Syd Mel Forum

In August 2008 Catalyst hosted a forum to discuss policy change under Labor.

The forum brought together leading progressive thinkers and organisations who discussed new possibilities and approaches for engaging with the new Labor Government.

Engaging with Labor in Power

Thanks to everyone who attended the Catalyst forum Engaging with Labor in Power.  The forum ran in Sydney and Melbourne and presented some outstanding speakers and ideas about how to achieve a progressive social and economic policy agenda under Labor.

Papers from the forum are listed below.

Read the media coverage and interviews with keynote speaker Jon Cruddas at this event:

In the News

Read Andrew West’s interview with keynote speaker Jon Cruddas, in the Sydney Morning Herald article ‘Third Way becomes the Empty Way’.

Read Mike Steketee's report on Jon Cruddas and the forum in The Australian article ''How Tony Blair lost his way in the middle.'

Read "Rudd Labor gets lesson from London" Australian Financial Revew, Thursday 28th August

Speakers and Papers

  • Dr Jon Cruddas MP - Labour member for Dagenham and an active campaigner for party and policy reform in the UK- reflected on the mistakes of the Blair Government and warned of the dangers when Labor in power looses sight of its traditional supporters. You can read a variety of papers from Jon on his website
  • John Robertson highlighted the need for Unions to set the agenda in his presentation Dilemmas and Distractions
  • Dr Gabrielle Gwyther from the Social Justice and Social Change research centre at UWS spoke about the changing identity of Western Sydney in her paper Planning on an Equitable Future.
  • Professor Larissa Behrendt, director at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning UTS, focussed on the need for the Rudd Government to move to an evidence based policy approach. Click here for a copy of her report Welfare payments and school attendance: An analysis of experimental policy in Indigenous Education, co-authored by Ruth McCausland. Click here to read her opinion piece in The Age.
  • Oona Neilssen is Executive Director of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum. Her presentation covered the key aspects of the Growing a Green Collar Economy project.
  • Tony Keenan, CEO of Hanover Welfare Services, gave a presentation on achieving social inclusion from a service providers prespective. Click here to view his presentation.

Other speakers & resouces

  • Jennifer Burn is Director of the Anti-Slavery Project. You can find details about the project and the latest news at
  • Cath Smith, Victorian Council of Social Service.
  • Alison Peters, New South Wales Council of Social Services.
  • Professor Frank Stilwell, School of Political Economy, University of Sydney
  • Nick Martin, Chifley Research Centre.
  • Tony Maher, President of the mining and energy division of the CFMEU.
  • Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director, The Australia Institute.
  • Adam Kilgour & Brett Miller, CPR
  • Michael Cooney, Policy Director, PerCapita.
  • Miriam Lyons, Director, Centre for Policy Development.
  • Mark Butler MP, Federal Labor member for Port Adelaide.
  • Dr Sean Scalmer, University of Melbourne
  • Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

If you have any feedback or suggestions about Engaging with Labor in Power we'd love to hear from you. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here for full Melbourne program [pdf 55kb].Click here for full Sydney program. [pdf 55kb]