Former politician, farmer, author, and recently retired director of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation John Hyde has been awarded the Order of Australia (General Division) OAM (Medal of the Order) for service to the community through a range of roles.
Mr. Hyde has left a mark on Australian policy and thinking that will continue to positively impact future generations. His intellectual rigour saw him challenging existing economic policies, and paved the way for far reaching reforms to Australia’s economic settings.
Born and raised in the Wheatbelt in Western Australia, Mr. Hyde spent his early career as a successful sheep and wheat farmer in the Dalwallinu area. In 1974, after losing his arm in a farming accident he ran for Parliament becoming the Federal Member for Moore. In Parliament he championed free trade, fighting monopolies and calling out rent seekers and protected industries. He was often at odds with his party colleagues but fervently believed that good policy should transcend party lines.
Following his time in Parliament, Mr. Hyde has continued to make a difference in Australian policy. He is a prolific writer having had over 720 articles published as well as the influential book, Dry: In Defence of Economic Freedom. Many of his economic ideas, rejected by his own party, influenced the Hawke/Keating Labor Government, and led to a golden age in Australia’s economic growth and maturity.
In 1997 he joined the newly founded Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a Perth-based think tank which publishes original research and has trained and sponsored more than 2,000 young students to internships and conferences across the globe.
Mr. Hyde served as a director at Mannkal for 21 years where he helped support high-achieving WA students to attend conferences, participate in study tours and connect with industry both domestically and internationally.
These opportunities allow these students to appreciate the role of property rights, common law, free markets and limited government in fostering economic growth and human dignity.
Mr Hyde said he is honoured and humbled by this recognition.
“I have no doubt received the award for my contribution to the general understanding of what is necessary to preserve our liberal democratic nation. In that campaign I was one of a thousand or more and no more deserving than most others.
“We have had some success. In spite of many of what I have believed to have been errors, Australia today is surely among the very best of nations.”
As a member of the silent generation Mr. Hyde lived through some of the darkest times seen in the Western World and so can reflect on Australian policy and culture in light of that history.
“I am just old enough to have been led by circumstance to consider how and why a relatively liberal society collapsed into Nazism. I learned that Germans were not inferior people, and that civil society is fragile. I joined the company of others who knew the same and who, like me, associated freedom with efficiency and justice.
“Now these liberals, often associated with thoughtful organisations such as Mannkal, are nearly all less than half my age. I wish them luck in the confidence that they will make a better job of the struggle than did my own generation.”
Long-time friend, colleague and founder of the Mannkal Foundation, Ron Manners AO, described John Hyde as Mannkal’s valued advisor, “When John speaks; we always take notice”.
“John’s work will always remain relevant because smart economic policy and prioritising freedom will always be indispensable to the Australian public.
“I can think of few people as deserving of this award as John. He is a giant of Australian policy making, who not only has had a significant impact on my life as a friend but also on the lives of many young Australians through his work, philanthropy, and mentorship.”
In 2018, Mr. Hyde’s contributions were celebrated at a tribute dinner hosted by Mannkal.