Bill Kelty AC has had a long career in the union movement as a board member of several private and public companies.
He holds a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe, and is a member of the Class of 1969.
Bill says he came from a poor working-class family. Therefore, he had a drive to succeed.
"If you failed, life would be different. If you succeeded, it was a passport to the things I wanted to do. I didn’t allow anything to get in the way."
“I was about the hardest-working student at this university. Nobody worked harder than me.
Bill was a student of La Trobe in the 1960s, when the University was still in its infancy. But even then, he said it was a "wonderful place".
“Ideas, creativity [and a] sense of excitement - it was because of the teachers and because it was new ... I loved the place."
The two great teachers in my life were actually here. They gave me confidence and debated ideas with [me]. They made you think in different ways.
After graduating in 1969, Bill began his career in the trade union movement. Eventually, he played a role in delivering a number of ground-breaking initiatives for Australians.
“I look back on my life and I think I’ve been lucky to be involved in the three great negotiations: national healthcare, national superannuation and the best minimum wage system in the world," he says.
Bill credits La Trobe with setting him up with a "sense of confidence", which has helped him throughout his illustrious career.
“What the University did here is they gave me a sense of confidence and they gave me a reward for being a combative person with ideas," he says.
"To give a working-class boy an opportunity just to be with them and learn from them was, for me, magic.
“I owe the University a lot.”
Last updated: 24th May 2019