Past Events

Per Capita has recently launched the Centre for New Industry, a research centre to propose policy solutions that support a mission-oriented approach to industrial policy, and advocate for economic diversification, decarbonisation and democratisation. The Centre will build a vision of the future that provides greater employment opportunities for workers and their families, greater stability and security for regional communities, and better equips Australia to respond and adapt to economic and industrial change. Australia cannot rely on top-down solutions to economic development, but must work with community, workers and firms to create long lasting, sustainable economic growth. Our unique country, with a vast land mass and low population density, requires unique economic solutions to the challenges we face as a nation. The Centre will support the development of these solutions by producing detailed yet accessible research that is grounded in the experiences of people and place to explore the skills formation and...

Women have never made up more than 15% of the world’s prime ministers and presidents, and, despite hiring ratios and gender equity policies becoming commonplace in the workforce, only 28 women worldwide are leading a country. So what is the impact of having a woman president on the legislation passed in a nation? Does it improve the lives of fellow women? And what is a ‘women’s issue’ exactly anyway? Applying the case studies of four women presidents in South and Southeast Asia, award-winning scholar Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa examines the influence that having a woman leader can have on enacting legislative change in a nation, finding that laws may be enacted at a faster pace when women lead, particularly on issues like gender-based violence. The book also debunks the narrow idea of ‘women’s issues’ or ‘women’s interests’ and calls for a gender assessment on issues as diverse as democracy, development, peace &...

Owning one’s own home has long been understood as the Great Australian Dream, but when we look beneath the rhetoric the facts about Australia’s housing market in the 21st Century are grim: home ownership rates are falling sharply, housing stress is increasing for both mortgagees and tenants, key workers on middle incomes are increasingly locked out of secure housing within a reasonable commute of their jobs, and we are failing low and fixed income households in need of secure, subsidised shelter. How did we get here? How do we begin to understand the social and economic consequences of such enormous changes to the role and function of housing over the past 30 years? And what, if anything, can be done to reverse course, to reposition the home as a source of shelter and security for all, rather than material wealth for a few? Per Capita’s report for the V&F Housing Enterprise Foundation,...

Former publisher and founding editor of Griffith Review Professor Julianne Schultz challenges our notions of what it means to be Australian and asks urgent questions about our national identity. In this timely book she asks, ‘What is the 'idea of Australia? What defines the soul of our nation? Are we an egalitarian, generous, outward-looking country? Or is Australia a nation that has retreated into silence and denial about the past and become selfish, greedy, and insular?’ Schultz came to realise that the idea of Australia has always been a contest: between those who are imaginative, hopeful, altruistic and ambitious, and those who are defensive, self-interested and inward-looking. She is convinced we need to acknowledge and better understand our past to make sense of our present and build a positive and inclusive future. She suggests what Australia should be more ambitious and could be more compassionate, fair and informed. Julianne spoke with Per Capita's...

At a time when the country is crying out for leadership, ordinary Australians are determined to burn it all down and build something new, writes Jo Dyer. In her new book, Burning Down the House, arts powerhouse and independent candidate, Jo Dyer, tells the story of how our political system went awry. From the Morrison government’s many embarrassing moments and rapid moral decline to Labor’s inability to act. In recent years Australians have suffered through ‘Sports rorts’, ‘Watergate’ and an MIA PM, before the dissembling response to allegations of sexual abuse at the very heart of federal politics threw into stark relief the cynicism and moral bankruptcy of a government ready to abandon any semblance of integrity to save its own skin. Yet the Labor Party seems paralysed, so terrified it may lose votes from its opponent’s perennial wedging that, on key moral questions, it has failed to make the case...

Climate change is a planetary emergency. We have to do something now – but what? Australian visionary Saul Griffith has a plan. In The Big Switch, Griffith lays out a detailed blueprint – optimistic but feasible – for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment. Griffith explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid and adapt our households. The same natural advantages – incredible resources on an enormous continent – that helped Australia prosper in the 20th century are the ingredients for becoming the most prosperous, entirely renewable, economy in the world. In this webinar Saul chats with Per Capita's Shirley Jackson about his recent book, The Big Switch. Dr Saul Griffith is an inventor, entrepreneur, engineer, and author of Electrify: An Optimist’s Roadmap to Our Clean Energy Future. He is the co-founder and chief scientist at Rewiring Australia and Rewiring America,...

Long-term population directions drive the destiny of all nations, in terms of both size and age composition. While for decades we have worried about global overpopulation, it is far more likely that the period 1950–2050 will be an extraordinary population growth shock, culminating in severe population ageing and then decline. Over the next ten to twenty years, most of continental Europe, China, Russia and South Korea will join Japan as nations with sharply declining populations. The world and modern capitalism have never before been in such a situation. While Australia’s population will continue to grow over the next forty years, we will age significantly. Economic growth will slow, government and household debt will rise, and inequality will accelerate. Against that background, how will government chart our population and economic future? Join Abul Rizvi as he chats with Per Capita's Emma Dawson about his recent essay, Population Shock.   Abul Rizvi is an economics and public...

In the most information-rich era of world history, how and why can people be persuaded to believe that hundreds of thousands of children are somehow being stashed away in city sewers? Or that feminists are plotting to ruin video games? Or that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a cabal of alien lizard people? What would motivate followers to so forcefully avoid the facts and surrender instead to made-up stories designed to influence and control? It’s a question that has haunted Van, herself a veteran of social media’s relentless trolling wars. To understand why, she delves into the historical, political, sociological and psychological context of conspiracy belief. QAnon and On is the story of the modern internet, the farscape of political belief and a disinformation pipeline built between the two that poses an ongoing threat to democracy itself. Shocking and mesmerising in equal measure, this book will open our eyes...

What happens when the prime minister views politics as a game? Morrison understands that politics has become a game – one he is determined to win. He also understands something essential about Australia, something many of us are unwilling to admit, even to ourselves. But there are things Scott Morrison does not understand. Sean Kelly's new book "The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison" is the story of those failures, too – and of how Morrison’s approach to politics has become a dangerous liability. Sean Kelly discusses his recent book with Per Capita's Emma Dawson. Webinar recorded on Wednesday 8 December 2021. ...