Australia lost a true giant with the death of Michael Finnane

Michael Finnane was a leader in every sense of the word – one of Australia’s best judges, a mentor to politicians and social justice advocates, a true friend of East Timor and Sri Lanka through their darkest days, and a staunch ally of the peoples of the Pacific. He was a generous and committed philanthropist, a great friend of the Edmund Rice Centre, and foundation supporter and mentor to ERC’s Pacific Calling Partnership.

The world has too few moral leaders, but Michael Finnane was one. There was no gap between the values he espoused and the way in which he lived his life.

A man of faith and practical action, Michael used his life to heal the broken, bring justice to oppressed people in Australia and the wider world, whilst at the same time helping others to believe that real change was possible.

His powerful life served to bend the long arc of history towards justice.

Michael had a generosity of spirit and an unerring moral compass that was a source of both wisdom and inspiration to those lucky enough to hear him speak, read his words, or sit at his feet.

Throughout it all he was accompanied by Jill, his wonderful wife and companion of many, many years. Together they were a mighty team. Michael was a proud father and grandfather and his legacy continues in his loving family, and in all the people whose lives he touched.

Quite simply, he ranks among the greatest Australians. In my long-held view, there never was a finer man born in this country than Michael Finnane.

Our love and condolences go to Jill and his children and grandchildren. May this giant of compassion, generosity and spirit, Rest in Peace.

We, and our nation, are the poorer for his passing, but we are so much the richer for having had him among us.

Vale Michael. Thank you for your magnificent life.”


Phil Glendenning AM

Emeritus Director,

Edmund Rice Centre

Donate Sign up Newsroom