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Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture

Learn more about our annual lecture
Kingsley Laffer was the founding father of industrial relations at the University of Sydney and a pioneer of teaching and research in Australian industrial relations.
David Weil

2019 Lecture

Professor David Weil, Brandeis University, USA

  • Thursday 15 August 2019, 6.00-8.00pm
  • Lecture Theatre 1040, Level 1, Abercrombie Building H70, The University of Sydney Business School
  • Register now

Professor David Weil is the Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Prior to that, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Weil is an internationally recognized expert in employment and labor market policy; regulation; transparency policy; and the impacts of industry restructuring on business performance, employment, and work outcomes. He has written five books, including The Fissured Workplace (Harvard University Press) and published over 100 articles. The “fissuring” of business structures fundamentally changes the nature of employment and work in industries and the economy as a whole. In his Laffer Lecture, Weil will discuss the broader changes involved in fissuring and how this perspective provides an alternative explanation for eroding working conditions and the growth of earnings inequality in many countries including Australia and the US.  He will discuss why and how academic advisers seeking to influence public policy must take a different approach to responding to the present and future of work, and explain why they often fail to provide the insights needed to policy makers.

Past lectures

The inaugural Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture was given in 1993 by the Hon Bob Hawke. Laffer Lecturers have also included:

  • 2018: Tanya Plibersek
  • 2017: Chris Howell
  • 2016: Tim Soutphommasane
  • 2015: Jennifer Westacott
  • 2014: Peter Wilson
  • 2013: Iain Ross
  • 2012: Helen Conway
  • 2011: Thomas A. Kochan
  • 2010: Sue Bussell
  • 2009: Russell Lansbury
  • 2008: Tim Costello
  • 2007: Julia Gillard
  • 2006: Kim Beazley
  • 2005: Ron McCallum
  • 2004: Heather Ridout
  • 2003: Russell Lansbury
  • 2002: Michael Kirby
  • 2001: Sharan Burrow
  • 2000: Brian Pickett
  • 1999: Quentin Bryce
  • 1998: Bill Fisher
  • 1997: Jeff Shaw
  • 1996: Jennie George
  • 1995: Deirdre O'Connor
  • 1994: Bert Evans
  • 1993: Bob Hawke

About Kingsley Laffer

At the time of his retirement from the University of Sydney in 1976, Kingsley Laffer was Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Industrial Relations within the Faculty of Economics. Kingsley was the founding editor of the Journal of Industrial Relations for 18 years. He also helped establish the Industrial Relations Society of NSW, which later became a national organisation.

Born in Western Australia on 28 February 1911, Kingsley Laffer became an external student of Economics at the University of Western Australia while working in the country. He was the first external student to be awarded the Hackett Bursary. After graduating with first class honours, he taught briefly at the University of Melbourne and then joined the University of Sydney in 1944. He was a member of the academic staff at Sydney for more than three decades. After his retirement, Kingsley became the first Fellow of the Nepean College of Advanced Education (now part of the University of Western Sydney) where he helped develop academic programs in industrial relations.