Introducing Bob Brown to deliver the 2018 Jack Beale Lecture

Colleagues, special guests, students, staff, alumni, friends of UNSW, and friends of the environment.

My name is Professor Ian Jacobs, I am the Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Sydney and I am delighted to welcome you all here tonight for the 2018 Jack Beale Lecture.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Bedegal people, the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay my respects to the Elders both past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders present here today.

The Jack Beale Lecture series was established in 1999 and is named after the late Honourable Jack Beale, a man who achieved outstanding success in so many aspects of his life. He was an engineer, scientist, businessman, politician, generous benefactor, and, notably, a UNSW alumnus. The Honourable Jack Beale was the Minister for the Environment in the New South Wales Government between 1971 and 1973 – the first of any Australian or State Parliament to have such a ministry.

Even after his parliamentary career, Jack Beale remained active in the environmental movement…and his enthusiasm, generosity and wealth of knowledge live on today through the Jack Beale Lecture series.

On these occasions, we ask an eminent guest to examine our environmental responsibilities, opportunities, and performance within a global context, as well as to position environmental science and technology research within the broad international socio-political and economic spheres.

We are delighted that Mr David Beale, Jack’s son, is here with us tonight. David’s cousin, John Beale, is also here. Thank you, David, John, and the whole Beale family for supporting this annual lecture. It is a wonderful legacy and so important at a time when our environment deserves the spotlight.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce tonight’s speaker Bob Brown. I am proud to share a little bit in common with Bob. Given all his other accomplishments many of you will probably not recall that Bob like me trained in medicine and I was interested to note that he practised medicine for a while in the UK.

But politics beckoned and in his late 20’s Bob was a member of the United Tasmania group, Australia’s first green party. What followed was a career as an acclaimed author, photographer and lifelong activist. Bob Brown, first entered Australian political consciousness in the 1980s, when he led the campaign to save the Franklin River in central-western Tasmania.

After 10 years in the Tasmanian Parliament, Bob was elected to the Australian Senate in 1996, where he served for 16 years. He was leader of the Australian Greens from 2005 to 2012, when he retired from the parliament
Bob could have stepped back and enjoyed a well deserved, relaxing retirement but instead established the Bob Brown Foundation with his partner Paul Thomas to promote environmental awareness.

In his lecture tonight, Bob will share his unique perspective on our environmental battles, success and failures. Where should we focus our efforts to protect the planet? And how can grassroots activism stand up to the tremendous global environmental challenges that we face?

I know that Bob will inform us, inspire us and challenge us. We are in for a wonderfully thought-provoking lecture tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, Mr Bob Brown.

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