2021 John Monash Oration hosted virtually by
The Commonwealth Bank
The virtual 2021 John Monash Oration is proudly hosted by the Commonwealth Bank.
The John Monash Oration is an annual event providing insight into different aspects of leadership in Australian society. The 2021 Oration was held virtually on the 3rd of November and this year we were delighted to have Jennifer Westacott AO, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, deliver the Oration followed by a response from 2005 John Monash Scholar Andrew Hudson, International Director for the Centre for Policy Development.
The topic for this Oration explores:
What role do leaders have today in driving prosperity for the next 30 years and delivering enduring peace?
To succeed, as a nation we need to adopt General Sir John Monash's can-do engineering mindset and channel his must-do legacy as one of our most outstanding commanders.
Now is the time to create the kind of society Australians want and to refashion our economy to deliver this ambition. We need to rethink our industrial base to maximise our strengths while driving new industries, technologies, markets, skills and opportunities.
We need to reimagine ourselves as an advanced and green economy. And finally, we need to reinforce our national character, embracing freedom, fairness and equality.
Meet our Speakers
Jennifer Westacott AO has served as Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia since 2011, bringing a unique combination of extensive policy experience in both the public and private sectors. Jennifer built her career in the public sector, working in senior leadership positions in the NSW and Victorian governments. She has served as the Director General of the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources; the Secretary of the Victorian Department of Education and Training; and the Director of Housing in Victoria. She was also the Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Community Services, and the Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Housing. As a senior partner at KPMG, Jennifer advised major corporations on climate change and sustainability and advised governments across Australia on significant reform priorities. Since 2013, Jennifer has served as a Non-Executive Director of Wesfarmers Limited. She is the Chair of the Western Parkland City Authority (previously known as the Western City & Aerotropolis Authority), which is overseeing the design and delivery of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, as well as integrated delivery across the Western Parkland City, a region which comprises 38 per cent of Greater Sydney’s area. In 2018, Jennifer was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales and in 2017 received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from her alma mater. She was a Chevening Scholar at the London School of Economics.
Andrew is an international human rights advocate with over 20 years of varied UN and international advocacy experience. Andrew is currently International Director for the Centre for Policy Development in Melbourne. Prior to that, he lived in New York City for 16 years where he was CEO of Crisis Action, building coalitions to protect people from war. He helped to grow Crisis Action from 8 people to nearly 60 people in 12 countries. Prior to Crisis Action, Andrew worked for Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) in New York, where he coordinated UN advocacy, managed the Human Rights Defenders Program and led Latin American work. Previously, Andrew was a lawyer in Australia representing poor clients and refugees and spearheading major law reform projects. He has also worked with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Ecuador, the UN Regional Commission in Thailand, the Australian delegation to the UN General Assembly, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions. Andrew holds honours degrees in politics and law from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Laws from New York University School of Law.