John Menadue Oration

Building enduring solutions from world-leading ideas

The John Menadue Oration is the Centre for Policy Development’s flagship public event. 

It is named in honour of our founding Chair John Menadue AO who served as Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet for Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, as Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, and as CEO of Qantas.

The Oration provides a stage for global thought leaders to share insights, deliver profound ideas and build ambition for a more equitable and prosperous world.

The John Menadue Oration

The inaugural Oration was held in 2017 to celebrate Centre for Policy Development’s 10th anniversary.

It was delivered by former Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, at State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, who addressed the question, “Can Democracy Deliver?”.

In 2018, CPD presented the second Oration at Carriageworks in Sydney, featuring the Italian-American economist Professor Mariana Mazzucato who addressed the question, “Can the State Deliver?”

Professor Mazzucato spoke to over 2000 people in Melbourne and Sydney as part of her tour.

In 2020 Professor Megan Davis delivered the Oration, addressing the question, “Can Australia Deliver?” The 2020 Oration was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023 the John Menadue Oration was held at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne and delivered by Sophie Howe, inaugural Future Generations Commissioner of Wales, who addressed the question, “Can a Wellbeing Economy Deliver?”

John Menadue Orations

Sophie Howe 2023 Menadue oration tile - a woman gesturing with the words "can a wellbeing economy deliver"

The inaugural Future Generations Commissioner of Wales addressed the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, asking: can a wellbeing economy deliver?

Mariana Mazzucato 2018 john menadue oration header pic A woman speaking and gesturing next to the words "Can the State Deliver"

At the second Menadue Oration, held at Carriageworks in Sydney, economist Mariana Mazzucato asked: can the state deliver?

Megan Davis 2020 John Menadue Oration Thumbnail. Portrait of Prof Megan Davis next to the words "Can Australia Deliver?

In 2020 Professor Megan Davis, constitutional lawyer and co-author of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, asked: can Australia deliver?

2017 Menadue Oration Marty Natalegawa cover image - Marty with the words Can Democracy Deliver

At the inaugural Menadue Oration, held at State Library Victoria, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Marty Natalegawa asked: can democracy deliver?

The John Menadue Oration in the media

As we approach Anzac Day and remember the past, what do we owe the future? Should submarines come before a house, a job, the ability to put food on the table?
The Project Interview Sophie Howe, the world's first public official appointed as guardian of future generations
While federal treasurer Jim Chalmers last year delivered what was billed as Australia's first wellbeing budget, other countries like Wales have taken this concept to a whole other level.
What if Australia has been too focused on the rate of economic growth, and not on its direction?
Mazzucato's critique of the finance industry means she will turn up in Sydney and Melbourne – courtesy of the Centre for Policy Development – at an interesting moment
Despite five prime ministers in five years and policy paralysis in Canberra, Australians don’t want to do away with democracy. They want to save it

John Menadue Oration related initiatives