John Fahey (politician)

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The Honourable
John Fahey
38th Premier of New South Wales
Election: 1995
In office
24 June 1992 – 4 April 1995
Preceded by Nick Greiner
Succeeded by Bob Carr
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Southern Highlands
In office
24 March 1984 – 1 February 1996
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by Peta Seaton
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Macarthur
In office
2 March 1996 – 10 November 2001
Preceded by Chris Haviland
Succeeded by Pat Farmer
Personal details
Born (1945-01-10) 10 January 1945 (age 72)
Wellington, New Zealand
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Colleen Fahey
Children 2 (f) – 1 dec'd, 1 (m)
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic
Website NSW Parliamentary profile

John Joseph Fahey, AC (born 10 January 1945) is a former Premier of New South Wales and Federal Minister for Finance in Australia. John Fahey is a former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1984 to 1996 and the federal House of Representatives from 1996 to 2001. He was also a notable rugby league player and coach in his youth.

Early life[edit]

Fahey was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of Stephen Fahey, farmer, and his wife Annie Fahey of Galway, Ireland. In 1956, Fahey migrated with his family to Picton, New South Wales. He was educated at Chevalier College, Bowral and the University of Sydney. He married Colleen Maree McGurren in 1968 and they had two daughters and one son. He became a naturalised Australian in 1973.[1]

State politics[edit]

He won the seat of electoral district of Camden for the Liberal Party in 1984. Fahey was elected member for Southern Highlands at the 1988 general election, and re-elected at the 1991 and 1995 state elections. During this period, Fahey was Minister for Industrial Relations from March 1988 and Minister for Further Education, Training and Employment from July 1990 in the Premier Nick Greiner led coalition government.

In June 1992, Fahey was appointed Premier of New South Wales after Greiner was forced to resign as a result of an Independent Commission Against Corruption of New South Wales investigation. Among those that Fahey defeated for the Liberal leadership in order to become Premier was Bruce Baird, who was then elected as Fahey's Liberal deputy and whose son Mike would become Premier in 2014.[2] In 1994 NSW Parliament was prorogued on 7 December when the Fahey government was attempting to stop a committee's work.[3]

In March 1995 Fahey's government was narrowly defeated in a state election by the Labor opposition, led by Bob Carr.[1]

Fahey is noted for having thwarted an attack on Charles, Prince of Wales, thereby preventing a potential assassination attempt. On Australia Day 1994, Charles, Prince of Wales was about to commence handing out awards at a ceremony in Sydney's Darling Harbour when a former anthropology student, David Kang, lunged onto the stage towards the Prince, simultaneously firing two shots from a starter's pistol. Fahey, sitting next to the Prince, subsequently assisted by the then Australian of the Year, Ian Kiernan, tackled Kang and wrestled him to the ground, after which Kang was subdued and arrested. Although the attack proved less dangerous than it was first thought to be, Fahey was nonetheless widely praised for his unthinking bravery.

Fahey played a key role in the bidding process for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and is also noted for his reaction when Sydney won, jumping up and down enthusiastically.

Federal politics[edit]

Fahey resigned from State politics just under a year after his State Government was defeated at the polls and successfully sought endorsement for the Liberal Party, to serve in the federal House of Representatives in the seat of Macarthur. Fahey was elected at the 1996 federal election, and served as Minister for Finance and Administration in the Howard government.

A redistribution in late 2000 radically altered Macarthur, cutting out most of the Southern Highlands and turning it into a notionally Labor seat centered on southwest Sydney. Believing this made Macarthur impossible to hold, Fahey sought to contest neighboring Hume held by his former state turned federal parliamentary colleague Alby Schultz. Schultz however refused to step aside for Fahey which resulted in a fight between the two and Prime Minister John Howard ordered the ending of this fight. This led to Fahey to announce in May 2001 he would not be contesting the next election, citing family, personal, and health reasons, after having one of his lungs removed in February due to cancer.[4] He retired in October 2001, prior to the November 2001 election.


A Roman Catholic, he is married to a former Anglican, Colleen, and stirred some controversy when he declared his opposition to both abortion and birth control.[citation needed]

John and Colleen Fahey's daughter, Tiffany, was killed in a road accident, at the age of 27, on 26 December 2006. John and Colleen Fahey are now the legal guardians of Tiffany's children, Campbell and Amber.[5]

Career after politics[edit]

The Honourable John Fahey AC, has been appointed as the fourth Chancellor of Australian Catholic University for a five-year term from 4 September 2014. On 17 October 2007, Fahey was confirmed as the next President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, a position that he held until November 2013.[6][7] Fahey has also served as a Director of the Bradman Foundation since 2001. In 2010 Fahey gave the 12th annual Tom Brock Lecture.[8]


Fahey was made a Companion in the Order of Australia in 2002 for service to the Australian and New South Wales Parliaments, particularly through landmark reform of industrial relations, facilitation of high technology and industry growth, and for raising the international profile of Australia as Chairman of the Bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Mr John Joseph Fahey (1945 – )". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Parliament of New South Wales Hansard Consideration of Urgent Motion Page 5810 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  4. ^ "John Fahey retires from politics after 17 years". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 May 2001. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Les (26 December 2006). "Crash Claims Fahey's Daughter". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Ltd. 
  6. ^ "WADA Appoints Sir Craig Reedie as its new President". Play True Magazine, 15 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Nicole, Jeffrey; Norrington, Brad (18 October 2007). "Fahey proves he's no dope at lobbying". The Australian. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  8. ^ Lane, Daniel (26 September 2010). "We've got to do better in next Storm, says Fahey". The Age. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Australia Day Honours, 2002". It's an Honour. Australian Government – Honours Secretariat. 26 January 2002. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Ralph Brading
Member for Camden
1984 – 1988
Succeeded by
Peter Primrose
New district Member for Southern Highlands
1988 – 1996
Succeeded by
Peta Seaton
Political offices
Preceded by
Pat Hills
as Minister for Industrial Relations
Minister for Employment
Minister for Industrial Relations and Employment
1988 – 1990
Succeeded by
as Minister for Industrial Relations
Minister for Further Education, Training and Employment
Preceded by
Ray Aston
Minister for Corrective Services
Succeeded by
Michael Yabsley
Preceded by
as Minister for Industrial Relations and Employment
Minister for Industrial Relations
1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
John Hannaford
Minister for Further Education, Training and Employment
1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
Virginia Chadwick
as Minister for Employment and Training
Preceded by
Nick Greiner
Premier of New South Wales
1992 – 1995
Succeeded by
Bob Carr
Treasurer of New South Wales
1992 – 1993
Succeeded by
Peter Collins
Minister for Ethnic Affairs
Succeeded by
George Souris
New title Minister for Economic Development
1993 – 1995
Post abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nick Greiner
Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party
1992 – 1995
Succeeded by
Peter Collins
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Chris Haviland
Member for Macarthur
1996 – 2001
Succeeded by
Pat Farmer
Political offices
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Minister for Finance and Administration
1996 – 2001
Succeeded by
Nick Minchin
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ted Exell
Chancellor of Australian Catholic University
2014 – present