LUNCHEON - 6TH AUGUST 2014
Speaker: Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
Topic: 2014 Monash Medal
Chairperson: Kevin O’Flaherty
The 2014 Monash Medal will be presented at this week’s luncheon to the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG.
In 2010 the Club established this prestigious Award to honour annually an outstanding Australian for their contribution to the life and development of the Australian community and wider. Leadership, Integrity and Service, core values of Rotary and integral to the life of Sir John Monash, are the principles for selection of the Monash Medal recipient.
Retiring from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.
He was appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission. Soon after, he was seconded as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84). Later, he was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal and, concurrently, President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands. His appointment to the High Court of Australia came in 1996 and he served thirteen years. He was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.
In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby has served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93). He also served on many national and international bodies. Amongst the latter have been service as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); as President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); as a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007-) and as a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights(2004-).
Following his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby was elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia from 2009-2010. He serves as a Board Member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. In 2010, he was appointed to the Australian Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank). He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia. In 2010, Michael Kirby was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize. In the years 2011-12 he served as a member of the Eminent Persons Group investigating the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was appointed a Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law In March 2011, he was appointed to the Advisory Council of Transparency International, based in Berlin. In 2013, he was appointed Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea, and in the same year, as a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Commission on moving from AIDS to the Right to Health (2013-2014). He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities.
Synopsis Of The Lunch:
All who attended were treated to a most magnificent oration on the occasion of the John Monash Medal by one of Australia’s National Treasure’s, the Honorable Michael Kirby AC CMG. Michael attended the podium with grace, elegance and style.
Without supporting written prompts Michael clearly and succinctly unfolded the events and those whom were involved that led to the first shot being fired being heard around the world that commenced the Great War of 1914. Verbally illustrating the excitement of young Australians enlisting to fight for their country, some as young as 14 years old, to be thrust into unwinnable battles in the trenches, on the wind swept beaches and muddy barren lands of Europe.
Michael spoke eloquently about leadership, humanity, loyalty and the emotions of the oppressed. He spoke of the inspiration engendered by John Monash to his soldiers both heading into battle and those laying wounded in hospitals on shore and at sea whilst Monash himself personally was being criticized, pilloried and bullied by Keith Murdoch and Charles Bean, both men anti-Semetic in their outlook. Against the flourish of opposition by these two strong opiniated public figures Monash was knighted, the first occasion in more than two hundred years in the field of battle, by the British Monarch, King George V.
Michael spoke of the plight of the marginalised in our society, the homeless, the gay community and the Jewish community. He spoke with elegance and clarity giving encouragement to those who often need it the most. The 2014 John Monash Medal was awarded to a most eminent Australian who gave all who heard his address food for thought and hope for the future.