Rev Tim Costello
Theme: Fighting for the Least and the Parameters of Discipleship
Biography (from 2016):
Rev Tim Costello AO is one of Australia’s best known community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. He has spearheaded public debates on problem gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse.
Since 2004, as Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, Tim has also been instrumental in ensuring that the challenges of global poverty are placed on the national agenda.
His passion for justice and for helping to alleviate the suffering of poor communities in the developing world quickly became evident when the devastating Asian tsunami struck on Boxing Day, 2004. The leadership he showed at the time helped to inspire an unprecedented outpouring of generosity from the Australian public, with World Vision Australia raising more than $100 million for tsunami relief.
Tim currently serves as Chair of the Community Council of Australia, the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce and the National Australia Bank’s Social Responsibility Advisory Council. He also chairs the Advisory Board of the Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University. He has also served on numerous boards, including the Alcohol Education and Research Foundation, the Australian National Development Index, Business for Millennium Development, the Australian Council for International Development and as co-chair of Make Poverty History. He is Patron of the Australian Geography Teachers Association.
Tim was a delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention and chaired the Communities and Families stream at the Australia 2020 summit held in 2008.
Prior to joining World Vision, Tim served as Minister at the Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne, and as Executive Director of Urban Seed, a Christian not-for-profit outreach service for the urban poor. Between 1999 and 2002 he was also National President of the Baptist Union of Australia.
After ordination as a Baptist Minister in 1984, Tim established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church between 1986 and 1994. In 1993, he was elected as Mayor of St Kilda. Tim studied economics, law and education at Monash University, followed by theology at the International Baptist Seminary in Rueschlikon, Switzerland. He also received a Masters Degree in Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity. He also holds Honorary Doctorates from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Technology Sydney.
In 2004, Tim was named Victorian of the Year; in June 2005 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO); and in 2006 was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year.
His books include Another Way to Love (co-edited with Rod Yule); Streets of Hope: Finding God in St Kilda; Tips from a Travelling Soul Searcher; and Wanna Bet? Winners and Losers in Gambling’s Luck Myth (co-written with Royce Millar). In 2012 Tim published Hope: Moments of Inspiration in a Challenging World. This collection of travel tales, anecdotes and reflections expresses Tim’s experience that hope and optimism are often found in the most unexpected places.
Tim is a passionate Essendon supporter. Tim and his wife Merridie have three adult children, Claire, Elliot and Martin.