News – 19 June 2017

Australian Humanist Convention 2017

Photo taken of Professor A. C. Grayling at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.The Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) put its best foot forward in staging the 52nd national Convention, 7–9 April, which had as its theme, ‘Ethics in an uncertain world’. The chosen venue was a city hotel, Ibis Melbourne in Therry Street. We were lucky to have Professors Peter Singer and A. C. Grayling as keynote speakers; they were pictured on the Convention poster, designed by Warren Bonett. Grayling amazed us on 6 April by attracting an audience of seven or eight hundred when he spoke on the history and future of Humanism, for the Wheeler Centre; next morning on Radio Melbourne he plugged the Convention. Some of our invited speakers were published authors – Grayling, Hamilton, Singer, Soutphommasane and Syme – and Embiggen Books sold their works on the spot while the authors signed them. A novel feature of our program was that, in parallel with Humanist Society content, other relevant subjects were presented by invited kindred bodies, Philosophy for Children, Progressive Atheists, Rationalist Society of Australia and Science Future.

Ticketing was handled on the CAHS website, http://convention.humanist.org.au, using Trybooking.com. The tickets could be purchased in four parts, the sessions on Friday, Saturday, Sunday (including two lunches) and the AHoY presentation dinner on Saturday night, and in total 203 tickets were issued in several combinations. Ticket holders were somewhat fewer than that and included about forty members of HSV. Twenty-two invited speakers did not need tickets.

Rosslyn Ives as Convention Manager ensured that hitches were smoothly overcome, and thanks are due also to her team of HSV helpers – Abhineet, Andrew, Ann, Elida, Jennie, Kathryn, Kevin, Leslie, Mary, Rod, Stephen and (ex officio CAHS) Scott Sharrad. The audience seemed to be generally appreciative. Most of the proceedings were videoed, and we hope to get it published on the web.

CAHS Annual General Meeting

Photo taken of Meredith Doig and Adam Ford at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) delegates to the 52nd Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS) A.G.M. on 7 April were Les Allan, Rosslyn Ives and Stephen Stuart. The meeting, chaired by Scott Sharrad as president, was observed by two HSV members, Mary Bergin and Rudi Anders, and three interstate Humanists.

The meeting confirmed Dr Rodney Syme as Australian Humanist of the Year 2017. Lyndon Storey and Scott Sharrad were elected CAHS president and secretary, respectively, for the next two years, and Murray Love was appointed treasurer.

There were three motions on notice. The Executive Motion to adopt the new constitution was amended to read, “That CAHS form a subcommittee for the purpose of constitutional review, by consulting affiliated societies and make recommendations at next A.G.M.”, and was passed in that form. Motion HSV1 on the period of notice for motions to change the constitution was similarly amended, so as to be referred to the foregoing review, and carried. Motion HSV2 on publicity for Humanism was shortened by amendment to read, “That CAHS agrees to publicise and promote Humanism by such actions as speaking to interested groups and the media, coordinating regular press releases and submissions on matters where Humanists have a distinct point of view,” and so carried.

Report by Stephen Stuart

Photo taken of Lyn Allison at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.Photo taken of Professor A. C. Grayling and Meredith Doig at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.Photo taken of Matt Awad at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.Photo taken of Dr. Rodney Syme at April 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention in Melbourne.

For more 2017 CAHS Australian Humanist Convention photos, visit

Adam Ford Flickr page and
Mal Vickers Flickr page