Patrick McClure

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Patrick McClure

Patrick Joseph McClure, AO has been a leader in civil society in Australia for 20 years.


He was Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia, a leading national organisation in civil society in Australia, from 1997-2006. During that period the organisation grew from a state based entity with annual revenue of $50 million to an international organisation with annual revenue exceeding $300 million, 3000 staff, providing employment and training, housing, youth, family, children and aged care services to over 200,000 disadvantaged people.[1]

Mission Australia was a major provider of employment and training services in the privatised Job Network placing 50,000 disadvantaged job seekers into jobs each year. In 2005 Mission Australia acquired a one third share in the United Kingdom company Working Links which provides employment and training services in the UK labour market. Through its Research and Social Policy Unit the organisation was a leading advocate on social policy issues and innovative programs. In 2006 the Mission Australia Centre in Surry Hills, Sydney opened as a best practice model in providing integrated services for homeless people.

He was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (NSW/ACT) from 1992–96 during a period of major organisation reform. He was a Member of the NSW Government Drought Assistance Committee which distributed $80 million in drought assistance to farming households and communities across NSW in 1995-96.[2]

McClure was CEO of Macquarie Capital Funds' Retirement Villages Group from 2006-8 which raised $850 million of institutional funds for investment in retirement villages in Australia and New Zealand. He was also a Non Executive Director of Metlifecare Pty Ltd in New Zealand (2006-8).

He was an Ethics Fellow, at the Centre for Social Impact, University of New South Wales.[3] He was CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia.[4]

In December 2013 it was announced by the Hon Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services, that McClure would chair a Reference Group on Welfare Reform.[5][6]

The Interim Report "A New System For Better Employment and Social Outcomes" was launched on June 29, 2014 by the Minister for Social Services, Hon Kevin Andrews and McClure as Chairperson of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform. The interim report outlines future directions and has four pillars of reform: Simpler and sustainable income support system; Strengthening individual and family capability; Engaging with employers; Building community capacity.[7]

Following consultations and roundtables with stakeholders and people on income support, a call for public submissions and an online forum for stakeholders, the Final Report is due in November 2014.[8]

McClure is also Governance and Strategy Consultant and Chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Strategic Management (ISM), Sydney from 2009–14. He works with Gerard Hermens in reviewing the performance of Boards and Executive Teams especially in the Mutuals Sector.[9] He is a Non-Executive Director of the Kincare Group.[10] He is a Member of the NSW Government Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group. He regularly addresses conferences and appears in the media on welfare reform issues. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2006).

He has published a memoir entitled Seize the Day: From Priest to CEO.[1] The book was launched in April 2013 by the former Prime Minister of Australia, Hon John Howard OM AC.

Government Boards[edit]

McClure was appointed in 2011 by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler as a member of the Aged Care Advisory Group and the Aged Care Consultative Committee. He was appointed in 2008 as a delegate by the Rudd Government to participate in the Federal Government's 2020 Summit chaired by the then Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd.

He was appointed by the Howard Government as a Commissioner of the Australian Fair Pay Commission from 2006-9 chaired by Professor Ian Harper.[11]

McClure was also appointed Chairperson of the Australian Government's Reference Group on Welfare Reform in 1999–2000 which produced a key report for the Minister for Social Security, the Hon Jocelyn Newman outlining a blueprint for welfare reform titled 'Participation Support for a More Equitable Society' (2000), also known as the McClure Report.[12]

The journalist Michelle Grattan wrote about the final report in the Sydney Morning Herald of 17 August 2000: 'Mission Australia's Patrick McClure has scored a trifecta. Government, Labor and Democrats all had positive things to say about the inquiry's blueprint for welfare change ... The strength of the McClure report is that it is not driven by a narrow right or left ideology. Indeed if you ask whether the report comes from the Right or the Left in its approach, the answer is both.'[13]

In the 2001 Federal Budget the Howard Government committed $1.7 billion over 4 years for the implementation of its response entitled Australians Working Together.[14][15]

McClure was Deputy Chairperson of the Welfare to Work Consultative Forum, chaired by the Hon Kevin Andrews, Minister for Employment, Education and Workplace Relations which implemented key welfare to work initiatives in the labour market in the 2005 Federal Budget.[16]

McClure was also a Member of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership Board from 1998–2007, chaired by the Hon John Howard OM, AC. He was a member of the Tax and Philanthropy Working Group chaired by David Gonski, AC which proposed legislation that enabled the establishment of Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) in Australia.[17]

He was appointed by the Howard Government as a Member of the Board for a New Tax System in 1999–2000 chaired by the current Australian Taxation Office Commissioner Chris Jordan, AO.

McClure was also Chairperson of the OECD-Local Employment and Economic Development Forum on Social Innovation based in Paris, France under the leadership of Sergio Arzeni and Antonella Noya (2004–6). Mission Australia in partnership with OECD-LEED organized an international forum "Social Innovation in the 21st Century: A Dialogue" in 2006 in Sydney, Australia.[18]


McClure was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day 2003 honours list for 'services to the community through the development of social capital policy initiatives, and in the delivery of programs addressing social justice, welfare support, health and employment generation issues.'

He was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2001.[19]

He was selected as an Australian Financial Review - Boss True Leader in 2005.

His life work was acknowledged in the Equity Trustee's EQT CEO Award for 'Lifetime Achievement' recognising 'leadership excellence in the non-profit sector' in 2002.[20]

He was a finalist in the Ernst and Young 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' (2002).

He was also awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1989.[21]

Education and Early Career[edit]

McClure completed his secondary school education at Waverley College, Waverley, Sydney.[22] In his final year of school (1967) he was Adjutant of the Waverley College Cadet Unit, College Oratory and Debating Champion, played in the Waverley College 1st XV and was awarded the JJ O'Brien Memorial Prize for Leadership, Study and Sport. He was also awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study Arts-Law at Sydney University.

However he entered the Order of Franciscans and commenced eight years of study in philosophy and theology for the priesthood from 1968-75 at Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1973 he was elected by the student body as inaugural President of the Yarra Theological Union Student Representative Council. In 1975 he was ordained a Franciscan priest and awarded a Diploma in Theology and Pastoral Studies from Yarra Theological Union, a member of the Melbourne College of Divinity, in Victoria (1975).[2] He worked as a Franciscan priest in Perth, Western Australia.

After resigning from the priesthood, he completed a Bachelor of Social Work (Distinction) at Curtin University, Western Australia (1979–82) and later obtained a Master of Arts (Public Policy) at Murdoch University, Western Australia (1987-1991).[23]

McClure worked as a Senior Social Worker and Director, Migrant Services Unit in the Department of Social Security, Perth, Western Australia (1985–90). He was promoted and transferred to Sydney as an Area Manager, Social Work in the Department of Social Security. Then he was appointed CEO of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (NSW/ACT) from 1992–96. He was later appointed CEO of Mission Australia (1997-2006).[2]

McClure was Founder and Chairperson of Second Harvest (Australia) in Perth, Western Australia, a social enterprise with annual revenue of $1 million providing low cost food to over 3000 people each week on low income, from 1978 to 1989. In 1989 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study social enterprises in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe in recognition of his work with Second Harvest (Australia) .[21]

He was also a Non Executive Director of Amnesty International (Australia) from 1978 to 1988 with portfolio responsibility for refugees. McClure coordinated global campaigns to highlight human rights abuses and seek the release of prisoners of conscience. During this period the Board introduced major reforms as the organisation developed into a leading, national advocacy organisation.

Early Years[edit]

McClure was born on 18 March 1949 in Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand. He was one of seven children of Arthur and Ngaire McClure. His father was Managing Director of Warners Brothers Movies in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region. His grandfather Cecil McClure served during the First World War at Gallipoli, Ypres, Passchendaele and the Somme, was wounded and awarded a Military Cross and Bar. He has written two books on the family history.

McClure completed his primary school education at St Michael's School, Remuera, Auckland and his early secondary school education at St Peter's College, Epsom, Auckland.[24]

His family migrated to Australia in 1963 and he completed his secondary school education at Waverley College, Waverley, Sydney.

McClure lives in Sydney, Australia.


  1. ^ a b McClure, Patrick (2011), Seize the day : from priest to CEO (1st ed ed.), Longueville Books, ISBN 978-1-920681-77-7 [self-published source]
  2. ^ a b c Damir Govorcin, (23 February 2003), Conversation: Patrick McClure, head of Mission Australia, 'My faith and passion come together' here, The Catholic Weekly, Sydney at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Patrick McClure, The Centre for Social Impact, accessed 23 May 2014
  4. ^ Mark Metherell, (21 April 2011), Aged-care-sector leader warns of looming challenges, The Age, Melbourne accessed 8 March 2014
  5. ^ Patricia Karvelas, (21 January 2014), Welfare must be reined in, says Kevin Andrews, The Australian accessed 2 February 2014
  6. ^ Coalition disability pension overhaul may move people to Newstart, (23 December 2013), The Guardian accessed 2 February 2014
  7. ^
  8. ^ Luke Buckmaster, (19 March 2014), What's happening with the McClure welfare review?, FlagPost, Australian Parliamentary Library accessed 20 March 2014
  9. ^ Governancee 360 at Institute of Strategic Management
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Patrick McClure page at Fair Work Australia accessed 19 January 2010
  12. ^ McClure, Patrick; Australia. Department of Family and Community Services; Reference Group on Welfare Reform (2000), Participation support for a more equitable society : final report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform, Dept. of Family and Community Services 
  13. ^ Michelle Grattan, (17 August 2000), Mutual obligation is here to stay let the challenge of change begin, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, p. 4 accessed 21 November 2013
  14. ^ Welfare Reform - Reference Group Report, (Wednesday 29/03/00), Life Matters, ABC Radio National
  15. ^ Australia. Department of Family and Community Services (2001), Australians working together : helping people to move forward, Dept. of Family and Community Services, retrieved 21 November 2013 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Forum on Social Innovation - LEED Program
  19. ^ its
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Patrick McClure 1989 Fellowship, To visit and study the operation of non-profit community enterprises involved in the provision of food for people on low income - USA, UK, Canada, Churchill Memorial Trust website
  22. ^
  23. ^ Catholic Weekly, 23 February, 2003.
  24. ^ List of people educated at St Peter's College, Auckland