The Ministry for Empathy
2020, 2016
video, exhibition, live performance
Project Description

The Ministry was launched two years to the day David Pledger was elected Minister for Empathy by 42 Australian citizens in Canberra, 10 days before the 2016 Federal Election. 

On June 22, 2018, an inter-governmental Ministry, the Federal Ministry for Empathy, was established to introduce notions of empathy, compassion and kindness into Australia’s mainstream political culture. The Federal Ministry for Empathy is a central agency and advocacy instrument providing coordinated strategy and leadership for the emotional intelligence, mental health and well-being of Australia’s political culture.

Following on from the 2019 Frontbench Interview Series and a single campaign performance, the Minister spent 40 days and 40 nights contemplating a new era of leadership without empathy.

In 2020, the Ministry’s focus expanded to include all Australian citizens, particularly those directly affected by the absence of empathy in Australia’s political culture.

Project Credits
Ministerial Staff

Mark Atkin


Natalie Cursio  


Alex Kelly 

Ambassador Australia

Pippa Bailey 

Ambassador International

Peter Eckersall

Commissioned by:

NYID, Ian Potter Museum for Art and broadcast by media partner, The Daily Review