Controversies Seminar Series 2015

Join the The Victoria Institute for 2015’s Controversies Seminar Series.

After a successful debut in 2012, the Controversies Seminar Series is back by popular demand, providing a public forum for thoughtful discussion on complex and current issues.

Seminar 1: Unwell and Uneducated? Young Australians, illness and education

Date: Monday 1 June 2015
Time: 5.30pm to 7.15pm (5:45pm start)
Where: Theatrette, State Library of Victoria)
Entrance 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Australia’s health system faces many challenges related to chronic illness and complex health conditions. Major advances in biomedicine mean that children and young people are now surviving conditions that would have meant early death just a short time ago. This has major implications for Australia’s education systems.

A troubling side effect of this success in medicine is the number of children and young people who manage their health conditions, but who can easily remain overlooked in education. In many ways this is a new frontier for teachers, schools and education systems. Never before have so many students been present in our classrooms, who have survived major health challenges, but who are not yet systematically supported to thrive in education.

Key questions

  • How many Australian school students’ education is affected by their illness?
  • What is the impact of illness on learning?
  • Whose responsibility is it to look after these students’ education?
  • What needs to be done?

Beccky Johns will start the conversation by sharing her personal story. Dr Julie White's recent report Young Australians, Illness and Education: Report on the national database project will serve as a catalyst for the panel discussion on emerging concerns about the high numbers of young Australians with health conditions and their education. Corrine Grant will host an evening of conversation with a panel of experts to highlight some of the key issues that need to be addressed.


  • Professor Susan Sawyer, Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne)
  • Cathy Nell, Missing School (National parent organisation)
  • Dr Lyndal Bond – Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science
  • Dr Sara Glover– Director of Education Policy, Mitchell Institute.

Seminar 2: ‘Preventing conflicts, ending wars & building peace: A conversation with Dr Jose Ramos-Horta’

Date: Wednesday 22 July 2015
Time: 10am-11.30am
Where: City Flinders Campus, Convention Centre, Level 12.

The event will commence with an address by Dr Ramos-Horta, followed by a probing discussion with David Manne. Questions from the audience will then be invited.

Dr Ramos-Horta has just returned from working with the United Nations reviewing their peace keeping activities.

David Manne is the Executive Director of the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre and was appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons.

Register for Seminar 2.

Seminar 3: Bringing Education and Justice Together in Victoria

Date: Monday 14 December 2015
Time: 5.30pm to 7.30pm (6.00pm start)
Where: Theatrette, State Library of Victoria)
Entrance 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Education is a justice issue, especially for young people facing the youth justice system. In a just society, the best quality educational experiences are provided to young people who come before the Criminal Court and who are detained in youth justice centres – because education so often can be the key to turning their lives around. They benefit, and we all benefit.

Every year thousands of young people appear before the Criminal Division of the Victorian Children's Court, and hundreds of young people are remanded or sentenced to time in Parkville Youth Justice Precinct. These young people tend to have a history of poor school experiences and are usually partially or entirely disengaged from education.

So how can we bring Education and Justice together for these young Victorians?

This event will examine the relationship between education and youth justice, featuring: 

  •  Musical performance by Archie Roach AM.

  • Opening address by Bernie Geary OAM, recently retired as Principal Commisioner, Victorian Commission for Children and Young People.

  • Presentation by Associate Professor Kitty te Riele (Victoria University) on the key findings from the evaluation of the Education Justice Initiative, a project funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to address educational disadvantage among young people involved in the youth justice system in Victoria.

  • Launch of the final report of the evaluation: Education at the Heart of the Children’s Court.

  • Presentation by Judge Amanda Chambers, President of the Children’s Court, Victoria.

  • Video presentation by Parkville College students.

Contact us

Phone: +61 3 9919 5934
Email: [email protected].

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