Enormous thanks to everyone who has made the Sunday Salons Winter Season such a warm series of important conversations.

Firstly, warm thanks and big love to Neapoli Wine Bar. Lily, Otto, the Sunday team, Con of course, and also to Nik. My local has never felt more like a home.

To all of our speakers – George MegalogenisJudy Yates and Kate Shaw, Frank Bongiornio and Carolyn Holbrook, Michael BachelardJonathan Green, Jessica Alice and Jade Lillie – heartfelt thanks for offering your insight and your passion on the most pressing issues facing our nation today.

To everyone who joined us, thank you so much for the community we have created together. Some of us could only spare the odd Sunday; some returned week after week; some brought parents, children, interstate visitors and neighbourhood locals. And each week, this made for some great questions from all sorts of perspectives.

And finally, enormous thanks to Ben Eltham and Tasneem Chopra. The many public and professional involvements that characterise our lives made us ideal collaborators for the Sunday Salons – albeit working online between our characteristic busy-ness, and never in the one place at the one time! How fantastic to have been able to work with you both. Ben has recorded each session (except for the final, which was recorded by the superb Kieran Ruffles), and in coming months we’ll make these available here.

At a time when the world can feel more and more hostile to voices that are constructive, creative and honest, rigorous conversations in public spaces become more and more vital. We’ve contributed to some important conversations over the past seven weeks, as well as starting some new ones. Let’s keep the discussion going.

– Esther Anatolitis

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Winter 2017

The Sunday Salons Winter Season is a seven-week venture of afternoon discussions at Neapoli Wine Bar. This season:

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SALON 3 / Frank Bongiorno: Australian history now

What Australian story are we telling right now? What is the history of this moment? And what insights will future historians discover as they reflect on our times? Join Frank Bongiorno in conversation with Ben Eltham, with Carolyn Holbrook joining the second part of our discussion.

Frank Bongiorno in conversation with Ben Eltham, joined by Carolyn Holbrook for the second part of our conversation
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 21 May 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Frank Bongiorno is an Australian labour, political and cultural historian, and a professor at the Australian National University’s School of History. Frank is the author or co-author of four books and many scholarly articles and book chapters on Australian history. The Sex Lives of Australians: A History (2012) won the ACT Book of the Year, and was shortlisted in the Australian History category of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s History Award. The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia (2015) also won ACT Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Ernest Scott Prize, the NSW Premier’s History Award and the CHASS Book Prize, and longlisted for the Colin Roderick Award. Frank has served on many advisory and editorial boards, and is a regular contributor to the media, especially Inside Story, for which he was London correspondent from 2008 until 2011, and The Conversation. He has also written for Australian Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, the Monthly, the Australian and Fairfax Media.

Dr Carolyn Holbrook is currently working on a history of Australians’ attitudes towards their federal system of government. She is interested in the nature of state, national and imperial attachments and how they have been affected by geography, events and the passage of time. Carolyn’s other major project is a collaboration with Professor James Walter at Monash University about the history of Australian public policy since the 1940s, with a particular focus on indigenous, refugee, housing and employment policies. Carolyn’s book about the history of how Australians have remembered the First World War, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography, was published in 2014.

IMAGE: Frank Bongiorno pictured with his ACT Book Of The Year award-winning The Eighties, with cover quote by George Megalogenis. Photo: ANU.

SALON 2 / Judy Yates on Housing affordability: how did it get to this?

Not a day seems to go past without discussion of Australia’s growing housing affordability crisis. The social fabric of Australia is being transformed as sky-rocketing housing prices have condemned a generation to permanent renting. How did it get to this? Why has the ‘great Australian dream’ turned into a nightmare for younger and poorer Australians?

In conversation with Ben Eltham, Judy Yates discusses a lifetime studying housing policy. Ben and Judy will be joined by Kate Shaw for the second part of our discussion.

4:00-6:00pm Sunday 14 May 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Dr Judy Yates is one of Australia’s most respected scholars of housing policy. After 40 years as an academic specialising in housing finance and policy, Judy is now an honorary associate in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney, a part-time grandmother of 5, and a failed advocate of politically challenging housing policies.

Dr Kate Shaw is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in Urban Geography and Planning. Her current research focuses on urban renewal in the 21st century. Accepting that the economic case for growth combines with the environmental case for limiting urban sprawl to produce an irresistible logic for increasing the densities of Australian cities, the research explores ways of improving on the renewal projects of the last 50 years. The current project examines the legislative, regulatory, financial, political and cultural barriers to socially equitable urban development, and pursues practices elsewhere that do it better.

SALON 7 / Jade Lillie: Artistic practice, cultural activism

What role does artistic practice play in challenging the foundations of our culture? Do we recognise what’s most powerful about creative ambition? Do we understand what’s at stake when we overlook cultural safety? How does art illuminate, problematise and create the complexities of Australian identity?


Jade Lillie in conversation with Esther Anatolitis
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 18 June 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Jade Lillie is Director of Footscray Community Arts Centre. In leading FCAC, Jade leads contemporary community arts practice both by example, and through her delivery of a range of arts management, strategic planning, community engagement and cultural leadership training, facilitation, professional development and consultancy. Jade’s multidisciplinary program and partnership development and contemporary community engaged practice give her work weight within wider socio-political contexts. As such, she works extensively with health, education and community organisations within Australia, connecting them with the broader local and national conversations she is participates in and drives.

Jade has held a range of executive positions in government and non-government agencies across Australia. Her work in Thailand and Indonesia along with her 2011-12 research in reciprocity and collaboration between Australian and SE Asian organisations, agencies and artists provided the basis for one of FCAC’s core initiatives, Collaborate Asia.

Jade has been the recipient of the prestigious Australia Council Kirk Robson Award (2009) for cultural leadership and was an Asialink Resident (Arts Management) in Thailand (2010). Jade is a director of Diversity Arts Australia (formerly Kultour).

SALON 6 / Jessica Alice: Writing a feminist Melbourne

Melbourne’s literary culture is renowned across the world – for its strong independent scene, its publishers and magazines, its festivals and events. How has our literature created and critiqued the identities that make this UNESCO City of Literature thrive?

Jessica Alice in conversation with Esther Anatolitis
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 11 June 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Jessica Alice is a writer, editor and broadcaster. Her poetry, essays and criticism have been published in The Guardian Australia, Metro Magazine, Overland, Junkee, VICE, The Lifted Brow, Spook, The Victorian Writer, Voiceworks and Cordite Poetry Review, among others. Jessica is the Program Manager of Melbourne Writers Festival and Chair of the Kat Muscat Fellowship Custodial Committee. She was Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival in 2014 and 2015. She was previously a presenter and producer of Women on the Line and Spoken Word for 3CR Melbourne, and was Radio Adelaide Breakfast’s feminist insider.

SALON 5 / Jonathan Green: Fake news, fake democracy

The emergence of falsified yet convincing news seems inevitable in a fast-paced social media environment, where attention spans and attention to detail are challenged at every moment. While propaganda is as old as politics, the legitimacy of news stories is now being called into question by those in power – far too often, to serve their own interests. What is the future for a democracy premised on the open exchange of information? And how can political power be called to account?

Jonathan Green in conversation with Ben Eltham
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 4 June 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Jonathan Green is Editor of Meanjin. In a 30-year career he has worked as a senior writer and editor at several Australian newspapers, including 15 years at The Age. He was the editor of Crikey for three years and the founding editor of ABC’s online opinion site, The Drum. He is also a broadcaster and presenter of Radio National’s Sunday Extra programme.

SALON 4 / Michael Bachelard: Media culture, culture war

The media is not in great shape. The recent Fairfax cuts highlighted the growing distance between public interest and executive profit, and now the Senate Inquiry into the Future of Public Interest Journalism has set its terms of reference very broadly, covering fake news, propaganda and click-bait, as well as future governance and business models for media companies. What next for Australia’s media? What might the collapse of traditional media models trigger? And how will that impact on Australian society and culture?

Michael Bachelard in conversation with Esther Anatolitis
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 28 May 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne

Michael Bachelard has been a journalist for 25 years and is the recently returned Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax Media – the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Before his stint in Indonesia, Michael worked in the press gallery in Canberra, and then in Melbourne for the Australian, before joining the Age in 2006. Since returning, he has taken up the role of editor of the investigations unit at the Age. He has written two books – The Great Land Grab and Behind The Exclusive Brethren – and has won a number of journalistic awards, including a Walkley Award and a Quill award.

SALON 1 / George Megalogenis: Australian values

The Australian political discussion is at an impasse. With climate change, housing affordability, infrastructure and public health looming as the defining issues of our times, the Australian economy stands ready in one of the world’s strongest positions to drive our next directions. And yet, instead of harnessing that potential to meet our future challenges, our political leaders remain distracted by internal conflicts that play out publicly as anxieties about cultural difference and the future of immigration, with the latest iteration of that anxiety opening an unexpected discussion about Australian values.

What are the Australian values? Would defining them help us to overcome that impasse? And what might a future Australia look like that we could all value?


George Megalogenis in conversation with Esther Anatolitis
4:00-6:00pm Sunday 7 May 2017
Neapoli Wine Bar, 30 Russell Place Melbourne


George Megalogenis is one of Australia’s most widely respected and most rigorous thinkers on the political and economic factors that shape Australia’s past, present and future. George is an author and journalist with three decades’ experience in the media. The Australian Moment won the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. He is also the author of Faultlines: Race, Work and the Changing Face of Australia, The Longest Decade, Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era and Quarterly Essay 61: Balancing Act – Australia Between Recession and Renewal. His 2015 Australia’s Second Chance looks back on our history and challenges us not to repeat past mistakes, embracing immigration for the social and economic strength that will secure our place as one of the world’s truly great nations.

Limited copies of George’s books including Australia’s Second Chance will be available for sale.

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