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Event Details

Pandemic Politics

22 January 2022
7.30pm – 8.45pm AEDT
Sydney Town Hall
illustration of hands pointing at each other

Rosalind Dixon | Fran Kelly | George Megalogenis | Laura Tingle 

Politics has been transformed by the COVID era, with national power siphoned towards state premiers, the allergy to massive government spending cured and scientific advice brought to the fore. But as well as new developments, the pandemic has placed existing fault lines in our relationship with politics and politicians under the microscope.   

What do Australians want from their governments? Who can we trust if our politicians don’t represent us or tell us the truth? If corruption and pork barrelling in politics are no longer a source of shame, what else will we be willing to accept?  

Comedy writer and performer Mark Humphries will rip into our pollies in a short stand-up performance as presenter and journalist Fran Kelly chairs a discussion between political correspondent Laura Tingle, Constitutional lawyer Rosalind Dixon, and political commentator and author George Megalogenis. 

The Reckoning is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney FestivalUNSW Sydney is the Education Partner of Sydney Festival. 


General Public
Standard – $25 + booking fees
Concession – $22 + booking fees

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Please read the COVID-19 visitor safety information prior to registering for this event. Check back closer to the event date as information is frequently updated. Information can be found here.


Wheelchair Accessible
Sydney Town Hall’s accessible entrance is via the Druitt St (opposite the Queen Victoria Building). Accessible unisex toilet facilities are available on each publicly accessible floor of the building. If you require assistance when visiting the building, please contact Sydney Town Hall to discuss your requirements on 02 9265 9282.  

Hearing Loop
Centennial Hall (both levels) is fitted with a hearing loop system.

This event will be captioned via the GoTheatrical! mobile app.

Other Access Services
Please email to request additional access services.


Sydney Festival 
To book tickets and for event enquiries, please call Sydney Festival on +61 2 8248 6500 or email

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For UNSW Centre for Ideas enquiries, please call + 61 2 9065 0485 or email

National Relay Service
The Centre for Ideas and Sydney Festival are happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. 

Photo of Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney. She earned her BA and LLB from UNSW Sydney and was an associate to the Chief Justice of Australia, the Hon. Murray Gleeson AC, before attending Harvard Law School, where she obtained an LLM and SJD. Her work focuses on comparative constitutional law and constitutional design, constitutional democracy, theories of constitutional dialogue and amendment, socio-economic rights and constitutional law and gender. She was the co-Lead of the Grand Challenge on Inequality and is now the co-Director of the New Economic Equality Initiative. Rosalind is the Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and deputy director of the Herbert Smith Freehills Initiative on Law and Economics. 

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with more than three decades' experience in the media. He is the author of five books, including The Australian Moment  which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for his three-part ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George’s other books are Faultlines, The Longest Decade,  Australia’s Second ChanceThe Football Solution and Balancing Act, which contains his two previous Quarterly Essays, No. 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era and No. 61: Balancing Act – Australia Between Recession and Renewal. He is the author of the new Quarterly Essay, No. 82: Exit Strategy – Politics after the Pandemic.

Laura Tingle

Laura Tingle

Journalist, essayist and author Laura Tingle has reported on Australian politics and policy for more than 35 years. In 2018, she joined the ABC as chief political correspondent for its flagship current affairs program 7.30, after 16 years with the Australian Financial Review where she was political editor, and having held reporting positions with other major Australian mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and The Age, reporting on both politics and economics. A multi-award winning journalist, she is the author of Chasing the Future – a book about the early 1990s recession; and four Quarterly Essays: Great Expectations (2012); Political Amnesia (2015); Follow the Leader (2018); and The High Road: What Australia can learn from New Zealand (2020). An assembly of her essays, In Search of Good Government, was published in 2017. 

Fran Kelly | Chairperson

Fran Kelly | Chairperson

Fran Kelly is a highly respected radio presenter and current affairs journalist and was the long term presenter of ABC Radio National’s agenda-setting Breakfast program. In 2001 she became political editor for ABC TV's 7.30 Report. After two years she took up an overseas posting as the ABC's Europe correspondent based in London. In March 2005, Fran called time on London, returning home to Australia to take up her current position. She revelled in Breakfast's wide brief, which has reignited her passion for the arts, sport, issues and travel, and is in the thick of Australian and world politics. Fran has earned a reputation as an intelligent, informed and balanced journalist who has been a key contributor to the nation’s political and social debates for the past 20 years. She has also been described by the Australian electronic magazine Crikey as “one of the most influential media players in the country.”

Mark Humphries

Mark Humphries | Performer

Mark Humphries is a Sydney-based writer/performer best known for his work on The Feed, The Roast, Guardian Australia and ABC Radio National and other programs. He is a writer and actor, also known for Adult Learners, Lowering Awareness and Bravo. He is co-author of The Chaser's Australia, a regular writer for the Chaser Quarterly and brings his unique perspective on current political events to the ABC’s 7.30.

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