Chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs
Appointed as Chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs on 21 February 2006 following his return from his appointments as Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See (2002–2006).
He was a Senator in the Parliament of Australia representing the State of Queensland (1990–2002) and was Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (1996–2001)
Prior to entering Parliament he was a general surgeon for 30 years and during this time he occupied the positions of President of the Australian Medical Association, Chairman of the Australasian College of Surgeons and Chairman of the Australian Association of Surgeons of his State. He was twice President of the Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division) — from 1980–1983 and 2000–2002.
Outside his surgical and political careers he was an officer in the Royal Australian Army Medical corps and a Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force. He has been awarded the Bancroft Medal of the A.M.A. (QLD), the Justin Fleming Medal of the Australian Association of Surgeons, a Citation by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Humanitarian Overseas Medal for his service as a Care Australia medical officer during the Rwandan crisis and the Australian Service Medal.
He is a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a Papal Knight of St Gregory. In 2012 he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
He and his wife Jan have six daughters and three sons.