John Anderson receives Order of Australia

John Anderson, a devout Christian, Gunnedah farmer and former deputy prime minister in the Howard government, has been appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday 2011 Honours List announced by the Governor-General.

The list provides national and formal recognition for many Australians across the nation who have made a significant difference to their communities. Mr Anderson is being recognised for his support of rural and regional  communities,  transport development  and water management initiatives when  in Parliament. Apart from being deputy prime minister. Mr Anderson was leader  of the National Party from  1999 to 2005. He was involved in the  creation of the National Water Initiative  in 2004 and as minister for  transport and regional services established the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Agriculture Advancing Australia  program.

He was also president of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship and continues to be a sought-after speaker on issues of faith and society. Earlier this year, Mr Anderson spoke at the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on the theme, ‘Lose the faith – lose the culture’.

“As a farmer, if you want to grow a good crop, you have to first till the soil in which a crop is grown. The crop of freedom, of democracy, of all of the good things that we take for granted in our lives, is in fact Christianity, and yet our society has moved away from it and so little understands now the soil in which the crops of freedom are grown, that I do not believe we can expect to continue to grow those crops.” Listen to rest of Mr Anderson’s speech on the Australian Christian Lobby site.

Mr Anderson splits his time now between farming and voluntary work including the Crawford  Fund – which supports agricultural research; the Gunnedah Rural Health Clinic and  Opportunity International, a Christian-based micro-credit bank.

Mr Anderson said being a sixth-generation farmer had motivated him  during  his political career to improve the plight of regional and rural  Australia. ”I  saw the damage being done to rural Australia through a  poorly managed economy.  I  was   able to follow through on issues I felt  were  important.” Read the SMH’s report on Mr Anderson’s award.

One telling episode in Mr Anderson’s time as deputy prime minister was in 2001 when he was acting Prime Minister during a period when Ansett Airlines collapsed followed immediately after by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

An historic moment was when he convened cabinet to invoke the Anzus Treaty, putting Australian forces on alert when it was not known if the US would experience more terrorist attacks.

”It was a dramatic moment but I had to be as calm and measured as the nation has the right to expect their leaders to be,” he said.

Read the Canberra Times report.

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