Second Annual ‘History and the Hill’ Conference

12-14 June 2019

Deakin University, Melbourne

How can historical research inform public policy debates?

How can historians ensure their expertise is heard by politicians and policy makers?

Speakers include Katharine Murphy (political editor, Guardian Australia), Misha Ketchell (editor, The Conversation) James Button, Dr Peter Shergold AC, Terry Moran AC, Judith Brett, Ann McGrath, Stuart Macintyre, Frank Bongiorno, Clare Wright and Michelle Arrow.



The second annual Australian Policy and History ‘History on the Hill’ Conference will address these issues and much more. The format includes:

  • panel discussions about the role of historical expertise in policy debates and how to counter ‘fake news’
  • historical case studies about public policy issues including refugee policy, environment policy, housing, child welfare, diplomacy and foreign aid.
  • practical workshops with leading public servants, journalists and historians, designed to equip historians with the skills to communicate their expertise to the policy community.

The event includes the 2019 Australian Policy and History Public Lecture

6 pm – 7.30 pm

Wednesday 12 June

Forum Theatre, Arts West North Wing (Room 153), University of Melbourne

Professor Graeme Davison

History and Public Policy: What can we learn from Hugh Stretton?

Probably no Australian historian of his generation thought as deeply about the public uses of history as Hugh Stretton (1924-2015). A professor of history who never wrote a history book, a city planner who never took a degree in urban planning, an economist who resisted economic rationalism, he nevertheless became the most admired Australian public intellectual of his time. Throughout a long career that spanned academia as well as diverse political and public engagements, his approach to policy remained essentially historical. Drawing on my recent experience in editing Hugh Stretton; Selected Writings, (La Trobe/ Black Inc 2018) I will describe how Stretton arrived at his view of history, analyse his characteristic ways of thinking about public policy, and reflect on what we may learn from his work.   

Further details: