David CharlesDavid E Charles (Class of 1964) began his career at Channel 9 as a 16-year-old ‘office boy’, before progressing in his career to become a leading drama Director. Working alongside entertainment industry icons, Graham Kennedy and Tony Charlton, David flourished under the pressure of the behind-the-scenes action that brought the Golden Era to households around the country. David produced many sporting television shows, including ‘The Football Show’, as well as ‘In Melbourne Tonight’ with Graham Kennedy.
Following his time at Channel 9, David went on to work at Crawford Productions. In the early 1980s, there lay a ‘fork in the road’, and David had to choose between heading to Hollywood to further pursue his career in entertainment, or to enter Australian National Politics. He chose politics, and was soon after elected Federal Member for Isaacs on 18 October, 1980, the first past pupil to have been elected to Federal Politics.
David was appointed as Chairman of the Hawke government’s ‘Foreign Affairs, Trade & Defence Committee’. He was also a member of the Parliament’s ‘Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Committee’ and chaired several major reports to the Parliament, including ‘Disarmament and Arms Control in the Nuclear Age’. Among many submissions to the committee, David met with senior officials from the United States and the Soviet Union. According to David, those meetings were “very, very interesting”.
The second major report was ‘Australia’s Relations with the South Pacific’. This report became the Bible for South Pacific nations and their relations with Australia for many years. This report involved travelling in an RAAF plane for several weeks around the Pacific Nations, meeting with Prime Ministers and other senior ministers. One important meeting was with the then Leader of Fiji, Major General Rabuka, who led the military coup that ousted the elected Fijian government in the 1980’s.
On leaving Parliament, Prime Minister Bob Hawke appointed David as the Australian Consul General at San Francisco. David served there from 1990 to 1993. During his time in San Francisco David met many political and commercial people important to Australia, including a young Bill Clinton who was to become President of the United States 12 months later.
When reflecting on his time at Salesian, David recalls the Salesian ethos of being a good person and Christian as being a key set of values he has endeavoured to stay true to throughout his life.
“It is this ethos that has been fundamental to my development, and I thank the Salesians for that.”
Hall Of Fame Inductee - Australian Politics and Television Industry
Griffin Summer 2017
The Golden Era
Charles Right For Cabinet: PM