Towards a good eating life? The food labelling debate

Monday 12 September 2011

Bradley Forum, UniSA City West campus, Hawke Building level 5, 50-55 North Terrace, Adelaide

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Jointly presented by the Ethics Centre of South Australia and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at UniSA

Food is a necessity of life. It is more than that. Good food is a necessity for health and wellbeing. But how do we tell what is good food, what is good to eat?

Dr Neal Blewett was the chair of a panel of experts asked by the Federal Government to respond to the dissatisfactions of the general populace and politicians regarding food labelling. The result was a Report of Australia's Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy, delivered in January, 2011. (More information:

Dr Blewett will discuss the Report, its repercussions on the food industry and its social consequences.

A/Prof Rachel Ankeny is Program Coordinator for the Graduate Program in Food Studies at Adelaide University. She is also a member of the Ethics Centre of South Australia. Recently she has won an ARC grant to explore 'What shall we have for Tea? Toward a New Discourse of Food Ethics in Contemporary Australia'. She will make a response to Dr Blewett's presentation from an ethical viewpoint.

Those interested in food, the food industry and the ethical values of food will find this Seminar fascinating.

Dr Neal Blewett
Neal Blewett has had a varied career as academic, politician and diplomat. Tasmanian Rhodes scholar in 1957 he gained a D. Phil at Oxford University for his study of the British political crisis of 1909-10, later published as The Peers, the Parties and the People. He taught successively at the universities of Oxford and Adelaide and became Professor of Political Theory and Institutions at Flinders University in 1974, and published with Dean Jaensch, Playford to Dunstan: Politics of Transition. An opponent of Australian participation in the Vietnam War and an active civil libertarian, he entered Federal Parliament as ALP member for the South Australian seat of Bonython in 1977. As Health Minister in the Hawke governments he was responsible for the introduction of both Medicare and Australia's AIDS program. He later served as Minister for Trade and Overseas Development and Minister for Social Security. From 1994-8 he was Australian High Commissioner in London. He served on the Executive board of the World Health Organisation from 1995-8 and in 1988 was a member of the transition team for Gro Harlem Bruntland, Director-General-elect of WHO. In 1997 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 1999 he published A Cabinet Diary, a day by day account of the first Keating government. Now retired, Neal Blewett walks and gardens in the Blue Mountains.

A/Prof Rachel Ankeny
Rachel A Ankeny is the Program Coordinator for the Graduate Program in Food Studies at the University of Adelaide. Rachel currently holds a three-year grant Australian Research Council grant (2011-13) entitled "What Shall We Have for Tea? Toward a New Discourse of Food Ethics in Contemporary Australia" (A$155,000) as well as small grants to examine gender and understandings of GM foods, and attitudes toward future use of GM technologies in the Australian wine industry. Rachel is a member of the Ethics Centre of South Australia.

The Ethics Centre of South Australia (ECSA)
In 2005, the three universities and the State Government cooperated to form ECSA in order to promote knowledge about and informed debate on ethical issues in the public arena. All three universities, Government Departments, particularly the Department of Health, and professional areas contribute to the membership and management.

ECSA will coordinate the research and teaching expertise of academics from the three South Australian universities and other academics in professional practice to provide the award with first rate teachers., Students from a wide range of backgrounds will come together to gain knowledge, skills and understanding in ethical theory and ethical issues.

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at UniSA
The Hawke Centre and its charter reflect the University of South Australia's key strategic commitment to engage communities. The Centre attracts national and international speakers and offers informed viewpoints on key concerns for the 21st century, including sustainable societies and international challenges. I note also that UniSA has a strong public health, nursing and allied health professions teaching focus through the Division of Health Sciences and is working to introduce a School of Medicine that will concentrate on healthcare for the disadvantaged. We also have The Sansom Institute for Health Research uniting UniSA's internationally-recognised research strengths in molecular medicine, pharmaceutical science, and the quality use of medicines and pharmacy practice.

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.