The annual Wilks Oration provides an opportunity for the community to hear from a prominent guest speaker. These events are held in honour of Graham Wilks, a founder of the ELC.

We are delighted to announce that the 2024 Wilks Oration will be held on Thursday 20 June at the Effective Living Centre with the Executive Director of the Australia Institute, Dr Richard Denniss, as our guest speaker on the topic Unequal Australia: What went wrong and how we fix it.
Dr Denniss is is a prominent Australian economist, author and public policy commentator, and previously an Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU. The Australian Financial Review listed Richard Denniss and Ben Oquist of The Australia Institute on their ‘Covert Power’ 2018 list of the most powerful people in Australia.
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About Graham Wilks

Graham Wilks was an inspirational South Australian leader and the founding secretary of the Effective Living Centre. Graham was a caring man who provided great inspiration whilst serving others. His passion for life and well-being had a far-reaching impact upon individuals and community groups alike.

Graham worked as a Presbyterian Minister in New Zealand and as a psychologist – both of which served his passion for building healthy relationships. Graham had a deep and searching Christian spirituality, and he felt there was a need for a forum to explore and express this kind of spiritual expression outside of traditional worship. He was an innovative and respected CEO of The Marriage Guidance Council in South Australia, and shepherded its transformation to Relationships Australia.

Graham was involved in the initial gathering of a small group from Christ Church Wayville and beyond who originally dreamt up the ELC concept. This group was seeking ways to create connections for South Australians seeking new expressions of Christianity, while also recognising our growing multi faith and “no faith” society.

Before the creation of the ELC, Graham sadly suffered a debilitating stroke that had a huge impact on his life and his contributions to the planning group. He sadly passed away in 2001 in St George’s (in their family home).

Graham was always known for being a great inspirer and mentor with a special knack for uplifting and challenging those around him. His inspirational thinking and hard work was key in the establishment of the ELC.

The annual Wilks Oration was created in recognition of his substantial contribution to the foundation of the ELC and his contribution to thinking and relationship-building in South Australia.

Past Orators & Topics

2023: Katrina Sedgwick OAM The Arts – the essential fabric of our society
Video available

2022: Tameka Thompson – Aspire – Working Towards Ending Homelessness
Video available

2021 (held in Feb 2022): Stan Grant – The Politics of Identity
Video available

2020: Event cancelled due to COVID

2019: Professor Samar Akkach – Humanism and the Sacred in search of common ground

2018: Professor Henry Reynolds – Australia’s Unnecessary Wars
Audio available

2017: Julian Cribb – Surviving the 21st Century, Humanity’s greatest challenge!
Audio available
Written version available

2016: Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs – Revitalising a Commitment to Human Rights
Written version available.

2015: Tanya Hosch – It’s Time…to Recognise First Australians in the Constitution

2014: Rev Prof Andrew Dutney – Are We Still a Fair Go Society?

2013: Rachael Kohn – We Are All Believers Now

2012: Hieu Van Le – Australia’s Migration – Challenges and Opportunities

2011: Event cancelled; planned speaker was Dr Tim Flannery.

2010: Hon Michael Kirby – Why Are Australians So Worried About a Citizen Initiative Human Rights Charter?

2009: Event cancelled; planned speaker was Hon Michael Kirby.

2008: Sue Park – The New Empowerment Model and How It Works

2007: Prof John Hirst – Living With Difference: the Australian Story

2006: Prof Colin McMullin – The Wellbeing of Children Affected by Armed Conflict and Migration

2005: Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue – Reconciliation

2004: Julian Burnside QC – Human Rights – Yours, Mine or Ours

2003: Prof David Tacey – Emerging Spirituality in Australia Today

2002: Inaugural dinner event with speaker Ian Cox