The Economic Society of Australia (Victoria) | The Stan Kelly Memorial Lecture

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The Stan Kelly Memorial Lecture

The Victorian Branch Council is the trustee for this endowed lecture, established in 1977 by Bert Kelly in honour of his father, Stan Kelly.

William Stanley (Stan) Kelly (1882-1969) bred sheep and lambs for export as frozen meat, studied Arts at the University of Adelaide and saw active service in France during WWI.

From 1929 to 1940 Stan was what today would be known as a part-time Commissioner of the Productivity Commission. He was then called a member of the Commonwealth Tariff Board.  Stan’s economics were that he:

  • supported the Board’s opposition to the high duties on imported goods imposed by the Federal Government, and

believed that extreme protection artificially propped up inefficient industries, invited retaliation from overseas buyers and increased farmers’ expenses.

In 1942 Stan Kelly was an adviser on primary products to Professor the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner.  Stan focussed on butchers selling meat at excessive prices on the war-time black market.

Bert (Charles Robert) (1912-1997) was the Federal Member for Wakefield and achieved fame and a fond following as the columnist, “A Modest Member of Parliament’.  Bert’s economics were similar to his father in that he eloquently opposed protection.

In his eulogy, Ray Evans explained that Bert was not opposed to protectionism because it was inefficient, or led to distortions in investment and trade. 

‘Bert was opposed to protectionism … because it created a situation in which governments, in the person of ministers or officials, granted arbitrary and capricious favours to some, who were thus greatly enriched, at the expense of others, who were at best impoverished and at worst, ruined.’

Bert paid for his (economic) purity by being denied those cabinet positions which his intellect merited, though he did achieve high office as (Federal) Minister for the navy and for works.


The trust deed requires that the general theme of the lectures is to be the desirability of maintaining free the channels of trade throughout the world.


The lecture is to be held every two years.


To view past Stan Kelly Lectures, please view the Stan Kelly Archive page.


To view the Stan Kelly Memorial Lecture Fund Agreement, please click here.

Stan Kelly Memorial Lecture 2013

Return of the Rent-Seeking Society?*
Gary Banks

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