Jubilee Fellow – 2017

Louis Waller 1

Emeritus Professor Louis Waller AO

LLB (Melbourne), BCL (Oxford), Barrister and Solicitor (Victoria), Hon LLD (Monash)

Discipline: Law

Year Elected: 1977

2017 Reflections

When I was elected as a Fellow of the Academy in 1977, I considered that it was a significant mark of recognition by my peers.  Forty years later, I haven’t changed my mind.

In the first several decades of my Fellowship, I was privileged to participate in a number of regular and occasional Academy activities, including general and discipline-specific matters. The most  significant was in 1987, when the late Professor Sol Encel, Professor of Sociology in the University of New South Wales, and I were invited to deliver the Annual Lecture at the ASSA  Symposium, held in Melbourne.  Our subject was   Scientific and Technological Progress – Who Benefits?   We divided the theme, with Sol Encel considering the costs and the benefits of science and technology, and with me considering issues of science and ethics.  In his presentation , Sol  introduced and cited ‘ a remarkable  character called  Dr  Grant  Swinger, director of a mythical research centre called the Institute  for  the  Absorption of  Federal  Funds’ ( created by Dr  Daniel  Greenberg).  Nothing I said could make our audience respond as it did in recognizing and applauding Dr Swinger’s appearance.  Our Lecture was published in pamphlet form in 1988.

I read the regular and Annual Reports and notices which the Academy publishes, mainly today in internet mode. I admire the range of our Academy’s undertakings. In particular, I value our consistent support for young academics who have shown talent and application in one or other of our disciplines.  I am pleased that I nominated the first scholar to receive the Academy’s accolade in this connexion.

The Academy will, I believe, continue to elect outstanding scholars to its Fellowship, who will maintain and expand our knowledge and our   understanding of the social sciences.