In the 2019 Queens Birthday Awards, John received an AM (Member of the Order of Australia); ‘For significant service to people with polio.’ This followed on from 2012 Australia Day Awards, where John received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM); ‘For service to the Parliament of Australia, to education, and to the community.’
John Tierney gave 14 years of distinguished service to the Australian Parliament, where he served as a Federal Senator from 1991 to 2005. During his time in Parliament, he was a member of the Coalition Executive and served as a Shadow Assistant Minister for Communication, IT and the Arts. John also chaired a number of Senate Standing and Select Committees and Parliamentary Party committees over a range of portfolio areas. During this time he took a passionate interest in the area of disability, having contracted Polio at birth, and was a special parliamentary adviser to the Minister for Community Services on disability matters.
Whilst in the Senate, he served on the Council of the National Library of Australia for 13 years & the Council of the Australian National University for four years. In the early part of this century, Senator Tierney also led Australian Parliamentary delegations to South Africa, Nigeria, The European Union and the United Nations in New York where he addressed the General Assembly of the UN in 2004.
Prior to entering the Senate, Dr. Tierney was Senior Lecturer in Education and Course Director at the University of Newcastle. He was also Chairman & Patron of St Phillips Christian College in Newcastle. John holds the degrees of PhD, MEd & BEc from the Universities of Sydney and Newcastle. John has undertaken pro bono government advisory work for Lifeline Australia, National Patron (2005-11) & Polio Australia, National Patron since 2010 and National President (2012-17). John was made a Polio Australia Life Fellow in 2019.
John and Pam have been married for 51 years and live in Newcastle East. They have six children and eight grandchildren – so far.