REGISTER NOW | Civil Society & The Church Conference

A two day conference to be held at United Theological College, 16 Masons Drive North Parramatta
Thursday 27 & Friday 28 June, 2018

2 Day Option – $50pp | Registration link Two Days, inc Thursday dinner
Thursday only option -$35pp | Registration link THURSDAY, inc dinner
Friday only option – $35 | Registration link FRIDAY – $35pp

For some years the assumption in Australia was that the role of governments and civil society (the institutions that mediate between individuals and the state) was to expand the social, economic and political rights of citizens. People were seen as having social and economic ends. The church acted in this space as one body in civil society defending and expanding those rights in cooperation with governments.
Neoliberalism argues that capital must have complete freedom, and other rights may have to be given up. People are primarily valued for their contribution to the economy – producers and consumers. Civil society serves the agenda of governments, whose priority is economic growth and freedom for capital. The state justifies its existence as a source of security, not expanded rights for citizens.
This shift to neoliberalism is well illustrated in Free Trade Agreements which can make it possible for companies to sue governments who seek to protect social well-being – e.g. if they stop mining for environmental or social reasons, or wish to protect water as a common good.

How does the church respond to this situation? Is it still working in the ways of social liberalism? How does the church deal with the new understanding of human-ness, the state, and the nature of freedom?

This conference will explore these and other issues around neoliberalism, civil society and the church through various disciplines and approaches.

A more detailed schedule of Day 1 and 2 will be made available in mid May 2018.
The conference starts with registration at 9.30am on Thursday 28 June, 2018.
There is a conference dinner on the Thursday evening at 6pm, followed by time to engage further with the implications of Dr. Strakosh’s work. This is included in the price for Thursday registration.
The conference will recommence on Friday morning at 9am and will conclude at 3pm on Friday 29 June, 2018.

Parking: Free, on site parking, both days
Registration or submission of papers enquiries should be sent to


Dr Elizabeth Strakosch is a lecturer in Public Policy and Governance at the University of Queensland, and her research focuses on the intersection of policy and political relationships. It explores the ways that new public policies and administration techniques transform our social relationships and political identities in liberal and settler colonial contexts. Her recent book Neoliberal Indigenous Policy explores contemporary Australian Indigenous policy as influenced by neoliberalism, New Public Management, exceptionalism and preventative risk management.
University of Queensland Professional BIO – available here

The conference is supported by the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at Charles Sturt University, Uniting (NSW/ACT), and United Theological College.

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