The
Garran Oration

 

Sir Robert Garran GCMG QC (c. 1940)

Credit: Edward Lefevre Cranstone | Australian War Memorial

The Garran Oration was established to honour the memory of the first, and one of the greatest, of the Australian Commonwealth’s public servants, Sir Robert Garran GCMG QC (1867–1957).

The first Garran Oration was delivered in 1959 by Mr Harry F. E. Whitlam LLB — a former Crown Solicitor of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Sir Robert was active in the Federation movement in the 1890s and prepared an Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth (1901) with Sir John Quick. In 1901 he became Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department at the request of Australia’s first attorney-general, Alfred Deakin — a role he held continuously for three decades.

Prime Minister Robert Hawke AC MP remarked in his 1988 Garran Oration that anyone reviewing Sir Robert’s extraordinary career and assessing his immense contribution to the Commonwealth of Australia could not but be impressed by two outstanding elements:

‘First, Garran was the paragon of professionalism. He served eleven different Attorneys-General and sixteen Governments, covering the spectrum of political affiliations in that initial period of quite rapid political change. He served them with absolute loyalty, and received their confidence and trust, setting a fine example of one of the most fundamental values of our Westminster-derived system of government.

Second, as Garran responded to all the diverse challenges of administration he faced — initially as an advocate and agent of Federation, then as the trailblazing public servant and parliamentary draftsman, then in the international field during and after the First World War — he proved a unquenchably creative force. In a time of change, his creativity in building new institutions, developing practical solutions and creating workable machinery still stands as an admirable model for his successors today.’

LIST OF GARRAN ORATIONS

Professor Mick Dodson

Professor Mick Dodson — Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner (2019)

Emeritus Prof Gillian Triggs (2018)

Emeritus Prof Gillian Triggs — former President, Australian Human Rights Commission (2018)

Sir John Key

Sir John Key GNZM AC — former Prime Minister of New Zealand (2017)

The Hon Jay Weatherill MP — Premier of South Australia (2016)

The Hon Jay Weatherill MP — Premier of South Australia (2016)

Credit: Tom Huntley | Newspix

The Hon Mike Baird MP — Premier of New South Wales (2015)

The Hon Mike Baird MP — Premier of New South Wales (2015)

Credit: Saniel Munoz | The Australian Financial Review

Mr Noel Pearson (2014)

Mr Noel Pearson — Chairman, Cape York Partnership (2014)

Prof Gary Banks AO (2013)

Prof Gary Banks AO — Chief Executive and Dean, ANZSOG (2013)

Dr Shashi Tharoor — former UN Under-Secretary-General and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs (2012)

2011 - Julia Gillard

The Hon Julia Gillard MP — Prime Minister of Australia (2011)

Credit: Samuel Cooper | National Library of Australia

The Hon James J. Spigelman AC (2010)

The Hon James J. Spigelman AC — Chief Justice of NSW (2010)

Credit: Sahlan Hayes | The Sydney Morning Herald

2009 - Kevin Rudd

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP — Prime Minister of Australia (2009)

Credit: Damien McDonald | National Library of Australia

Prof Glyn Davis — Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne (2008)

Prof Glyn Davis — Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne (2008)

LtGen John Sanderson AC — former Governor of Western Australia

LTGEN John Sanderson AC — former Governor of Western Australia (2007)

Ms Sue Vardon AO

Ms Sue Vardon AO — Chief Executive, Department of Families and Communities, Government of South Australia (2006)

Dr Michael Vertigan — Chancellor, University of Tasmania (2005)

Dr Michael Vertigan AO — Chancellor, University of Tasmania (2005)

2004 - Andrew Leigh

Dr Andrew Leigh — Fellow, Social Policy Analysis Evaluation and Research Centre, ANU (2004)

Prof Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE FAA FRS (2003)

Prof Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE FAA FRS — Chairman, Strategic Advisory Council of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Children's Vaccine Program (2003)

2002 - Basil Hetzel

Hon Dr Basil Hetzel AC — Chair, Hawke Centre, University of South Australia (2002)

Credit: University of South Australia.

Prof Marie Bashir AC (2001)

Her Excellency Prof Marie Bashir AC — Governor of New South Wales (2001)

Credit: John Immig | National Library of Australia

Hon David Malcolm QC AC (2000)

Hon David Malcolm QC AC — Chief Justice of Western Australia (2000)

Credit: David Crosling | Newspix

Dr Neil Conn AO (1999)

Dr Neil Conn AO — Administrator of the Northern Territory (1999)

Credit: News Ltd

Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE QC (1998)

Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE QC — former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1998)

Credit: The Canberra Times

The Hon John Howard MP

The Hon John Howard MP — Prime Minister of Australia (1997)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Ms Patricia Turner AM — CEO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Ms Patricia Turner AM — CEO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (1996)

Credit: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies | ATSIC

Mr Tony Ayers AC (1995)

Mr Tony Ayers AC — Secretary of the Department of Defence (1995)

Credit: National Library of Australia

The Hon Kim Beazley MP — Minister for Finance (1994)

Credit: National Library of Australia

John Button (1993)

Mr John Button — former Minister for Industry and Commerce (1993)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

The Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP — Premier of Western Australia (1992)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Prof Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE (1991)

Prof Lowitja O’Donoghue AM CBE — Chairperson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (1991)

Credit: Loui Seselja | National Library of Australia

Mr Gerald Gleeson AC (1990)

Mr Gerald Gleeson AC — former Secretary of the NSW Premier's Department (1990)

Credit: State Library of New South Wales

Mr Brian Loton AC — Managing Director, BHP (1989)

Credit: Jacqueline Mitelman | National Library of Australia

The Hon Robert Hawke MP

The Hon Robert Hawke AC MP — Prime Minister of Australia (1988)

Credit: Michael Jensen | National Library of Australia

Mr David Hill, Managing Director, ABC

Mr David Hill — Managing Director, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1987)

Credit: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation

1986 The Hon John Bannon

The Hon John C. Bannon — Premier of South Australia (1986)

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Hon. Justice Ronald Sackville

Hon. Justice Ronald Sackville — Federal Court Judge (1985)

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

The Hon John Dawkins MP

The Hon John Dawkins MP — Minister for Finance (1984)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Mr Jim Leslie — Chairman, QANTAS Airways Ltd (1983)

Mr Jim Leslie — Chairman, QANTAS Airways Ltd (1983)

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE

Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE — Governor-General of Australia (1982)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

1981 Arthur Tange NAA

Sir Arthur Tange AC CBE — former Secretary of the Department of Defence (1981)

Credit: Australian News and Information Bureau | National Archives of Australia

Prof Robert S. Parker (1980)

Prof Robert S. Parker — former Head of Political Science, Australian National University (1980)

Credit: ANU Archives — ANUA 225–956

1979 - Frederick Wheeler

Sir Frederick Wheeler — Secretary to the Australian Treasury (1979)

Credit: Newspix

Hon Justice Elizabeth Evatt AC

Hon Justice Elizabeth Evatt AC — Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia (1978)

Credit: D. J. McKenzie | National Library of Australia

Teresa Anderson

The Hon Malcolm Fraser MP — Prime Minister of Australia (1977)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Prof Geoffrey Sawer (1976)

Prof Geoffrey Sawer — former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Australian National University (1976)

Credit: Elizabeth Penhallurick | National Library of Australia

Sir Henry Bland CBE (1975)

Sir Henry Bland CBE — former Secretary of the Department of Defence (1975)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Rt Hon Sir John R. Kerr KCMG LStJ PC AK GCMG GCVO (1974)

Rt Hon Sir John R. Kerr KCMG KStJ QC — Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (1974)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

The Hon Gough Whitlam MP AC QC — Prime Minister of Australia (1973)

The Hon Gough Whitlam QC MP — Prime Minister of Australia (1973)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Teresa Anderson

Hon Justice Rae Else-Mitchell — Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW & Judge of the Land and Valuation Court of NSW (1972)

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Sir Maurice Mawby CBE (1971)

Sir Maurice Mawby CBE — Chairman, Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd (1971)

Credit: Keith Byron | Australian News and Information Bureau | National Archives of Australia

Sir Maurice Mawby CBE (1971)

Prof Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC — Vice-Chancellor, University of New England (1970)

Credit: University of New England

1969 - Sir John Crawford

Prof Sir John Crawford AC CBE — Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University (1969)

Credit: The Australian National University Archives

Rt Hon Sir Paul Hasluck MP KG GCMG GCVO (1968)

Rt Hon Sir Paul Hasluck MP KG GCMG GCVO — Minister of State for External Affairs (1968)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

The Hon Sir Richard Kirby

Hon Sir Richard Kirby — President, Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1967)

Credit: Keith Byron | Australian News and Information Bureau | National Archives of Australia

Sir Ronald Irish OBE — Chairman, Manufacturing Industries Advisory Council (1966)

Dr John Thomas Gunther

Sir John T. Gunther CMG OBE — Senior Government member, Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly (1965)

Credit: The Fryer Library, The University of Queensland

John Kerr

Rt Hon Sir John R. Kerr KCMG LStJ PC AK GCMG GCVO — President of the Law Council of Australia (1964)

Credit: Mike Brown | Australian News and Information Bureau | National Archives of Australia

Teresa Anderson

Hon Sir Garfield Barwick MP QC OAM — Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (1963)

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Teresa Anderson

Emeritus Prof Arthur L. Burns — Professor of Political Science, Australian National University (1962)

Credit: The Australian National University Archives

Teresa Anderson

FM Sir William J. Slim KG GCB GCMG GCVO GBE DSO MC — former Governor-General of Australia (1960)

Credit: William Pedersen| Australian News & Information Service | National Archives of Australia

Mr Harry F. E. Whitlam LLB (1959)

Mr Harry F. E. Whitlam LLB — former Crown Solicitor of the Commonwealth of Australia (1959)

Credit: Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection 43889 | Whitlam Institute