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Charles LeMaistre

Charles Le Maistre was a champion for Australian Standards on the world stage. He was Instrumental in the harmonisation of standards between Standards Australia, and affiliate associations globally. Mr LeMaistre was the Secretary of the former British Engineering Standards Association, an electrical engineer and played a key role in early international standardisation.

Known as the “the deus ex machina of international standardisation”1, Charles LeMaistre was the first General Secretary of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)—a position he held until 1953.  

Before holding this title  Mr LeMaistre played a key role in early international standardisation, promoting ideals of balanced, consensus-based standardisation processes. He was also closely involved in the formation of Britain’s first national voluntary standardisation body, the British Engineering Standards Association, known today as the British Standards Institution (BSI).  

In the early 1930s, Standards Australia found a champion in Mr LeMaistre with his advocacy for overall harmonisation of standards globally.  

Mr LeMaistre toured the dominions in pursuit to encourage the alignment of standards to aid imperial trade. This venture converged with Standards Australia’s vision at the time—that more strongly imperial standards could be asserted within the Australian economy  

Mr LeMaistre visited Australia between December 1931 to February 1932, sharing his knowledge of international standards with Standards Australia and introducing them to the practice of teleconferencing. This meant Australia could communicate easily with other nations about aligning standards in form and process.

Mr LeMaistre also accompanied Sir George Julius (chairman to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research—CSIR) to Canberra to lobby the Prime Minister and Treasurer to accord grants to Standards Australia and standards development as a higher priority.

“Charles LeMaistre bought a wealth of experience to our company, especially when it cam to the importance of balancing interests on committees and how arranging informal ‘table talks’ was efficient to resolve conflicts. To this day we are guided by this principle, ensuring there are balanced stakeholder interests and consensus on all our committees,” said Adrian O’Connell, Standards Australia’s CEO.

“Thanks to his lobbying efforts, the importance of our organisation and standards – which underpin every aspect of life – was recognised at the highest level of government.” Mr O’Connell concluded