'Utopia': Fact or Fiction?


The ABC TV show Utopia is a satire about working in the Australian government, first broadcast in 2014.

A public comedy debate with the topic ‘Utopia: Fact or Fiction’ was held in Melbourne in June 2015 as part of Public Sector Week, presented by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA Victoria).

What happens when bureaucracy and grand dreams collide? Can the public service turn our dreams into reality or is it the barrier to solving the world's problems?

This video is an edited version of the debate, comprising of a speaker from each team.

Arguing that Utopia is fiction is Ms Katy Haire, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria. Arguing that Utopia is fact is Ms Maria Katsonis, Director (Governance) Premier and Cabinet and public policy fellow Melbourne School of Government.

Event participants:

MC: Professor Helen Sullivan, Director, Melbourne School of Government
Moderator: Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean, Melbourne Law School

Utopia is fact:

  • Mr Ary Laufer, Executive, Strategy, Quality and Partnerships, Wise Employment
  • Mr Ben Rimmer, CEO, City of Melbourne
  • Ms Maria Katsonis, Director (Governance) Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria; public policy fellow, Melbourne School of Government

Utopia is fiction:

  • Ms Katy Haire, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria
  • Professor Peter Gahan, Director, Centre for Workplace Leadership; Professor of Management, University of Melbourne
  • Ms Rebecca McParland, Manager, Therapeutic Justice, Courts Policy, Civil Justice, Department of Justice, Victoria; and Master of Public Administration student, Melbourne School of Government


Published Date
July 2, 2015