John Beswick has always been a doer rather than a talker. And it is that philosophy which saw the 77-year-old appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day awards.
Mr Beswick spent almost two decades in the Tasmanian Parliament serving the northern electorate of Bass.
In that time he had responsibility for 17 portfolios as diverse as Police and Public Safety, Education and the Arts, State Development, Forests, Lands and National Parks and Wildlife, Housing and Consumer Affairs, Employment and Training and Primary Industries and Fisheries.
Mr Beswick, whose working life began on the family farm in the state’s north-east – was also Deputy Premier during the Ray Groom-led Liberal administration between 1992 and 1996.
He served as a councillor on the Ringarooma and Dorset councils and was Deputy Dorset Mayor for three years until 2014.
Mr Beswick has been an accredited lay preacher since 1960 and is the former chairperson and leadership team member of the West Tamar Uniting Church Parish. His long association with community organisations includes serving as chairman of the Launceston City Mission, patron of the North-Eastern Art and Craft Association and the Inaugural Chair of the Winnaleah Irrigation Scheme.
He said he considered standing for Parliament initially because of a belief that rural communities needed an advocate and it was something he felt he could do.
“You cannot really do a lot when it comes to change unless you get elected to where decisions are made,” he said.
Mr Beswick said the award had come as a “pleasant surprise”.
“I feel quite honoured and have had a bit of time to get used to it now,” he said.
He was one of eight people connected with the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania to be recognised in the 2015 Honours List.
Australia Day honours
Member (AM) of the Order Of Australia
Mr Paul Arthur RICHARDS, Launceston, TAS.
For significant service to medical radiation sciences, and to the community, particularly through providing emergency patient and family accommodation.
President, P&F Association, Scotch Oakburn College, 1982-1983; Member, College Board, 1983.
Mrs Kathleen Eleanor WILLIAMS, Little River, VIC.
For significant service to the road transport industry through policies and regulations that support a safe and responsible trucking sector.
Treasurer, Resthaven, 1993-1998; Board Member, 1990-1998.
(Resthaven is a South Australian aged care community service of the Uniting Church in Australia)
Medal (OAM) of the Order Of Australia
The late Mrs Maisie Beatrice BAKER, Reservoir, VIC.
For service to the community of Darebin City, and to the Uniting Church in Australia.
President, Adult Fellowship, Regent Uniting Church/Regent Presbyterian Church, for 35 years; Congregation Elder, for many years; also served as Property/Finance Secretary, Treasurer, Sunday School Teacher and Fete Organiser.
Mr Geoffrey Nelson DINNING, Wangaratta, VIC.
For service to the community of Wangaratta.
Elder, Wangaratta Uniting Church, since 1988.
Mr Roger Edwin MALE, Fitzroy North, VIC.
For service to the community, to business and commerce, and to the financial sector.
Uniting Church in Australia, many years. Director, Uniting Church Funds Management Victoria, 2003-2012; Deputy Chair, Board, 2012; Chairman, Audit and Compliance Committee, 2008-2012; Member, Remuneration and Nominations Committee, 2011-2012.
Mrs June Elizabeth REID, Strathfieldsaye, VIC.
For service to the community, particularly through the Country Women’s Association
Choir Member, Forest Street Uniting Church, since 2006; Choir Conductor, McKenzie Street Uniting Church Congregation, 1998-2006; Choir Conductor, Swan Hill Methodist Parish Choir, many years.
Secretary, Parish Council, Forest Street Uniting Church, 6 years; Member, 10 years; Member, Loddon Mallee Presbytery, 6 years.
Mr Walter Ross SYNOT, Newtown, VIC.
For service to sport, and to the community of Geelong.
Treasurer, Noble Street Uniting Church, since 2003.