The panel of high calibre speakers included former National Chair of the Australian Republican Movement and well‐known barrister and human rights advocate, Greg Barns (1979); elite sports psychologist working with the Carlton Football Club, Anthony Klarica (1984) and Hawthorn’s Most Improved Player (2008) and Best Clubman (2010) and more recently Gold Coast Suns defender, Tom Murphy (2003).
Drawing on a range of personal experience the panel, under the slick moderation of College Deputy Principal Tom Ryan, canvassed issues encompassing balancing stress, dealing with disappointment and juggling successful careers with life and family.
The panel were unanimous in their acknowledgement of the College as a formative influence on their careers and their personal success.
Barns, whose brother Gerard teaches at the College, attributed his deep sense of service to the College. “I have always had a deep sense of service which I learned at the College,” he said.
Barns drew on his experiences in politics, law and the republican movement. Graduating from Arts and Law from Monash University he practices at the Bar in Tasmania and Victoria. He has worked for a number of federal and state premiers and ministers and in 1999 ran the Republic Referendum campaign with now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In 2000 he became the National Chair of the Australian Republican Movement.
Barns has always been an outspoken advocate for the human and civil rights and has occupied a number of positions including the National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance and a legal adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He is a passionate advocate for asylum seekers and is a weekly columnist with The Hobart Mercury as well as a contributor to a number of other national and international publications and media outlets. “There are great lessons to be learned from working with asylum seekers and prisoners and the like,” says Barns. He has long represented the rights of young offenders and has been critical of Australia’s drug laws. “I hope I have helped young people such as young offenders who are at a crossroads move in a positive direction,” he told guests.
Having been through difficult times himself Barns spoke frankly about balancing the pressure of work and a personal life. He is now an ambassador for Beyond Blue.
Anthony Klarica has worked his whole life helping people achieve their personal best. He runs Elite Performance, which specialises in maximising sport performance. Anthony, who has worked with top athletes in many sports from Olympic Games to AFL and V8 Supercars, said excellence and success requires sheer hard work. “Successful people all have three things in common,” he said. “Clear goals, a good mentor and a lot of hard work.” Klarica recently moved from AFL Team Hawthorn, where was a consultant for eight years, to Carlton Football Club.
Achieving success is also something that Tom Murphy knows a lot about. Tom was selected as the 21st pick in the 2004 AFL Draft and spent eight years with Hawthorn, winning Hawthorn’s Most Improved Player award in 2008 and voted Best Clubman in 2010. From 2012 to 2014 Tom played for the Gold Coast Suns, playing 18 games with them and taking his career games tally to 113, including nine finals games.
Tom shared his experiences of dealing with disappointment in his career when he spoke about being dropped from the 2012 Hawthorn Grand final side. “That time was tough and I had to work through the disappointment of that decision.”
“When you’re at a strong club, there’s pressure for spots – at the end of the day, it’s our job – we’re footballers, and we’ve just got to do our job.” At the time Murphy was praised for his professionalism and resilience. Murphy retired from AFL at the end of the 2014 season and now puts his talents into working for Melbourne based industrial real estate firm, CBRE.