Our Princes Men Gallery Induction – Senator David Fawcett

Pictured from left to right: Bill Riceman, Geoffrey Bean, David Fawcett, Bradley Fenner, Don Millard and John Keeves.

Prince Alfred College inducted Old Scholar David Fawcett, into Our Princes Men Gallery on Thursday 15 August 2019. The Princes Men Gallery is in honour of our Old Scholars who have achieved distinction in their respective fields.

David Fawcett commenced at PAC in 1975 and following his final year in 1981 he entered the Royal Military College Duntroon in Canberra, graduating as an Army Officer in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science and was posted to the Aviation Corps.

David’s career has spanned several decades and together with his extensive experience in aviation and tertiary degrees in Science and Business Administration, his appointments now include Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and Assistant Minister for Defence in the 45th parliament.

David gave a compelling speech to our boys and talked of the importance of building and defining our own personal character, which becomes the foundation for building relationships and success in the future.

David’s career is both extensive and impressive and was expressed in detail by PAC Headmaster Bradley Fenner, at Our Princes Man Gallery Induction.We invite you to learn more of David’s commendable achievements, by reading the speech given by the Headmaster.

“As you know, it is our practice to induct an Old Scholar into our Princes Men Gallery each term. In this way we honour Old Scholars who have achieved distinction in their respective fields. And we also gain the benefit of hearing something of their story and what messages they might want to give us.

Each term we recognise someone who has achieved distinction in a different field, which indicates the range of pathways undertaken by Princes Men. Today’s induction is significant in that it recognises someone who has given great service to this Nation in two separate fields.

David Fawcett commenced as a Year 6 Boarder at Prince Alfred College in 1975, having returned from Thailand where his father was working with the Colombo Plan.  During his time at PAC, David did all the things that Princes Men do.  He was involved in performing arts, sport, leadership and of course the academic program.

In his final year at school, 1981, David was Deputy House Captain of Blacket House. David excelled in soccer, as a member of our 1st team. Although they lost the Intercol soccer that year, they were far from disgraced and were highly competitive.

After matriculation in 1981, David entered the Royal Military College Duntroon in Canberra, graduating as an Army Officer in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science and was posted to the Aviation Corps. David went on to serve in the Australian Defence Force for over 22 years, flying both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

David was the Senior Flying Instructor at the School of Army Aviation in Queensland.  Graduating as an experimental test pilot from the Empire Test Pilot School in the UK in 1993, he finished his full-time defence service in 2004 as the Commanding Officer of Australia’s Flight Test Centre.

David then sought a change in career and was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Wakefield, South Australia, in 2004, serving in Parliament until 2007. David then continued to fly as a test pilot and ran a small business working in the defence and aviation sectors.

However, he was not done with politics and was elected to the Senate in 2010 and again in 2016, representing South Australia. In the 45th Parliament, David was sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Defence and served in this role until the 2019 federal election.

David’s experience in aviation has helped to facilitate change in Australia’s aviation policy and approach to aviation safety regulation. With tertiary qualifications in Science and Business Administration, he provides an evidence-based approach to policy development and oversight with a focus on outcomes that are in the national interest.

David is a strong advocate for a more effective and efficient national Defence Force, including the development of a sustainable defence industry. His appointments include Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, being a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and Assistant Minister for Defence in the 45th parliament.

As Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in the 44th Parliament, he led an enquiry into the educational and professional standards of the financial advice industry. This work has played a major part in legislative and industry-led reforms in the finance sector.

In reading David’s first speech in Parliament as a Senator, a few key messages shone through.  David quoted from the Bible: “Of those to whom much is given, much will be expected” and he made it clear that, as a fortunate Australian, he knew that he must give back.  He declared himself a loyal and proud Australian, but also a realist who recognised that “We can do better” and he committed himself to making a difference. He noted we must be prepared to innovate and to fix problems, to ensure, in a memorable phrase that David used as a former experimental test pilot, that we have one landing for every take-off. And he also acknowledged the importance of family, whatever form that might take, in all our lives and to our society.

In pursuing a career, and life, of service to our nation, David has indeed demonstrated consistently the highest qualities of the Princes Man.

Bradley Fenner
Headmaster Prince Alfred College