Activating community leadership to combat inequality

Communities in Control 2018

Activating community leadership to combat inequality

Conference will open 28 May 2018, Melbourne

Don't believe those who tell you otherwise:
Inequality is on the rise. And that needs to stop.


Inequality is bad for individuals. In more equal societies, people are happier and live longer.

It's bad for regions. Local governments know this, and have made it a focus.

Inequality is bad for the nation's health: more equal societies do better.

Inequality is bad for our economic development: more equal societies grow faster.

And it's bad for our political system. When special interests are allowed undue influence, we all lose out.

It's not easy to change the system, but it's a fight worth having.

While we're rolling up our sleeves, though, let's just agree on a few guidelines.

Being concerned about inequality doesn't just mean that we want to tax rich people more and ordinary people less. We need to continue the battle for redistribution of wealth - we need to ensure the government has enough money to spend on the people we're trying to help - but we have to go further.

The opposite of inequality isn't equality. We don't want a population of well-off citizens each living in a hermetically sealed bubble behind a white picket fence. The opposite of inequality is community. Local, global, and virtual.

We can't focus only on our own front yard, either. The challenges we face - climate change, mass migration, technological upheaval - are global. We have to address what's in front of us, certainly, but we need to lift our gaze as well. We have to recognise our responsibility for each other. We have to recognise our responsibility for what governments do in our name. We have to work together, as a community.

The late, great community campaigner Joan Kirner taught us to look towards children to learn what equality looks like. "That's not fair!" children exclaim when they see something that doesn't make sense, she told us. "Well, what are you going to do about it?" was always her reply. "Get together, get angry and get organised."

That's what we're going to be doing at Communities in Control 2018. Come and join us.


Tickets now available


You can now secure tickets to the 2018 conference with an online registration. Follow the link below for pricing and discount details.

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2018 Conference speakers


We can reveal that indomitable former Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs, Aboriginal truthseeker Stan Grant, millennial-on-a-mission Jamila Rizvi, and "venture capitalist for good causes" Philip Wollen OAM will be among the prominent Australians headlining the conference.

Thesee four are among around a dozen speakers confirmed to grapple with the thorny topic of inequality at Australia's premier community sector conference, to be held in Melbourne on May 28-29, 2018. Stay tuned for a full program launch in late 2017.


Professor Gillian Triggs

Former President Australian Human Rights Commission
Professor Triggs will give the Joan Kirner Social Oration, a landmark lecture previously delivered by luminaries including journalist and euthanasia campaigner Andrew Denton, TV personality Waleed Aly, and former Prime Minister The Hon Julia Gillard. Prof. Triggs was President of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012 to 2017. A prominent academic and international lawyer, Prof Triggs' stint at the helm of Australia's human rights watchdog was marked by her relentless pursuit of justice, particularly in relation to children in detention, and her refusal to yield to mounting political pressure to fall back.

Prof. Trigg's biography

Stan Grant

Journalist, presenter
Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the ABC and special advisor to the prime minister on Indigenous constitutional recognition. Following decades of work as a TV presenter both in Australia and overseas, Mr Grant rose to further prominence in 2015 when he delivered a speech on racism in Australia that shook many Australians' view of their country as an egalitarian nation. His 2016 book Talking to My Country has been similarly influential.

Stan's biography

Jamila Rizvi

Author, presenter, political commentator
Jamila Rizvi has been described as one of the pre-eminent voices of young Australian women online. A former editor-in-chief of Mamamia, she's now a regular fixture on talk shows including The Project, The Drum and ABC News Breakfast. Ms Rizvi's first book, Not Just Lucky, acts as a "career manifesto for millennial women," while her particular blend of irreverence and practicality has seen her touted as a serious political contender.

Jamila's biography

Philip Wollen

Philanthropist, animal rights advocate
Philip Wollen is no accidental philanthropist. The former Vice-President of Citibank is known as a man of action, and he uses that to good effect in his work to promote kindness towards all other living beings, and to make that a "recognisable trait in the Australian character and culture". Mr Wollen's main project, Winsome Constance Kindness (named after his mother and grandmother), is a global initiative that emphasises ethics, compassion and cooperation.

Philip's biography

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