Honorary awards

Richard Cawley Madden

The degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) was conferred upon Richard Cawley Madden in 2005.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Richard Cawley Madden for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa).

Richard Madden graduated from this University in 1966 with the University Medal in Mathematical Statistics. He entered the banking industry, working in Australia, London and New York, where he completed a doctorate in statistics at Princeton University in 1971. In 1977 he completed his professional qualifications through the Institute of Actuaries in Britain, and became a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia and of the United Kingdom. He was named Actuary of the Year in 2002 by the Australian Institute.

Dr Madden returned to Australia in 1972 and in 1973 was appointed to the Committee of Inquiry, National Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme and subsequently appointed Assistant Secretary in the Department of Repatriation and Compensation responsible for compensation policy. In this role he developed the compensation arrangements for the victims of Cyclone Tracy.

In 1976 Dr Madden was appointed Health Service Development Administrator at the Prince Of Wales Hospital and was responsible for reorganising the accounting systems for regional hospitals to provide effective management information. In 1979 he transferred to the Health Commission of New South Wales, initially as Commonwealth Finance Liaison Officer and subsequently as Director of the Planning Division. In the latter role he was responsible for planning and implementation of the transfer of scarce health resources from inner Sydney to the rapidly growing western suburbs. In 1983 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the new New South Wales Department of Health responsible for all central office functions.

In 1983 Dr Madden accepted appointment as Under Treasurer at the request of the Northern Territory Government. He managed the transition of the Territory’s move to a State-like financial structure. He introduced new home purchase assistance arrangements, a public sector superannuation scheme, and a Work Health Scheme. In 1986 he was appointed Chairman of the Northern Territory Electricity Commission and to the first Council of the University of the Northern Territory.

In 1988 Richard Madden was appointed Under Treasurer by the ACT Government to supervise the financial transition to self government. Major structural change was put in place for the ACT health sector and in revenue policy and practice.

Dr Madden returned to his statistical roots with appointment as Deputy Australian Statistician in 1992. Under his direction the Australian Bureau of Statistics work program was significantly realigned and many major ABS systems rebuilt. User funded work grew strongly filling many important information gaps, notably in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics.

Dr Madden has held the role of Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare since 1996, and during this time has worked to ensure a clear vision for the organisation and to establish a direct link to policy makers at all levels of government and in the community. He set in place initiatives such as MOUs with key government agencies and collaborations with universities, and a major publications program which now totals 80 publications annually including the Institutes flagships, Australia’s Health and Australia’s Welfare, to expand assistance to stakeholders with their information requirements. Under Dr Madden’s leadership the AIHW has greatly expanded in capability and now has a comprehensive work program covering information needs in most areas of the health and welfare sector.

Shortly after his appointment as Director of the AIHW, Dr Madden renewed his association with the University of Sydney by negotiating the establishment of the General Practice Statistics and Classification Unit within the University’s Family Medicine Research Centre. This Collaborating Unit is responsible for the collection, analysis and dissemination of statistics from primary medical care in Australia. The establishment of the Unit highlights the innovative approach that Dr Madden has taken in widening the scope of the Institute and placing it at the international forefront in health data development. Subsequently three other University Centres, the National Centre for Immunisation Research, the Australian Asthma Monitoring Centre and the National Centre for Classification in Health have become Collaborating Units of the Institute.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa), statistician and distinguished contributor to Australia’s health and welfare, Richard Cawley Madden, and I invite you to confer the degree upon him