Woman Richardson, Susan (Sue) (1946 - )


21 October 1946
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Sue Richardson is a leading economist who has contributed to research in the fields of the labour market, the ageing workforce, immigration, income distribution and the economic resources devoted to children. She has also contributed to the development of socially inclusive public policy.

Susan (Sue) Richardson was born on 21 October 1946 in Melbourne. Her father, Eric Bertram Richardson, was a graduate in mechanical and chemical engineering who ran a family business making industrial gears. Her mother Myres Ley Richardson (née Cuming) was a full-time mother and wife. Richardson is an identical twin. Her twin sister, Dr Joanne Wainer, a social scientist and Senior Lecturer at Monash University School of Rural Health, is famous for her lifelong campaign to enable women to have safe abortions and a leader in the campaign in Victoria that eventually succeed in having abortion removed from the Crimes Act). Richardson's two older sisters are Peta Newing and Jan Richardson. All three of her siblings also hold PhDs, all completing their PhDs later in life and, by various routes, became university academics.

Richardson was educated in Melbourne, attending Preshil in Kew for her primary school education and the all girls non-denominational St Catherine's School in Toorak for most of her secondary schooling. She undertook undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne where she was also Treasurer then Vice-President of the Students Representative Council and a blue in hockey. After graduating with a Bcom (Hons) in economics she took up her first academic position as a Tutor in economics at the newly established La Trobe University, where she later enrolled in a PhD. Awarded her PhD in 1976 for her thesis An economic model of government choice and its application to problems of federalism, Richardson was the institution's first PhD graduate.

After completing her doctoral studies, Richardson moved to Adelaide to take up a Lectureship in Economics at the University of Adelaide. She was promoted to Reader in Economics (1991-2000) and served as a Member of the Council and its Finance Committee (1997-2001) and Convenor of the Academic Board (1994-1997) at the University. Richardson was Professor of Labour Economics and Director National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, from 2000 to 2008 and has been Principal Research Fellow, National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, since 2008. In 2012 she was named Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University.

Richardson has made a significant contribution to public policy through her work in public service roles and committee and board memberships: Member, National Sustainability Council (2012-); Member Independent Expert Group Climate Futures Report Department Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Australia Government (2012-); Member Advisory Board Australian Centre for Child Protection University of South Australia Government (2010-); part-time specialist Member of the Minimum Wage Panel, Fair Work Commission (formerly Fair Work Australia) (2010-2013), and its successor, the Expert Panel of the FWC (2013-); Commissioner, Essential Services Commissioner South Australia (2004-2009); Director, Don Dunstan Foundation (2000-2003); Industry Commissioner (half-time) (1994-1997); Member Ministerial Inquiry into Skills for the Future (South Australia), Board Directors The Pipeline Authority (1985-1995), Enterprise Investments Ltd (1984-1995). Richardson led a Thematic Foresighting Cluster that advised the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council on knowledge and skills.

Richardson was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1994 and from 2003 to 2006 served as its president. In 2011 she was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 2011 for service to the social sciences, particularly in the field of labour market economics as an academic and researcher, and through contributions to the development of socially inclusive public policy.

Richardson is the author of Children of the lucky country? How Australia has turned its back on children and why children matter, with Fiona Stanley and Margot Prior (2005) and Living Decently: Material Well-being in Australia, with Peter Travers (1993). She is the editor of No Time to Lose: The Wellbeing of Australia's Children (2005) and Reshaping the Labour Market: Regulation, Efficiency and Equality in Australia (1999). She is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters.

Her partner since 1994 is Keith Jackson Hancock. She has one son.

Published Resources

Edited Books

  • Who's Who in Australia, Crown Content, Melbourne, Victoria, 1927 - 2013. Details

Online Resources

See also