13 September 2018


JULIE BISHOP:           This evening I have the honour of introducing Mr Frank Lowy AC, Sir Frank.

May I say at the outset, during my five years as Foreign Minister, I had the privilege of meeting many remarkable political and business leaders. Few have inspired more or deserved greater admiration than one of our nation’s finest citizens.

The story of Frank Lowy reflects the quintessential truth of our good fortune as a nation – for we are arguably the most successful multicultural nation on earth, welcoming and embracing migrants from all across the globe.

Our diversity is our strength. In the words of our haunting anthem;

“We are one, but we are many and from all the lands on earth we come. We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice. I am, you are, we are Australian.”

Frank Lowy is an extraordinary Australian who, for the past six decades and more, has made an enormous contribution to that dream we share.

Born in 1930 in Czechoslovakia – a nation reeling from the Great Depression and soon to be embroiled in the turbulence of pre-war Europe – Frank and his family were forced to live in considerable deprivation in Hungary during the War.

Frank was separated from his father, and it was not until many years later that he learned of his fate at the hands of the Nazis.

Frank survived the holocaust of Europeans Jews, travelled to France, and to Cyprus where he was detained, then to Palestine and then in 1948 took part in the first Arab-Israeli War. On Australia Day 1952 Frank joined other family members in Australia.

With his wife Shirley and sons, Peter, Steven and David, Frank has given much to the country that offered him a home, stability and security.

With fellow migrant John Saunders he established Westfield and built a shopping centre in Western Sydney.

At this point, I should say, “and the rest is history”, for Westfield became one of the largest retail property groups in the world, employing thousands of people across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

However, commercial success is only part of Frank Lowy’s contribution to Australia. His is philanthropy is legendary, in medical research, in his beloved football, in the arts and much more.

Tonight we celebrate another of Frank’s great achievements – The Lowy Institute established fifteen years ago on the 50th anniversary of Frank’s arrival in Australia.

This independent foreign policy think tank has met a need for expert knowledge, intellectual output and systematic analysis of an increasingly complex world.

Lowy Institute helps bridge the tension between the demands of policy makers and standards of evidence-based inquiry for the common good.

In this volatile, dynamic world, where the only constant is change, international relations cannot be the exclusive domain of diplomats, bureaucrats and legislators. There must be a diverse set of views that help formulate our foreign policy.

Australia is a significant nation. Our voice is heard and respected. There are two ways in which we can have our greatest impact in global affairs.

First, through developing policies and programs we directly implement through our aid program or in partnership with other nations to, for example, combat terrorism and transnational crime.

Secondly, through influencing policies and decisions of other nations including great powers of the world. This requires robust policies and strong personal relationships where trust has been built over time.

Australia is adept in both spheres and the Lowy Institute backs our works. For example it was research by Lowy Institute on our diplomatic representations that supported my efforts to increase our overseas network, resulting in fourteen new diplomatic posts – the single largest expansion in forty years.

This is the legacy of Frank Lowy. A visionary who looks beyond the horizon, a genius for business that made him and others wealthy yet maintaining humility, an incisive intellect with demonstrable integrity, judgement, courage and an overwhelming sense of duty.

Frank Lowy embodies all that to which we should aspire – Australians all – with his capacity to find good in the world.

Please welcome Frank Lowy.

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