After Work, After Life After All

Pictured with Prof Baum are:
Front: the hon Chris Sumner, the hon John Cornwall, the hon Anne Levy
Back: (left to right) Mike Duigan, the hon Kym Mayes, the hon Lynn Arnold

On Friday 13th October Professor Fran Baum launched former South Australian Health Minister the Hon Dr John Cornwall’s political memoir After Work, After Life After All. In her speech she reflected on the fact that along with his Federal counterpart the Hon Neal Blewett, Dr, Cornwall was one of the few health ministers internationally who really understood the social determinants of health and had been able to act on them. She also commented that his period as health minister produced a remarkable list of achievements including: effective hospital reform, establishment of a network of women’s health centres, expansion of the community health centre network, formation of the State’s first Aboriginal community controlled health service (Nganampa Health Service ), our first Youth Health Service ground-breaking anti-tobacco legislation, reform of mental health services, the Healthy Cities initiative in Noarlunga and funded community health research.

Professor Baum noted that Cornwall’s memoir tells of a time in politics when values and a commitment to social justice were amply evident. Cornwall said of the Dunstan era in the book “There was a spirit of generosity abroad as the government set about bringing progressive social reform and community services to SA”. He concludes by bemoaning the meanness in contemporary politics – to asylum seekers, continued poverty, corruption of Gonski, and the division of Australians in to “lifters and leaners” and the “taxed and taxed nots”. Cornwall notes that the surge of wealth “should have been the basis for a visionary social contract between government and the electorate”. Professor Baum launched the book with the following words “John your book demonstrates that your self-confessed impatience, impetuousness, and irascibility combined with a passion for the values of fairness and social democracy proved the basis for one of the most impressive terms of a health minister globally in the last 100 years. You showed what a social health policy means in practice and fought vested interests who would get in the way of our health like the tobacco industry and other corporations and organised medicine – and the health of South Australians is better for this”.
Further details of the book are available at

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