The Lottery of Life

The Lottery of Life

David P. Derham Theatre, Level 1
Melbourne Law School

Parkville campus

185 Pelham Street

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Melbourne Law School

Birth is the ultimate game of chance, as we appear amid families, genders and a nation we did not choose. For some, a poor hand at birth will continue through life, with disadvantage and misfortune.

The lottery of life raises a dilemma long at the heart of philosophy, religion and politics: what are our obligations to others in a world of inequality and personal set-backs?

As in other nations, the role of government in looking after citizens who fall behind is a core topic of political debate. But a second, voluntary sector grapples also with cycles of disadvantage. Charity is about community taking responsibility for those who need help. It tackles problems too local or too sensitive for government, from extra resources for a struggling hospital to refugees and dispossessed Indigenous people made unwelcome by public policies.

Jim Carlton devoted years of his life to the fundamental moral challenges posed by inequality and disadvantage. He led the great work of the Red Cross organisation, but knew too the tide of criticism now directed at philanthropy. This lecture celebrates his work by asking how the lottery of life shapes our prospects, and the strengths and challenges for charity in making a difference for those without advantage.

The Jim Carlton Integrity Lecture is jointly hosted by the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS) at Melbourne Law School and the Accountability Round Table (ART)

Note: Refreshments will be available in the Melbourne Law School Ground Floor Foyer from 5:00 pm, the lecture will begin at 6:00 pm.

All Free Public Lectures