Former government minister and social justice advocate honoured
Bronwyn Pike, a dedicated social justice advocate and a former Victorian Labor Government Minister, has been awarded an Australian Day honour.
The North Melbourne local was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to social welfare and not-for-profit organisations, and to the Parliament of Victoria”.
“It’s a surprise, but a huge honour to be recognised in this way,” she said.
“There are many incredible people on this year’s list, people who have devoted their lives to others and to their communities, so it’s humbling to be named alongside them.”
In her career spanning more than 40 years, Ms Pike was a Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2012 which saw her appointed as the state’s minister for health, education, housing, and community services.
One of her more notable achievements was spearheading a $1.9 billion Victorian Schools Plan to rebuild or upgrade all public and primary schools by 2016.
Before entering parliament at the age of 43, Ms Pike worked as a secondary humanities teacher in Adelaide and Darwin, as well as a community services manager, and a lecturer in social science at RMIT University.
She was also the director of justice and social responsibility at the Synod of Victoria, an entity of the Unity Church in Australia, a welfare organisation which provides children, youth, family, and aged care services as well as social justice advocacy.
In her recent roles, Ms Pike, a member of the North Melbourne Football Club, has been the CEO of Uniting Vic.Tas – one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community services organisations – since 2019 following three years as the chair.
She previously chaired Western Health, the Victorian Council of Social Services, and the South Australian Urban Renewal Authority.
Through her role at Uniting Vic.Tas, Ms Pike said she hoped her organisation would continue “maximising our impact on the lives of individuals and their communities in a positive way.”
Ms Pike said in accepting the Australia Day honour, she also recognised January 26 was not a day of celebration for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Uniting Vic.Tas stands in solidarity in recognising the injustices, dispossession and trauma that began on this date,” Ms Pike said.
“We also affirm our commitment to find a date for our National Day which unites all Australians.” •