Michelle Arrow, Marie Coleman,Elizabeth Reid & Marian Sawer Meet the Author

18 Apr 2023

ANU/Canberra Times. Meet the Author. Michelle Grattan, Brendan McCaffrie and Chris Wallace

Women and Whitlam. Revisiting the revolution, edited by Michelle Arrow, brings together three generations, including Elizabeth Evatt, Eva Cox, Patricia Amphlett, Elizabeth Reid, Sara Dowse, Tanya Plibersek, Heidi Norman, Blair Williams and Ranuka Tandan, to revisit the Whitlam revolution and to build on it for the future.

The Whitlam government of 1972-75 appointed a women’s advisor to national government – a world first – and reopened the equal pay case. It extended the minimum wage for women, introduced the single mother’s benefit and paid maternity leave in the public service, ensured cheap and accessible contraception, funded women’s refuges and women’s health centres, introduced accessible, no-fault divorce and the Family Court, and much more.

Michelle Arrow will moderate a conversation with three of the book’s contributors: Marie Coleman, Elizabeth Reid and Marian Sawer. They will discuss how the Whitlam government transformed Australia and why the scope and scale of the reforms for Australian women are often overlooked.

‘Political history at its best.’ Jenny Hocking, ‘Invaluable … a clarion call to younger generations.’ Virginia Haussegger

Michelle Arrow is a Professor in Modern History at Macquarie University and the author of three books, including The Seventies, which was awarded the 2020 Ernest Scott prize for history.

Marie Coleman AO, has been integral to the women’s movement in Australia for the past 60 years particularly through the National Foundation for Australian Women.

Elizabeth Reid AO, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, is a feminist development worker, academic and writer. April 8, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of her appointment as women’s advisor to Gough Whitlam.

Marian Sawer AO, Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences, is Emeritus Professor in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and led the Democratic Audit of Australia.

The vote of thanks will be given by Margaret Jolly AM, feminist scholar, Emerita Professor in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

This event is in association with the Whitlam Institute and Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.


• Registration is required for this event.

• Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.

• To help keep everyone safe, please ensure that you are familiar with, and follow, the advice from ACT Health regarding COVID-19.

• If you do not feel well, please refrain from attending this event.

• By registering for this event, you are accepting our privacy policy.

• A podcast will be made available after the event.

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