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2015 Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture

Ruby Hutchison was not only the founder of CHOICE but also the first woman in Western Australia's upper house.

In honour of CHOICE's founder, the 2015 Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture, hosted by CHOICE and ASIC, will be delivered tonight at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by Richard Cordray, the director of the US government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Ruby Hutchison, not only a fearless campaigner and the founder of CHOICE, was also a trailblazing politician known for her rebellious edge and tenacity in crusading for democratic reform, women's rights and social justice.

At the age of 16, Hutchison embraced politics. An advocate for equal numbers of men and women in government, in the early 1950s she became the first female member to be elected to the upper house of Western Australia's parliament. Over the course of her parliamentary career she pursued a range of causes such as the right of women to serve on juries, and child welfare, education and housing issues. She was also the founder of the Western Australian Epilepsy Association.

Founder of CHOICE

But perhaps what Hutchison is best known for is her work in consumer advocacy and as the founder of the Australian Consumers' Association, now known as CHOICE, in 1960.

Imagine the 1960s when consumers were being exposed to an explosion of household products hitting the market, against a backdrop of persuasive Mad Men-style advertisements at every turn. How were they to know which products to buy without being ripped off?

Enter Ruby Hutchison – a single mother with seven children who saw the need for an organisation that gave consumers an objective and unbiased view.

From the very beginning, Hutchison wanted CHOICE to lead the charge against shonky practices and inadequate consumer protection laws.

We continue to campaign on issues that are important for consumers today. If you're interested in adding your voice to our campaigns, sign up here, and help us continue the important work that Ruby Hutchison began 55 years ago.

Tonight, Cordray will be speaking about the recent developments in financial consumer protection in the United States.