Patrick McClure

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Patrick McClure, AO
Patrick McClure AO
Born 1949
Auckland, New Zealand
Nationality Australian
  • Chair, Reference Group on Welfare Reform (2013–15)
  • Director, Kincare Group
  • Director, Institute of Strategic Management
  • Member, NSW Government Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group
  • Adjunct Professor, ACU
  • Murdoch University Distinguished Alumni Award 2016
  • CEO, Mission Australia (1997–2006)
  • CEO, Society of St Vincent de Paul NSW/ACT (1992–96)

Patrick Joseph McClure AO (born 1949 in Auckland, New Zealand) chaired the Reference Group on Welfare Reform (2014–15), advises governments on social policy, is a company director, consultant and former chief executive officer. McClure regularly speaks at conferences and appears in the media on welfare reform and social policy issues.

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.


Reference Group on Welfare Reform[edit]

Report launch by Patrick McClure and Minister Scott Morrison

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

The interim report was released on June 29, 2014.[2] This was followed by a process of roundtables with 175 key stakeholders in all states and territories, consultations with 55 people on income support, 271 formal submissions and 231 online comments.

The final report "A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes" was launched in Canberra on February 23, 2015 by Patrick McClure and the Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison.[3]

The final report proposes an integrated approach to welfare reform across four pillars of reform with an employment focus. The four pillars are: simpler and sustainable income support system; building individual and family capability; engaging with employers; and building community capacity.[3]

Key recommendations include reducing the current complex and inefficient system of 20 payments and 55 supplements to 5 payments and 4 categories of supplements; a passport to work enabling people to move easily between employment and the income support system; a new ICT system to drive efficiencies in the new income support system; an investment approach with early intervention services focusing on groups most at risk of long term welfare dependence; a jobs plan for people with disability and mental health conditions; and the use of social impact bonds to attract private investment to address social problems in disadvantaged communities.[3]

Since the 2015 budget, the Federal Government has allocated funds for a new ICT system which is a pre-requisite for introducing a simpler income support system; the Priority Investment Approach contracting PWC to complete an actuarial valuation of the groups at risk of lifetime dependence on income support; $100 million funding for a Try, Test and Learn Fund; simplification of child and youth payments; and support for social impact investment in affordable housing.[3][4]

Mission Australia[edit]

Patrick McClure with President Bill Clinton at a fundraising event for Mission Australia

He was Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia from 1997 to 2006. During his tenure, the organisation grew from separate state based entities 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.[5]

During his years as CEO, Mission Australia was a major provider of employment services in the privatized Job Network. In 2001, the organisation won the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership Award.[1]

In 2005, it acquired a one-third shareholding in Working Links, a UK employment company. The Mission Australia Centre in Surry Hills, Sydney opened in 2005, providing integrated services for homeless people.

Society of St Vincent de Paul[edit]

He was Chief Executive Officer of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (NSW/ACT) from 1992 to 96 during a period of major organisation reform. The organization had total funds of $375 million and provided housing and social assistance to over 500,000 disadvantaged people each year.

During his tenure he was also a member of the NSW Government Drought Assistance Committee which distributed $80 million in drought assistance to rural households and communities across NSW from 1995 to 1996.[6]

Other key career highlights[edit]

McClure was CEO, Macquarie Capital Funds' Retirement Villages Group from 2006 to 2008 which raised $850 million of institutional funds for investment in retirement villages in Australia and New Zealand.

He was CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia.[7]

He was an Ethics Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact, University of New South Wales under the leadership of Professor Peter Shergold, AC.[8]

Current Roles[edit]

McClure is Director, Governance and Strategy of the Institute of Strategic Management (ISM), Sydney. He works with Gerard Hermens in reviewing the performance of boards and executive teams.[9]

He is a Non-Executive Director of the Kincare Group.[10] Kincare is Australia's largest, privately owned, in-home care organisation. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD).

He is a Member of the NSW Government Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group.[11] Social impact investment is an emerging approach to addressing social problems that brings together capital and expertise from across government, business and civil society.

He is Adjunct Professor at the ACU, conducting workshops for CEOs and executives of social purpose organisations.

He is a Selector, Community Services Panel, for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (NSW).

He is an Advisor to the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals (BCCM) on public service mutuals. The McClure Report (2015) recommended that the Government work with the BCCM to develop a regulatory, economic and social environment to support mutuals and cooperatives.

Government Boards[edit]

Patrick McClure with then Prime Minister, Hon John Howard at the launch of the Mission Australia Centre, Sydney, providing services for homeless people

In 2011, the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler appointed McClure 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 the Federal Government's 2020 Summit chaired by the then Prime Minister, Hon Kevin Rudd.

He was appointed by the Howard Government as a Commissioner of the Australian Fair Pay Commission from 2006 to 2009 chaired by Professor Ian Harper.

McClure was appointed Chair of the Australian Government's Reference Group on Welfare Reform in 1999-2000 which produced a key report for the Minister for Social Security, 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]

McClure was Deputy Chair of the Welfare to Work Consultative Forum, chaired by 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.

McClure was a Member of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership Board from 1998 to 2007, chaired by John Howard. In that role, he was a member of the Tax and Philanthropy Working Group chaired by David Gonski which proposed legislation that enabled the establishment of Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) in Australia.[15] In 2015 there are 1300 Private Ancillary Funds which represent $4 billion in donated funds.

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.

McClure was Chair of the OECD-Local Employment and Economic Development Forum on Social Innovation based in Paris under the leadership of Sergio Arzeni and Antonella Noya (2004 – 06). Mission Australia in partnership with OECD-LEED organized an international forum "Social Innovation in the 21st Century: A Dialogue" in 2006 in Sydney.


Patrick McClure receiving the Officer of the Order of Australia from Governor Marie Bashir
Patrick McClure receiving the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Murdoch University, WA

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."[16]

He was awarded an Australian Centenary of Federation Medal in 2001 for "contribution to the Australian community".[17]

He was awarded a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Murdoch University, WA for significant contribution to his profession and the community.[18]

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

He won the Equity Trustee's EQT CEO Award for Lifetime Achievement recognising "leadership excellence in the non-profit sector" in 2002.[19]

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

He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1989 to visit and study social enterprises in the USA, UK and Canada.[20]

Early career[edit]

After completing secondary school McClure entered the Order of Franciscans (OFM) and commenced eight years of study in philosophy and theology for the priesthood from 1968 to 1975 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.[6] He worked as a Franciscan priest in Perth, Western Australia.

After resigning from the priesthood, he did a Bachelor of Social Work (Distinction) at Curtin University, Western Australia (1978 -1981) and later obtained a Master of Arts (Public Policy) at Murdoch University, Western Australia (1987–91).[6]

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.

McClure was Founder and Chair of Second Harvest (Australia) in Perth, Western Australia (1978 – 89), a social enterprise with annual revenue of $1 million providing low cost food to over 3000 disadvantaged households each week.

He was also a 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 in 1949 in Auckland, New Zealand. He was one of seven children of Arthur and Ngaire McClure. His father was Managing Director of Warner Brothers Pictures in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region. His grandfather Cecil McClure served during the First World War at Gallipoli, Ypres, the Somme and Passchendaele, was wounded and awarded a Military Cross and Bar. McClure has written two books on the family history.[21]

He 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.[22][23]

His family migrated to Australia in 1963 and he completed his secondary school education at Waverley College, Waverley, Sydney. In his final year of school (1967) he was Adjutant of the Waverley College Cadet Unit, College Oratory and Debating Champion and was awarded the JJ O'Brien Memorial Prize for Leadership, Study and Sport.[24]


  1. ^ a b McClure 2011.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d "A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes – Full version of the Final Report | Department of Social Services, Australian Government". 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  4. ^ "Turnbull Government embarks on radical welfare overhaul" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  5. ^ McClure 2011, p. 44–66.
  6. ^ a b c Damir Govorcin, (23 February 2003), Conversation: Patrick McClure, head of Mission Australia Archived 14 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine., 'My faith and passion come together' here, The Catholic Weekly, Sydney
  7. ^ Mark Metherell, (21 April 2011), Aged-care-sector leader warns of looming challenges Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine., The Age, Melbourne; accessed 8 March 2014
  8. ^ Patrick McClure, Opinion: Profit and childcare don't mix Archived 22 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine. The Centre for Social Impact
  9. ^ "Governance - Institute of Strategic Management". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  10. ^ "About Us - Our Board of Directors - Australia". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ McClure, Patrick; Reference Group on Welfare Reform (2000), Participation support for a more equitable society : final report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform (PDF), Department 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 Archived 21 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed 21 November 2013
  14. ^ Australia. Department of Family and Community Services (2001), Australians working together : helping people to move forward, Department of Family and Community Services, retrieved 21 November 2013 
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". 2003-01-26. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  17. ^ "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". 2001-01-01. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  18. ^ "2016 Murdoch University Distinguished Alumni Awards Winners". Murdoch University. 
  19. ^ "EventOFFICE - Awards Portal". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  20. ^ Patrick McClure 1989 Fellowship Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., 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
  21. ^ McClure 2011, p. 19–23.
  22. ^ McClure 2011, p. 24–25.
  23. ^ St Peter's & p+.
  24. ^ McClure 2011, p. 26.


  • McClure, Patrick (2011), Seize The Day: From Priest to CEO (1st ed.), Sydney, Australia: Longueville Books, ISBN 9781920681777 
  • St Peter's College Magazine 1960–1963

External links[edit]