1 April 2009: Former Ombudsman and Chief Magistrate of NSW, David Landa OAM, was awarded Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) highest honour this week, Doctor of the University, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to social justice, service to the law and his special contribution to the Catholic Church.
Honorary Doctorate David Landa
The son of a successful lawyer and politician, and godson of H.V.Evatt, David’s life has been inescapably tied to the legal and political arenas of NSW.
Admitted to the Bar in 1958 and appointed solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW four years later, David has practised law for more than five decades, with his most significant contribution being to the development of holding public officials and decision makers accountable to the public.
After serving as NSW Ombudsman and Chief Magistrate, David was asked to head a review of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games' (SOCOG) ticketing practices following a string of complaints.
Vice-Chancellor of ACU, Professor Greg Craven, said the resulting report was direct, fair and demanded justice for the consumers.
“In all his roles David has withstood criticism, threats against his person, and unpopularity with those who commissioned the various reports,” he said. “For all that, he was and remains respected for his integrity and ability to stand up for what he believes to be the truth, and for justice.”
Alongside these activities, David has been an elected alderman and Mayor of Hunters Hill, and dedicated hours of his time to various organisations aimed at improving life chances for others.
These include Austcare, of which he has been the national secretary for 11 years , and the Indo-China Refugee Association, of which he has been President for two years.
“Throughout all these years David has also applied the highest standards of professional conduct to his own behaviour and that of others,” Professor Craven said.
“He has been active at university level working for improved professional behaviour and delivered papers at university on whistleblowers and their significance for getting at truth.
“He has served the Catholic Church for many years with his wisdom as a member of the Edmund Rice Business Ethics Centre and significantly in the reviews established by the National Committee for Professional Standards."