Democracy, Public Debate and the Role of Social Media

From a French and Australian Perspective

Thursday 31 August 2017



Access YouTube clip HERE

Access Podcast HERE

This event is presented as part of the French Australian Conversations series, launched this year by the Embassy of France in Australia and The Conversation.

Globally the use of social media in politics has dramatically changed the way political campaigns are run and how we access and interact with our elected members. Social media tools have allowed citizens to join together, and petition the government, leveraging their numbers against the influence of affluent and powerful lobbyists.

Professor Arnaud Mercier, lecturer in political communication at University Paris II Panthéon-Assas, explores how social media has influenced public debate in France. He will be joined by experts who will provide an Australian perspective. More information to follow.

Professor Arnaud Mercier

Arnaud Mercier has a PhD in Political Science, and is a Professor of Information and Political Communication at the University Paris II Panthéon-Assas. He is President and Chairman of the board for The Conversation France.  He conducts research on journalism, social media in electoral context and political communication. He has recently published, in collaboration with Peter Lang, Political Campaigning on Twitter: the EU Elections 2014 in the digital public sphere (2016).

Tory Shepherd

Tory Shepherd is the State Editor of The Advertiser, and one of the paper’s senior columnists. After finishing Honours in Anthropology and a Masters in Communication, she ended up as a ‘mature-age’ cadet at the paper a decade ago. She covered state politics, police rounds and health before absconding to fill in as the editor of The Punch, a national opinion website. The Advertiser lured her back to cover federal politics. As State Editor she is shifting her focus more towards State issues. Tory is a humanist, a feminist, and a chilli fanatic. 


Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of thirteen books and numerous articles and essays.

With photojournalist Dave Tacon, she won the 2015 Walkley for Social Equity Journalism for her essay Fallen Angels. This article also won the 2015 Quill Award for best feature. Simons co-wrote the biography of former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser. She also wrote an unauthorised biography of mass media proprietor Kerry Stokes. Kerry Stokes: Self-Made Man was nominated for best non-fiction book at the 2014 Walkley Awards, and won the history prize in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards.

As well as writing books Simons is a freelance investigative journalist and feature writer.
Her long-form journalism has been published in The Monthly, Inside Story and The Age.


Professor Jason Bainbridge

Professor Jason Bainbridge is Head of the University of South Australia's School of Communication, International Studies and Languages.

Previously Professor Bainbridge was a key player at Swinburne University in Melbourne where he was Chair of Media and Communication, and Acting Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities - helping to transform and energise media and arts education.

He has a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queensland University where he also completed his Bachelor of Arts Honours and his Bachelor of Laws.





Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, Alliance Française d’Adelaïde, The Embassy of France in Australia and The Conversation, as part of the French Australian Conversations series

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy -Valuing our Diversity - and Building our Future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within the Hawke Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.