Alumni profile

Geoff Walsh AO

Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), 1974

Career spanning politics, government, the media and business

Geoff Walsh AO has built an impressive and dynamic career spanning politics, government, the media and business. He continues to serve on a number of boards. 

Geoff holds a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) from La Trobe, and is a member of the Class of 1974.

After some time spent in journalism working for publications including the Herald Sun, The Age and The Financial Review, Geoff says he wanted to enforce positive change.

"I was curious about what went on the other side of the desk and wanted to be a part of a government that got some things done that were necessary," Geoff said.

His career achievements also include diplomacy. He has served at the International Labour Organisation in the United Nations Office in Geneva and as the Australian Consul-General to Hong Kong. 

During his time in Hong Kong, the country was reverting to China's sovereignty.

"Representing a country’s interests in Hong Kong at that time ... Australia did have a number of significant issues that it wanted to press its view about and that was a big part of the job," he said. 

Geoff was National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party (2000-2003) and a Senior Adviser to Australian Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. He served as Chief of Staff to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and held a senior advisory position for Victorian Premier John Brumby.

Geoff continues to be on the Board of Obesity Australia and has also served on the Boards of Andrology Australia and the Western Bulldogs Football Club and on the Council of La Trobe University.

In June 2005, Geoff was awarded an AO in the Order of Australia for service to politics, tertiary education and promoting closer ties between Australia and Hong Kong.

Contributing to Geoff's decision to further his education at La Trobe was his "fascination with the new."

“It had the bush setting, so it was a pleasant environment physically and obviously a pretty stimulating one in terms of academic and student life," he said. 

La Trobe was a pretty exciting place. It was a challenging place. It was where I really learnt to question, to probe and to look for answers.

Geoff's time at the University is defined by a number of important social issues that he evidently became quite involved in.

“The Springbok tour happened in 1971 (and) many of us were arrested during that," he said.

"The Vietnam War was still going on [and] there was still conscription. It was the very early days of the rise of feminism. So there was a lot going on across a very wide front."

Above all, the relationships that Geoff made in his time at La Trobe have stuck with him throughout his life.

“Many of the friends that I’ve had from my lifetime I made at university," he said.

"There’s a fraternity amongst La Trobe graduates. We sort of recognise each other and keep an eye out for each other. It’s a nice band of brothers and sisters."

Distinguished Arts, social sciences and communications

Last updated: 8th May 2019