REGISTER NOW | Neoliberalism, Civil Society & The Church Conference

A two day conference to be held at United Theological College, 16 Masons Drive North Parramatta

Thursday 28 & Friday 29 June, 2018
Parking: Free, on site parking, both days
Registration enquiries email –
Download the conference schedule – HERE

2 Day Option – Two Days, including Thursday Dinner – $50pp
Thursday only option – Registration link THURSDAY, includes Thur Dinner – $35pp
Friday only package option – Registration link FRIDAY – $35pp

For some years the assumption in Australia was that the role of governments and civil society (the institutions that mediate between individuals and the state) was to expand the social, economic and political rights of citizens. People were seen as having social and economic ends. The church acted in this space as one body in civil society defending and expanding those rights in cooperation with governments.
Neoliberalism argues that capital must have complete freedom, and other rights may have to be given up. People are primarily valued for their contribution to the economy – producers and consumers. Civil society serves the agenda of governments, whose priority is economic growth and freedom for capital. The state justifies its existence as a source of security, not expanded rights for citizens.
This shift to neoliberalism is well illustrated in Free Trade Agreements which can make it possible for companies to sue governments who seek to protect social well-being – e.g. if they stop mining for environmental or social reasons, or wish to protect water as a common good.
How does the church respond to this situation? Is it still working in the ways of social liberalism? How does the church deal with the new understanding of human-ness, the state, and the nature of freedom?
This conference will explore these and other issues around neoliberalism, civil society and the church through various disciplines and approaches.


Download the Session presentation summary & abstracts – HERE

  • Challenging Neoliberalism: Who and How
  • Neoliberalism in contracting welfare: impacts on church-related agencies
  • The Throne of Sacrifice – recovering a Christian theological anthropology in the time of neoliberal totalisation
  • The Impact of Neoliberalism on churches as institutions
  • NeoLiberal change or just plain improvement?
  • Economics or Stewardship: How Neoliberalism has led the church to neglect the Bible’s call to good Stewardship of God’s Creation, and what we are beginning to do to bring it back.
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme: Navigating the Tension between the Human Rights Agenda and the Productivity Agenda
  • Evangelicals, wheretofore now?
  • Christology of the Preamble – an antidote to Neoliberalism
  • Neoliberalism – Adapt, reform or resist? A perspective from church related community services


Dr Elizabeth Strakosch is a lecturer in Public Policy and Governance at the University of Queensland, and her research focuses on the intersection of policy and political relationships. It explores the ways that new public policies and administration techniques transform our social relationships and political identities in liberal and settler colonial contexts. Her recent book Neoliberal Indigenous Policy explores contemporary Australian Indigenous policy as influenced by neoliberalism, New Public Management, exceptionalism and preventative risk management.
University of Queensland Professional BIO – available here

Thursday 28 June
10.00  | Welcome, Introduction to topic  | Chris Budden
10.30  |  Morning Tea
11.00 | Keynote Speaker – Elizabeth Strakosch, introduced by Chris Budden
12.30  | Lunch
1.30  | Session 1 | Chair
2.30   Session 2  | Chair
3.30  | Afternoon Tea
4.30  |  Session 3  | Chair
5.30  | Break for dinner
6.00  | Dinner
7.15  | A time to engage with Liz’s work and its implications  | Chair
8.30 | Close
Friday 29 June
9.00  | Session 4 | Chair
10.00  | Morning Tea
10.30  | Session 5 | Chair
11.30  | Session 6 | Chair
12.30  |  Lunch
1.30    |  Session | Chair
2.30   |  Wrap up/ Discussion/ What Next
3.00   |  Afternoon Tea/ Departures
Note: A more detailed schedule of Day 1 and 2 sessions will be made available in June once papers have been accepted. At this stage  workshops and presentation papers will be finalised.
*Can be subject to change

The conference is supported by the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at Charles Sturt University, Uniting (NSW/ACT), and United Theological College.

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