John Dowd was the New South Wales Attorney General and Leader of the House in the Liberal Government from 1988-91. As Attorney-General he was involved in reforms of the Courts and in the establishment of Australia‘s first Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1988.
John Dowd was a judge of the NSW Supreme Court from 1994 to 2004 including the Court of Criminal Appeal.
In 1974 John Dowd became President of the International Commission of Jurists Australia (ICJA). In 1999 he became an International Commissioner of the ICJ, and then Chairperson of the ICJ Executive Committee in Geneva in 2002. He has been involved in missions including to Hong Kong in 1991, East Timor in 2000 and Nepal in 2003. He also has been involved in trial observations and participated in numerous conferences whilst as member and Commissioner.
In 1997 John Dowd led the Australian Government delegation in Palestine to monitor the Palestinian Legislative Council Elections, and assisted in establishing the procedures for the Legislative Council.
John Dowd was a founding Director of the Alola Foundation Timor L‘Este, an
organisation working to address the needs of East Timorese women in areas of advocacy, economic empowerment, education and literacy, maternal and child health and humanitarian assistance.
In 2002 John Dowd was elected Chancellor of Southern Cross University, and in 2008 was also elected Vice-President of Austcare.