Why Social Justice Matters

Co-presented with the Sydney Social Justice Network at the University of Sydney

16 November

Social justice is a much-discussed concept, but what exactly does it mean and what are today’s most pressing social justice concerns? This forum will begin to ask these tough questions, focusing on what the role of the University of Sydney should or could be in relation to social justice. How do we begin to develop approaches to social justice research that bring together practitioners, policy makers, citizens and academics in new ways to address long-standing issues of inequality and disadvantage? To explore these questions, two civil society activists Jody Broun, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First People and Dr Amanda Tattersall, Director, of Sydney Alliance, will join Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Professor Robert J Tierney, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney.

The event will be chaired by leading social justice advocate Dr Meredith Burgmann.


Jody Broun

Jody Broun is Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First People. A Yindjibarndi woman from the Pilbara, Jody has dedicated herself to the service of Australia’s First Peoples in her 25 year career, spending much of that time in senior public service positions. She has been the Executive Director of Aboriginal Housing and Infrastructure at the Department of Housing and Works (WA), Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (WA), Executive Director of Policy and Coordination at the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority (WA) and Director General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Jody is also a well-known and respected artist. She explores the stories of her family and country in her art and was the winner of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 1998 and the Canberra Art Award in 2005.

Professor Duncan Ivison

Duncan Ivison completed his BA at McGill University in Montreal, and MSc and PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has taught at the University of Toronto, the University of York (UK) and been Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU and Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at Princeton University (2002-3). He is currently Professor of Political Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. His books include: The Self at Liberty: Political Argument and the Arts of Government (1997);Postcolonial Liberalism (2002); Rights (2008); The Ashgate Research Companion to Multiculturalism (2010) and (with Paul Patton and Will Sanders) Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2002).

Amanda Tattersall

Dr Amanda Tattersall is Coalition Director and founder of the Sydney Alliance. Amanda was the President of the National Union of Students in 1999 (NSW Branch), the co-founder of Labor for Refugees in 2001 and is a co-founder, deputy assistant secretary at unions NSW, former chair and current board member of GetUp.org.au. Amanda is an honourary fellow at work and organisational studies, University of Sydney and also the author of Power in coalition: strategies for strong unions and social change (2010)

Professor Robert Tierney

Robert J Tierney’s commitment to equity and social justice and the transformative power of education informs his scholarship and professional practice. Prior to returned to Australia and assuming the role of Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney; Rob was Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. At UBC Rob was engaged in a number of significant developments in global and indigenous education. Rob has an international reputation for his leadership in scholarship and practice, , especially in the literacy area. Internationally, he has been involved in cooperative endeavours with universities and governments, particularly in developing nations.

Meredith Burgmann

Meredith Burgmann (Forum Chair) is the President of The Australian Council for International Development, the peak body for Australia's non-government aid and development agencies. She was previously an Industrial Relations academic for twenty years and President of the Academics Union of NSW. She was elected as a Labor Member to the NSW Parliament in 1991 and was the President of the Legislative Council from 1999 until her retirement in 2007.