The inaugural Michael O'Dea Oration

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 7-7-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The Michael O’Dea Oration was instituted on Wednesday evening, 6th July, at the Sydney Campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia in honour of Michael O’Dea and his service to the professions. Mr. O’Dea, a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court of Australia and a Notary Public has served on a significant number of community organisations including St Vincent de Paul Society, Christian Brothers Provincial Advisory and St Margaret’s Hospital, to name but a few. He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992 and awarded a Papal Knighthood in 2008.

Following the celebration of Mass, Chancellor Terry Tobin, in his introduction of Professor Finnis to give the Inaugural Michael O’Dea Oration said that “tonight’s lecture marks the University’s commitment to the promotion of values which are those of a profession and not a bare occupation. Michael O’Dea has been an exemplar of those values both within the law and the community.”

“The Hebrew words for justice and mercy share a common linguistic root. They reciprocate, they temper and shape each other, they find expression in the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels, they remind us of our duty of common humanity: to act justly, to help the sick, to proclaim liberty to the captive and to set the down-trodden free”. Chancellor Tobin went on to state that “these are ideals which Michael has lived out and which in their varied ways all professionals must, if they are true to their callings.”

The Inaugural 2011 Michael O’Dea Oration was delivered by eminent philosopher of law John Finnis, upon conferral of the degree of Doctor of Laws honours causa.

Media Contact: Patrick Collins 02 82044409