9 November: International Symposium on Public Health Systems: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Australian Policy and History and the Contemporary Histories Research Group at Deakin University will host leading academics and policy experts from across the world to discuss public health policy from historical and contemporary perspectives. Speakers including Hon Dr Neal Blewett, Bill Bowtell and Professor Catherine Bennett talking about the foundation of Medicare and the contemporary state of our public health system. Historians from the US, UK and Canada will offer perspectives on their health systems.

Sponsored by the Deakin Science and Society Network

Register here

Program Details


9:00am – 9:15am

Welcome to Country and Introduction

Alfred Deakin Professor Julie Owens

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Deakin University

 9:15am – 9:45am

‘Hip-pocket First, Fairness Second: Australians and the Birth of Medicare’

Dr Carolyn Holbrook

Contemporary Histories Research Group, Deakin University

9:45am – 10:45am

‘Building and Maintaining Medicare: Insiders’ Perspectives’: Panel Discussion chaired by Professor Frank Bongiorno, ANU

Hon. Dr Neal BlewettCommonwealth Minister for Health, 1983-1990

Bill Bowtellsenior adviser to Health Minister Neal Blewett, 1983-1987 and Prime Minister Paul Keating, 1984-1996

Caroline EdwardsDeputy Secretary/Associate Secretary of Commonwealth Department of Health, 2017-2021

10:45am – 11:00am

Morning tea break

11:00am – 11:30am

‘How Healthy is Health Journalism?’

Professor Matthew Ricketson and Dr Chris Scanlon

School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

11:30am – 12:00pm

‘Isn’t it iconic? Investigating the past, present and future of Medicare as a public sector brand’

Dr Richie Barker

School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

12:00 – 12:30pm

‘Medicare and the economics of health care in Australia’

Associate Professor Martin Hensher and Paul Crosland

Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University

12:30pm – 1:00pm

‘Getting a read on Medicare Awareness, Relevance and Satisfaction’

Professor Catherine BennettInstitute for Health Transformation, Deakin University and Professor David LoweContemporary Histories Research Group, Deakin University

1:00pm – 1:30pm

Lunch break

1:30pm – 2:00pm

‘Healthcare in the Plague: Spanish flu in Melbourne in 1919’

Mary Sheehan

Public Historian and PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

2:00pm – 2:30pm

‘History-Making, Popular Memory, and the British National Health Service’

Dr Andrew Seaton

Research Fellow, Oxford University, UK

2:30pm – 3:00pm

‘Seeing the Love? Forging and Fighting Feelings for Britain’s NHS’

Professor Roberta Bivins

Warwick University, UK

3:00pm – 3:30pm


3:30pm – 4:00pm

‘Anti-welfare Nationalism: U.S. Health Care as an Ideological System’

Professor Beatrix Hoffman

Northern Illinois University, USA

4:00pm – 4:30pm

‘Maple Syrup, Mounties and Medicare: How Universal Health Insurance became a National Identity in Canada’

Professor David Wright

McGill University, Canada

4:30pm – 5:00pm

Discussion and Closing Remarks