Brian Gibson – Senator

Brian Gibson was the first, and only, graduate of the Victorian School of Forestry to be elected to Federal Parliament.

Brian commenced at VSF in 1954, following in the footsteps of both his father Kingsley (Ken) and an uncle, Colin, as students at the school.

After graduation in 1956 Brian worked for the Forests Commission and his postings included the Assessment Branch, Erica, Beechworth (1964), Education and Research where he first worked as a Biometrician, and then as a Senior Research Scientist.

Brian graduated with a B.Sc. For. from Melbourne University in 1961 and later in 1967 with a B.A.

In 1972, Brian was recruited by the Australian Newsprint Mills Ltd (ANM) at Boyer, in the Derwent Valley, of southern Tasmania, but did not take up the position immediately.

Rather, motivated by his concern for economic development and social justice, he fulfilled a personal commitment to work for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on a forestry project in Jamaica.

He also went to the Harvard Business School in Switzerland to study management.

A year later in 1973, Brian took up the role with ANM as Manager – Forests and Wood Supply and held various senior positions.

Brian also held the position of Chair of the Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania from 1989-93 and was President of the National Association of Forest Industries from 1987-91.

A member of the Liberal Party, Brian was elected to the Australian Senate in 1993 representing Tasmania.

Brian subsequently served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Peter Costello, losing the portfolio in October 1996. He was re-elected in 1998 but resigned from Parliament in 2002.

On leaving Parliament Gibson was described in valedictories as a courteous, mild mannered and measured person.

In June 1988 Brian was made a Member of the Order of Australia and received the Centenary Medal in 2000. He died from cancer on 15 August 2017 at the age of 80.

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