BEING HUMAN Conversation


Tue 15th Jun 2021
1pm – 2pm AEST



As George Bernard Shaw noted, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.

Following on from last year’s inaugural Bare Pit this year looks at the challenge of ‘changing one’s mind’ when serving as a Member of Parliament or Minister.

From the outside, it appears as if politicians are given very little leeway to change their minds in response to new information, further reflection or the advocacy of constituents.

So what enables or inhibits our political leaders from changing their minds? And what are the ethical dimensions when it’s all laid bare?

The Bare Pit is a unique collaboration between NSW Parliament & The Ethics Centre giving audiences unfiltered access to the workings of parliament.


John Brogden AM

As one of Australia’s leading politicians and now a business leader, John Brogden is living proof that even from the darkest places, there can be a way back. Whilst John has reached the highest levels in his professional career, his personal journey is one of highs and lows, strength and courage. In 2002, he was elected Leader of the Opposition on his 33rd birthday – the youngest person ever to lead a major political party in Australia. His passion for mental illness stems from a breakdown that marked a turning point in his life and reframed the discussion around depression, particularly in the corporate world. Thanks to his profile, John has changed the way we talk about suicide and in turn, is helping thousands of individuals through his involvement with Lifeline Australia, where he has been the Chairman since 2012.  

Hon. Victor Dominello MP

Victor Dominello is a senior Minister in the NSW Government, having held various portfolios over the last decade including Aboriginal Affairs, Innovation and Finance. In 2019, he was appointed Australia’s first Minister for Customer Service and in 2021 became the inaugural Minister for Digital. Victor is a member of the Crisis Cabinet that has led the NSW response to Covid-19. His focus, delivering digital solutions such as the Service NSW QR code check-in feature and the real-time data analysis informing the state’s response. During his time in the portfolio Victor has been the driving force behind the roll out of the Digital Driver Licence and ePlanning, the establishment of the $1.6 billion Digital Restart Fund and the rapid expansion of the Service NSW app, including its world-leading use of QR codes to deliver the Dine and Discover vouchers. 

Antoinette Lattouf

Antoinette Lattouf is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked in television, radio and online news and current affairs at Network 10, ABC, Triple J and SBS. She is the Director and co-founder of Media Diversity Australia. In 2019, Antoinette was named among AFR’s 100 Women of Influence. In 2021, she was awarded a Women’s Agenda Leadership Award. Her first book, ‘How to lose friends and influence white people’ will be published by Penguin Random House in early 2022.  Antoinette is also part of the Judith Nielson Institute For Journalism and Ideas’ International Advisory Council. She is an Ambassador for mental health organisation The Gidget Foundation and the Australian Thyroid Foundation. 

Dr Simon Longstaff

Simon Longstaff’s distinguished career includes being named as one of AFR Boss’ True Leaders for the 21st century. Dr Longstaff began his working life on Groote Eylandt (Anindilyakwa) in the Northern Territory where he worked in the Safety Department of the then BHP subsidiary, GEMCO. He is proud of his kinship ties with members of the island’s Indigenous community. Following a period studying law in Sydney and a brief career teaching in Tasmania, Dr Longstaff undertook postgraduate studies in philosophy as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1991, he commenced work as the first Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, and in 2016 was appointed an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, based at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies. He was made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013. 

David Shoebridge MLC

David is a Greens MP in the NSW Parliament working on portfolios including Local Government, Forests, Aboriginal Justice, Compensation and Policing. His current campaigns include an end to native forest logging, strengthening local democracy, supporting injured workers, stopping black deaths in custody and exposing the failure of the drug sniffer dog program. 

Hon. Carmel Tebbutt

Carmel Tebbutt is the CEO of the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC), the peak body for community managed mental health organisations in NSW and a member of the board of Mental Health Australia. Carmel has successfully transitioned to the community sector after spending 17 years in the NSW Parliament, serving in both the Legislative Council and as the Member for Marrickville. Carmel was appointed to the Ministry in 1999 and held many portfolios including Health, Education, Community Services and the Environment. She was the first woman to be Deputy Premier in NSW. Carmel is committed to working with all stakeholders to see increased investment in  the mental health system, the delivery of more community based services and better outcomes for people living with mental health conditions. 

Danielle Wood

Danielle Wood is CEO of the Grattan Institute and also leads Grattan’s Budgets and Government Program. She has published extensively on economic reform priorities, budgets, tax reform, generational inequality and reforming political institutions. Danielle previously worked at the ACCC, NERA Economic Consulting and the Productivity Commission. She holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide and two Masters degrees, one in Economics and one in Competition Law, from the University of Melbourne. Danielle is the President of the Economic Society of Australia and was the co-founder and first Chair of the Women in Economics Network 

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Who is it for?

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What you'll take away

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Things to think about