Late last year, the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Melbourne organised a policy forum to re-examine and celebrate the 50th anniversary of a landmark speech by the former Australian Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam. The forum was partly supported by the Australian Health Economics Society.

Whitlam’s speech was notable in that it was the first time an Australian Politician used the term “health economics” in a parliamentary speech and provided a case for: expansion of economic capabilities of Health Departments; better data to inform health policy decision making; and increasing health system efficiency by promoting competition (including the use of tendering to set prices of pharmaceuticals and removing restrictive practices in the pharmacy sector).

The full speech can be accessed here:

Selected presentations from the forum by some of the current generation of Australian Health Economists are now available on YouTube. These presentations both reflect on the speech and use economics to argue how aspects of the current Australian health system need to be reformed.

The presentations can be access here:,-data-and-efficiency-presentations-now-online