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The Honourable Cr Philip Ruddock

Mayor of Hornsby

Contact information

Contact information


Former Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs


Philip Maxwell Ruddock was elected Mayor of Hornsby on 9 September 2017, after serving as Australia’s Special Envoy for Human Rights February 2016 – October 2017 and a Member of the Australian Parliament September 1973 – May 2016.


Born on 12 March 1943 in Canberra, Philip Ruddock was educated at Barker College Hornsby and the University of Sydney with Degrees in Arts and Law and practised as a Solicitor from 1967 at the boutique Sydney commercial law firm Berne Murray & Tout where he became a Partner 1970 – 1973. In September 1973 Philip Ruddock was elected the Federal Liberal Member for Parramatta at a by-election following the resignation of the Hon Nigel Bowen QC. Following electoral redistributions Philip Ruddock became the only Federal Liberal Member for Dundas 1977 – 1993 and Federal Liberal Member for Berowra 1993- 2016.

Philip Ruddock served continuously in the federal ministry and cabinet during the Howard Government, as Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs March 1996 – October 2003, and then Attorney-General October 2003 – November 2007. He also served as Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation.

His key achievements as Immigration Minister included the re-calibration of Australia’s immigration program in favour of skilled migration, refugee/humanitarian resettlement programs in increased numbers from the former Yugoslavia, the Horn of Africa, Great Lakes and West Africa and the Middle East, the management of unauthorised boat arrivals, the negotiation of the China Visitor Program with Australia being the first country to introduce the Approved Destination Status tourist visa, the creation of the Living in Harmony program and the reform of Australian citizenship laws to enable Australian born citizens to hold dual citizenship.

As Attorney-General Philip Ruddock initiated and achieved defamation law reform through a national code (after being on the reform agenda since 1979), initiated Personal Property Securities Law reforms to create the national PPS code, implemented Family Law reforms through the establishment  of Family Relationship Centres and mandatory mediation procedures before legal proceedings involving children, championed Australia as a commercial arbitration centre overseeing the establishment of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) and the Australian Maritime and Transport Arbitration Commission (AMTAC) and championed the overseas expansion of Australian legal services through the former International Legal Services Advisory Committee (ILSAC) and negotiations in Free Trade Agreements.

In Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock oversaw the finalization of the Reconciliation Report and championed the Welcome to Country at the opening of Parliament (formerly adopted by the Rudd Government).

Prior to the election of the Howard Government in March 1996, Philip Ruddock held Shadow Ministerial portfolios for the ACT and assisting the Opposition Leader in Public Service Matters March 1983 – December 1984, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs December 1984 – September 1985 and May 1989 – April 1993, assisting the Opposition Leader on Ethnic Affairs April 1990 – April 1993, and Social Security April 1993 – March 1996. Under the Rudd/Gillard Governments he was Shadow Cabinet Secretary December 2009 – September 2013 and Chief Government Whip in the Abbott Government September 2013 – February 2015.

In terms of Parliamentary service Philip Ruddock was the second longest serving Member (after William Morris Hughes) since Federation and Father of the House 1998-2016. By the time of his retirement he was the last Member of Parliament from the Whitlam and Fraser periods of government. During those 42 years Philip Ruddock had served as a Deputy Chair of Committees September 1985 – May 1989, as a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs March 1974 – February 1983 (Chair from April 1976 - February 1983), and on a range of Committees including Joint Statutory Public Accounts (November 1985 – June 1989), Joint Standing Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (October 1987 – February 1990, March 2008 – May 2016), Legal and Constitutional Affairs (October 1987 – June 1989), Intelligence and Security (March 2008 – May 2016), Joint Standing Migration Committee (May 1993 – January 1996), Joint Standing Human Rights Committee (March 2015 – May 2016), Joint Select Committee: Aboriginal Land Rights in the Northern Territory (December 1976 – February 1977, March 1977 – August 1977), and Joint Select Committee on Family Law Act (October 1978 – August 1980, Chair).

Philip Ruddock was a foundation member (formerly Chair) of the Parliamentary Amnesty Group 1974 – 2016 and a foundation member (formerly Chair) of Australian Parliamentarians Against the Death Penalty. He was also a member of the Parliamentary UNICEF Association, the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, the Australia – China Parliamentary Friendship Group (formerly Chair) and multiple other Parliamentary Friendship Groups until May 2016.

In February 2016 Philip Ruddock announced his retirement from politics and was appointed Australia’s Special Envoy for Human Rights, a position he held until October 2017 when Australia successfully nominated for the first time for membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In relation to international interests, Philip Ruddock’s longstanding engagement in refugee issues involved numerous field trips with World Vision to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam between1985 – 1990 and more recently with the Save the Children Fund to Jordan in July 2013.

He has also been a member of the International Commission of Jurists and has participated in Lawyers Beyond Borders, Initiatives of Change (formerly Moral Re-Armament) and the Global Panel Foundation. He currently serves on the Global Action Panel Australasia Advisory Board.

He was appointed Chair of the Advisory Board of the Australia China Research Institute University of Technology Sydney in early 2017.

Philip Ruddock continues to maintain his engagement with many culturally diverse communities.

His election as Mayor of Hornsby completes in one sense a political journey that commenced when his Father Max (who became a State Member of Parliament and Minster in the Lewis/Willis Governments) was elected to Hornsby Council in the 1950s. As a 16 year old Philip Ruddock identified and pointed out to his Father that the planning laws prevented what is now the suburb of Westleigh from being rezoned as an industrial area.

Philip Ruddock is married to Heather who is also a lawyer by background and has worked for many years in the global professional services business Wolters Kluwer (formerly CCH). Their daughters Kirsty and Caitlin both studied law. Kirsty is a Solicitor and is Director of Compliance in the NSW Department of Environment and Planning. Caitlin who has a PhD in Financial Accounting is the Director of Corporate Affairs at the University of Technology Sydney. Both Philip and Heather are practising Anglicans and enjoy walking at least 10 kilometres daily, including the occasional bush walk.