 2017 Helen was awarded a National Fellowship of the Institute of Public Administration Australia for her contribution to public policy and administration.

Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences ANU will give the vote of thanks.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, registration for this event is essential and social distancing must be adhered to.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop and books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event until 7.30pm.