Former NSW premier John Fahey, who helped bring the Olympics to Sydney dies
Former NSW Liberal premier John Fahey, one of the key figures in bringing the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has died on Saturday aged 75. The 20th anniversary of the Games will be marked next week.
Mr Fahey played a important role in Sydney's bid to host the Olympics in 2000 during his time as state premier between 1992 and 1995 and later moved into Federal Parliament, where he served as finance minister in John Howard's government before retiring from politics in 2001 due to ill health.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the news on Saturday morning, saying: "His contribution to the state and nation will leave a lasting legacy.
"He has always been a wonderful role model to generations of Liberals," Ms Berejiklian added.
Mr Fahey drew fame for his enthusiastic leap in the air when Sydney secured the 2000 Olympic Games and for thwarting an attack on Prince Charles when a university student fired blanks from a starting pistol during an Australia Day ceremony at Sydney’s Darling Harbour in 1994.
He helped drive major reforms for NSW, both as premier and as a senior member of the Greiner Government, including the introduction of the Disability Services Act, the NSW Senior’s Card and the first NSW Minister for the Status of Women.
As Minister for Industrial Relations, he also led a major overhaul of NSW’s Industrial Relations system.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the moment when Mr Fahey leapt to his feet after securing the Olympics, "seemed to be embodying the shared joy of every Australian".
He said the Olympics led Australia out of the 1990s recession and gave the nation "hope and belief".
"In his day, John was not your typical Liberal. A Catholic, rugby league player and smoker from south-west Sydney," he said.
"As a Liberal he broadened our outlook and connected us with an ever-widening aspirational population.
"John's was truly an Australian story of his generation. He gave more than he received. His cheery and cheeky smile was what left his impression on you, long after the topic or issue had passed."
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Fahey was a "very decent, humble" Australian.
"He was someone who dealt with you with respect, even though you were on the opposite side of politics," he said.
"He was well regarded by everyone. I don't think he had an enemy in the national parliament, and that says a lot about his character."
Ms Berejiklian expressed her condolences to Mr Fahey's wife, Colleen, and their children, Melanie and Matthew, and grandchildren, Amber and Campbell.
The NSW Government will hold a state memorial service.