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Curtin University
John Curtin Day
John Curtin Medallists

Barry Jones (2001)

Dr Barry Jones AO is Australia’s longest serving Minister for Science and has devoted much of his career to promoting the importance of science and technology in Australian education and industry.

Dr Jones has shown great VISION with his commitment to the expansion of science and technology programs throughout Australia, particularly within Australian universities. He has been and continues to be a strong and powerful advocate for scientific research. His lifelong interest in science has included fighting for the growth and development of science education.

Dr Jones has exhibited true leadership throughout his working life. He began his career in the public service, and has worked as a high school teacher, lawyer, arts administrator and university lecturer. He became a Member of Parliament in 1977 and has had a distinguished parliamentary career, including serving as Minister for Science from 1983 to 1990. Throughout his career, Dr Jones has continued to fight for the advancement of science in Australia. He has been a strong supporter of the CSIRO, and is credited for the establishment of the National Science Centre in Canberra. As Minister for Science he created the Australia Prize in Science and Technology, and the Commission for the Future.

Community Service has been central to much of Dr Jones’ work. His commitment to community service is demonstrated through his voluntary roles as a Board member of CARE Australia, as Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for Coastal Zone, Waterway and Estuary Management, and as Deputy Chairperson of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.

Dr Jones has been the recipient of the Raymond Langford Award for his work in reviving the Australian film industry and the Redmond Barry Award for services to libraries. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by a number of Australian universities, and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1993. Barry Jones Bay in Antarctica and Yalkaparidon jonesi, a rare extinct family of marsupials, were also named after him in recognition of his extensive contribution to science.

Work undertaken since receiving the John Curtin Medal

Dr Barry Jones has remained heavily involved in community work since he was awarded the John Curtin Medal in 2001.

Having once served as National President of the Australian Labor Party from 1992 to 2000, he again held office from 2005 to 2006.

His involvement in public affairs since 2001 has been extensive. In 2010, he was a Member of the Australian Delegation to the World Heritage Committee in Brazil. From 2008 to 2015 he was Director of Victorian Opera. He has served on numerous boards in various organisations, including as Chair.

Dr Jones became Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne in 2007 and, since 1999, has been Adjunct Professor at Monash University and a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge.

He has published numerous books, including Coming to the Party (2006), A Thinking Reed (2006), Dictionary of World Biography (2013; 2016), The Shock of Recognition (2016) and Knowledge Courage Leadership (2016).

He has been generously recognised since 2001, with Honorary Doctorates from the University of Melbourne (LLD, 2002), Australian National University (DLitt, 2004) and Griffith University (DUniv, 2011). He received the Research Australia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and was awarded an AC (Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014.

Dr Jones continues to campaign for “rational, compassionate, evidence-based approaches” to key issues such as the refugee crisis, growing tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim societies and communities, meeting the challenge of climate change and moving towards a post-carbon economy, among numerous other causes.