Hugh Mackay On The Good Society

What kind of society do we want to become? Australia’s unprecedented run of economic growth has failed to deliver a more stable or harmonious society. Like many Western societies, we are in the midst of a period of rampant individualism and materialism, becoming more self-absorbed, more competitive, more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more medicated, deeper in debt and increasingly addicted. How do we correct this course to lead us towards a more compassionate, less anxious society?

The School of Life proudly presents an evening with esteemed social researcher and bestselling author Hugh Mackay, as he draws on his 60-year research career to present a fearless and passionate vision for the kind of people and society we could become. Hugh invites us to consider the possibility that the clearest signs of the health of a society are to be found in the life of its local neighbourhoods and communities, and urges us to bring more compassion to our discourse – both public and private – about the kind of society we want to become.

Throughout the evening we will be challenged to think differently about the power of our individual choices in shaping our society’s future. We will consider the role of compassion in addressing issues such as anxiety, cultural diversity, digital and social media and economic inequality. We will leave with new ideas and insights about how courage, wisdom and imagination can lead us towards a more compassionate, less anxious society.

This event is proudly presented in collaboration with Macmillan Australia.


6.15pm            Doors Open
7.00pm            Welcome & Introduction
7.10pm            Hugh Mackay On The Good Society
8.10pm            Audience Q&A
8.30pm            Event Concludes
8.40pm            Book Sales & Signing 

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'You don’t have to be rich to leave a positive legacy; You need only to treat people with kindness, compassion and respect, knowing they will have been enriched by their encounters with you.'

– Hugh Mackay


Hugh Mackay AO is a social researcher and bestselling author of 19 books, including The Good Life, The Art of Belonging and his latest: Australia Reimagined.

He has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre and an honorary professor of social science in the University of Wollongong. Among many other honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School, and the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board.

In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.

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Hugh Mackay On The Good Society


Special Event
When and where:
  • Wed 30 May 2018 7 – 8.30pm,
    Clarendon Auditorium, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Wharf VIC 3006

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Full price: $50.00
Concession: $40.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

This event will include Auslan interpretation.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original class date.

For ticketing and box office enquiries please call 0434 492 669 or email