Voltaire Award Dinner 2018


Liberty Victoria is proud to present the Voltaire Award Dinner 2018, a celebration of free speech and of Liberty Victoria's continued work to defend and extend civil liberties and human rights throughout Australia.


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Liberty has been working since 1936 to extend and defend human rights and freedom.

Each year Liberty Victoria holds its Voltaire Dinner to celebrate free speech.

By supporting this evening you are helping to:

  • Secure people’s equal rights and oppose any abuse or excessive power by the state.
  • Influence public debate and government policy on human rights.
  • Support specific cases in defence of civil liberties.

Our annual Voltaire Awards Dinner provides us with an opportunity not only to celebrate successes for human rights, but to promote the challenges we continue to face.

We would absolutely love you to join us to enable us to continue our important work.

Date and time: Saturday 21 July 2018. Pre-dinner drinks commence at 6.30pm.

Location: The Grand Ballroom, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Dress code: Cocktail

Tickets: $175 per person / $1,650 table of 10


After the early bird booking period Liberty Victoria members will receive a discounted ticket price using a promo code sent to all members. We also have a limited number of discounted tickets for student members of Liberty and current RAP volunteers. Email the Liberty Office at info@libertyvictoria.org.au for a promo code. Become a Liberty member today for discounted tickets! 

When booking you will be prompted to add a name for each ticket you purchase. Please enter "to be confirmed" if you don't yet have the names of all your guests.


Voltaire Award - Magda Szubanski

This award honours a person or group considered to have done the most for the right of free speech in the previous 12 months. It recognises those who in their work, interests or passions make an extraordinary contribution to these rights, whether it be through speaking out, writing, campaigning, whistle-blowing or defying authoritarianism. Those honoured have often gone beyond the call of duty or office by refusing to be cowed or silenced.

This year Liberty Victoria honours Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most popular actors and a prominent activist. 

Magda has topped off an astonishing year by being honoured for her work for marriage equality.

Her courage, and her fight for love and acceptance of LGBTI+ people has given hope to many, and has brought a light and positivity to the marriage equality campaign.  Her candid, multi-award-winning book, Reckoning, has been a beacon to many, including LGBTI+ people and their families.


Young Voltaire Award - Yassmin Abdel-Magied

This award will be presented for the second time in 2018, to a person no older than 30 at the date of their nomination who has fulfilled the criteria for the Voltaire Award.

This year’s winner is Yassmin Abdel-Magied, mechanical engineer, award-winning social advocate, author and broadcaster, Yassmin's courageous activism on topics of race, equality and unconscious bias have brought her to the forefront of public debate in Australia and abroad.


The Empty Chair Award - Behrouz Boochani

Established in 2016, this award is presented to a person who is worthy to receive the Voltaire or Young Voltaire Award, but cannot be present to receive the award due to the consequences of their exercise of or advocacy for free speech. The 2016 Empty Chair Award was made to Saudi writer, dissident and political prisoner Raif Badawi. We were honoured that his wife Ensaf Haidar welcomed the presentation of the award to Raif. In 2017, the recipient was Iranian cartoonist Ali Dorani aka 'Eaten Fish', until recently imprisoned on Manus Island. 

Liberty’s Empty Chair award goes to journalist Behrouz Boochani, an ethnic Kurd, who fled Iran after several of his colleagues were arrested in 2013, crossing south-east Asia and then sailing to Christmas Island. He was then transferred to Manus Island, where he has since been held.

With Australian journalists largely barred from Manus and Nauru, Behrouz's articles for the Guardian and elsewhere bear graphic witness to life behind the wire. He has received an Amnesty International Award and he shot a film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time inside the Manus centre on a mobile phone, which has been shown at the London and Sydney film festivals.



Voltaire was a French writer and philosopher famous for his advocacy of freedom of speech. He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the 18th Century.

The values of Liberty Victoria resonate with those of Voltaire. This event is given annually to the person or organisation making an outstanding contribution to free speech.



  • 2017: Gillian Triggs (President of the Australian Human Rights Commission until July 2017)
  • 2016: Waleed Aly (media presenter, author and academic)
  • 2015: The ‘three brothers’ – Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy (Al Jazeera journalists)
  • 2014: Yu Shu Lipski (interpreter and whistleblower)
  • 2013: Arnold Zable (writer, novelist and refugee advocate)
  • 2012: David Marr (journalist)


#Voltaire2018  @LibertyVic

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Magda Szubanski, Yassmin Abdel-Magied take out free speech awards

Start Date - End Date

Jul 21st, 2018 - Jul 21st, 2018

Start Time - End Time

6:30 pm - 11:00 pm

Event Location

The Grand Ballroom, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins


$175 ticket, $1650 table

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