ALP Senator?s family celebrates doctorate
By ANNA GLOVER
FORMER Grafton resident Ursula Stephens recently was awarded a Doctorate of Public Administration in Australia.
Dr Stephens, who is a Senator in the Australian Parliament, received her doctorate at the University of Canberra's graduation ceremony in the Great Hall of Parliament House.
She was educated at St Marys College, Grafton, after migrating from Ireland with her family in the early 1960s. Her father, Pat Clarke, now lives in Canberra, and her mother Nell died nine years ago.
Dr Stephens' doctorate is the culmination of almost a decade of investigation into best practice in service delivery models and the impact of National Competition Policy reforms on regional and rural communities. Her research focused on regional decision-making about service needs, and breaks new ground in regional development and governance theory.
She highlights the importance of understanding 'third party government' ? the fact that so many services are now being provided to citizens by organisations outside of government.
Prior to entering Parliament in 2002, Dr Stephens served on numerous government bodies and operated a consultancy business in regional policy and adult and community education.
She was also the first woman elected president of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party, a position she has held since 2002, and is a member of the ALP's national executive.
Earlier this year she was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water and Science. Dr Stephens lives in Goulburn with her husband, Bob, and two of her four children.
Anna Glover is Dr Stephens' sister and managing editor of The Bega District News.