Horizon SA Forum Series

September 2011 to November 2012

This Forum Series is proudly presented by The Hawke Centre to mark the 21st Birthday of the University of South Australia in 2012.

Horizon SA will traverse territory encompassing our economy and regional development, education, population and environment, culture and democracy. It will reflect the significance of sound leadership for the benefit of all South Australians and the fact that global connection and competitiveness are being embraced by our State.

Other speakers in the series will include Dr Wendy Craik AM Deputy Chancellor UniSA and Commissioner of the Productivity Commission and Eric Beecher, publisher and editor of on-line media publications Business Spectator and Crikey.

First address was given by SA Premier, The Hon Mike Rann 

South Australia: Gaining Ground by being Bold

Monday 19 September 2011, Adelaide Town Hall

  Podcast available here
  (MP3) 26Mb (or right click and select 'save target as' to download)
  Written paper available here (pdf format)

Address summary:
At the turn of the 21st Century, South Australia faced an uncertain future. Dwindling employment opportunities for our young people. Ageing population and infrastructure. A collective outlook characterised by insularity and insecurity.

In 2011, the State has regained its confidence, and is poised for greatness. Globally-recognised for its leadership in tackling climate change. Home to a modern, diversified economy sustaining an unprecedented number of jobs. Embracing social reforms to ensure all South Australians can be part of our bright future.

This marked transformation has come about by choice, not chance. From a plan that has dared to challenge orthodoxy. A strategy that has delivered tangible outcomes through a balance of bold decisions, and prudent management.

Rann will deliver his Horizon South Australia address on the eve of the anniversary of seventeen years of his leadership in Parliament - as Leader of the Opposition (1994-2002) and then as Premier of South Australia (from March, 2002).


Mike Rann became South Australia's 44th Premier after the State election in March 2002 and was re-elected with an increased majority in March 2006. In March 2010 the Rann Labor Government was elected for a third term.  Mr Rann is also Minister for Economic Development, Social Inclusion, the Arts, Sustainability and Climate Change. He has been Leader of the SA Labor Party for more than sixteen years and Premier for nine years. In 2008 Mr Rann was National President of the Australian Labor Party. In 2006-2007 he was the inaugural Chair of the Council for the Australian Federation, representing all Australian states and territories.

Mr Rann chaired the Climate Group's international conference of states and regions in Poznan, Poland in December 2008 and co-chaired the conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 where his 'Billion Trees' initiative gained unanimous support. He co-chaired the Climate Group's conference in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.  In South Australia Mr Rann passed Australia's first greenhouse gas reduction legislation and has now set a target of reaching 33% of the State's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020 which will put South Australia in an international leadership position.

He was first elected to the South Australian Parliament in 1985 as the M.P. for Briggs, later Ramsay.  In 1989 he joined Premier John Bannon's Cabinet as Minister for Employment and Further Education, Youth Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs and Assisting in Ethnic Affairs. Mr Rann was responsible for the legislation establishing the University of South Australia.  In 1992 he became Minister for Business and Regional Development, Tourism and State Services under Premier Lynn Arnold. Mr Rann established the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Mr Rann became Leader of the Opposition in September 1994, leading the ALP into the 1997 and 2002 elections.

In his first term as Premier, he also held the portfolio of Minister for Volunteers; in the second he became Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change - an Australian first.

As Premier, Mr Rann established the South Australian Strategic Plan, the Economic Development Board, Social Inclusion Initiative, and Thinkers in Residence program to help drive economic, social and environmental reform.

South Australia has recorded its strongest economic growth, record infrastructure investment, highest employment and lowest unemployment during Mr Rann's Premiership. During this time, South Australia has become Australia's defence industry hub, building the Techport shipbuilding precinct and securing more than 40 billion dollars in defence projects. The Rann Government has helped facilitate a major expansion of the mining industry.

Mike Rann's innovative Social Inclusion Initiative is the model for the Federal Government's program and South Australia's Common Ground homelessness initiative is being adopted by other Australian states.

As Minister for the Arts he established the Adelaide Film Festival, which invests in films, started the OzAsia Festival and has made the Adelaide Festival, Fringe and Womadelaide annual events.

Mr Rann was born in Sidcup, Kent, in 1953. His father was an electrician who fought at Dunkirk and El Alamein. His mother worked in a factory during World War II, making parts for Spitfires. In 1962, his family left London for New Zealand.  He was the first in his family to go on to higher education, and he completed a B.A. and M.A. (Hons) in Political Studies at Auckland University. He was editor of the student newspaper and prominent in the NZ campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. 
He was a political journalist for Radio New Zealand, before moving to SA in 1977 to become a press secretary, speechwriter and adviser to three Labor Premiers; Don Dunstan, Des Corcoran and John Bannon. He was a campaign strategist on a series of election campaigns in Australia and NZ.

Mr Rann is married to Sasha Carruozzo. He has two children, and is involved in soccer and the arts.

He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia and has been honoured by the Governments of Poland and Greece. In the 2009 New Years Honours List, the NZ Government awarded him the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

In March 2011, Mr Rann was presented with the "Distinguished Alumni" Award by the University of Auckland.


While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy - valuing our diversity - and building our future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within the Hawke Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.

While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.