Like St Mary Euphrasia, Christine Nixon is headstrong and impulsive. She throws herself into a mission, often clashing with authority along the way. She will not let anything stop her reaching her goal, which is to create a more humane and better society.
Christine was brought up with a Methodist background. She was Sunday school supervisor as well as a Youth leader. Religious principles and a strong sense of community underpin her philosophy on life. She watched her mother and father help build a strong, vibrant community from the ground up. As Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, Christine used this experience and guiding philosophy to rebuild communities affected by the 2009 fires in Victoria, in which more than 173 people died and 3000 homes were destroyed or damaged.
It is clearly apparent that Christine believes in justice and compassion, honesty and transparency. Christine joined the New South Wales (NSW) Police force in 1972 and for many years, fought a battle for the equality of women in the Force. She refused to be part of the corrupt and criminal underworld that existed in NSW Police at that time.
Through sheer determination, Christine rose to the top in the male-dominated field of policing, attaining the rank of Assistant Commissioner with the NSW Police. From 2001-2009, Christine was Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Police Force, being the first woman to become a Police Commissioner in Australia.
During her time with the Victorian Police, Christine introduced strategies and programs to protect society in areas such as human rights, stopping domestic violence and child abuse. She developed prevention programs for young offenders and introduced strategies leading to increased reporting of violence against women and a reduction of road trauma and crime. In 2005, Christine launched the first Victoria Police Multifaith Council to promote harmony and understanding of Victoria’s strong multicultural society. Victorian statistics from 2003-2008 bear out the success of her initiatives, with a 23.5% reduction in crime and a reduction of 25.2% in road fatalities.
Recent Australian studies suggest at least 3.1 million or 17% of our community are considered to be financially excluded. Christine helps to lift people out of poverty with dignity and respect in her role as Chair of Good Shepherd Microfinance to which she was appointed in 2012. Her brief includes approving and monitoring the annual budget, ensuring overall financial wellbeing, managing risk and ensuring effective engagement with stakeholders. The provision of Microfinance provides a way of reducing exploitation of vulnerable people by helping those in need with no interest loans. Good Shepherd and the National Australia Bank (NAB) have committed to reaching 1 million low income Australians with fair and affordable finance by 2018, thus reducing exploitation of those in need by payday lenders.
In 2011, Christine wrote a frank and engaging memoir of her experiences in a man’s world, “Fair Cop”. Christine also runs workshops for women in leadership positions: more than 1500 women aspiring to be managers and leaders have participated. Christine is also available to mentor people in large and small organisations.
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