Westmead Branch Event: Jack Ferguson Memorial Lecture

Westmead Branch Secretary, Prabir Maitra, invites you to 'Healing after COVID: reuniting a divided city'

Ed Husic MP will deliver this years’ lecture on Saturday 6 November 2021. The Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation and Federal Member for Chifley will discuss his perspective on 'Labor's plans to build back better in a post-pandemic world. 

The annual Jack Ferguson Memorial Lecture has been a regular event since 2018. The ALP Westmead branch decided to organise the lecture during one of our regular Sunday walks in Parramatta Park almost five years ago. During our walk we discussed the need to bring branch members together to discuss local, state and country policy issues. Since then we have been pleased to host Rodney Cavalier, Daryl Melham and Chris Bowen as honorary speakers.

The lecture commemorates former Deputy Premier and Labor stalwart, Jack Ferguson. Jack was an inspirational symbol of unity in the party and labour movement. Despite being born into a poverty-stricken family and not being able to finish school” he rose through the ranks of his union to become an influential Labor Minister with a proud legacy of industrial relations reform. After serving in the Second World War, Jack enrolled in a bricklayers course made available through the Chifley Government’s post-war education program. Jack was a militant construction union activist who went on to become an organiser for the Building Workers Industrial Union (BWIU).  

Jack was a popular and effective leader in Western Sydney Labor branches. After serving several terms as a Parramatta Council Alderman, he became the Labor Member for Merrylands in 1959. In 1973 Jack Ferguson was instrumental in Neville Wran becoming Leader of the State Party. Wran was an Upper House member and transferred to the Lower House via a Left seat. Jack’s influence over the party was key to Wran’s narrow victory over Pat Hills. Jack was elected Deputy Leader, a position he held for 11 years. Wran and Jack lead one of the longest serving Labor governments in NSW history. 

Jack’s love for education and books is unparalleled. A public library for local people arrived 20 years after Jack’s determined campaign during his time on the Parramatta Council. The extensions to the State Library in Macquarie Street were wholly a Ferguson initiative. During his tenure, the largest hospitals in Westmead were built. Jack resigned from the Deputy’s position in 1984, keeping a promise to himself that he would retire on top, when everyone was wanting him to stay until he turned 65.

The Westmead branch, with the support of Jack’s family, decided to hold an annual lecture in his memory. The purpose of the event is to stimulate debate in the ALP, not to raise funds.

This years’ lecture is on Saturday 6 November 2021 with the speaker being Ed Husic MP, Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation and Federal Member for Chifley. The topic of his lecture is Healing after COVID: reuniting a divided city. You can book a ticket to this free event here.

Prabir Maitra, Secretary, ALP Westmead Branch

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  • Prabir Maitra
    published this page in Articles 2021-10-08 18:35:24 +1100