Expert panel at Sydney Ideas event. Photo by Michael Amendolia.

Can there be a different kind of politics?

Our 2022 federal election series: Part 2

How will the new government deliver on its promises? Respected journalist Nick Bryant hosts this conversation with Sally Sitou, Member for Reid; Kylea Tink, Member for North Sydney; Constitutional reform expert; Anne Twomey; and political theorist Tim Soutphommasane.

On being elected, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised to create a government that doesn’t “seek to divide” and one that will “change the way” politics operates in Australia; to lead with integrity. 

With a record 10 women in his cabinet, a promise to enshrine a First Nations Voice to parliament and a commitment towards mitigating the impacts of climate change, the new government have set themselves strong targets. 

Can there truly be a reset in how politics is run in this country? How can this new government “bring people together” beyond the rhetoric and slogans? What do they need to get right before their first year is up and how can the new voices in parliament set a course for change?

Hear from an expert panel including:

  • Sally Sitou, Member for Reid
  • Professor Tim Soutphommasane, political theorist, Culture Strategy Director and Acting Director of Sydney Policy Lab
  • Kylea Tink, Member for North Sydney
  • Professor Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law and Director, Constitutional Reform Unit at Sydney Law School
  • Nick Bryant, journalist and Senior Policy Fellow at Sydney Policy Lab

A follow up to our Sydney Ideas federal election series, which first examined the policy issues, Part 2 explores what the government needs to get right in its term, and take real action on it commitments. 

This event was held on Wednesday 20 July, 2022 and presented with Sydney Policy Lab.

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The speakers

Sally is the daughter of hardworking Chinese parents who fled Laos after the Vietnam war, and she believes passionately in the freedom and opportunities that allowed her family to prosper in Australia. With her husband Rui, she lives in Homebush, where they are raising their young son, Max.

She is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sydney Business School focusing on the finance industry. Before commencing her PhD, Sally worked for over a decade in the international education and international development sectors.

Her most recent post was as communications adviser at the University of Sydney, where she promoted its teaching, research and students around the world. She has served on the Steering Committee of the Chinese Australian Forum since 2019.

Sally is standing for Reid because she wants to invest in schools and education, back in small businesses, improve healthcare and local infrastructure, and because she wants the next generation to benefit from the well-paid high-skill jobs that will come from building a clean energy future.

Tim is Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory). He is also Director, Culture Strategy at the University and in that role helps lead the University’s efforts to build a culture that supports its teaching, research and service to society.

A political theorist and human rights advocate, from 2013 to 2018 Tim was Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner. His thinking on patriotism, multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in debates in Australia and Britain.

He is the author of five books: On Hate (2019), I’m Not Racist But … (2015), Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (2012), The Virtuous Citizen (2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (2009). He is also the co-editor (with Nick Dyrenfurth) of All That’s Left (2010).

He has been a regular columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Weekend Australian and his writing has also appeared in the Financial Times, The Guardian, New Statesman, Spectator and the Monthly. He wrote and presented the award-winning Mongrel Nation (2013), a six-part documentary series on Australian multiculturalism, on ABC’s Radio National. He was the founding chair of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity, the co-chair of the Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network, and has served on the boards of the National Australia Day Council and the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership.

Tim completed a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with Distinction) at the University of Oxford. He holds a first class honours degree from the University of Sydney, and honorary doctorates from Deakin University and Western Sydney University.

Kylea is the recently elected independent Federal Member for North Sydney. A successful businesswoman, Kylea has served as CEO of the McGrath Foundation and Camp Quality cancer charities. She is a long-time resident of North Sydney and mum to three teenagers, who were a big inspiration for her and a major reason she chose to enter politics. Kylea was elected on a platform of urgent climate action, restoring integrity to politics, equality and respect and a forward-thinking economy.

Anne is Professor of Constitutional Law and Director, Constitutional Reform Unit at Sydney Law School.

Anne has practised as a solicitor and is admitted to practice in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, and the High Court (but does not hold a current practising certificate). She has worked for the High Court of Australia as a Senior Research Officer, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Research Service as a researcher in the Law and Government Group, the Commonwealth Senate as Secretary to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, and The Cabinet Office of NSW as Policy Manager of the Legal Branch. She has acted as a consultant to various government bodies.


Nick is a Senior Policy Fellow with the Sydney Policy Lab. During a distinguished career with the BBC, Nick Bryant came to be regarded as one of its finest foreign correspondents. He has covered some of the most momentous events of our times. The attacks of September 11, the war in Afghanistan, the Asian tsunami, the election of Barack Obama and the presidency of Donald Trump. In addition to his broadcast work, he has also written for an array of publications, including The Washington Post, The Economist, The New Statesman, The Guardian, The Independent, Foreign Policy, The Monthly, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. 

He is the author of four books, including the critically-acclaimed When America Stopped Being Great: A History of the Present, which made it onto Joe Biden’s bookshelf in the Oval Office, and The Rise and Fall of Australia: How a Great Nation Lost its Way. He is a history graduate from Cambridge University, who holds a doctorate in US history from Oxford University. He now lives in Sydney with his wife and three children.

Connect with Nick on Twitter.

Header image: Photo by Michael Amendolio for Sydney Ideas

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