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Alumni debate and function: Melbourne
The House moves that Tasmania should be part of Victoria

Thursday, July 26, 2012 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Melbourne alumni debate and function:



Join Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen, Saul Eslake, Greg Barns and others for what promises to be a lively evening.

5.30pm: Welcome drink

6.00pm Debate: The House moves that Tasmania should be part of Victoria

7.00pm: Networking, drinks and canapés

8.00pm: Event close


 Alexandre de Blas

Alexandra de Blas
is the principal of de Blas Communications — a business specialising in social and environmental sustainability. Alexandra is an award winning environmental & science communicator with more than twenty years media experience ­– including eight as the voice  of  Earthbeat, ABC Radio National’s specialist environment program.  She graduated with a BSc from the University of Sydney, and later a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies (Hons) 1993 from UTAS. Alexandra has received a number of  journalism awards including the 3rd World Water Forum Journalists prize, Kyoto, Japan; and the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award. She sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of CSIRO’s Ecos magazine and contributes regularly. She is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow and a member of the Italian based GreenAccord international network of environmental journalists which will take her to Costa Rica later this year.


Team for the motion:

Polly McGee

Polly McGee
is a co-founder of Startup Tasmania, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurial Tasmanian fast growth businesses start up and stay up. Polly runs boutique consultancy in startup advice and digital strategy and writes for national business blog Start Up Smart. Polly is a specialist lecturer in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Tasmania in their MBA and undergraduate program, she is the chapter manager for Pitch Club in Tasmania, a mentor for Business Mentor Services Tasmania and sits on the board of Tasmanian literary publication Island Magazine. In her spare time, Polly blogs, writes, cooks, drinks Tassie pinot and is co-host of EdgeFM's drivetime program 'Sport vs Everything'.

Jane Haley
Jane Haley
has accumulated considerable expertise in cultural policy, company management and private sector support for the arts over a career spanning 30 years in arts organisations and government policy agencies in Hobart, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne. Originally a teacher, Jane literally ran away to join Salamanca Theatre Company when she realised the power of art to educate. Since then she’s  been looking for ways to make the world a better place through the arts, most recently through connecting the arts, business and donors in her role as CEO of the Australia Business Arts Foundation. Jane grew up in Tassie where most of her beloved family still lives ... although she may no longer be welcomed home after taking the affirmative side in this debate.  Alongside her great privilege in being paid to do what she loves, Jane had much joy through her involvement in the campaign to save Tasmania’s south west wilderness.
 Greg Barns

Greg Barns
is a barrister and writer. He has written three books on Australian politics and writes for the Hobart Mercury, ABC The Drum website, Crikey, the South China Morning Post and The Age.  He practises law in the areas of criminal defence and administrative law and splits his time between Melbourne and Hobart.


Team against the motion:

Saul Eslake

Saul Eslake
joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch as Chief Economist Australia & New Zealand in December 2011. He has over 25 years’ experience as a financial markets economist, including fourteen years as Chief Economist at the ANZ. Between leaving ANZ and joining BAML, Saul had a part-time role as Director of the Productivity Growth program at the Grattan Institute, a non-aligned public policy ‘think tank’, as well as writing regular columns for the Melbourne Age and Launceston Examiner newspapers and a number of professional magazines, and serving on a number of boards and government advisory bodies. Saul has a first class honours degree in Economics from UTAS, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial and Securities Institute of Australia. He has also completed the Senior Executive Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business in New York.

Tom Hyland

Tom Hyland
had the good fortune to be born in Ouse, Tasmania, in 1955. He was educated at Poatina State School, Our Lady of Lourdes Convent School, St Brendans College and Devoport High School and graduated with a BA from the University of Tasmania in 1975. He then worked as a labourer with the Hydro Electric Commission in Queenstown, Zeehan and Tullah. As a result of Tasmanian nepotism he secured a job as a newspaper reporter in Mt Isa, Queensland, in 1979, and has been a journalist ever since. He has worked for the BBC World Service, Radio Australia, and AAP, including two years based in Jakarta. He has held senior editing positions at The Age since 1998. He is currently International Editor on The Sunday Age, and thinks small islands offer the broadest view of the world.

 Caitlin Dwyer

Caitlin Dwyer
graduated with a BA-LLB (Hons) in 2010.  She received the Tim Hawkins Memorial Scholarship in 2011 and spent six months at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague as the Research Assistant to one of the Prosecutor’s Special Advisers, UTAS alumnus Professor Tim McCormack. She now works at the Supreme Court of Victoria as a Trial Division Researcher and will soon take up the role of Associate to the Hon. Justice Lasry. She maintains her interest in international criminal justice by volunteering with Amnesty International’s Melbourne based ICC Focus Group.

Price: $25 per person. Partners welcome. Please note that numbers are limited.


All events are subsidised by UTAS Alumni


UTAS Alumni  

Sorry, no refunds after 22 July

Location: RACV Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Contact: E:
P: 03 6324 3052
Calendar: UTAS Alumni Events
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