An internationally renowned health economist bludgeoned to death with his academic partner in Tasmania is being remembered as a champion of social justice.
Professor Gavin Mooney and Dr Delys Weston were allegedly attacked with hammers by Dr Weston’s 27-year-old son at their remote rural property south of Hobart on Wednesday night.
The highly respected scholar had been Professor of Health Economics and Director of the Social and Public Health Economics Research Group at Western Australia’s Curtin University from 2000 until his retirement in 2008.
He held honorary positions at the University of Sydney and the University of Cape Town, visiting positions at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of New South Wales and was an Honorary Associate at the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart.
Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association chief executive Prue Power said Professor Mooney had a passion for indigenous health and for citizens’ juries, which allow communities to make their own decisions on how funding should be spent.
“Gavin was a health economist who saw beyond the dollars and cents to the real life impact of illness and disability on both individuals and our society as a whole,” Ms Power said in a statement.
“His commitment to (citizens’ juries) and his generous spirit prompted him to make his book on this subject available without cost to ensure that it was accessible to everyone in the health sector.”
Ms Power said Professor Mooney had been working on a project with AHHA.
“In countries as diverse as South Africa and Finland, as well as in Australia, his contribution to improving the health and well-being of our communities will be sadly missed,” she said.
Curtin vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket said Professor Mooney’s 40 years in health economics had made him world renowned.
“Gavin’s colleagues will remember him as a brilliant academic who wanted to make a difference,” Professor Hacket said.
“Gavin was internationally acclaimed ... as one of the founding fathers of health economics.”
University of Tasmania provost Professor David Rich said staff at the Menzies centre had been shocked by the deaths.
“The academic community is deeply saddened by this news,” he said.
Dr Weston had been a visiting scholar at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania in the School of Geography and Environmental Science.
She had completed a PhD on the political economy of global warming.
The couple moved from Western Australia to Mountain River, 30km from Hobart, about a year ago.
Dr Weston’s son Nicholau Francisco Soares had reportedly been visiting from WA and staying with the couple.
He has been charged with two counts of murder and did not enter a plea when he appeared in court on Thursday.
Police have appealed for more information about Mr Soares and his recent movements.