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 was involved in performing arts, sport, leadership and, of course, the academic program.
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. He 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. He 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 David’s first speech in Parliament as a Senator, he 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. He also acknowledged the importance of family, whatever form that might take, in all our lives and to our society.