Barry Jones

The Honorable Barry Jones

  • Post Nominals: AC, FAA, FAHA, FASSA, FTSE
  • Fellow Type: Honorary Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 1993


The Hon Barry Jones, AC, was the first (and so far the only) person elected as Fellow of four of Australia’s five  learned academies. A Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly (MLA)1972-77, resigning to enter federal politics. In 1977.  A Member of the  House of Representatives 1977-98, he was Minister for Science 1983-90, preserved CSIRO, established the Australia (now Prime Minister’s) Prize and the Commission for the Future, and promoted Questacon. He led the campaign to abolish the death penalty, and was the first Australian politician to campaign on action to combat climate change, to recognise the impact of the Information Revolution and genetic engineering and to preserv Antarctica.  National President of the ALP 1992-2000; 2005-06, Jones was the chief architect of the Knowledge Nation project, as chair of the Chifley Research Centre’s Knowledge Nation Taskforce. Her served on  the Council of the National Library of Australia 1996-98. Deputy Chair, Australian Constitutional Convention on a Republic 1997-98, he chaired the Port Arthur Site Management Authority (PASHMA) 2000-04; 2005-12.

He was a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO in Paris 1991-95 and Vice-President of the World Heritage Committee 1995-96. Awarded a Doctor of Letters by the University of Technology, Sydney, he holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Wollongong (DLitt), Macquarie (DSc), Melbourne (LLD), Australian National University (DLitt) and from Southern Cross, Deakin, Griffith and Victoria. In 1999 he was elected a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge and an adjunct professor at Monash University. He became a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne 2005-07 and Professorial Fellow 2007-   . He is also a Fellow of the Royal Societies of New South Wales and Victoria, the Australian College of Educators (FACE) and the Royal Society of Arts, London. He was appointed a ‘Living National Treasure’ in 1997 and an AC in 2014.

His fourteen books include The Penalty is Death (as editor, 1967, revised and expanded 2022). Sleepers, Wake! Technology and the Future of Work  (1982) became an international best seller. His autobiography, A Thinking Reed, was published in 2006, The Shock of Recognition, about music and literature, in 2016 and  What Is To Be Done in 2020. His monumental Dictionary of World Biography (9th edition 2022) is available in print and on line from ANUPress.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.