SXSW Sydney just announced big speakers for 2024, and we have a Hemsworth!

Plus one of Julian Assange’s human rights lawyers, and the best-selling author of ‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
SXSW Sydney
Photograph: Supplied | Amy Webb | SXSW Sydney

The big updates about the second edition of SXSW Sydney just keep rolling in, with initial keynote speakers and panellists for the annual conference dropping today – and we can reveal that there’s Aussie Hollywood royalty in the mix. Alongside prominent human rights lawyers, best-selling authors, and big wigs in the world of business, tech, and music, we also have a Hemsworth coming to town. Luke Hemsworth, to be exact. The Australian actor, Neighbours alum, and Westworld star is older brother to baby bros Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth. (There’s no word yet on whether the rest of the Hemsworth clan is shipping in from Byron Bay, alas. Also fun fact, did you know that Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga was Chris’ first Australian movie role!?)

Speaking of genetics, the elder Hemsworth will moderate a panel all about the latest efforts to de-extinct the Thylacine (aka, the Tassie Tiger) and return the storied animal to Tasmania. Titled Better than a Hollywood Movie: The highs, lows, epic moments, and colossal steps forward in bringing back the Tasmanian Tiger, the panel will feature co-founder and CEO of Colossal and serial technology entrepreneur Ben Lamm, who has been committed to building disruptive businesses that future-proof our world for over a decade; and Professor of Biosciences at University of Melbourne TIGRR Lab Andrew Pask, whose genetics work has led to the sequencing of several marsupial genomes, including that of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (tip: you can learn more about those little lads at the Australian Museum). 

Luke Hemsworth speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International for 'Westworld'
Photograph: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons | Luke Hemsworth speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International for 'Westworld'

Meanwhile, the big keynote speakers announced today include New York Times best-selling author of Magic Pill and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention, Johann Hari; and prominent human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Collectively, Hari’s TED Talks “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong” and “This Could Be Why You Are Depressed or Anxious” have been viewed more than 93 million times and his books have been translated into 40 languages. His fourth book, Stolen Focus, was named as a Book of the Year by The Financial Times, The New York Post, and The Spectator and won multiple awards. Meanwhile, Robinson has been a long-standing member of the legal team defending Julian Assange (you might have heard of him?) and WikiLeaks. She is a Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London specialising in international law, media law and human rights; and her recent book How Many More Women? exposes how the law silences women and explores the legal backlash to the MeToo movement.

“Our first two keynote speakers reflect our commitment to fostering challenging conversations,” SXSW Sydney Managing Director, Colin Daniels said in a statement. “Discussing human rights and our wellbeing, intersecting with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology is more critical than ever. Our keynote speakers will ignite discussions that are not only timely but necessary, as we navigate the complexities of our modern world.”

Other headlining speakers announced today are the Co-Founder & CEO of Razer (the world leading brand for Gamers) Min-Liang Tan, sharing how a two-person startup became a billion-dollar company that kickstarted a whole industry; Amy Gallo, best-selling author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict; renowned musician and mindfulness advocate Chad Lawson; ABC radio presenter and host of This Working Life podcast Lisa Leong; CEO of Emergent Global and author of The Leading Edge Holly Ransom; Australian race car driver Molly Taylor; prominent media science researcher Karen Nelson-Field; Billboard Top Music Lawyer Priyanka Khimani; Senior Editor at Rolling Stone India Peony Hirwani, and many more.

This drop for the SXSW Sydney line-up follows previous headliner announcements, with highlights including Australian astronaut Katherine Bennell-Pegg in addition to a drop of over 500 artists, speakers, screenings, workshops and experiences in June.

SXSW Sydney returns from October 14–20, 2024. You can find out more and view the full list of sessions and events revealed so far at, where you can start favouriting your top picks. Stay tuned for further announcements over the coming months.

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