Held each year, the Lionel Murphy Lecture is sponsored by the Lionel Murphy Foundation to honour the contributions to public life of The Hon Lionel Murphy.
Lionel Murphy was a lawyer, politician, Parliamentarian and Judge. He held the office of Commonwealth Attorney-General and was a High Court Justice. He was an advocate for social justice and human rights and as Attorney-General he initiated a range of law reforms including the introduction of the Family Law Act and establishment of the Family Court, freedom of access to government information, abolition of the death penalty and legislation outlawing racial and other discrimination. He also set up the legal aid system and the Law Reform Commission.
The first Memorial lecture was delivered by in the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby AC, CMG in 1987 and has been delivered each subsequent year by a notable Australian.
- Professor Jenny Hocking FASSA, Monash University
The dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr in 1975 remains one of the most contentious episodes in Australian politics. The history of the dismissal is no less contentious and has never been settled.
- Senator The Hon. Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Labor Senator for South Australia
- Professor George Williams AO, University of New South Wales
- The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Commonwealth Attorney-General