David Parkin Oration

The annual David Parkin Oration for Sport and Social Change was established in 2012 to highlight the potential of sport as a platform to advance social change across a wide range of high profile and grass roots contexts. The Oration considers the ways in which international sport and social change initiatives may contribute to policy, practice and debate in an Australian context, against a backdrop of global engagement.

About Dr David Parkin

David Parkin has over 30 years’ experience in teaching and coaching education. Originally trained as a primary teacher, he obtained a Diploma of Physical Education from the University of Melbourne in 1971 and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Western Australia in 1975.

Although no longer coaching actively, David maintains his involvement in sport through providing special comments on ABC radio football broadcasts, acting as an AFL Coach Ambassador mentoring young coaches throughout Australia, providing ongoing mentoring to many past students, and motivational speaking in the sporting and corporate sectors. David is a member of the AFL Research Board.

Football player and coach

David’s accomplishments as a football player and coach are outstanding. He is a level 3 Australian Coaching Council accredited coach in Australian Football. He played 212 games for Hawthorn Football Club and captained the team for six years, leading them to the 1971 premiership.

He has coached Hawthorn, Carlton and Fitzroy Football Clubs and is one of only five coaches to have coached more than 500 VFL/AFL games. David coached premiership teams in 1978 at Hawthorn and in 1981, 1982 and 1995 at Carlton. He was also Victorian State coach four times and All Australian coach once.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Australian Football League’s ‘Hall of Fame’ and was an inaugural member of the Hawthorn Football Club ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2003.

Developing Deakin’s sport courses

David was responsible for the development of Deakin’s Sport Coaching course, the first of its kind in Australia to give students the theoretical and practical skills to coach the sport of their choice. David’s lectures take students to the advanced coaching level, looking at tactics, how human behaviours affect performance, analysing the student’s own coaching performance and conducting performance testing. David invites elite coaches from a variety of sports to give lectures, widening the perspectives of students.

Encouraging children to participate in sport

One of David’s particular interests is physical activity in children. He has served on the Board of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and is a member of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Business and sport

David is a great advocate of leadership and mentoring, and the transference of sporting leadership skills to the corporate sector and everyday life. David co-authored ‘What Makes Teams Work’, released in 2004 by Pan Macmillan, which explores lessons from highly successful business and sporting teams. He has written or contributed to more than a dozen books on the areas of Australian football, coaching, teamwork, children’s sport, and leadership.

How the Oration was established

David has been a lecturer at Deakin University since 1992, having earlier experience at Burwood Teachers College, State College of Victoria and Victoria College. In 2013, David was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to knowledge and practice across a wide range of sporting communities, higher education, school education, coaching and sports management.

David’s significant contribution to Deakin University was recognised in the establishment of an annual Oration in his name. 'The David Parkin Oration for Sport and Social Change' now sits beside the Seaby and Brooks Orations as the third Oration on the Deakin calendar.

David Parkin interview

David Parkin interview

The David Parkin Oration explores the challenges and opportunities for sport to act as a driver for social change. In this video, David Parkin explains why sport has such a powerful role to play in changing attitudes to a host of important issues.

Past Orations

Each presentation speaks directly to the central theme of the David Parkin Oration – to highlight ways that sport-based initiatives can contribute to policy, practice and debate on issues of social justice and awareness in ways that facilitate social change.

2022 You can’t be what you can’t see

2022 You can’t be what you can’t see

Six-time All Australian and captain of the AFLW Kangaroos, Emma Kearney delivered the 2022 Oration. In conversation with former AFL player and current AFLW coach Daniel Harford, they discussed topics including pay inequality and gender stereotypes with Emma revealing she nearly gave up the game for good due to the lack of opportunity.

“It wasn’t until I was 12 when I was told, ‘Emma, you can’t play football any longer’,” Kearney said.

“I distinctly remember being in the loungeroom, we were all watching the footy on TV, and it was all men. And I walked out.”

Play video now (1:08:38)

2021 Inspiring a nation

2021 Inspiring a nation

The girls are just as good as the boys – they just need to be given the same opportunities. That was the stand-out message from professional Aussie jockey and Melbourne Cup winner, Michelle Payne OAM, during the 2021 David Parkin Oration for Sport and Social Change.

2019 First among equals

Four-time Olympian and Australia’s only winner of the Tour de France and the UCI Road World Championships, Cadel Evans AM, delivered the 2019 Oration. In conversation with renowned sports broadcaster and writer Gerard Whateley, Cadel shared his experiences and discussed some of the major sporting challenges and opportunities of today.

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Cycling is a fantastic solution to a lot of problems that we have in society right now. Transport, infrastructure, childhood obesity, long term health, heart disease and so on.

Cadel Evans AM

2019 David Parkin Oration

2018 A league of their own: the rise of women's AFL

Addressing the importance of women’s representation and reflecting on her contribution to women’s sport, Susan Alberti AC received a standing ovation for her speech – the first during the oration’s history.

Susan is a prominent philanthropist, businesswoman and driving force behind women’s sport. Susan was also the Western Bulldogs Vice President for three years until 2016, before she focused her energy on setting up the women's football league. She is now an Inaugural Ambassador for the AFLW competition after significantly contributing her time, support and financial support towards its establishment.

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2017 The pursuit of excellence and importance of culture

Ric Charlesworth reflected on his career in sport and his role as coach of the Australian women’s and men’s hockey teams. As an athlete and coach, and writer of several books, Ric has long been committed to the pursuit of excellence. Addressing the audience Ric spoke about his coaching experiences and the contribution of sport within society.

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2016 Tackling the sport of men

Caroline Wilson, recipient of two Walkley Awards, an Australian Sports Commission lifetime achievement award and the 2014 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year, speaks about how she embarked upon her chosen career in sport and in doing so entered an all-male arena. Much of the progress that has been made to hero the voices and perspectives of women in sports like AFL, cricket and NRL can be traced to the legacy of Caroline Wilson.

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2015 Professionalism of sport – a threat to good health

The Hon. Jeff Kennett reflects on his work with beyondblue to address the impact that sport and sporting figures can play in raising awareness of depression and anxiety. As president of the Hawthorn Football Club (2005–2011), he led the team to their first premiership in 16 years and, as founding chairman of beyondblue – a national organisation that promotes good mental health and seeks to dismantle the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety – he continues to kick goals in raising public awareness to change the attitudes of the wider community towards mental health.

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2014 Opportunities and challenges in building a game for all Australians

Kevin Sheedy AM, one of the Australian Football League's most prominent and respected figures, reflects on his involvement in Australian Rules Football and his role in promoting a culture of inclusion both on and off the field.

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2013 The game has a civic responsibility

Andrew Demetriou, former Australian Football League CEO, speaks about the challenges and opportunities the League has encountered in driving social change around the codes of civic responsibility and the plight of First Nations Australians.

Play video now (49:20)