Robert Tickner AO is a former Australian Labor Party cabinet minister, lawyer, CEO and lifelong humanitarian campaigner and is the inaugural Co-Chair of the coalition behind the EveryAGE Counts campaign launched in October 2018 to tackle ageism in Australia.
Robert is currently chair of the Board of CHS Alliance – an organisation headquartered in Geneva supporting a new global standard for the delivery of humanitarian aid around the world. He is also an Ambassador for ICAN in Australia and a campaigner for the new International Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
He was the past Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Red Cross from February 2005 to July 2015. He also twice served as Under Secretary General of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation based in Geneva.
Educated at University of Sydney in law and economics he worked as a lecturer at the NSW Institute of Technology from 1974 to 1979, then as principal solicitor for the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service from 1979 to 1984 when he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives for the electorate of Hughes in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
From 1977 to 1984 he had also served as a Labor Councillor on the Sydney City Council including a brief time as Acting Lord Mayor.
Robert served in the federal parliament as the Member for Hughes from 1984 to 1996. He served as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs for six years in both the Hawke and Keating Governments and is Australia’s longest serving Minister in that portfolio.
During his time as Minister he initiated the process of reconciliation, led the creation of the national land fund and fought for a just Native Title Act. He was also responsible for the initiation of the Stolen Generations Inquiry.
For over a decade he was also Chair of the Australian Parliamentary Group of Amnesty International working with parliamentarians from all political parties.
Robert believes that great social progress can be achieved where people of goodwill come together across party lines or sectional interests to take a stand on issues of principle.