Whitlam, Welfare and the World

The Australian Assistance Plan (AAP) was an innovative programme of social welfare reform launched in 1973 by the Whitlam Labor government. In contrast to the many other Whitlam initiatives, it has attracted almost no scholarly analysis since the 1970s ... until now. 

Come along and hear about 'the power and the passion' shared in the oral history interviews conducted as part of the ARC-funded project, 'Bold Experiment: An historical evaluation of the Australian Assistance Plan'. Chief Investigators Professor Melanie Oppenheimer and Professor Erik Eklund will reflect on the project's outcomes and focus on the oral history interviews with key AAP protagonists that were undertaken as part of the study.

Following on from this, Professor Oppenheimer will present materials from the project to Flinders University Library Special Collections staff. Both oral histories and archival materials will be added to the collection later this year, where they will sit alongside other significant political and social materials available in the Bannon Collection and the Dunstan Collection. This exciting donation of project materials to Flinders University acknowledges the long connection of university staff, such as Professor Adam Graycar, with the AAP and with social justice and social welfare work.

To conclude, Sue Vardon AO will launch the book, The State of Welfare: Comparative studies of the Welfare State at the end of the long boom, 1965-1980, and reflect on her own involvement in the AAP during the early 1970s. Educated as a social worker at the University of New South Wales, Sue worked in local government in metropolitan and regional NSW, holding senior positions in the NSW Department for Community Services, before moving to South Australia to become the Director General of Community Welfare. She was also the inaugural Chief Executive of Centrelink, which was established in 1997. Sue spent 23 years as a Chief Executive in both Commonwealth and State Government agencies.

The State of Welfare was edited by Erik Eklund, Melanie Oppenheimer and Joanne Scott, and presents case studies from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden and Britain.

Please join us to celebrate the conclusion of our project, to acknowledge the involvement of the oral history participants, to mark the handing over of project materials to Special Collections, and to launch the book.

Drinks and canapes will be served by Alere staff at the conclusion of the presentations. 

Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the foyer adjacent the Function Centre.



- Whitlam, Welfare and the World PAST SESSION (collapse)

Fri, 16 Mar 2018
04:00PM - 06:00PM
All day:
Flinders University, The Hub, Level 2, Alere Function Centre, Registry Road, Bedford Park, SA, 5042, Australia

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  • Professor Melanie Oppenheimer
  • Professor Erik Eklund
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