Former Finance Minister recognised for his passionate support of Western Australia and contribution to higher education.
Former Australian Federal Finance Minister and Senator for Western Australia, Hon Mathias Cormann was last night awarded an honorary degree by Murdoch University at one of our 2021 graduation ceremonies.
Dr Cormann was conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for service to the community.
As Australia's longest serving Minister for Finance, he held the position between September 2013 and October 2020 and was a Senator for Western Australia from June 2007 until his retirement from politics in November 2020.
In March 2021, Dr Cormann was elected the new Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), becoming the first Australian elected to the role, as well as the first person from the Asia-Pacific region.
“Dr Cormann has dedicated much of his working life to serving the community, during which time he has been at the forefront of Australia’s political and public policy landscape,” Professor Lawson said.
“Dr Cormann has also taken a keen interest in the higher education sector and actively advocated for Murdoch University during his time as a WA Senator.
“Significantly, Dr Cormann advocated and supported the return of the WA's regional status for skilled migration purposes, which enabled Western Australian universities to regain some of their competitive advantage in attracting international students wanting to come to Australia, and specifically Perth, to study.
“Dr Cormann also provided strong support for the Federal Government funding the Harry Butler Environmental Education Centre at Murdoch University and was instrumental in highlighting the role the Centre will play in positioning Western Australia at the forefront of academic excellence well into the future.”
Professor Lawson said in 2017 Dr Cormann secured the hosting rights for the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference for Perth which brought more than 1000 international delegates to talk industry 4.0, disruptive technologies and innovation, mining and resources, defence and shipbuilding, energy and energy security, future mobility concepts, agri-tech and global food supply chains.
“Many of these areas of focus are speciality areas of teaching and research at Murdoch University,” Professor Lawson said.
“Dr Cormann has taken an active interest in university matters, not just for Murdoch but all five WA universities.
“He was an engaged and informed stakeholder and effectively represented the sector in the Parliament and Federal Cabinet, which has made him a worthy recipient of the honorary degree.”
Due to his commitments at the Paris-based OECD, Dr Cormann accepted the award and made a speech via video-link.
“I am truly honoured by the decision of Murdoch University to award this honourary degree to me”, Dr Cormann said.
Western Australia has been incredibly good to me. Serving the people of Western Australia in the Australian Parliament has been one of the greatest privileges of my life."
Dr Mathias Cormann
“I have genuinely always given it my best to make my best possible contribution to WA.
“Our world class higher education system in WA is such an important part of our continued success as a State. I am proud to have played a small role in helping to boost opportunities for WA universities, including by increasing the level of international engagement.”
With 400 graduates listening, Dr Cormann took the opportunity to share some wisdom with his audience.
"The best is yet to come," he told the graduates.
"Your university degree is a great achievement, it gives you a great foundation from which to further develop your knowledge, your skills and to build your future contribution.
"The key for you now is to find your best possible pathway from here, to make the most of it, to be the best you can be with it.
"And, if I may give you some advice – take it one step at a time, your life and your career from here are a marathon, not a sprint.
"If you have a goal in the distance, but in the short term commit yourself to being the best you can be at what you are doing in the present, every day, one day at a time, you’ll be amazed looking back down the track, how much progress you have made."