CHOICE joins the family and friends of John Wood in mourning his passing after a long period of illness.
John was a passionate consumer rights advocate and served on the CHOICE board for 13 years, retiring as a councillor in 2007.
Starting out, John was an architect with a concern for social justice. He later became a public servant at the Department of Urban and Regional Development, working to make cities better for those who were less well-off.
During his tenure as a public servant, he worked as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Consumer Affairs for 10 years (1984–1994), and successfully made the argument to government for a full-time Trade Practices Commissioner from a consumer movement background to be instated.
Consumers in Australia and internationally are much better off for many of the contributions John made throughout his life. He played an instrumental role in progressing consumer interests, such as the introduction of a power to order a mandatory recall of hazardous products, major amendments – particularly with regard to consumer protection provisions – to the Trade Practices Act in 1986 (now Australian Consumer Law), the establishment of the first banking industry Ombudsman and the subsequent development of external dispute resolution for many industries.
He was also pivotal in the acceptance of the principle that any Commonwealth body advising on policy or regulation that was relevant to consumers should have consumer representation. John served on a number of Standards Committees, and had a particular interest in dumping and substandard products in the Pacific region.
In recognition of his significant service to the community as a consumer rights and complaints handling advocate and adviser, John was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014.