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High stakes for decade ahead

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Australia needs a new national conversation to find a balance between national security considerations and the need to embrace new strategic opportunities.

That’s the view of Dr Heather Smith who will discuss the issues confronting Australia in the decade ahead during the 2022 Sir James Plimsoll Lecture at the University of Tasmania.

Dr Smith, who served as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science from 2017 to 2020, will argue that Australia’s place in a turbulent world is increasingly defined by geopolitical competition, rapid technological upheaval and the contested energy transition.

Heather Smith
Dr Heather Smith

She will talk about how Australia needs to find a new balance in its response to these global shifts, with fresh attention to our longstanding partners and to those we share a common commitment to a strategic order that supports economic and political stability.

This lecture will examine Australia’s preparations for the challenges ahead and the need for a national conversation, highlighting the inter-generational stakes, that can set an effective strategy for the disruptive, disorderly and dangerous decade ahead.

Dr Smith has had a distinguished career in academia and the public service. In addition to senior appointments in the Office of National Assessments, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, she has served as Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts.  She was also Australian’s G20 Sherpa overseeing Australia’s Presidency of the G20 in 2014.

Dr Smith is currently a non-executive director of two ASX-listed companies. She is a Professor in the National Security College at the Australian National University and deputy chair of the United States Studies Centre. Dr Smith is also the President-Elect of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, commencing as President in April 2023.

The annual Sir James Plimsoll Lecture is jointly presented by the University of Tasmania's College of Arts, Law and Education, the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is named in honour of Sir James Plimsoll, one of the most distinguished diplomats in the history of Australia’s Department of External Affairs (now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Law and Education, Professor Kate Darian-Smith, said it was an honour to host some of Australia’s highest authorities on national issues through seminars such as the Sir James Plimsoll Lecture.

The Decade Ahead: Disruptive, Disorderly and Dangerous by Dr Heather Smith is on November 29 at the Law Lecture Theatre, Grosvenor Crescent, Sandy Bay, Hobart. The lecture will run from 6pm to 7.15pm and is part of the Island of Ideas public lecture series.

Register to attend in-person or online at Registrations are essential.