By Allison Jess and Mikaela Ortolan

a man stands at a lectern and is giving a speech
Tim Fischer, a former deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader, would not have seen himself as a leader when younger.(Supplied: Fischer family. )

Judy Brewer, the wife of late parliamentarian Tim Fischer, said her husband would be pleased to be associated with a new grassroots leadership program to be unveiled next week in southern NSW.

Ms Brewer is a patron of the Fischer Community Leadership Program, which will be launched at one of Mr Fischer’s favourite places, the Albury Railway Station.

The program is being run through Albury Wodonga’s Community philanthropic foundation, Border Trust and will be delivered by Alpine Valley’s Community Leadership Program.

Program coordinator Mary Hoodless said this year’s inaugural Fischer Leadership Program would run as a pilot program from late May until September, with up to 20 participants and be based across Holbrook and Henty.

Ms Hoodless said the vision was to develop leadership skills and to create a group of community leaders who could make a real difference through collective action, embodying all that Mr Fischer was.

‘Would not see himself a leader’

Ms Brewer said her husband would be happy the Fischer name was linked to the program.

“For me, it’s a lovely legacy for Tim. I know he would feel very pleased to contribute his name to a grassroots leadership program in our local area that encourages and brings through new leaders,” she said.

“I think he would like the fact that the program is very much around rural and regional towns.”

Ms Brewer said her husband, a former deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader, would not have seen himself as a leader when younger.

“That kid from Boree Creek who was at times a bit different and a bit odd probably would never have seen himself as a leader, but he certainly became one,” she said.

“Leadership is not just the person that is loudest or the person who’s mostly known.

“One of the joys I have had in life is working on leadership programs with autistic adults, and autistic adults aren’t necessarily the loudest people in the room, in fact, communication is one of the things that autistic people do differently, and yet I have seen some of the greatest leaders I have ever worked with coming through those programs,” she said.

Judy Brewer and Tim Fischer at Albury Railway Station
Tim Fischer with his wife, Judy Brewer stand on a railway platform at the Albury Railway Station, 2019.(Australian Story: Ben Cheshire)

The program is supported by NSW Liberal Member for Albury Justin Clancy, who said it enabled and empowered community leaders.

“I believe that the strength of our community is based from within, and I also believe that all of us at various times are called to be a leader in various guises,” he said.

“I think a lot of the time we feel we want to contribute, but we are not sure how to. This program is about helping provide insights and skills to people passionate about community.”

Mr Clancy said it was apt the program honoured Mr Fischer.

“It was a natural fit to name the program after him. Tim Fischer embodies leadership and still means so much to so many people in our community,” he said.

‘Enormous shoes to fill’

Ms Hoodless said it was a very exciting program for new and emerging leaders or those who may already have existing leading roles within their community to enhance their skills and develop leadership so that they can make a difference in their communities,” she said.

“Tim Fischer was certainly one of our best leaders.

“He was an amazing leader both in his personal life and his public life, and it’s an absolute privilege for the Border Trust to take on the responsibility and get the funding to run this program.

“We certainly have some enormous shoes to fill and a great role model to lead us.”