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Our Patrons

His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Patron-in-Chief

Australia’s Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) became the Patron-in-Chief of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation on Wednesday 16 November 2016.

Peter Cosgrove was born in Sydney in 1947.  The son of a soldier, he attended Waverley College in Sydney and graduated in 1968 from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

Early in his military career, he fought in Vietnam, commanding a rifle platoon.  He was awarded the Military Cross in 1971 for his performance and leadership during an assault on enemy positions.

In 1972, he served as Aide de Camp to Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck.  He returned to regimental life as second in command of a Company, rising to Adjutant then Company Commander in the Army’s 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment  (5 RAR), then 5/7 RAR in Holsworthy, Sydney.  Subsequent appointments included a period as a tactics instructor at the Army’s Infantry Centre in Singleton, New South Wales; a year’s study at the United States Marine Corps Staff College in Quantico, USA; extended periods of duty in the United Kingdom and India; and command of 1 RAR.  He was appointed a Member in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service in command in 1983-84.

Peter Cosgrove came to national attention in 1999 when, as Commander of the International Task Force East Timor (INTERFET), he was responsible for overseeing that country’s transition to independence.  For his leadership in this role he was promoted to Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AC).

Promoted to Lieutenant General, he was appointed Chief of Army in 2000.  After further promotion to General, he served as Chief of the Defence Force from 2002-2005.  He retired from the Australian Defence Force in 2005.

Subsequently, he accepted positions on several boards, including QANTAS, Cardno and the Australian Rugby Union.  He was appointed by the Queensland Government to lead the taskforce rebuilding communities in the Innisfail region following the devastation caused by Cyclone Larry in 2006.  From 2007 to 2012, he chaired the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and served as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University from 2010 until early 2014.

On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that General Cosgrove would become a Knight in the Order of Australia when sworn in as Governor-General.

General Sir Peter Cosgrove gave the Boyer Lectures series, “A Very Australian Conversation” in 2009.  His autobiography “My Story” was published in 2006.  He was named Australian of the Year in 2001.

An avid sports follower, General Sir Peter Cosgrove takes particular interest in rugby and cricket.

He and his wife Lady Cosgrove have three adult sons and one grandson.

Mr Tim Fairfax AC

Patron

Mr Tim Fairfax AC is a Company Director, Pastoralist and Philanthropist, and was the 2016 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year.

Tim is Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and director of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

He is the current Chancellor at Queensland University of Technology, and is President of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation, Deputy Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia Council and a member of the National Portrait Gallery Foundation.

Tim is Patron of the AMAQ Foundation, the University of the Sunshine Coast Foundation, Volunteers for Isolated Students Education and the Flying Arts Alliance Incorporated.

Tim takes an active leadership role in promoting philanthropy in Australia.  He is passionate about supporting rural, remote and regional communities, particularly for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Tim has a range of business interests.  He operates ten rural properties in Queensland and New South Wales involving beef cattle, fine wool and grain.

The Hon Andrew Robb AO

Patron

Until his recent retirement from politics, Andrew Robb was Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment. In this role Mr Robb negotiated Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Japan and China, as well as the 12 country Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Singapore. Additionally he conducted 85 investment roundtables with 28 countries.

Mr Robb is currently a Board Member of the Kidman cattle enterprise, Chair of Asialink, Asialink Business and CNSDose, and strategic advisor to Beef Innovations Australia, as well as a range of national and international businesses.

Mr Robb’s agricultural experience began as an animal health officer, with major involvement in the successful brucellosis and TB evaluation program in Australia’s beef herd. Subsequently, as an agricultural economist, Mr Robb worked on public policy issues across a wide range of agricultural industries.

Mr Robb then was appointed the Executive Director (CEO) of the Cattle Council of Australia, before his appointment as Executive Director (CEO) of Australia’s peak farmer organisation, the National Farmers’ Federation.

Since that time, Mr Robb was General Secretary of the Liberal Party of Australia, including his role as campaign director of the 1996 federal election which brought former Prime Minister, Hon John Howard, into government with the biggest Liberal Party win in history.

Shortly after the 1996 federal election Mr Robb moved back into the private sector and for two years was a member of the investment team for the Gorgon Gas Project, a Board Member of Sinclair Knight Mertz – Australia’s largest consulting engineering company as well as CEO at Acxiom – an Australia-wide direct marketing technology company. Mr Robb also provided strategic advice to Australia’s 39 university Vice Chancellors.

Mr Robb stood for Parliament in 2004 and was elected to the Federal Seat of Goldstein until his move back into the private sector at the time of the recent 2016 election. In 2003, Mr Robb was awarded the office of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to agriculture, politics and the community. As well, Mr Robb is the author of “Black Dog Daze: Public Life, Private Demons” (Melbourne University Publishing).

Professor Colleen Hayward AM

Patron

Professor Colleen Hayward AM is a senior Noongar woman with extensive family links throughout the south-west of WA. Since 2009, Colleen has been the Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin; Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Indigenous Education and Research and concurrently holds the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) across the University.

For more than 30 years, Colleen has provided significant input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues, reflecting the needs of minority groups at community, state and national levels. She has an extensive background in a range of areas including health, education, leadership and governance. In much of this work, she draws on her qualifications which include a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development and a Post Graduate Certificate in Cross Sector Partnerships from Cambridge University.

Among her many achievements, Colleen has been inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame, recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia, has been made a Western Australian Ambassador for Children and Young People; as well as being named as one of WA’s 100 most influential West Australians in both 2015 and 2016.