FORMER QUEENSLAND premier Wayne Goss has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Economics degree from the University of Queensland.
Goss, who is now an adjunct professor with UQ’s School of Management and the TC Beirne School of Law and a managing partner of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu, graduated with an LLB from UQ in 1975.
Goss worked as a solicitor in his own practice for a decade prior to entering state politics in 1983. He also worked for a time at the Aboriginal Legal Service and was president of the Caxton Legal Service, a service providing legal advice and representation to people who don’t qualify for legal aid but can’t afford to pay for legal assistance.
In his speech to graduates, he spoke about the importance of giving back to the community.
His work at the Aboriginal Legal Service he said was rewarding but also depressing. “It’s a group of people who seem to have the worst of our world and the worst of their world. I think leadership is needed from both communities if we are to make significant progress,” he said.
He also spoke about his involvement with the Labor Lawyers Association, an association that spoke out against some of the laws being implemented by the Coalition government in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“The reason we did it was because we believed in those reforms we were advocating, we were concerned about some of the laws that were being passed and we believed that the Law Society was not speaking out on these matters. We believed that if you’re in a profession you have an obligation to speak out,” he said.
Goss was elected as the Queensland premier in 1989. During his seven-year term he presided over the implementation of many of the reforms of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption. His government also introduced a range of social reforms and participated in a national reform program, which included the development of an energy and competition policy.