Against Poverty – Frank Wilkes Delivers The Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture

A few months after becoming Victoria’s ALP Leader of the Opposition, Frank Wilkes delivered the Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture at Monash University.

WilkesThe lecture, titled Against Poverty, was delivered on Monday, October 17, 1977.

Wilkes had been the ALP member for Northcote since 1957, since succeeding the former Labor premier, John Cain, Sr. Wilkes defeated Cain’s son, John Cain, Jr., for the Northcote preselection.

Wilkes became leader of the ALP in 1977, after Clyde Holding relinquished the position in order to enter federal parliament as the member for Melbourne Ports. Wilkes led the ALP into the 1979 election, winning an additional 11 seats but falling short of victory. He resigned the leadership in 1981 and was replaced by John Cain, Jr., who had been elected as the member for Bundoora in 1976.

After the election of the Cain government in 1982, Wilkes served as Minister for Local Government. He retired from parliament in 1988.

The Calwell Memorial Lecture was organised by the Monash University ALP Supporters Club. The lecture was held in the Robert Blackwood Hall. Wilkes was introduced by the ALP Club’s President, David Gray.

Arthur Calwell (1896-1973) was the ALP’s federal member for Melbourne from 1940 until 1972. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1960 until 1967. He led the ALP to a narrow defeat in the 1961 election against Robert Menzies. He was decisively defeated by Menzies in 1963 and by Harold Holt in 1966. He stood down as leader in 1967 and was replaced by Gough Whitlam.

  • Listen David Gray’s introduction (4m)
  • Listen to Frank Wilkes’s speech (44m)

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