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Australia's Place in the World

23 May 2024
11.00am – 12.00pm AEST
Carriageworks Bay 19
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Clinton Fernandes, Verity Firth, Sam Roggeveen

Allocation Exhausted

Clinton Fernandes | Verity Firth | Sam Roggeveen

In the wake of a shift in the global power balance, how can Australia best protect itself?

Two of Australia’s most interesting foreign policy thinkers take a fresh look at Australia’s place in the world and come to some surprising conclusions. Clinton Fernandes (Sub-Imperial Power) and Sam Roggeveen (The Echidna Strategy: Australia’s Search for Power and Peace) tackle the big questions about the US alliance, the threat of China, and underneath it all, what kind of country Australia really is.  

Listen as Sam and Clinton reshape Australia’s understanding of itself in the international arena, in conversation with Verity Firth.

This event is presented by the Sydney Writers' Festival and supported by UNSW Sydney. 


UNSW Sydney is the exclusive university sponsor and proud Premier Partner of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Featuring UNSW academics and researchers on Sydney Writers’ Festival stages, and events at the UNSW Kensington Campus, this partnership brings together a shared vision of creativity, curiosity and thought leadership. 


Ticket Prices*
Adult – $25 
Concession – $15
Wheelchair User – $15

*plus booking fees

Venue Information
This event will take place live at Carriageworks. For all venue and visitor safety information, please visit Sydney Writers' Festival.


Wheelchair Access
All Festival venues are accessible, and provide wheelchair and level access. To book accessible seats at Carriageworks, please contact the Sydney Writers' Festival Box Office on 02 9256 4200 or email

Accessible Parking
Accessible parking is available at Carriageworks. Please call 02 8571 9099 for more information.


Carriageworks is located at 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. This is a 10 minute walk from Redfern Station, City Road bus stops and Macdonaldtown Station. Catching public transport is strongly recommended as residential parking in the area is strictly limited, and the Sydney Writers' Festival offers shuttle bus services from Redfern Station at selected times. For more information on transport, visit or visit,



Sydney Writers' Festival
For all event enquiries, contact the Sydney Writers' Festival on 02 9256 4200 or email

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For all other enquiries, contact the UNSW Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

National Relay Service
The UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney Writers' Festival are happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for the applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Internet relay users, visit, then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). 

Clinton Fernandes

Clinton Fernandes

Professor Clinton Fernandes is in the Future Operations Research Group at UNSW Canberra, which analyses the operational environment that military forces will face in the next decade. He has published on the relationship between science, diplomacy and international law, intelligence operations in foreign policy, the political and regulatory implications of new technology and Australia's external relations more generally. He is the author of Subimperial Power: Australia in the International Arena.

Verity Firth

Verity Firth

Professor the Hon. Verity Firth AM is the inaugural Vice-President Societal Impact, Equity and Engagement at UNSW Sydney. Previously she served as Pro Vice-Chancellor Social Justice and Inclusion at the University of Technology Sydney (2015–2022) where she led the delivery of Australia’s first university Social Impact Framework. With over 20 years’ experience in Australia’s highest levels of government and education, Prof. Firth has led significant initiatives around inclusive access to education and gender equity. This includes as NSW Minister for Education and Training (2008–2011), NSW Minister for Women (2007–2009), and Chief Executive of the Public Education Foundation (2011–2014). She is currently a panellist for the NSW Vocational Education and Training Review, and serves on multiple Boards including Teachers Mutual Bank and as Deputy Chair of the James Martin Institute, and Engagement Australia.

Sam Roggeveen

Sam Roggeveen

Sam Roggeveen is Director of the Lowy Institute's International Security Program. He is the author of The Echidna Strategy: Australia's Search for Power and Peace, published by La Trobe University Press in 2023. In 2019 he wrote Our Very Own Brexit: Australia's Hollow Politics and Where it Could Lead Us about the hollowing out of Western democracy and its implications for Australia. Before joining the Lowy Institute, Sam was a senior strategic analyst in Australia's peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments. Sam is a regular commentator on the Lowy Institute's digital magazine, The Interpreter, of which he was the founding editor from 2007 to 2014.