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Royal Commissions - raising the bar into public inquiry

Lady Anna Cowen with Professor Peter Dawkins AO, Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University. Photo:by Penny Stephens

A capacity crowd turned out for the Sir Zelman Cowen Twilight Lecture series to discuss how Royal Commissions shape public policy.

Moderated by Professor David Weisbrot AM (former President of the Australian Law Reform Commission), the Davos-style lecture explored the complexities and responsibilities that come with the pursuing solutions to some of our nation’s biggest challenges.

Professor Peter Dawkins AO, Vice-Chancellor, opened the address by welcoming guests who included:

  • Lady Anna Cowen, wife of the late Sir Zelman Cowen
  • Professor Kathy Laster, Director Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

Insights into the experience of serving on a Royal Commission, and some robust discussion, was delivered by respected community members:

  • The Hon. Marcia Neave AP (former Chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence)
  • The Hon. Bernard Teague AO (former Chair of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission)
  • Adjunct Professor Alan Kohler, financial journalist and former editor, The Age.

During question time, an audience member addressed The Hon. Marcia Neave and thanked her for her work on the Royal Commission into Family Violence:

“As a survivor/advocate who made a submission and gave testimony — it transformed my life to finally receive some systemic justice for the crimes that were committed against me.”

The Hon. Marcia Neave responded by saying she was “very moved” and that one of the highlights during her time as a former Chair was hearing stories from people:

“...not just about the terrible things that had happened to individuals but the hope that we could make things better for other people, in the future”.

More information about future events is available through the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

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