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27 April 2010
The degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) will be conferred upon the Honorable Mr Stephen Phillip Bracks in recognition of distinguished services to the Victorian community.
Stephen (Steve) Bracks was educated at St Patrick’s College, Ballarat and the University of Ballarat, where he obtained both a Diploma of Business Studies (Accounting) and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Economics). He worked as a secondary school teacher in commerce between 1976 and 1981. Mr Bracks later became Executive Director of the Ballarat Education Centre and in 1989 he was appointed statewide manager of Victorian State Government employment programs.
Mr Bracks was elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member of the Legislative assembly for Williamstown in 1994. He became leader of the Opposition in March 1999 and Premier of Victoria in October 1999.
He won two further elections, in 2002 and 2006. Mr Bracks retired as Premier and from parliament on 27 July 2007, after almost eight years as Premier, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
As Premier, Mr Bracks invested strongly in education and skills and led a national reform agenda adopted by all Australian governments to increase workforce participation, improve skills and boost productivity.
In the speech announcing his resignation from parliament Mr Bracks stated that the most important achievements of his government included reducing unemployment in the State, achieving economic growth in regional Victoria and improving educational outcomes. During his term as Premier, retention rates to year 12 in Victorian schools increased from 77 to 81 per cent. Mr Bracks also emphasised his government’s contribution to the sense of community in the State: “we have a sense of community quite remarkable for a State as large and diverse as ours”.
Mr Bracks became the inaugural Chair of the Deakin Foundation in 2008. He continues to Chair the Foundation as it develops into a key contributor to Deakin University’s mission to create positive change in the communities it serves. Mr Bracks also holds honorary positions as an Adviser to the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão and as Honorary Chair of the Organising Committee for the World Road Cycling Championships to be held in Victoria in 2010. He is Chairman of Cbus, a Director of Jardine Lloyd Thomson Australia and a member of the Bionic Ear Institute Board. He is a Senior Adviser to the National Australia Bank and to KPMG.