Honorary awards

John Anthony McCarthy QC

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon John Anthony McCarthy QC, BA LLB Sydney LLM Virg, by the Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AO at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 27 April 2012.

The Deputy Chancellor and John McCarthy QC

The Deputy Chancellor and John McCarthy QC, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Deputy Chancellor, I have much pleasure in presenting John Anthony McCarthy QC to receive the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sydney in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Senate, to the University and in particular to University sport.

John McCarthy studied at the University of Sydney, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968 and Bachelor of Laws degree in 1971. He then completed his Masters of Law degree at the University of Virginia in 1975.

Following his admission to the Bar in 1976, Mr McCarthy was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1988. During a busy career he has been a member of the Legal Aid Review Committee as a nominee of the New South Wales Bar Association, and a member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales (Legal Services Division). He is highly experienced in constitutional, federal and electoral law, and has appeared in Courts of Disputed Returns involving Federal and State elections and in cases involving Local Government, trade unions and Aboriginal Land Council elections.

For 14 years between 1995 and 2009, Mr McCarthy was a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney, the University’s governing body, appointed by the Minister for Education and Training. While a member of Senate, he served in the role of Pro-Chancellor for four and a half years. He also served on seven Senate committees and was a Senate representative on a number of selection committees.

In additional to his professional activities Mr McCarthy has a keen interest in sports. He has been a trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sports Ground Trust since 1996 as well as a member of the Sydney Cricket Finance Committee, and was appointed Olympic Attaché to the Republic of Tanzania by the National Olympic Committee for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

John McCarthy’s interest in sport was evident while he was member of the University’s governing body, an interest which he shared with the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brown. Whenever Sydney University played in the rugby union grand final you could be certain that John and the Vice-Chancellor would be in the Trust Box at Aussie Stadium barracking loudly for their team. Of course John’s support for sport at the University went well beyond barracking. During his term on Senate he initiated the formation of a Senate/Sports Liaison Committee, which became a forum for representatives from Sydney University Sports to liaise with Senate and the University administration, to contribute to the University’s vision of providing a superior student experience and to discuss issues relating to the University of Sydney Mission Statement for Sport or matters of which SU Sport felt it was important for Senate to be made aware. He became the inaugural Chair of the Committee in 2002 and continued in this position until 2009

As a formidable advocate Mr McCarthy was active in the University’s opposition to the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism, in particular with regard to the impact it would have on University sport. In 2006, he was a member of the University’s Reference group to partner with the University Union and Sydney University Sport task forces to assist with their challenges against the introduction of VSU.

John McCarthy’s passion and his tireless endeavours in supporting the development of sport as a critical component of the student experience at the University has been acknowledged and appreciated by both his colleagues on Senate and the staff and students of the University’s various sporting bodies. His legacy is one of which he can be justly proud.

Deputy Chancellor, I present John Anthony McCarthy QC and invite you to confer the title of Honorary Fellow of the University upon him.