Julian Burnside

Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC and musician John Butler will join forces to explore the virtue of being fair at a Secular Sermon for The School of Life Perth on Sunday 14 September at Winthrop Hall.

Tickets are on sale now via www.theschooloflife.com/perth.

Burnside is the 2014 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize for his unflinching advocacy of asylum seekers. He will deliver a Sermon On Fairness exploring the much-lauded virtue of a ‘fair go’ in Australian culture with his signature style of persuasive polemics.

Julian Burnside says, “From the earliest age, children yearn for fairness and they understand what it is. As we grow older, we learn that our childhood instinct for fairness is what grown-ups call ‘justice’ but we work out ways to deny it, or redefine it, until we live lives in which it disappears. But the yearning for fairness – for justice – remains.”

John Butler will perform three folk-song ‘hymns’ in a rare solo show in Perth, having just returned from a world tour with his trio. In addition to his award-winning music, Butler is also known for his dedication to social and environmental issues with his support of the Save the Kimberly campaign and as a co-founder of The Seed Fund, an incubator for emerging Australian musicians.

John Butler says, “Fairness is a simple yet, in these times, strangely elusive dish made up of four key ingredients in my opinion: empathy, respect, compassion and commonsense. I believe we’re all born with a moral compass which naturally magnetises towards things like fairness. If you have food and the person next to you is starving the natural compulsion is to share. Not really rocket science. The perfect way to sully this dish is to add fear. The more fear there is in a society, the less fairness will prosper.”

Ande Roestenburg, Director of The School of Life Perth says, “The aim of our Secular Sermons is to provoke and inspire the audience to think deeply about what fairness means to them on a personal level, and to reconnect as a community on the prevailing moral imperatives in Australia, and indeed the world, today.”

This event is the first of The School of Life Perth’s Secular Sermon series and marks the launch of its inaugural ten-week Spring Term program. The School of Life Perth will also offer books, classes, workshops and lectures from its pop-up space at 224 William Street, Northbridge until 23 November.

Secular Sermon general admission tickets are $35 and concession tickets are $30. Tickets have been pre-released to The School of Life Perth newsletter subscribers. The remaining tickets are on sale now via www.theschooloflife.com/perth

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What is a Secular Sermon?

Secular Sermons have been a key part of The School of Life’s programming since its launch in London in 2008. The School of Life invites cultural mavericks and through leaders to give their views on the values we should live by (or the vices we should be wary of) in today’s complex world.

The School of Life Secular Sermons are designed to persuade, inspire and entertain. The content of the Sermon draws on philosophy, humanities, culture and the arts. Previous Secular Sermon speakers include Sir Ken Robinson, Carol Dweck, Miranda July and Ruby Wax. The speakers have explored virtues such as compassion and mindfulness and vices such as envy and perfectionism.

Previous Sermons are available to view for free online at www.theschooloflife.com

About The School of Life

The School of Life was launched in London in 2008 and since that time more than 70,000 people have taken part in its programs, and its innovative approach to lifelong learning is now globally renowned. Dedicated to distilling the best ideas from the ages to enrich everyday life, it is the brainchild of writer Alain de Botton.

The School of Life Melbourne became the first, permanent international branch outside of London when it opened in March 2014.