BEING HUMAN Conversation


Friday 16 June 2023
1pm – 2pm AEST


NSW Parliament House
and livestream


Free, registration essential

Back by popular demand, The Ethics Centre in association with the Parliament of NSW goes beyond the stoush with The Bare Pit: In Victory and Defeat.

You are invited to sit in the chamber alongside a panel of current MPs and ex-parliamentarians from all sides, as they lay bare their perspectives, cracking open the human dimension of politics, exploring the pertinent topic “In Victory and Defeat”.

Hear rare personal insights into how it feels to slog hard and fall short; succeed and remain gracious; endure personal sacrifices; and remain ethical when the idea that ‘the ends justify the means’ can be so enticing – all while being in the public eye.

Your host, The Ethics Centre’s Dr Simon Longstaff AO, will encourage the speakers to be candid as he leads them through a range of scenarios where these dynamics play out: at election time, in the party room, in cabinet and more.

Guests include Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council, Cate Faehrmann MLC; the Minister for Finance and Natural Resources, The Hon. Courtney Houssos MLC; Shadow Minister for Health, Matt Kean MP; former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, The Hon. Jonathan O’Dea; and NSW State Political Reporter, Ashleigh Raper.

About The Bare Pit

The name of this event, The Bare Pit is a pun on ‘bear pit’, a well-known colloquial term for the Legislative Assembly chamber, in the past often synonymous with bravado and a combative style of debate. In this take, panellists from all sides of politics appear together to unpack preconceptions of Parliamentary behaviour, as they lay ‘bare’ their own experiences. 


The Bare Pit  is a unique collaboration between The Ethics Centre and the Parliament of NSW, giving audiences unfiltered access to the workings of Parliament in this free event, offered both in person and livestreamed.


Cate Faehrmann MLC

Cate Faehrmann (pronounced Fairman) is a Greens MP in the NSW Upper House. She has a long history of working with grassroots organisations fighting for the protection of the environment and social justice. She was previously the CEO of the Nature Conservation Council, a Board Member of the Environmental Defender’s Office, Chair of Sea Shepherd and a founding Director of GetUp!.

The Hon. Courtney Houssos MLC

Courtney Houssos is the Minister for Finance and Natural Resources in New South Wales. She is the first female Minister for Finance and the first female Minister responsible for the mining sector in the NSW Government. Prior to entering Parliament, she was an elected party official for the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party, serving nine years as the NSW Country Organiser, the first woman to do so.During her time in Parliament, she has been a strong advocate on behalf of families, improving education outcomes and universal and accessible healthcare.  

Matt Kean MP

Matt Kean MP was Treasurer in the Perrottet Government. He entered Parliament in 2011 and spent his early years advocating for stronger mental health policy. Following the 2019 NSW election, he was appointed Minister for Energy and Environment. During his time as Environment Minister, he added substantial expanses of land to the NSW National Parks’ estate and was a leading voice for modernising the State’s energy system. Matt has argued that the centre of Australian politics needs to be reclaimed in the political debate. He has shown that when politicians make a concerted effort to find common ground and put aside tribal and ideological differences, real and lasting reform can be achieved. 

The Hon. Jonathan O’Dea 

Jonathan O’Deawas Speaker of the 57th New South Wales Parliament. During his tenure, he facilitated the introduction of new House rules to enhance the Legislative Assembly’s scrutiny and representative powers. He advocated for members’ professional development and community engagement and organised various events and programs to impart parliamentary knowledge to the Members and the public. Jonathan entered politics in 2007 and remained as the Member for Davidson for 16 years. Since retiring from politics, he works as a non-executive Director at Top Education Group Ltd.

Ashleigh Raper

Ashleigh Raper is the ABC’s NSW State Political Reporter and a member of the NSW Parliament press gallery. She’s been a fixture on Macquarie Street throughout the Premierships of Mike Baird, Gladys Berejiklian, Dominic Perrottet and now Chris Minns. She was also the trusted face of the ABC’s Covid coverage during the pandemic. Ashleigh is a TV reporter, news presenter, political columnist and is a regular guest on a range of radio and tv programs as well as podcasts, giving expert analysis. She has previously worked as a journalist in the Northern Territory, Orange and Newcastle and has also been a triple j newsreader.


Dr Simon Longstaff AO

Dr Simon Longstaff began his working life on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory of Australia. He is proud of his kinship ties to the Anindilyakwa people. After a period studying law in Sydney and teaching in Tasmania, he pursued postgraduate studies as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1991, Simon commenced his work as the first Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. In 2013, he was made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to the community through the promotion of ethical standards in governance and business, to improving corporate responsibility, and to philosophy.” Simon is an Adjunct Professor of the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW, a Fellow of CPA Australia, the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Risk Policy Institute 

Presented in association with the Parliament of NSW

Live Stream