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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 5788..


scientists under 40 years of age. At the ANU there is the Fenner School, the Fenner Hall, the Fenner building in the ANU Medical School and there are Fenner bursaries. His contribution is evident almost everywhere you look.

Equally, the list of prizes he received spans the full length of his career and demonstrates just what an exceptional contribution he made. The Encyclopaedia of Australian Science lists no fewer than 19 major awards, in addition to the ACT Australian of the Year and the Prime Minister's Science Prize I mentioned earlier. The prizes include the Mueller Medal, received from the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, the ANZAC Peace Prize, World Health Organisation Medal, Japan Prize, Companion of the Order of Australia, the Copley Medal for the Royal Society, the Albert Einstein World Award for Science and the Clunies Ross Lifetime Contribution Award.

Professor Fenner was a Chairman of the World Health Organisation Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication. He once nominated 8 May 1990, when he announced the eradication to the World Health Assembly, as the proudest day of his life.

The other particularly notable achievement was, of course, the myxoma virus which drastically reduced the rabbit plague across Australia. In response to concerns about the safety of the virus, he famously injected himself with the myxoma virus to prove it did not affect humans.

Always modest, Professor Fenner once said that he was very lucky and so many things he was interested in fell into his lap. What he did with those opportunities, the achievements and outcomes from those opportunities certainly warrants the highest praise. His exceptional ability and dedication to all the tasks he applied himself to are well renowned.

In addition to his work on smallpox and myxomatosis, he was one of the first people to really look at the interaction between the human population and the environment and how each impacts on the other. He was critical of inaction on climate change and raised many serious questions about the long-term sustainability of current human activity.

I have no doubt that Professor Fenner will continue to be an inspiration to future generations of Australian scientists and that his legacy and all his work will continue to be valuable for many years to come. Cutting edge science will still refer back to the remarkable volume of work he produced.

Professor Fenner's passing has been described as the end of an era in virology. It is the end of a remarkable career. Professor Fenner was a great Australian and a great Canberran. We should all be very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime. We should also be very thankful for his amazing contribution. Humankind and the natural environment are certainly better off for all his efforts over so many years.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


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