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Former Burnet Institute Chair Alastair Lucas AO and his exemplary contribution to Australian life have been acknowledged and honoured at a Tribute Service in Melbourne.
Federal Health Minister, The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Federal Opposition Leader, The Hon Bill Shorten MP, and Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC were among the 12 speakers at the service at Federation Square attended by more than 350 of Mr Lucas’ friends, family and colleagues.
Burnet Chair from 2002-2014, Mr Lucas died peacefully last month, aged 63, from a brain tumour.
IMAGE: A section of the gathering at the service at Deakin Edge, Federation Square
Businessman and philanthropist Simon McKeon AO told the service of Mr Lucas’ commitment to mentorship; Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM focused on his work to redress gender imbalance; and businessman Keith Tuffley spoke of his single-minded quest to stop the cull of dolphins in Japan.
English actor and writer Stephen Fry contributed a letter recounting his work alongside Mr Lucas on behalf of Flora and Fauna International to reintegrate four endangered white rhinoceros into the wilds of East Africa.
Professor Crabb told of a meeting early last year, before the cancer diagnosis, where he told Mr Lucas that he believed his best years were ahead of him.
“He’d been at the helm (of Burnet) for 12 years, but I felt he was just entering his prime,” Professor Crabb said.
IMAGE: Professor Brendan Crabb AC addresses the service.
“He was just about to turn 62, and I thought he was so smart, connected, passionate, wise, and that with a bit more time and a few dollars in his pocket, his main contributions both to our own organisation and to the community more widely, lay ahead.
“For all his contributions, it leaves us with a gaping hole and, Alastair would say, ‘with a challenge’.”
“We can best serve Alastair by redoubling our own efforts to create a better Australia and a better world, especially through helping those who need it most and through the application of science, in all its forms.”
Mr Lucas’ partner, Louise Steinfort announced the establishment of the Alastair Lucas Endowment Fund, made possible thanks to generous contributions from Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Group who had strong ties to Mr Lucas.
IMAGE: The front row at the service including (far right) Federal Health Minister The Hon Sussan Ley MP and (second from right) Federal Opposition Leader, The Hon Bill Shorten MP
The fund will support in perpetuity the Alastair Lucas Prize for Medical Research into diseases affecting poor and disadvantaged communities.
In a career spanning two decades with Macquarie Bank, Mr Lucas distinguished himself as one of Australia’s most experienced corporate advisors, culminating in his appointment as Chairman, Investment Banking.
In 2004 he was appointed co-Chairman, Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Lucas was founding Chairman of the Medical Research Future Fund Action Group and co-founder and Chairman of cord blood and tissue bank, Cell Care Australia.
IMAGE: Alastair Lucas' brother Dr Andrew Lucas addresses the service
He was a board member at Research Australia and helped to develop the Medical Research Foundation to engage Australians in philanthropy.
In recent years Mr Lucas was active in animal welfare through Australia for Dolphins, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, and Animals Australia, and Flora and Fauna International.
Mr Lucas was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his outstanding contribution to medical research and international health, animal welfare, philanthropy and the business community.