2019 Reid Oration

What ever happened to political reform?

Member Events - 27 Aug 2019


Oration Overview

Since the great rebellion of the 1960s there’s been significant changes to the rules, institutions and policies that govern our economy. We’ve witnessed the destruction of the Australian Settlement that came with the Constitution.

However, the 1980s attempt to incorporate rights into the Constitution failed, as did the 1999 referendum on an Australian Republic and the COAG Reform Agenda of the 2000s. Indigenous recognition is on the table for consideration but not yet for decision. Add to all of that continuing resistance to the establishment of a National Corruption Commission and growing power to the executive arm of government more generally.

Is all of this resistance a reflection of the “state of the nation” from which there is no escape? Does it mean that the radical aspirations of the 1960s are all but dead and confined to our universities?


Prof. Shamit Saggar CBE FAcSS
UWA Public Policy Institute




Keynote Speaker

The Hon. Geoff Gallop AC FIPAA
Emeritus Professor
University of Sydney

Professor Geoff Gallop was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1986 to 2006 and the Premier of Western Australia from 2001 to 2006.

He was a Minister in the Lawrence Labor Government from 1990 to 1993 (holding a range of portfolios most notably Education, Fuel and Energy and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) and when that Government was defeated in 1993 he took up a range of Shadow Ministerial appointments. In 1994 he was elected Deputy Leader of the State Parliamentary Labor Party and in 1996 he was elected Leader.

As Premier, he oversaw a range of political and social reforms (electoral reform, gay and lesbian equality and a State Administrative Tribunal), upgraded the State's industrial and labour laws, brought a spirit of reconciliation to the resolution of Native Title and developed partnership models for the State's indigenous communities, changed the law to require all 16 and 17 year olds to be in education or training, was the first Premier to commit his government to a major desalination plant, stopped the logging of all of the State's Old Growth Forests creating record numbers of new national parks, restructured the State's electricity and racing industries, and started construction of the Perth to Mandurah Railway and City Tunnel.

As Minister for Science he established the Science Council, committed significant funding to Research and Development in the State, and established the Premier's Research Fellowship Program to attract leading researchers from overseas and interstate.

Geoff has been involved in a range of educational, community and sporting associations over many years and from 1983 to 1986 he was a Councillor at the City of Fremantle.

In 2001 he was awarded a Commonwealth of Australia Centenary Medal and was honoured with Life Membership of the Association for the Blind (Western Australia).

In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. In April 2006 he was admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Murdoch University and in March 2012 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Western Australia.

In 2008 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.