Dr Ken Henry AC

Secretary to the Treasury

Achieving and Maintaining Full Employment

In 1951, the year Sir Roland Wilson became Secretary to the Treasury, the terms of trade rose to their highest level on record. While the terms of trade fell back in the following year, they did not fully retrace their rise for a number of years. Around this time, Australia entered a long period of sustained economic growth, with the unemployment rate rarely rising above 3 per cent. Today the Australian economy is growing strongly, supported by the highest terms of trade since Sir Roland was Treasury Secretary, and the unemployment rate is at a level many thought could not be achieved unless accompanied by rampant growth in wages and prices.

In the 2007 Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Lecture, Ken Henry compares the structure of the Australian economy in the 1950s and 1960s with that of today, and discusses the reasons for the changing focus of economic policy.

In 1994 Dr Ken Henry was appointed to the position of head of the Taxation Policy Division in Treasury. In August 1997 he took up the position of Chairman of the Government’s Taxation Task Force, responsible for providing advice to the Government on tax reform options. In October 1998 he was promoted to the position of Executive Director (Deputy Secretary) of Treasury’s Economic Group, and became a member of the Treasury Executive Board. In that role he had executive responsibility for domestic macroeconomic policy advice, domestic economic forecasting, and advice on international economic issues (including Australia’s relationship with the multilateral international financial institutions).

On 27 April 2001, Dr Henry was appointed Secretary to the Treasury. He is an ex-officio member of the Board of Taxation, member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Alternate Governor (for Australia) of the International Monetary Fund and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Office of Financial Management.

Dr Henry was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia General Division (AC) in the Australia Day Honours 2007.

Listen to Lecture (MP3, 16.5MB, 0:47:04)

Updated:  6 July 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Foundation Director/ Page Contact:  Sir Roland Wilson Foundation