ACU honours 'inspirational leader' Fred Chaney

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Ballarat, 4 May, 2007: Australian Catholic University (ACU) will award social justice campaigner and former federal Minister Fred Chaney AO with its highest honour, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), at its annual Ballarat graduation ceremony tomorrow.

More than 140 students from ACU’s Ballarat Campus (Aquinas) will graduate at the ceremony at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat, with Mr Chaney to provide the occasional address to graduates.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Mr Chaney had been an “inspirational leader” both in his career as a politician and as an advocate for positive social change in Australia.

“Fred Chaney is a model for any person seeking to apply social justice principles to public policy in this country,” Professor Sheehan said.

“Throughout a political career spanning nearly two decades – including his time as Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Social Security and Administrative Services – Fred Chaney has tirelessly applied himself to bettering the lives of less fortunate Australians.

“His ongoing commitment to reconciliation, native title issues and improved access to legal aid, among other causes, is testament to his political integrity and social justice vision. Fred Chaney is an extremely deserving recipient of this special honour.”

In addition to his role as Member for Pearce and accompanying ministerial positions, Mr Chaney also served as a Senator for Western Australia, including seven years as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. In addition, he has held such high profile public roles as Deputy President of the Australian Native Title Tribunal, Chair of Reconciliation Australia, Chair of Desert Knowledge Australia and Chancellor of Murdoch University.

A law graduate of the University of Western Australia, Mr Chaney worked as a Crown Prosecutor in Papua New Guinea and co-founded both the Law Society of Western Australia’s Legal Advice Bureau and the State’s Aboriginal Legal Service. He was appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1997.

ACU’s Ballarat Campus has more than 600 students enrolled in academic programs in education, theology and nursing.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) – established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university – is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.