Prof Gareth Evans
The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in
Profile of Prof Gareth Evans
Prof Gareth Evans is an Australian international policymaker and former politician. Born in 1944, he is an academic lawyer and barrister by profession. He represented the Australian Labour Party in the Senate and House of Representatives from 1978 to 1999, serving as a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating governments from 1983 to 1996 as Attorney-General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister of Transport and Communications and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He was Leader of the Government in the Senate from 1993 to 1996, Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 1996 to 1998, and remains one of the two longest-serving federal Cabinet Ministers in Labour Party history. Most prominently from 1988 to 1996 as Foreign Minister, Evans was heavily involved in providing support to the anti-apartheid struggle. Working with Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Commonwealth colleagues in the Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa, he was a key figure in developing – and campaigning around the world – for the international financial sanctions which played an important part in ending the apartheid regime.
Under his watch a considerable amount of political and humanitarian support was provided to the South African struggle for liberation. He provided humanitarian support for the first time to victims of apartheid under a programme called Special Assistance Programme for South Africa.
The programme provided scholarships to students both inside and outside South Africa, and supported the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College and many other humanitarian efforts. As Foreign Minister he had the responsibility of overseeing the development agency and provided almost all the humanitarian assistance to the victims of apartheid.
As one of the first foreign officials to meet with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison, in Lusaka in 1990, Prof Evans went on a tour of the major cities in South Africa in 1991 to meet with liberation movements and non-governmental organisations to acquaint himself with the situation on the ground. He has continued in the years since, particularly as President of the International Crisis Group from 2000 to 2009, and as Chancellor of the Australian National University since 2010, to strongly support South Africa’s new leadership.