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Alfred Deakin Lecture

47th Alfred Deakin Lecture

by The Hon Dr David Kemp


"Australian Liberalism

and Good Government"

6:30 pm

Tuesday 6 May 2014

No issue is more important for good government than getting the role of government right, and few countries have had a better opportunity to learn from their history about the appropriate role for government than Australia.

Over recent years, there has been an increasing tendency in many quarters to see government as the solution to every problem – whether through regulation, redistribution or service provision. 

The media inevitably focus on each new piece of legislation or program, but rarely step back to look holistically at the impact on our economy and society of the changing role of government.

A new administration in Canberra now faces its first budget after a period of unprecedented expansion in government.  Businesses are concerned that productivity growth has stalled partly due to government interference in the private sector.  Individuals and families are querying whether the “nanny state” is undermining personal responsibility and leading to a generation lacking the resilience to handle life’s challenges.

The appropriate role of government is hardly a new question.  Alfred Deakin and his contemporaries turned their minds to it, as did Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard.  Important lessons can be learnt from our historical experience, and there has never been a more urgent time to revisit the issue afresh. 

As a former Cabinet Minister, leading academic and former President of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party, The Hon Dr David Kemp is ideally placed to consider this issue and place it in an historical context in the 47th Alfred Deakin Lecture.

Wright Theatre
Medical Building University of Melbourne
(Enter from Grattan Street near corner Royal Parade)
Parkville, Victoria 3010



Map of Melbourne University Parkville


ABOUT THE HON DR DAVID KEMP: The Hon Dr David Kemp is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, Chairman of the Old Parliament House Museum of Democracy Advisory Council and a Board Member of the Grattan Institute.

Dr Kemp was a Member of the House of Representatives, representing the Victorian seat of Goldstein, from 1990 to 2004. He was a Minister in the Howard Government 1996-2004, and held a number of portfolios in the areas of Education, Employment, Training, Youth Affairs, Environment and Heritage. He was Vice President of the Executive Council from 1998-2004, and a member of the Expenditure Review Committee in the third Howard Government.

Dr Kemp was Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2005-2010). He was Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Melbourne (1975-1979), and Professor of Politics at Monash University (1979-1990).  He graduated with Law and Arts degrees from the University of Melbourne, winning the Hearn Exhibition in Jurisprudence and the Gyles Turner Prize in Australian History. He was a Fulbright Scholar (1968-71), attending Yale University, where he completed a Ph.D. (with distinction). 

Following his parliamentary career, Dr Kemp served as President of the Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) (2007-2011). Dr Kemp has published extensively on liberalism and its history in Australia.  Most recently, he edited “Robert Menzies, The Forgotten People and Other Studies in Democracy”. 

Dr Kemp was instrumental in founding the Alfred Deakin Lecture Trust, and chaired the first Alfred Deakin Lecture.  He continues to serve as a Patron of the Trust.

ABOUT THE ALFRED DEAKIN LECTURE:  The Alfred Deakin Lecture Trust was established in 1966 to organise and finance the delivery, printing and distribution of the Alfred Deakin Lecture. 


The Lecture is a memorial to Alfred Deakin, a past student of the University of Melbourne, a founding father of the Australian Federation, Prime Minister, and one of the most articulate exponents of the Australian Liberal tradition. 


Each Alfred Deakin Lecture is open to the public and it is hoped that the Lectures make a lasting contribution to the study of politics and life in Australia


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