Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Matilda Bookshop


Bri Lee, best-selling and award-winning author of Eggshell Skull, asks Who gets to be smart? in this forensic and hard-hitting exploration of knowledge, power and privilege. Bri will be in-conversation with social commentator Jane Caro AM.

Interrogating the adage, 'knowledge is power', and calling institutional prejudice to account, Bri Lee once again dives into her own privilege and presumptions to bring us the stark and confronting results.

Far from offering any 'equality of opportunity', Australia's education system exacerbates social stratification.

Who Gets To Be Smart takes a hard look at the Australian schooling system:

  • Drawing on shocking reports about the Catholic Church misappropriating school funding and the connection between real estate and private schools.
  • Australia has the fourth-most segregated-by-class schooling system of all OECD nations. How did it get so bad? What do we do about it?
  • This book chews on the question of why boys do better at co-educational schools while girls do better at single-sex schools.

Language so important to national identity and who we think is “smart” and whether or not we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

  • How many times have you heard someone say “we speak English here” and cringed?
  • Bri captures and reflects upon the key events of the ‘culture wars’ and the Black Lives Matter movement hitting Australian mainstream.

Bri makes the science around intelligence understandable, debunks persistent myths and books herself an IQ test:

  • Do you believe there are “many different ways to be smart”?
    What do you think IQ tests actually measure?
  • How do you define “intelligence”, and have you heard of g?

The questions Bri asks of politics and society have their answers laid bare in the responses to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Click here to purchase a signed copy of Bri Lee's book: Who Gets To Be Smart from Matilda Bookshop's website and choose "Hawke Centre Events Free SA Postage" as the delivery option. They will then deliver or post your book to you at no additional cost, for South Australian residents only.


bri lee

Bri Lee is an author and freelance writer. Her journalism has appeared in publications such as The Monthly, The Saturday Paper, Guardian Australia and Crikey. Her first book, Eggshell Skull, won Biography of the Year at the ABIA Awards, the People's Choice Award at the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, and was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. She is also a non-practicing lawyer and continues to engage in legal research and issues-based advocacy.

Bri Lee: website
Instagram: @bri.e.lee
Twitter: @bri_lee_writer


jane caro

Jane Caro AM, is a Walkley Award winning Australian columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator.

She has published twelve books, including three novels Just a Girl,  Just a Queen and Just Flesh & Blood, a trilogy on Elizabeth Tudor, and a memoir Plain Speaking Jane. She created and edited Unbreakable which featured stories women writers had never told before, which was published just before the Harvey Weinstein revelations. Her latest book Accidental Feminists about the life story of women over 50 was launched in 2019. She is currently working on a novel.

She appears frequently on The DrumSunrise and Weekend Sunrise. She has created and presented five documentary series for Compass (2015 - 2019). She and Catherine Fox present the popular podcast, Women With Clout. She writes regular columns in Sunday Life and Leadership Matters and her opinion pieces appear regularly in The Saturday PaperFairfax and The Big Smoke.

She has been awarded the Walkley Award for Women in Leadership and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the broadcast media as a journalist, social commentator and author.

Jane was in-conversation with Craig Reucassel in 2020 discussing his book, Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge. She has also presented the 2017 Amnesty International Oration and at an event presented by the Hawke Centre, as part of the 2018 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.

Twitter: @JaneCaro
Wall Media, Jane Caro
Articles: The Sydney Morning Herald
Articles: The Guardian

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Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre in association with Matilda Bookshop

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