Henry ParkesThe Henry Parkes Foundation was set up in December 1998 by Parkes’ descendants and others, both to honour Sir Henry himself — the man dubbed ‘Father of Federation’ — and to carry forward his egalitarian vision for Australia in ways relevant to today.

The Foundation aims to encourage Australians to find out more about their country’s political and constitutional history, and about how they can participate as citizens. Its activities include an annual oration, with a distinguished speaker focusing on challenging social/political issues in Australian society, with some reference to the ideals and objectives of Parkes.

The Foundation has also sponsored annual citizenship conventions for schools at NSW Parliament House, designed to help students understand how politics affects their lives and how they can be involved. Topics have included whether Australia should become a republic, reconciliation, ‘voting counts’, ‘mobilising for peace’, social justice, and ecological sustainability.

2016 ORATION NOW ONLINE

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In ‘Knowledge or noise: the problem with political communication’ distinguished journalist Karen Middleton explores the role of the news media in conveying political messages. Who’s responsible when politicians can’t cut through? And how do we avoid the knowledge we need being lost in all that noise?

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