The Honourable William (Bill) George Hayden AC



Mr Chancellor, 

If His Excellency the Governor-General had not responded to the lure of politics he might by now have been either Commissioner of Police in Queensland or a professor of economics or laws at this University. 

Bill Hayden, born and educated in Brisbane, was a police constable for eight years from 1953. In 1961 he was elected to the House of Representatives as the member for Oxley, a seat he held for twenty­eight years. In his early years in Federal Parliament he studied as an external student for the Bachelor of Economics degree: It was awarded in 1969. 

He would undoubtedly have gone on to further academic success if his political, administrative, and personal skills had not been required full-time-and more t.han full-time-by the Australian Labor Party. In the Whitlam Government he held the portfolio of Social Security, introducing a national health scheme which is still the basis of the current system. Towards the end of that Government's period in office he was appointed Federal Treasurer. The fiscal problems of the time were in no way due to any deficiencies in his abilities or in the education in economics that this University had provided. 

Bill Hayden was a reluctant candidate for the Leadership of the Opposition in 1977, but he assumed the onerous task with a skill and assiduity that brought his Party to the brink of office. Gracious in party-room defeat, he accepted and brought distinction to the portfolio of Foreign Affairs when the Labor Party came to power in 1983, accepting the further responsibility of the Ministry of Trade in 1987. 

His career in public affairs culminated in his appointment as the twenty-first Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. From the time he was sworn in to the office in February 1989 he has made his mark as a humane and devoted head of state. 

On this occasion it is a pleasure to welcome him back to The University of Queensland. He has both studied and taught here, for during the 1970s as a serving politician he co'ntributed to the seminar program in the Department of Government. 

:Mr Chancellor, for his distinguished contributions to Australian life as a Member of Parliament, a Minister of the Crown, and now as Governor-General, I present to you one of the University's most distinguished graduates, His Excellency The Honourable William George (Bill) Hayden, Companion of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Economics of this University, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force, for conferral of the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the. University. 


Doctor of Laws honoris causa
BEcon Qld.


Bachelor of Economics
Doctor of Laws honoris causa