Michelle Grattan to deliver Flinders lecture

Leading Australian political journalist Michelle Grattan will deliver the 2014 Dean Jaensch Lecture.
Leading Australian political journalist Michelle Grattan will deliver the 2014 Dean Jaensch Lecture.

Michelle Grattan – one of Australia’s most respected and awarded political journalists – will deliver Flinders University’s 2014 Dean Jaensch Lecture on September 16 at Flinders University Victoria Square.

The lecture, ‘Getting two feet under the desk: Prime Ministers’ first year in office’, will provide a thoughtful examination of the first year in office of successive Australian Prime Ministers, from Gough Whitlam to Tony Abbott.

A member of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery for more than 40 years, Michelle Grattan has covered Australia’s most significant political stories – including 17 Federal elections. She was the first female editor of an Australian daily newspaper, The Canberra Times, and has been with the Australian Financial ReviewSydney Morning Herald and political editor of The Age since 2004.

Michelle Grattan is currently a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra. Alongside her academic role, she is the associate editor of politics and chief political correspondent at The Conversation.

Ms Grattan said the lecture – which has attracted a series of high-profile speakers since its inception in 2010 including former Prime Minister John Howard, SA Premier Jay Weatherill and respected constitutional lawyer George Williams – will provide insights into the challenging first year of governance for the men and women in Australia’s top job.

“The inaugural year of a new government is a time of unbounded hope for its Prime Minister,” Ms Grattan said.

“At the start everything seems possible, as an administration sets out to change the nation. But it is also usually a period of unexpected difficulties and setbacks,” she said.

“Prime Ministers learn from the experiences of their predecessors, and leave legacies for their successors, as they undertake a job for which no preparation can be fully adequate.”

The Dean Jaensch Lecture pays tribute to Flinders University’s most notable political scientist, Emeritus Professor Dean Jaensch, a highly respected political analyst with expertise in electoral politics, voting systems and political behaviour, and political parties.

Hosted for the first time by the School of Social and Policy Studies, the lecture aims to stimulate or continue public discussion on aspects of political science and public policy.

Flinders Associate Professor of Politics and Public Policy, Haydon Manning, said the lecture attracts such esteemed speakers because of Professor Jaensch’s high standing as a “fair and objective commentator” on state and national politics.

“Professor Jaensch remains Flinders’ most high-profile political scientist, notwithstanding him being retired for a decade,” Associate Professor Manning said.

“His weekly columns in The Advertiser, frequent contributions to local radio, his preparedness to help journalists interpret current political events and, most significantly, his commitment to public political education through a tireless willingness to talk to community groups is legendary at Flinders,” he said.

“Professor Jaensch is a scholar of political parties, election campaigns, voting behaviour and much else surrounding the machinery of Australian Government.

“He was an inspirational teacher of undergraduate students and supervised many postgraduates during his tenure at Flinders, including two current members of the South Australian Parliament, Dr Bob Such, Member for Fisher and Dr Susan Close, Member for Port Adelaide.”

Flinders Associate Professor Debra King, Dean of the School of Social and Policy Studies, said the School is excited to be part of this year’s lecture.

“The School of Social and Policy Studies is delighted to be hosting one of the University’s most prestigious events for the first time, and we look forward to the presentation by Michelle Grattan, which will be of great interest to staff, students and those with an interest in politics,” Associate Professor King said.

The 2014 Dean Jaensch Lecture will be held at Flinders University Victoria Square, Level 1, 182 Victoria Square, on Tuesday, September 16, from 5:15pm. Question time and networking drinks will follow the lecture.

RSVP to jan.sidford@flinders.edu.au or phone (08) 8201 2026.

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