Inaugural Jean McLean Oration

Victoria University has proudly established The Jean McLean Oration.

The Jean McLean Oration honours the long and distinguished career of The Honourable Jean McLean AM as a politician and as an activist, and the significant contribution she has made to public life, in particular to Timor-Leste. Jean has served the University for 17 years, including as a Councillor of Victoria University for nine years, and in 2005 the University awarded her an honorary doctorate for her service. She has recently been appointed as an Honorary Fellow.

Jean is an outstanding illustration of how personal commitment can change outcomes. She came to public notice as convenor of the Save our Sons Movement, which from 1965 to 1973 campaigned against conscription and Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1970 she became one of the ‘Fairlea Five’, a group of anti-conscription women who spent 14 days in Fairlea Women’s Prison after being charged with trespass when they entered a building to hand out leaflets.

In 1985, Jean was elected to the Legislative Council as Australian Labor Party member for Boronia Province, and then as MLC for Melbourne West Province until her retirement as an MLC in 1999. As a parliamentarian, she was particularly active on the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee and the Law Reform Committee, and she immersed herself in a range of international causes – most notably in Timor-Leste where she has been a tireless advocate for affirmative action, supporting the nation both before and after independence.

Professor The Honourable Barry Jones AC delivered the Oration for Victoria University on Wednesday 15 September 2021. His address was titled ‘The Democratic Crisis: Whatever happened to courage, principle, commitment, accountability?’

Professor Jones has been a public servant, high school teacher, television and radio performer, university lecturer and lawyer. He was MP for Melbourne in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1972-77, before moving to the Commonwealth Parliament as MP for Lalor from 1977-1998.

He took a leading role in campaigns to abolish the death penalty and revive the Australian film industry. He was awarded an AO in 1993, and promoted to AC in 2014 for his contributions to science, humanities, politics and public health organisations. He has also been named by the National Trust as one of Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures.

Watch the Oration

The Jean McLean Oration

The Jean McLean Oration 2021 – transcript

/Public Release. View in full here.