Rethinking community and Politics – doing politics differently

We begin our 2021 program of events on Wednesday 10th March with a fascinating look into politics and some suggestions for making politics more about what the people being represented want most, rather than what works to minimise risk and seek the gaining and retention of power.

The Newcastle Institute committee has been planning for 2021 based on the suggestions provided by respondents to our survey late last year.  We are looking at options and strategies to manage the safe return to a face to face format as we proceed into 2021.  This first even will be presented as an online webinar via Zoom and Facebook. Members will be provided with login details for the Zoom version closer to the event.

Rob Logan, one of our committee will facilitate this event and  lead discussion with panelists towards:

  • Identifying if the purpose of politics is to make all lives better
  • Critically discussing what it means to live in a community

Does our political system listen to community voices? Is it true to say that there has been growing disenchantment with politics where there have been significant shortfalls in the accountability mechanisms, trust and cohesion and better outcomes for all. We also seem to be stuck in a situation where there is an apparent uneven distribution of benefits.

The webinar will explore the current challenges to our practise of politics and what we need to do differently. We will also explore some of the policy settings that could make a significant difference.

There will be opportunities for questions via the Facebook page or in real time during the webinar.

Our panellists for the event to live stream at 7pm on Wednesday 10th March are:

Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Andrew Leigh is an Australian politician, author, lawyer and former professor of economics at the Australian National University. He has been a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives since 2010 representing the seat of Fraser until 2016 and Fenner thereafter.

In 2020, Andrew published Reconnected: A Community Builder’s Handbook (with Nick Terrell).

Andrew is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities


Cathy McGowan

In 2013, Cathy McGowan broke the Liberal/National Coalition’s hold on the seat of Indi, becoming the first independent member for the north-east Victorian electorate and the first female independent to sit on the parliamentary crossbench.

Her successful grassroots campaigns sparked nationwide interest in the potential of community-based, independent politicians to chart a new course for Australian democracy, demonstrating that when politics relates to a community, the power of a community is unleashed.

In 2020, Cathy published Cathy goes to Canberra


Associate Professor Sara Motta

Associate Professor Sara C. Motta is a proud mestiza of Colombian Chibcha, Eastern European Jewish and Celtic lineages. She is  mother, storyteller, poet, activist-political theorist, popular educator, and convenes the Politics Discipline at the University of Newcastle, NSW. Sara has worked for over two decades with communities in struggle forging emancipatory and decolonising pedagogical and epistemological practices and resistances/re-existencias in, against and beyond patriarchal capitalist-coloniality in Europe, Latin America and Australia. She has co-created numerous radical education projects and processes and published widely with over 60 articles and numerous books in academic and practitioner-community outlets.  Her latest book (2018) Liminal Subjects: Weaving (Our) Liberation (Rowman and Littlefield) winner of the 2019 best Gender Theory and Feminist Book, International Studies Associate (ISA). She is currently writing her next book Motherwise



WHEN: Wednesday 10 March 2021, 7pm – 8pm
WHERE: Online via Facebook and Zoom







Interested in becoming a member of the Newcastle Institute?

Already a Member?