The TJ Ryan Foundation, with the support of the Queensland University of Technology, QSuper and the Queensland Council of Unions, presented its major conference for 2017 on ‘The Reality of Income and Wealth Inequality in Australia’. This one-day conference was held in the Owen J. Wordsworth Room, Level 12, S Block at QUT Gardens Point campus in Brisbane, on Friday 1 September 2017.
The conference featured a day-long program of highly-regarded academics, activists, practitioners and politicians discussing inequality in Australia and what it means for our economy, our society and our politics. Speakers included: Uncle Bob Anderson, Marian Baird, Geoff Edwards, Cassandra Goldie, Jyi Lawton, Sally McManus (Keynote Speaker), John Quiggin, Peter Saunders, Jim Stanford, Wayne Swan MP (Closing Address) and Helen Szoke.
For more details, see the conference flyer and full conference program at the links below.
Uncle Bob Anderson Dr Robert Anderson OAM is a well respected Ngugi Elder from Mulgumpin in Quandamooka, South East Queensland and currently lives in Brisbane. Since Native Title for the for Quandamooka Nation was recognised on the 4th July 2011 by the High Court of Australia, he has been a Family Representative on the prescribed body corporate, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, QYAC, established to progress the native title interests of the Quandamooka Peoples. He is well known for both striving to progress and protect the rights of workers through the trade union movement and for his efforts to maintain and promote the reconciliation process as an Aboriginal Elder and currently as a member and delegate of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. Known as Uncle Bob, he served as a trade union delegate and State Organiser for the Building Workers Industrial Union from 1951 to 1978 and has been recognised as an Honorary Member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
Professor Marian Baird is one of Australia’s leading researchers in the fields of women, work and family. She is Chair of the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies in the University of Sydney Business School and Professor of Gender and Employment Relations. In addition to being recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, she has received a number of federal and state government grants to research various topics in the fields of women, work and family. Professor Baird has been commissioned by business, not-for-profits and unions to undertake workplace and policy research related to women’s workforce engagement. She is widely published in Australia and internationally.
Dr Geoff Edwards is President of the Royal Society of Queensland, the State’s senior scientific organisation. In 2016 he was appointed as a Research Associate of the TJ Ryan Foundation. Previously Dr Edwards had an extensive career infusing public service with a steadfast passion for ecological science. In addition to positions with park systems in Papua New Guinea and Victoria, he has also served as a local government Councillor and Shire President in the Dandenong Ranges (Victoria) and manager of the Queensland Department of Lands and Natural Resources. His current research interests include analysis of the preconditions of economic prosperity – grand projects or public institutions; the debilitating effects of free trade for national prosperity; growing complexity in society; the environmental limits to economic growth; and exploring the value of “public interest” and “national interest” as benchmarks in public affairs.
Dr Cassandra Goldie is the CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). Dr Goldie has public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights. Her former roles include Director of Sex and Age Discrimination with the Australian Human Rights Commission, Director and Principal Solicitor with the Darwin Community Legal Service and Senior Executive with Legal Aid in Western Australia. In addition to being recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) 100 Women of Influence Dr Goldie was selected as an AFR/BOSS True Leader and voted one of the Impact 25 Most Influential People in the Social Economy. Furthermore, Cassandra was recognised by the AFR in 2015 on their Annual Overt Power List.
Mr. Jyi Lawton is a Bachelor of Justice degree candidate with the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology. Highly engaged within the QUT community, Lawton has served as a student ambassador, equity ambassador, and Odgeroo Unit ambassador. He has also served as a mentor for students as part of QUT’s Indigenous Mentor Experience program. In 2012, Lawton was awarded an Indigenous Cadetship with the Law and Justice Research Department within Queensland’s Department of Premier and Cabinet. In addition to his studies, Lawton is also a youth worker at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre at Wacol.
Ms. Sally McManus is the tenth elected secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the first woman to hold the position in the Council’s ninety-year history. Prior to her current role, Sally served as ACTU Vice President and Head of Campaigns. She has also been Secretary of the NSW and ACT branch of the Australian Services Union. Since becoming Secretary, Sally has put the issue of inequality front and centre on the national agenda.
Professor John Quiggin is an Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland. He is prominent as a research economist and as a commentator on Australian economic policy. Professor Quiggin is a Fellow of the Econometric Society as well as the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He has produced over 1,500 publications—including six books and more than 200 refereed journal articles—in fields including decision theory, environmental economics, production economics, and the theory of economic growth. His book, Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us, was released in 2010 by Princeton University Press, and has been translated into eight languages. He is a founding board member and Research Associate of the TJ Ryan Foundation.
Professor Peter Saunders was Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW from February 1987 until July 2007, and now holds a Research Chair within the Centre. Professor Saunders has held consulting positions for a range of national and international organisations, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, OECD, IMF, the Asian Development Bank, the International Social Security Association and the Royal Commission on Social Policy in New Zealand. He is widely published in the areas of poverty and income distribution, household needs and living standards and social security reform. His recent books include The Ends and Means of Welfare: Coping with Economic and Social Change in Australia; The Poverty Wars, Reconnecting Research with Reality; and Ideas and Influence: Social Science and Public Policy in Australia.
Dr Jim Stanford is the Director of the Centre for Future Work, based at the Australia Institute. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers). He is also the Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics at McMaster University in Canada. Jim has recently been a prominent public commentator on inequality and the future of work in Australia.
Hon Wayne Swan MP served as Treasurer of Australia from 2007 to 2013, as well as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. As one of the longest-serving Finance Ministers in the G20, Wayne Swan played a significant role in the development of the G20 as the premier global economic forum and is recognised as one of its leading contributors, drawing on his unique experience overseeing Australia’s economic outperformance among the developed world. During his time as Treasurer, Australia experienced a once-in-a-century term of trade and business investment boom, coming out with contained inflation and low interest rates. He helped formulate Australia’s successful response to the GFC, with the country coming through the global recession with an economy 15% bigger and with more than one million jobs created. Swan is the 2011 Euromoney Finance Minister of the Year awardee and has appeared regularly in international coverage of unfolding global economic events. Through the G20, the IMF, and APEC he has been a prominent voice for structural reform, including reform of the international financial system. He was re-elected for the eighth time in 2016 as the Federal Member for Lilley and has held senior economic roles in the Australian Labor Party since 1993. He was a 2015 Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs (Yale University) and is a regular speaker at international and domestic forums. Wayne Swan has been an advocate for Inclusive Prosperity launching the Inclusive Prosperity Commission think tank in 2015.
Dr. Helen Szoke is the Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia. Her career accomplishments include Commissioner of the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Race Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission. Additionally, Helen has held numerous honorary and governance roles with non-profit organisations, and has received awards and recognition for her work over many years in human rights, governance, public policy and leadership. She is a strong advocate on issues of human rights, poverty, inequality, and gender and race equity.