The National AHA Awards provides an opportunity for the National Executive, the Board and in fact the entire AHA family to recognise and honour one amongst us who has provided exceptional service to their community, the AHA and/or the Australian licensed hospitality industry.
The past awardees of the AHA/Diageo Johnny Walker Hall of Fame have included the leaders, heroes and champions of our great industry.
Men, women and families who, whilst pursuing their own commercial objectives, have significantly contributed to the advancement of our industry and our Association.
Such is the increasingly complex, demanding and somewhat controversial environment that the hotel & pub industry has operated in over the last 20 or so years, that in considering those who have made and are continuing to make an outstanding contribution, we must also look beyond those who operate pubs & hotels and/or those who are directly involved in the service of the AHA.
I doubt that tonight’s awardee has ever served a customer from behind the bar, nor do they sit at an AHA Branch or National Board table.
Rather they work in that challenging, ever changing and often murky political world where our industry, in fact the entire Australian alcohol industry, is always under challenge from those who seek to tell other’s how to live their lives and to erode the free will, independence and personal responsibility of the Australian community.
Tonight’s awardee has spent almost 30 years in the service of the Australian licensed hospitality industry.
He has been unrelenting in his political advocacy to Government at a National level to protect and advance the alcohol industry to the advantage of all the commercial participants.
He was the first to lead the attack in the early 1990’s on those who fabricated and dramatically exaggerated the alleged cost of alcohol abuse to the Australian community and has been ever present in the halls of the Commonwealth Parliament in his defence of the industry up to the present day.
As a key industry thought-leader, he was a member of a small industry group who conceived the idea of the establishment of DrinkWise as an industry funded, but community-led initiative to promote evidence-based initiatives to address the abuse of alcohol.
To some in this room he may be unknown; however there is no Australian Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister nor relevant member of Parliament in the last 30 years who does not respect him and have reasonable regard to his views , whether accepting them or not.
Whilst representing a specific sector of the alcohol industry, his efforts and successes continue to advantage all who operate in the Australian hotel and pub business and the licensed hospitality industry.
He is “old school” relationships and trust matter above all, advocacy must be evidence-based and there is nothing that cannot be successfully negotiated over a long lunch!
Tonight’s awardee is truly a leviathan of the Australian licensed hospitality industry.
Ladies & gentlemen – Gordon Broderick