- Honour Roll
As a CEO for 23 years in the business, public, philanthropy and community sectors, Rhonda has led the creation of a number of cutting edge organisations. These include the Australian International Health Institute at the University of Melbourne, the Australian Commission for the Future, and VicHealth - the world's first organisation to use a dedicated tobacco tax for health promotion.
Her contribution to public health was recognised by an award from the World Health Organisation Award for Tobacco and Health in 1996. Rhonda was Chair of the first stage of the Australian Women's Longitudinal Health Study and as a result of her involvement, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded a major Asia Pacific hub for child vaccination at the University of Melbourne.
A defining feature of Rhonda's work has been to look beyond just concentrating on individual behaviour change for health and wellbeing. As Executive Director of the Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Foundation, Chair of Philanthropy Australia and a trustee of the Reichstein Foundation, she has helped direct large amounts of philanthropic funding into grass roots community organisations. For the past five years, as Founding CEO of Our Community Pty. Ltd. Rhonda has built a national gateway to resources, networks and support for Australia's 700,000 community organisations.
Rhonda has been a passionate advocate for a 'rights' based approach to social justice and her stories from decades of campaigning are recorded in her recently published book by Pluto Press - Just Passions. She was awarded an Order of Australia in 1990, the Award of the Degree Doctor of Science (honoris causa) in 1998 and the Centenary Medal in 2003 in recognition of her service to the community. As Chair of the Disability Advisory Council, Rhonda believes that rights campaigns are now more important than ever.
Presenting the 2004 Victorian Human Rights Oration, Rhonda argued that "a fundamentally good and moral society overcomes its resistance to change when confronted with a notion that it considers true, just and universal. In the area of disability, however, there are unfortunately many people who regard rights simply as a list of social and legal concessions that they are required to make".
Reviewed 25 May 2022