"We have faltered in our quest to provide better lives for all our citizens, rather than just for the talented, lucky groups. To regain our confidence in our power to shape the society in which we live, and to replace fear and just coping with shared joy, optimism and mutual respect, needs new imagining and thinking and learning from what succeeds elsewhere." Don Dunstan
Don Dunstan was one of Australia’s most charismatic, courageous, and visionary politicians of the 20th century; a dedicated reformer with a deep commitment to social justice, a true friend to the Aboriginal people and those newly arrived in Australia, and with a lifelong passion for the arts and education. He took positive steps to enhance the status of women.
Most of his reforms have withstood the test of time and many have been strengthened with time. Many of his reforms in sex discrimination, Aboriginal land rights and consumer protection were the first of their kind in Australia.
He was a leading campaigner for immigration reform and was instrumental in the elimination of the White Australia Policy. He was instrumental in social welfare and child protection reforms, consumer protection, Aboriginal land rights, urban planning, heritage protection, anti-discrimination laws, abolition of capital punishment, environment protection and censorship.
In the words of the Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMC at the launch of the NSW Chapter of the Don Dunstan Foundation at the Sydney Opera House on 28 July 1999:
“Don Dunstan’s work should go on and should be available for those in every political party (and there are many) who see injustice in Australia, and in the world, and want to do something to repair and redress it…”
Memories of the Dunstan Decade segment on ABC TV's 7:30 Report.