Sir William Deane
AC KBE QC
|Sir William Deane makes the official opening speech at the 2000 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony|
|22nd Governor-General of Australia|
16 February 1996 – 29 June 2001
|Preceded by||Bill Hayden|
|Succeeded by||Peter Hollingworth|
|Nominated by||Paul Keating|
|Justice of the High Court of Australia|
25 June 1982 – 11 November 1995
|Nominated by||Malcolm Fraser|
|Preceded by||Ninian Stephen|
|Succeeded by||Michael Kirby|
4 January 1931 |
William Deane was born in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria. He was educated at Catholic schools including St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill and at the University of Sydney, where he graduated in arts and law. He also attended the Hague Academy of International Law.
After graduation, he worked in the federal Attorney-General's Department in Canberra and at the law firm Minter Simpson (later to become Minter Ellison). He also travelled to Europe to study international law. He was called to the Sydney Bar in 1957 and also lectured in law at university.
During this time, Deane was active in the Catholic community and was interested in politics. In 1955 he was briefly a member of the Democratic Labor Party, a predominantly Catholic and anti-Communist breakaway from the Australian Labor Party. He soon became disillusioned with the party and played no further part in active politics, but he was strongly influenced by progressive Catholic doctrines of social justice and opposition to racial discrimination.
In 1977, Deane was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and, in the same year, he was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia and as President of the Australian Trade Practices Tribunal. In June 1982 he was appointed to the High Court of Australia, replacing Sir Ninian Stephen on his appointment as Governor-General. He was knighted in August 1982. On the court he formed part of the majority who recognised native title in the landmark Mabo case of 1992.
In August 1995, the Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced that the Queen of Australia had agreed to the appointment of Deane as Governor-General to succeed Bill Hayden. He retired from the High Court in November and was sworn in as Governor-General on 16 February 1996. Less than a month later, Keating's government was defeated by the Liberal/National coalition led by John Howard.
Deane's term of office was due to expire on 31 December 2000 but was extended on the recommendation of the Howard Government until the middle of 2001 to enable him to be Governor General at the time of the Centenary of Federation celebrations.
Deane is currently Patron or co-Patron of a large number of charitable organizations working for the disadvantaged, including Matthew Talbot Homeless Services, Father Chris Riley's Youth off the Streets, the Starlight Foundation, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Home in Queanbeyan. He is also a Patron of Reconciliation Australia, the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and was appointed by the A.C.T. Government as Patron of the National Capital's 2013 Centenary Celebrations. He is a former Patron and Chair of CARE Australia and is currently a member of that international aid organization's Advisory Board.
Deane was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in August 1982, a few weeks after being appointed to the High Court. On Australia Day 1988, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. He is also a Knight Commander con Placca of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great and a Knight of the Order of St. John.
- Governor General of Australia - Official biography of Sir William Deane and Lady Deane, published by Government House, Canberra.
- A Mirror to the People, documentary film on the Office of Governor-General of Australia (1999), featuring Deane, Zelman Cowen and Ninian Stephen.
|Governor-General of Australia