Home > View & Discuss > Maxine McKew on the state of Australian education

Maxine McKew on the state of Australian education

Speaker(s): Maxine McKew

  • Date recorded: 9 Sep 2014

  • Duration: 27:27

'The elaborate song-and-dance that teachers might put on in front of their students really counts for nought if they are unaware of what it is that students are learning.'

- Maxine McKew

About this video

Former politician and journalist Maxine McKew presents the 2014 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture, discussing the issues raised in her most recent book, Class act – success and challenge in Australian education.

Maxine examines culture and academic change in Australian schools, and reflects on one of our most pressing national dilemmas: how do we replicate success across a fragmented system and reverse the decline in student performance?

The 2014 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture commemorates the contribution to Australian intellectual life made by Stephen Murray-Smith, founding editor of Overland magazine, with the lecture promoting research and debate in the broad areas of Stephen's interest and influence.

This event was also part of the Library's Big ideas under the dome lecture series, bringing to Melbourne great minds in the arts, culture, social justice and sciences to discuss, debate and reflect on the big ideas and issues of our time.


Maxine McKew is an Australian former politician and journalist.

She was the Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government in the First Rudd Ministry and the First Gillard Ministry.

For the past two years Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.

Explore other Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lectures