At the century's end, Australians face a global environment fraught with uncertainty. Changes in taxation, employment, the financial relationships between the Commonwealth and the States and welfare reform are on the domestic agenda. The conference theme, Social Policy for the 21st Century: Justice and Responsibility, invites reflection on the policies, the means to fund them, and the kinds of delivery mechanisms that will most effectively contribute to the wellbeing of all Australians in the next century. The Keynote and Plenary addresses evaluate the state and direction of social policy developments on the eve of a new century. Jill Roe brought an historian's eye to past and present developments, in order to assess the prospects for the future trends and priorities. Peter Townsend took up the theme of social exclusion and social polarisation, putting these in the context of national and international policy developments. Anne Marie Guillemard looked at changes in work in later life, and the challenges these pose for employment and employers.