Federal Politician - Dr Brendan Nelson MP
He is a former Federal Minister for Defence; and Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training. He is a general practitioner by training and also a former Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
Dr Nelson was also formerly a Cub Scout with the 1st Rocherlea Pack in Tasmania. He got his start in Scouting when his father said: “You’ll love it” and not surprisingly, he did!
The things Brendan enjoyed most about Scouting were friendships made, life skills, camps, and an ingredient fundamental to success in life, discipline. “I learned to respect others, teamwork, love of my country and the joy of bushcraft,” which no doubt helped him in his career paths as a GP, AMA President and Federal Government Minister.
He affectionately remembers his Cub Scout Leader as “Fatty Palmer”. Dr Nelson never attended a Jamboree as a Cub Scout but did so as the National Vice President of the Australian Medical Association in 1991.
As Defence Minister, he is particularly pleased with the existence and growing popularity of the Their Service Our Heritage Badge for youth and adult members that celebrates the spirit of ANZAC.
Dr Nelson is a graduate of Flinders University in South Australia, and at the age of 35 was the youngest doctor to ever be elected to the Federal Presidency of the Australian Medical Association, a position he held from 1993 to 1995. He had previously served as its Federal Vice President and Tasmanian Branch President.
In 1995 Dr Nelson was awarded the AMA’s highest honour – the Gold Medal for "distinguished service to medicine and humanity". He was further acknowledged in 1995 for his commitment to the medical profession and public health in particular, with an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is also a Sydney University John Lowenthal medallist and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Dr Nelson is married, has three children and his interests include music, motorcycles and tennis.
He has great words for parents and the wider community about the benefits Scouting offers young people: “It offers preparation for life in every sense of the word. If all young people joined Scouting it would be a better world.
“As parents we agonise over how to drug proof our kids and equip them with the resilience they will need for what life has in store. There can be no better way than Scouts”.
Thank you to the North Shore Times and Dr Brendan Nelson’s Ministerial Website for contributing to this story.