15 March marks World Consumer Rights Day and to celebrate the occasion this year two members of the CSA Executive Committee, Elaine Attwood and John Furbank, travelled to Sydney and joined audience for the Ruby Hutchinson Memorial Lecture’
Ruby Hutchison MLC was the first woman to be elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council (in 1954). Ruby founded the Australian Consumers' Association (ACA) known today as CHOICE. The success of the ACA in the 1960s paved the way for the Whitlam government’s Trade Practices Act of 1975, a landmark piece of consumer protection legislation.
Every year on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day, a speaker is invited to deliver the Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture in an effort to keep Ruby's spirit alive in Australian consumer affairs.’
The lecture is a CHOICE and ACCC co-project. Notable speakers have included former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, US consumer rights icon Ralph Nader, and more recently, veteran journalist Ross Gittins and former federal government minister Susan Ryan AO.
The 2018 Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture was hosted by the ACCC and Choice. This year’s lecture was delivered by Fiona Guthrie AM, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Counselling Australia.
Fiona titled her lecture ‘The fourth wave’ and provided a thought provoking lecture delivered from the heart with the message not to penalise the poor for being poor. Fiona described the first three waves of consumer policy development, leading us to what a future could look like - ‘The fourth wave’ of consumerism which was people-centered, with empathy and kindness; new business models; responsibility-based regulation and a strong consumer movement. In short, it is all about trust.
Elaine Attwood and John Furbank