Conference Papers

Strategic decision making in a liberal democracy: The conflict between morality and market forces at the end of the Western ascendency

Lt-Gen. John Murray Sanderson AC (Ret.)

ThLieutenant General John Murray Sandersone emerging social complexity of dealing with large scale movement of populations under stress and the rejection of modern governments and radicalisation of young people seeking greater meaning in their lives has its origins in the failure of liberalism to fulfil its promise of a fairer and more egalitarian world. The difficulty for those in positions of public responsibility of maintaining a moral dynamic based on a belief system about the essentially spiritual nature of human beings and their relationship with the environment compounds as these issues become more complex and they are constrained by their office to seek simple macro-economic solutions that involve elements of force.  Read the full paper here.


Faith in Public Office:  The Meaning, Persistence and Importance of Oaths

Professor Nicholas Aroney – Professor of Constitutional Law, The University of Queensland

Nicholas Aroney

Oaths of office are strangely ubiquitous in liberal-democratic regimes.  They bind office-holders to their duties of office, but they do so by invoking divine or religious sanction for the perf
ormance of those duties. This divine witness to the oath of office appears to stand in as a guarantor of the political order, but also looms large as an authority that is separate from, and in some sense may stand above, the political order.  This opens up the possibility that this other sovereign may make moral demands that supersede those of the political order and the duties incumbent upon the office holder.  This is the paradox of the oath of office. It both guarantees the performance of official duties and subjects the content of those duties to external judgement.  It is a paradox embedded in the very nature of the oath of office, which captures within its short compass the very large question of the relationship between religious conviction, moral principle and political power. Read the full paper here.

Wise as serpents: The faithful partisan in public office

Michael Cooney – Executive Director Chifley Research Centre, former speechwriter for former Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Michael Cooney, Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre

What is the relationship between partisan identity and religious integrity?  Michael Cooney asks if we ought to aim for the right politics or the good society, reflecting on moral agency and cooperation, and addressing his experience as an adviser to the Federal Parliamentary labor party 2002-2006 and 2010-2013.

Read the full text of Michael Cooney’s address here.