q & a monday night

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    This weeks panel..

    Monday 16 February, 2015
    16 February 2015

    Panellists: Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications; Catherine King, Shadow Health Minister; Lisa Wilkinson, Journalist and television presenter; Bryan Stevenson, Director, Equal Justice Initiative; and Greg Sheridan, Foreign Affairs Editor, The Australian.

    Malcolm Turnbull

    Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, has for many years been widely regarded as a likely future prime minister. Since the dramatic events of the recent spill motion against Tony Abbott’s leadership Malcolm has emerged as the leading alternative. Political commentators suggest his elevation to the Lodge is no longer a question of if but when – and the when isn’t far away.

    Though one of the richest man in Parliament and regarded by many as having a privileged background, Malcolm’s early years were spent in comparatively humble circumstances. Born in Sydney in 1954, he grew up in a single-parent household with his father, Bruce, after his parents separated. They lived in a series of flats, mostly rented.

    Malcolm attended Vaucluse Public School and, with the aid of a scholarship, Sydney Grammar, to which in later life he donated a new scholarship program in his father’s name to help underprivileged students. After graduating from Sydney University with an arts-law degree, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and completed a further degree at Oxford.

    Malcolm worked as a journalist, lawyer and in business, and became widely known in the late 1990s for leading the Australian republican cause. He entered Parliament in 2004 and represents the seat of Wentworth which covers Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

    Malcolm and his wife Lucy have two adult children and live in Point Piper in Sydney.

    Catherine King

    Catherine King, shadow health minister, was first elected to Parliament in 2001 to represent the Victorian electorate of Ballarat. She has continued to hold the seat in the four elections since.

    After the 2010 election Catherine was made a parliamentary secretary and in 2013 she entered the Gillard government ministry in the portfolios of regional services, local communities and territories and road safety.

    She was promoted to Cabinet in July 2013 as Minister for Regional Australia, Local Government and Territories in the Rudd government. After Labor’s loss in the September 2013 election she became shadow health minister.

    Catherine holds a degree in social work and a masters in public policy from the Australian National University, and is currently completing a law degree from Deakin University.

    Catherine worked in the social welfare sector in Ballarat and later in the public sector in Canberra, as an assistant director for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care and then as a director.
    Prior to entering Parliament she was a senior manager at KPMG’s health consulting practice.

    She is married with one son.

    Lisa Wilkinson

    For more than two decades, Lisa Wilkinson has blazed a trail through the Australian media landscape, in publishing, radio and television. She's best known as co-presenter of the TODAY show- a position she's held since May 2007.

    Lisa’s media career began when she was appointed editor of Dolly magazine at the age of just 21. A young woman from the western suburbs of Sydney, Lisa tripled the magazine's circulation within four years and was head-hunted by the late Kerry Packer to take over the editorship of Cleo magazine. Over the next decade, Lisa guided the magazine to new circulation highs, making it the No.1 selling women’s magazine per capita in the world.

    Lisa runs her own magazine consultancy and is well known as a mentor to young women. Under her guidance and training, there are now 23 women and men around the world who have gone on to become successful magazine editors themselves.

    Lisa is married to journalist and former Wallaby and rugby international, Peter FitzSimons , and they have three children.

    In 2013, she was invited to give the Andrew Olle Lecture in honour of the late and respected ABC television host.

    Bryan Stevenson

    Desmond Tutu describes Bryan Stevenson as “America’s young Nelson Mandela, a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all.”

    Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, Bryan is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who’s dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill. EJI has won relief for 115 condemned death row prisoners illegally convicted or sentenced.

    Bryan also recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. His work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, and has been awarded 15 honorary doctorate degrees. He is the author of Just Mercy.

    He’s visiting Australia in February to promote his new book, Just Mercy- a story of justice and redemption.

    Greg Sheridan

    Greg Sheridan is The Australian newspaper's foreign editor and is one of Australia's most respected and influential analysts of foreign affairs. Growing up in Sydney, Greg attended Sydney University in the late 70s and was an active participant in the student politics of the time, along with future high-profile Liberals Tony Abbott and Peter Costello.

    He began his journalistic career 30 years ago with The Bulletin, and his coverage of Vietnamese refugee stories in the period after the Vietnam War sparked a lifelong interest in Asia and regional politics. He joined The Australianin 1984 and worked in Beijing, Washington and Canberra before returning to Sydney as foreign editor in 1992. Greg knows the structures and societies of Australia's neighbours intimately and has interviewed prime ministers and presidents in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and many other countries.

    He is also a keen observer of US international affairs and is on close terms with senior figures in Washington. Greg is the author of several books on Asia and Australia's role in the region.

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