Festival Program

City Program

The Cancel Culture Wars

Sun 5 Sep, 4pm
State Library Victoria, Conversation Quarter

From Captain Cook statues to Chris Lilley characters, the debate around cancel culture has become the new battleground of free speech. A panel of commentators from across the generations and political divide take to the stage with moderator The Age editor Gay Alcorn who asks: has political correctness descended into woke mob rule or are we witnessing a natural power shift as people are held accountable online? Featuring publisher Louise Adler, broadcaster Waleed Aly, former journalist and speechwriter James Button, cultural and political columnist Parnell Palme McGuiness, and writer and lawyer Nyadol Nyuon.

In partnership with The Age


1 hour


Event artists

Louise Adler is a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University, Hachette's publisher at large, and has proudly published many writers including Louise Milligan and Michael Warner. She has been president of the Australian Publishers Association, chair of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and chair of Creative Victoria’s Strategy Taskforce.

Gay Alcorn has been the editor of The Age since September 2020. She is a three-time Walkley winner and a previous deputy editor of The Age, editor of The Sunday Age and Washington correspondent. She was a journalist at The Age for almost 20 years before becoming Melbourne editor of Guardian Australia.

Waleed Aly is co-host of Channel Ten's The Project and is a lecturer in politics at Monash University.

James Button is a former reporter, Europe correspondent and deputy editor of The Age. He has written two books—Speechless: A Year in my Father's Business and Comeback: The Fall and Rise of Geelongand has won three Walkley awards for feature writing.

Nyadol Nyuon is a lawyer and an award-winning human rights advocate, who was born and raised in and out of refugee camps. She is a regular media commentator, a writer and was named one of the top 10 most influential women in Australia by the Australian Financial Review in 2019.

Parnell is Managing Director of Strategy and Policy at Agenda C and a regular columnist on culture and politics. She is a policy communications specialist and has worked with government departments and political parties in Germany and Australia. She is also a non-executive director and co-host of a podcast by the NSW Council of Civil Liberties.

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