Former NSW premier and federal Liberal minister John Fahey has died, aged 75.
New Zealand-born Mr Fahey dedicated almost two decades of his life to public service, leading NSW as premier from 1992 to 1995.
He was elected as state member for Camden in 1984, but after his term as premier, made the switch to federal politics in 1996.
Mr Fahey went on to serve as a minister in the Howard government, before retiring from politics in 2001.
He then worked as the president of World Anti-Doping Agency between 2007 and 2013, and as the chancellor of the Australian Catholic University from 2014.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said his time in politics left a lasting legacy.
“Personally, I am grateful for John’s support and encouragement,” she said in a statement.
“He has always been a wonderful role model to generations of Liberals. His contribution to the state and nation will leave a lasting legacy.”
Former Premier John Fahey was a kind, decent person dedicated to his family and fought for equality and opportunity for all. A wonderful mentor and role model. He will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/XNuUnarP6s
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) September 11, 2020
My heartfelt condolences to John Fahey’s wife Colleen, his children, and grandchildren. As a NSW Premier, a federal minister, and later as President of the World Anti-Doping Authority and Chancellor of Australian Catholic University, John lead a life of generous public service. pic.twitter.com/oonGPmcQ9x
— Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) September 11, 2020
I’m hearing highly respected former Liberal NSW Premier John Fahey has passed away. Famous for that joyful leap into the air when “Sid-nee” was announced as Olympic host for 2000, he went on to be Federal Finance Minister then chief of world anti-doping agency WADA #Fahey RIP pic.twitter.com/bKOUwOklOU
— Chris Reason (@ChrisReason7) September 11, 2020
— Daniel Sutton (@danielsutton10) September 11, 2020
Farewell John Fahey and thank you for your service to Australia and NSW. He was a true liberal and one of the first senior Liberals to support an Australian Republic. Lucy and I send our love to Colleen and their family.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) September 12, 2020
Mr Fahey led a major overhaul of the industrial relations system as a NSW minister, and appointed the state’s first Minister for the Status of Women.
He also played a key role in the successful bid for Sydney to host the Olympic Games in 2000.
But he’s perhaps best remembered for crash-tackling a student who fired blank shots at Prince Charles at Sydney’s Darling Harbour in 1994.
Former NSW Premier Nick Greiner, who appointed Mr Fahey a minister, said he had an incredible ability to get along with people right across the political spectrum.
“(He was) a very authentic, very humble guy who was a terrific leader, because he was able to get on with everyone,” he told the ABC.
“In many ways he was a bit of a boundary spanner.”
President of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates said the country owed Mr Fahey an enormous debt of gratitude.
“John will always be a big part of the Sydney 2000 success story, and as we prepare to celebrate 20 years since those Games began, it is very sad to think he cannot mark that milestone with us,” he said in a statement.
His extensive political achievements aside, Mr Fahey was a “thoroughly decent” man and a compassionate boss, said former chief of staff Greg Barns.
“He is a wonderful human being, thoroughly decent, principled, and also an excellent boss,” Mr Barns, who worked for Mr Fahey between 1996 and 1999, told AAP.
“John will be remembered very fondly by Australians because of his decency, and because he was very successful in his political life and achieved much for many people.”
Mr Fahey is survived by wife Colleen, two of his children and grandchildren. His youngest daughter died in a car crash on Boxing Day 2006.
Ms Berejiklian said a state memorial service has been offered to Mr Fahey‘s family.