Tim Fischer

Tim Fischer (1946 – 2019) former Australian Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Fischer was transparent about what had supported and strengthened him throughout his career and pointed to his Judeo-Christian background as a constant source of inspiration in his decision making.

Fischer was born in Lockhart, New South Wales. He served with the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, and on his return bought a farming property at Boree Creek. He served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1971 to 1984. Fisher was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1984 election, representing the Division of Farrer until his retirement in 2001. He replaced Charles Blunt as leader of the National Party in 1990, and in the Howard Government served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade. After leaving politics, Fischer served as chairman of Tourism Australia from 2004 to 2007, and was later Ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 to 2012.

Mr Fischer was transparent about what had supported and strengthened him throughout his career and pointed to his Judeo-Christian background as a constant source of inspiration in his decision making.

“I am a less than perfect Catholic and Christian,” he said, “but I did view the decisions I had to make in my life, right through and including being Ambassador to the Holy See, working through the issues of food security, people smuggling, of UN Security Council campaigns, through that Judaeo-Christian prism which was instilled in me,” he added.

Dwelling on some of the high points of his time as Ambassador, Mr Fischer recalled the role he played in welcoming more than 8,000 Australians to Rome for the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop – an event he refers to as “The Canonisation of an Aussie Battler” in the eleventh chapter of his book, Holy See, Unholy me: 1000 Days in Rome.

Intent on explaining how he managed to espouse his Christian faith with his responsibilities as a diplomat, Mr Fischer shared a life-changing experience which took place during one of his travels to Mount Nebo in Israel.

“When I stood on this mount where, arguably, Moses stood,” he said, “I could see the dead sea to my left, the hills around Bethlehem in the distance, Jerusalem to the west, Jericho and the Jordan River to the right, further right: the riches around the Sea of Galilee, and suddenly I had an epiphany, of joy and serenity, and the testaments of the Bible fell into place in a way which has given me strength to counterbalance the incense, the bells and Basilicas of Rome.

“This episode reawakened the fundamentals of my faith!” he said.

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