ACU has conferred its highest honour, an honorary doctorate, on former Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable Timothy Fischer AC in Sydney. The award was presented to Mr Fischer on Tuesday at ACU’s graduation ceremony in recognition of his distinguished career in Australian State and Federal Parliaments and a lifetime of outstanding public service in the interests of the common good.
After accepting the award, Mr Fischer presented the address to 350 graduating students on the subject of leadership.
“What do I mean by core leadership and why does it count today? In short I mean that leadership activity that contributes to extended family, community, State and Nation, in the process enhancing your personal development and wellbeing generally,” Mr Fischer said.
Delivering his address two days before Anzac Day, Mr Fischer drew on lessons from World War I, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and new papacy of Pope Francis, and the ever-present issue of gun control to advise graduates how they might use their education and experience to make a difference in the world.
“Graduates of ACU, the core leadership of the graduates from Gallipoli who survived World War I contributed much to the fabric of Australia, what then are you going to contribute and how might you go about it?”
Mr Fischer has devoted his life to public service as a soldier, politician, ambassador and patron, and has established an equally distinguished life as a farmer, author, broadcaster and consultant. He served for 30 years in politics, including as leader of the National Party, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade in the coalition from 1996. He then represented Australia as its ambassador to the Vatican, where he was closely involved in the canonisation of Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop.
He continues to serve as an advisor, a consultant and a member of boards that reflect his diverse interests, including what he refers to as “the three Ts: transport, tourism and trade”. Mr Fischer was made Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2005.