Sutherland honoured with OAM

NORANDA resident Michael Sutherland has been awarded an OAM in the Queens Honours list for services to local government and parliament.

Mr Sutherland has been involved in WA politics for more than 23 years and is best known for being the Liberal Mt Lawley MP from 2008-17 and Parliamentary Speaker from 2013-17.

His WA political career started in 1995 when he was elected to Perth council. He helped introduce the free CAT bus service in 1996 and went on to become deputy lord mayor.

During his 14 years at the City of Perth he helped foster links with international cities including Seocho-Korea, Nanjing-China and Taipei-Taiwan.

The South African ex-pat said when he was elected Speaker he strived to be “cosmopolitan” and make government a more welcoming place for international visitors and students.

“Having immigrated to Australia in 1987, I have found Australia to be a very welcoming country,” Mr Sutherland said.

“If newcomers try to become a part of the society they will succeed.

“Immigrants are given opportunities in Australia and should seize it with both hands.

“I encourage people to run for local councils or parliament, make a contribution and put something back into the community.”

Over the years he got under the skin of the political left, who thought he represented a brand of old-school conservatism that was antiquated and irrelevant.

But hidden beneath the political bluster there were progressive social views and he often went against the conservative party line.

While he was an MP he assisted various immigrant groups and fostered relations with overseas countries, prompting the Perth Convention Bureau to make him “a tourism ambassador”.

In 2009 Perth council made him a Freeman of the city.

Prior to immigrating to Australia, Mr Sutherland served on Johannesburg council from 1982-87.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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