John Brown AO

Former Federal Minister & Chairman of the Tourism Taskforce

The Hon. John Brown was the Member for Parramatta in the Federal House of Representatives for 13 years from 1977, and held various Ministerial portfolios including Arts, Sports, Environment and Territories. In 1986, he was named Australian of the Year by The Australian newspaper and he was the founding Chairman of the Tourism Task Force (now the Tourism and Transport Forum). John is the Founder and Patron of the Sport and Tourism Youth Foundation. He is a member of the Centennial Institute Board of Governors.

Practical and down-to-earth, John speaks entertainingly on many subjects and issues. His natural, relaxed and personal approach makes him a highly motivating keynote speaker or after-dinner personality.

More about John Brown AO:

Enigmatic and irreverent, John’s life is full of contradictions.  The son of a bus driver, he went into business at the age of 21 and today is a self-made millionaire.  Entering politics, the combination of his salesmanship, marketing skills, leadership and shrewd business sense, soon propelled him into the Ministry.

As Chairman of the Tourism Task Force, John Brown headed a Force that combined corporate, industrial and political strength, and was described by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke as “the most powerful industry group established in Australia.” ‘

As Minister for Tourism, John masterminded the hugely successful advertising campaign featuring Paul Hogan.  The campaign changed the face of Australian tourism and transformed it from a minor industry into a major economic force.  For the campaign, John was awarded the Australian Institute of Marketing Gold Award.

In sport John revolutionised government sport funding raising it from $6m to $36m in his first year and introducing funding for disabled sports people.  He was responsible for initiatives such as the Sports Aid Foundation and the building facilities such as the Institute of Sport (Canberra), Parramatta Stadium and Homebush Sports Centre.

John’s commitment to sport resulted in numerous honours.  He received The Olympic Silver Order of Merit for his contribution to the Australian Olympic Movement and was appointed as an International Honoree of the US Academy of Sport.  In 1993 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to Sport, Tourism and the Australian Parliament.

John continues to work for things he believes in.  He established The Sport and Tourism Youth Foundation (formerly the John Brown Foundation) to award scholarships to talented young Australians in both sport and tourism.  A member of the Sydney Olympics 2000 Bid Committee, John was also a founding Director of the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee (SOCOG).  He has held positions including Director of Macquarie Tourism and Leisure, Director of Canterbury Bankstown Leagues Club and a consultant to Service Corporation International Australia.

As befits a former minister for Sport and Recreation, John Brown has many and varied leisure interests.  He loves horse racing, won the Sydney Morning Herald Garden Competition three times, and enjoys the theatre, opera, ballet and cinema.

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