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Event Details

The Truth Defence: Ben Roberts-Smith and the Media

28 August 2023
6.30pm – 7.45pm AEST
Science Theatre, UNSW Kensington
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The Truth Defence

Douglas Guilfoyle | Daniel Joyce | Chris Masters | Geraldine Doogue

From the treacherous battlegrounds of Afghanistan to the frontlines of the Federal Court, the 110-day defamation trial of Ben Roberts-Smith emerged as a monumental test case, examining the very essence of truth as defence in an Australian defamation trial. 

This trial marked the first time an Australian court scrutinised allegations of war crimes committed by Australian troops, and highlighted the financial and emotional costs of pursuing an uncomfortable truth in the newspaper. But what comes next? 

Join investigative journalist Chris Masters, UNSW Sydney legal experts Douglas Guilfoyle and Daniel Joyce, and host Geraldine Doogue as they unravel the remarkable story of Ben Roberts-Smith, examine the highly anticipated trial of the century, and unpack what it means for journalism and justice in Australia. 

Chris Masters’ new book Flawed Hero: Truth, lies and war crimes is available here.


The Science Theatre is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington Campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream. 





Wheelchair Access
The Science Theatre is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus (highlighted red on this map). The closest accessible drop-off point to the Science Theatre is towards the rear of the building, with access via Gate 2, High Street. Vehicles can drop off patrons directly adjacent to the Business School west wing which is then a 200 metre walk approximately. More information on getting there can be found via our interactive accessibility map available here.

Hearing Loop
The Science Theatre has hearing assistive technology available. Patrons wishing to utilise this service must collect a Roger™ inductive neck loop receiver from the venue staff, and this system can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant with a T-coil, or with headphones.

Auslan & Captioning 
Auslan interpreting services and/or live captioning can be provided for selected talks upon request.

To book and discuss access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email


The Science Theatre is easily accessible via public transport and the closest light rail stop is UNSW Anzac Parade (L3 line). For more information please call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit

Free parking is also available in the Barker St Car Park (Gate 14) from 5.30pm. For access to free parking, event patrons must park in the UNSW Permit Holder bays, available on all levels. The Barker St Car Park (Gate 14) parking station is located here. 

Paid casual and visitor parking is offered via the CellOPark App and ‘pay by plate meters’ in all other UNSW car parks. For more information head here



For all the other enquiries, please email or call the Centre for ideas on 02 9065 0485.

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. For more information on all other relay calls visit here.


Douglas Guilfoyle

Professor Douglas Guilfoyle is an international legal scholar and specialist in international criminal law and the law of the sea in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra. His publications include a textbook, International Criminal Law, and articles on command responsibility and the future of the International Criminal Court. He has acted as a consultant to governments and international organisations and taught at Monash and University College London before joining UNSW. In 2024 he will be the visiting Lieber Scholar at West Point.


Daniel Joyce

Dr Daniel Joyce is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW Sydney. He specialises in international law, media law and human rights. Daniel is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki, an Associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute, and a member of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation. His monograph Informed Publics, Media and International Law was published by Hart in 2020.  

Chris Masters

Chris Masters

Chris Masters is one of Australia's best-known, highly respected, and most influential investigative journalists. His stellar career has won him five Walkleys, including a Gold Walkley, and he has produced over 100 investigative reports, mostly for Four Corners. Masters remains at the top of his game: relentlessly, fearlessly and doggedly determined to expose the truth. Masters is Australia’s unofficial Afghanistan war historian and spent a total of three months embedded with Australian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2010, including with special forces in 2011. He is the author of the bestselling Jonestown, Uncommon Soldier and No Front Line. His newest book is Flawed Hero: Truth, lies and war crimes which tells the shocking story of the case against Australia’s most highly decorated living soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, and the defamation trial of the century. 

Geraldine Doogue

Geraldine Doogue

Geraldine Doogue is a renowned Australian journalist and broadcaster with experience in print, television and radio. She currently presents ABC RN’s Saturday Extra which specialises in foreign policy, regional issues, agenda-changing commentators, good books, and has been a reporter for The West Australian, The Australian, 2UE, Channel 10 and the Presenter/Creator of ABC RN’s Life Matters.

During her career with both the ABC and commercial media she has won two Penguin Awards for excellence in broadcasting from the Television Society of Australia and a United Nations Media Peace Prize. In 2000 Geraldine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for social and cultural reporting. In 2003, she was recognised with an Officer in the Order of Australia for services to the community and media. Geraldine tackles a wide range of subjects with rigour, optimism, humour and warmth.

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