The Price of COVID
While many of us (sorry Melbourne) spent 2020 believing we had escaped the worst of the pandemic, 2021 brought forth the ugly reality of living with the virus. Even as the nation returns to something that feels like normal, beneath the thrill of gigs, gatherings and barista coffee, it’s clear the pandemic has changed the picture for good.
We’ve seen our governments and fellow citizens succeed at some things, fail badly at others, and discovered who ‘essential’ workers really are. After two years of arguing about how to ‘balance’ public health and the economy, what have we actually learned?
Chaired by author and broadcaster Benjamin Law and featuring economist Richard Holden and business leader and CEO Sam Mostyn, this talk explores how the last two years have challenged our health systems, and shown us what went missing as we globalised our economy.
What will happen as fortress Australia wakes up from the COVID spell?
The Reckoning is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney Festival. UNSW Sydney is the Education Partner of the 2022 Sydney Festival.
Richard Holden is a Professor of Economics at UNSW Sydney and President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He was formerly on the faculty at MIT and the University of Chicago, and earned a PhD from Harvard University. He has published numerous papers in top economics journals and is a regular columnist at The Australian Financial Review.
Sam Mostyn AO is a businesswoman and sustainability adviser, with a long history of executive and governance roles across business, sport, climate change, the arts, policy, and NFP sectors. Sam is the President of Chief Executive Women. She serves on the board of Mirvac, is the chair of Citi Australia’s consumer bank, and chairs the boards of the Foundation for Young Australians, Australians Investing in Women, Ausfilm, ANROWS (the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) and Alberts.
She also serves on the boards of the GO Foundation, the Centre for Policy Development, The Climate Council, Tonic Media, and until recently as an inaugural board member of Climateworks Australia, and was a Commissioner with the Australian Football League for over a decade until 2017.
Previously, Sam has served on the Global Business & Sustainable Development Commission, and on the boards of Reconciliation Australia, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Swans, Transurban, Virgin Australia, Australian Volunteers International, and has chaired Carriageworks and The Australian Museum.
Benjamin Law | Chairperson
Benjamin Law is an Australian writer and broadcaster, and is the author of The Family Law, Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East, the Quarterly Essay Moral Panic 101 and editor of Growing Up Queer in Australia. Benjamin created and co-wrote three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, based on his memoir, and wrote the sold-out mainstage play Torch the Place for Melbourne Theatre Company. In 2019, he was named one of the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit’s (AALS) 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians – winning the Arts, Culture & Sport category – and one of Harper Bazaar’s Visionary Men. He has a PhD in creative writing and cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC Radio National’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything and interviews public figures for Good Weekend. He hosted ABC TV’s two-part feature documentary on Chinese-Australian history Waltzing the Dragon, and has appeared on TV shows like Filthy Rich and Homeless (SBS), Q&A (ABC), The Drum (ABC) and The Project (Ten). He has also written for over 50 publications in Australia and beyond — including The Monthly, frankie, Guardian, Monocle and Australian Financial Review.