Australian Policy and History and the Contemporary Histories Research Group at Deakin University hosted 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 offered perspectives on their  health systems.

We recorded the event and links to the recordings are available below. Thank you to all our presenters for taking the time to make these valuable contributions to the debate on public health systems across the world.

‘Hip-pocket First, Fairness Second: Australians and the Birth of Medicare’
Dr Carolyn Holbrook
Contemporary Histories Research Group, Deakin University

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

‘How Healthy is Health Journalism?’
Professor Matthew Ricketson and Dr Chris Scanlon
School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

‘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

‘Medicare and the economics of health care in Australia’
Associate Professor Martin Hensher and Paul Crosland
Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University

‘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

‘Healthcare in the Plague: Spanish flu in Melbourne in 1919’
Mary Sheehan
Public Historian and PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

‘History-Making, Popular Memory, and the British National Health Service’
Dr Andrew Seaton
Research Fellow, Oxford University, UK


‘Seeing the Love? Forging and Fighting Feelings for Britain’s NHS’
Professor Roberta Bivins
Warwick University, UK


‘Anti-welfare Nationalism: U.S. Health Care as an Ideological System’
Professor Beatrix Hoffman
Northern Illinois University, USA

‘Maple Syrup, Mounties and Medicare: How Universal Health Insurance became a National Identity in Canada’
Professor David Wright
McGill University, Canada

Discussion and Closing Remarks