Tom Roper

Click on an image for a larger view

After my one interesting, and unsuccessful year I improved at Hunter's Hill. I can always remember the Head telling my mother that I was really a nice boy and should stay - fortunately for me ignored. It was always good seeing the surprise on old 57's when I turned up as captain of the debating team.

I then went to Sydney to do Arts/Law but enjoyed History so much did honours instead. I spent a great deal of my time involved in the anti - Vietnam movement, Aboriginal Affairs, the SRC etc.. The Rugby League Club provided a different slant, as did being their rep on the Newtown Junior Leagues and chairman of their judiciary committee - tough, pre trendy.

In 1967 I deferred a post grad scholarship and went to Melbourne for 6 months to be National Aboriginal Director of NUAUS. I didn't ever get back to Sydney despite an offer from Macquarie. Three years at NUAUS, incl. Education were followed by the start of a Ph.D. at Latrobe. The project was completed, as were the books and the journalism but not the thesis. Married Marilyn, two great daughters Annabelle and Bronwen - divorced 1990.

In a fit of absence of mind ran for preselection for a marginal seat and spent the next 21 years in the Victorian Parliament - the first 9 years in Opposition, the next 10 in Cabinet and then the last 1 and a half in combating Jeff. I wouldn't have had this joy if as Treasurer I hadn't wanted to be seen deserting the sinking ship - a preselection unnecessary when Joan Kirner sacked me for saying no to an escalating series of financially interesting proposals.

I had my share of the fun portfolios Health, Transport, Treasury and Planning and Environment as well as part timers Consumer Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs (twice), Post Secondary Education and Employment and Gaming. Running the Parliamentary program kept me awake at nights.

Retirement is marvelous. I have spent time on a number of Government and Private Boards and offering non gratuitous advice to universities and various clients. My main interest is the Washington DC based Climate Institute and its Small Islands project. So far this year , for work of course, I have visited St..Lucia, Grenada and the Maldives. Standing on the coast of the Maldives - highest point 4 metres above sea level - is a reminder that sea level rise is not merely an academic problem.

My wife since 1991, Anita, has been seconded first to Ottawa, now to London and the travel and experience has been a life's highlight. Email etc. and, despite NY, air travel mean that you can live almost anywhere. Fortunately I can time Australian meetings to fit in with major Melbourne cultural events such as the Cup and football finals and regularly see my daughters. It is worthwhile using the honorific - when the Poms see The Hon. they are not sure which Lord is my father.

Formal Bio

The Hon. Tom Roper currently lives in Melbourne after eleven years overseas – Ottawa, London, New York - and has been involved in environmental policy at all levels – local to international.

Since his retirement, after 21 years in the Victorian Parliament (Australia), he has been an active Board Member of the Washington DC based Climate Institute, Global Urban Development and Greenfleet (Australia), an advisor to government, business and NGO’s on sustainability issues and an Honorary Life Member of the Metropolis Association. He provides briefings on climate change developments and green building issues for the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Building Commission.

He is the Project Director of the Global Sustainable Energy Islands Initiative which provides assistance to Small Island States seeking to introduce renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

During his ten years as a senior Government Minister his portfolios included Treasury, Planning and Environment, Health, Transport, Aboriginal Affairs, and Employment and Higher Education. He was the Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Assembly.

He has recently been appointed a Senior Fellow of Melbourne University’s Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society and is the Chair of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council.