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Barry Jones


Barry Jones has been a politician, diplomat, public servant, high school teacher, television and radio performer, lawyer, university lecturer and quiz champion. He is also the author of books including Sleepers, Wake! and A Thinking Reed.

He was a Victorian MP for five years, a Federal MP for nearly 21 years, Minister for Science 1983-90, Australian representative at UNESCO  and the World Heritage Council in Paris 1991-96, and is the only person to have been elected to all four of Australia’s learned Academies. 

His books include Sleepers, Wake! (1982) — a best seller which ran into 27 impressions — an autobiography, A Thinking Reed (2006), and Dictionary of World Biography (revised 2013, ANU, online).

He led the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in Australia and was the first politician to raise the issue of climate change in 1984.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.