Staff at UNSW Canberra’s Howard Library are saddened by the passing of one of Australia’s much-loved and globally recognised parliamentarians, the Honourable Tim Fischer, AC, Australia’s 11th Deputy Prime Minister.
Tim Fischer was the Country Party member for Sturt in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from February 1971 until August 1980. He represented the electorate of Murray from September 1980 until he resigned in October 1984 to contest the 1984 Federal Election on behalf of the National Party. Fischer entered the House of Representatives as the Member for Farrer in 1984 and was re-elected five times.
He was Leader of the National Party from 10 April 1990 until 1 July 1999 when he announced his retirement at the next election. He served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade from 11 March 1996 until 20 July 1999. In 2008 he was appointed Australian Ambassador to the Holy See and served there until 2012.
In his valedictory speech on 30 June 1999, Fischer concluded by saying:
As we approach a new century, a new millennium, and more particularly the 100 years of the Federation of Australia, let us be proud of our robust democracy and its diverse composition of the very membership of this House of Representatives. Back bench, middle bench, front bench, both sides, there is a great diversity in the composition of this House of Representatives. That factor alone contributes well to the robust nature of Australian democracy. Long may it continue.
The Howard Library is the proud home of several personal items donated by Tim Fischer, including his 40-year press clippings scrapbook collection and an assortment of ties worn throughout his working life. The large scrapbooks covering the many years of exceptionally hard work as a state and then federal parliamentarian depict the enormous range of people and organisations that Tim Fischer was involved with. While no voter was said to be safe from Tim’s attentions during his expansive electorate tours, his former colleague John Howard OM, AC, spoke of Tim Fischer’s ‘courageous’ advocacy of policies supporting rural and regional Australia.
A condolence book will be available for signing by the public in the Howard Library at Old Parliament House from Monday, 26 August.
Professor Tom Frame AM
Director, Public Leadership Research Group and Howard Library