Former Minister for Defence Personnel, Material and Science; Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; and Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet will receive an honorary doctor from the University of South Australia today.
Before entering federal parliament Combet worked as a miner and then in the trade union movement, starting as a trades assistant, before rising to the role of Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Combet studied engineering and economics at universities in NSW before working as a project officer in the NSW Tenants’ Union.
As an advocate for the rights of workers and for worker safety, Combet was involved in important national campaigns including the Your Rights at Work aimed at maintaining working conditions, compensation for workers affected by asbestosis and protection for workers retrenched from Australia’s iconic Ansett Airlines when the airline folded.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Greg Combet has always worked hard to advocate for the kinds of change that makes societies stronger.
“It might be fighting against industrial injustices, or guiding the ethical operation of a bank, in both situations Greg brings his intelligence, his strategic thinking and his compassion to build a better campaign or a fairer institution,” Prof Lloyd says.
“He is an example of commitment to ideals and principles and of dedication to public service and his career proves that education and experience are powerful tools in all of life’s challenges.
“Across his career in industrial relations and politics, Greg has proved his credentials as a complex problem solver, strategist and leader and since his retirement from politics he has continued to employ his skills to benefit others.”
Combet was named Patron of the Black Lung Victims Group in 2016 a support group for victims of Black Lung disease which plagues coal industry workers.
Today, he is Deputy Chair of IFM Investors, Deputy Chair of Industry Super Australia and a Director on the Board of ME Bank. He also Chairs the Victorian Government’s Independent Expert Panel on Interim Emissions Reduction.
In 2006 Combet presented the annual Hawke lecture at UniSA focusing on how Australians could forge a new consensus that would underpin a fairer and more successful society into the future.
“I am very grateful for this honour,” Combet says.
“Throughout my working life I have been a fighter for social justice, and for this to be recognised by the University of South Australia is immensely gratifying.”
Greg Combet will receive his Honorary Doctorate on September 19 at the 3pm graduations ceremony, Pridham Hall, City West campus.
More than 1700 students, including 53 PhDs will graduate from UniSA on September 19 and 20.