Keynote Speakers

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald is one of the six Commissioners at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Commissioner Fitzgerald has a diverse background, spanning in commerce, law, public policy and community services, including extensive involvement in numerous not-for-profit agencies. He was previously president of the Australian Council of Social Services. Commissioner Fitzgerald, a lawyer by profession, is currently on leave from the Productivity Commission, where he has been serving as a fulltime Commissioner since January 2004. Prior to this, he was the Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman in New South Wales.His contribution to public policy includes serving as a member of the National Competition Council and as the inaugural Chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board. Commissioner Fitzgerald has previously been a Commissioner or Member of 16 national inquiries and studies including the Early Childhood Development Sector, Australia’s Consumer Policy Framework, Australia’s Health Workforce and the Aged care sector.

Lane Kenworthy studies the causes and consequences of living standards, poverty, inequality, mobility, employment, economic growth, social policy, taxes, public opinion, and politics in the United States and other affluent countries. Professor of Sociology and Yankelovich Chair in Social Thought at the University of California, his books include The Good Society (, How Big Should Our Government Be? (2016), Social Democratic America (2014), Progress for the Poor (2011), Jobs with Equality (2008), Egalitarian Capitalism (2004), and In Search of National Economic Success (1995). For more information, see lanekenworthy.netListen to a recent interview with Lane Kenworthy by The Politics GuysInformation on plenary presentation.

Bingqin Li is a leading social policy and governance expert who has played an important role in introducing international social policy research to China. Associate Professor Li works with UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre. Her research regularly takes her to China and across Asia, providing invaluable opportunities for the comparative studies of policies in Asia and the West. Much of Li’s current research focuses on rapid urbanisation and the associated social policy and governance challenges, particularly in China; 50% of Chinese now live in cities, compared to just 18% in 1978. Her current projects include the governance of age-friendly communities, local government delivery of complex social programs, social inclusion and integration, urban governance and social spending. She is also a co-author of a recent analysis of China’s pilot ‘low-carbon’ cities that concludes such development and economic growth can go hand in hand. Information on plenary presentation.

Jill Manthorpe is Professor of Social Work at King's College London, Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit and NIHR Senior Investigator Emeritus. She is visiting professor at the University of Melbourne and at Ulster University. She undertakes advisory work for different government departments in the UK and beyond on several subjects and works closely with several social care employers to link research and practice. She works on a number of Unit studies that are funded by the Department of Health, especially social work practice, consumer directed care, and adult safeguarding, as well as other studies funded by the NIHR with Unit colleagues and other research teams, particularly on long-term conditions such as dementia, and on homelessness. Jill is a Trustee of the Centre for Policy on Ageing and the Orders of St John Care Trust, and Patron of the Greater London Forum of Older People. She was made Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in March 2015. Information on plenary presentation.

Greg Marston has undertaken research in a range of fields drawing on a variety of social science disciplines, including social policy, sociology, political economy, social work and policy studies. He has expertise in qualitative approaches to social inquiry and has used different methods to explore a range of contemporary issues, including poverty and debt, refugee resettlement, housing and homelessness, income support, unemployment, the changing mixed economy of welfare, and the implications of climate change for designing welfare states in the 21st Century. Head of the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland, Professor Marston has led a number of Australian Research Council (ARC) projects and has held visiting appointments at Lund University, Melbourne University and The University of Chicago. Prior to entering academia Greg worked with non-government organisations undertaking social policy and research at the state and national level. Professor Marston is passionate about social justice issues and the role of education and research in contributing to social change, particularly the role of the social sciences and humanities in fostering the conditions for human flourishing, critical thinking, and well-functioning social and political institutions. As Head of School he seeks to promote effective governance, transformative teaching and multidisciplinary research that engages the public and inspires the moral imagination. Information on plenary presentation.