Tricia Harper AM

It is very rewarding to work with other women to remove legal and social discrimination against single mothers and their children.

Change Agent

Tricia has worked tirelessly for social justice and equity for single mothers and their children, advancing key social, legal and policy reforms. In 1969, Tricia helped found the Victorian Council for the Single Mother and her Child (CSMC), a self help organisation which has provided support, information and financial aid to single mothers and their families for over 40 years in Victoria.

In 1973, Tricia became the founding member of the National Council for the Single Mother and her Child (NCSMC), an organisation whose work helped change the face of Australian society. Over the next decade, her work led to reforms to adoption law and practice, improving the adequacy of income security payments, reforming the child support system and eliminating legal discrimination against ex-nuptial children and their families.

Tricia's focus in the 1980s and 1990s moved to promoting the welfare and interests of children and young people involved in Victoria's child protection and juvenile justice system. Tricia was instrumental in drafting the Children and Young Person's Act 1989. The main purpose of this Act was to provide for the protection of children and young people and a fairer juvenile justice system, and to establish the specialist Children's Court of Victoria.

More recently, through her work as a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal, Mental Health Review Board and of the Children Youth and Families Act Suitability Panel, Tricia has worked in the area of administrative law to ensure natural justice and improved decision-making for more vulnerable members of the community.

Tricia received the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 for services to women through her work as a member of the Prime Minister's Women's Advisory Body Working Party. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia, AM in 1986.