Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of the Prime Minister the Hon John Howard, MP: addess to the Rev The Hon Dr Gordon Moyes Tribute Dinner: The Westin Hotel, Sydney: 15 November 2005.

Download PDFDownload PDF


15 November 2005




Thank you very much Nick, Gordon and Beverley Moyes, the members of the Moyes family, a number of my Parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. I am very pleased indeed to be a small part of an evening honouring somebody who has been the epitome of an effective Christian leader in Australia’s largest city for more than thirty years. The example of Gordon Moyes, the combination of a very deep Christian faith worked through in a practical, commonsense, and as circumstances have required it, hard-headed fashion but always having as its goal, the spreading of the Christian message and the doing of good things to those in need.

I can think of the extraordinary contribution, as somebody who’s grown up and lived most of his life in Sydney, I can think of the extraordinary contribution firstly at the Central Methodist Mission and in more recent times, the Wesley Mission to the life and work of this city and beyond. And in the time that Dr Moyes has been the Superintendent of the Wesley Mission, it has grown enormously. It now cares for and supports more than 220,000 Australians each year from more than 400 different programmes. And what I particularly salute is the way in which Dr Moyes has led the Wesley Mission to an understanding of the need for the church, in its various outreaches to the community to change and adapt whilst retaining a deep connection with the fundamentals of the Christian religion. The way in which the Wesley Mission was prepared to involve itself in the development of the Job Network which replaced the old Commonwealth Employment Service, the way in which the Wesley Mission was willing to be involved in work-for-the-dole programmes, the way in which the Wesley Mission, in so many facets, involved itself in what I have called the social coalition in our community - where governments and welfare organisations, generous business men and women and passionate, devoted individuals work together to challenge life’s social problems.

The very first week after I was sworn in as Prime Minister I convened a meeting in the temporary office I had in the then Chifley Square Building to deal with the issue of youth homelessness. It was, I think, the first meeting I had with a community group in the time of my Prime Ministership. And I invited Gordon Moyes to join that gathering and from then on he has played a central role in advising the Government in relation to the interaction of social


programmes and Government responsibilities. He’s remained an adviser to the Government in so many different ways. He’s been a counsellor to many members of the Government and he’s been a person who’s been willing to express his views in an objective way about the nature and character of Government programmes.

His work on the Community and Business Partnerships - which has brought together some of the most successful and affluent businessmen in this country with people who’ve given their lives to Christian service and service - not necessarily always Christian service, but service for the community. That organisation has played a very significant role in helping to shape a different approach to giving and philanthropy in our community.

And I remember at the beginning of this year when the Australian community gave so generously to the tsunami appeal - something of which we should always be as a nation very proud, on a per capita basis we were far and away the most generous nation in the world in response to that huge human disaster. And when we wallow sometimes in self-criticism we

should remember that. And I remember at the time wondering to myself, would we suffer a form of donation fatigue having given so much as a community - and I was very pleased to be assured by many people, including Dr Moyes that so far from that experience, exhausting the generosity of the Australian people, it provided an example that we have continued to emulate in different ways. We do give more now than we used to. We are more philanthropic than we used to be. But we still fall a long way short of what we would all like to be in terms

of our individual and community generosity.

I am truly honoured to be here tonight. I want to pay tribute to Gordon and to his wife for their 27 years of leadership. It’s not an easy task to run an organisation. To keep it on the straight and narrow path, to keep it solvent, to preside over an enormous expansion and also in the process to live through the cultural and other changes, and attitudinal changes that have come the way of this country over that period of time. And Gordon has done it. He’s remained true and steadfast and stoic to the fundamentals of our Christian faith. But he’s also somebody who has constantly renewed the message and has constantly related to the circumstances of the time in a way that has maintained his position of authority and respect in the community.

I know that the Mission will establish a Gordon Moyes Scholarship Foundation. And that Foundation will finance scholarships for meritorious students to study at the Wesley Institute in a number of areas. And I want, as a mark of the Government’s respect and admiration for the work that Gordon has done, I’d like to announce that we the Federal Government will contribute some $20,000 to the Foundation. It will be a regular and practical reminder of the enormous contribution that Gordon has made. He will not, of course, disappear. He will not become invisible. Nobody who chairs Parliamentary committees can ever be invisible. But he’ll continue to work and advise governments of both political persuasions as properly has been his disposition and his character.

Can I say on behalf of all of your fellow Australians, Gordon, thank you for 27 years of faithful achieving and dedicated service to the people of Australia and most particularly to the people of Sydney. Thank you.