Quentin Bryce was educated at Moreton Bay College and the University of Queensland where she graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Laws. She was called to the Queensland Bar in 1965, one of the first Queensland women to be admitted.
In 1968 she embarked on an academic career when she joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Queensland. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Macquarie University in 1997. Ms Bryce has a long and distinguished record of advocacy for human rights and in particular the rights of women and children. In 1978 she was appointed to the newly created National Women’s Advisory Council. On that Council she played an important role in highlighting the concerns of Aboriginal women and women who lived in remote areas and had significant input into the work of the Council in redefining the relationship between government, bureaucracy, women’s groups and the community.
Her interest in systemic discrimination against women led her to accept the position of Founding Director of the Queensland Women’s Information Service. In 1987 she was appointed Queensland Director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. In 1988 Ms Bryce took over the role of Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In this position she distinguished herself in the evolution of human rights law and the resolution and abolition of discriminatory practices. She was a member of Australia’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and represented Australia at major International conferences on the status of women. She then became Founding Chair and Chief Executive of the National Childcare Accreditation Council with the brief of establishing national standards in the childcare industry. She became Principal of the Women’s College in 1997.
Other roles were President of Women’s Cricket Australia, Chair of the National Breast Cancer Centre Network and a member of the Board of Plan International and of Sydney IVF Ethics Committee. She has served on a number of government and NGO boards including as Chair of the National Women’s Advisory Council, the Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital, the Jessie Street National Women’s Library, the NSW Police Constables Education Program. Her publications focus on employment discrimination, international human rights law and practice and the rights of children.
After announcement of her appointment as Governor of Queensland, she departed College in June 2003.
Quentin Bryce has been an outstanding role model for others to emulate. A courageous and articulate person, she is always in the forefront of social change and responsibility, often facing strong opposition, but prepared to challenge aspects of legal practice and opinion which inhibit social process. In 1988 she was made an officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her contribution to the community, in particular women and children. She became a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003. She is married to architect Michael Bryce and has five grown-up children.