Steve Bracks portrait

Steve Bracks, premier 1999-2007
Title Premier Steve Bracks
Artist Vladimir Sobolev
Date 2007
Medium Oil on canvas
1950 x 1150 x 50 mm

Premier 20th October 1999 – 30th July 2007.

Stephen Phillip Bracks was born on the 15th of October 1954 in Ballarat. Educated at St Patrick’s College and Ballarat College of Advanced Education, he began his career as a secondary school commerce teacher. He left teaching in 1981 to work as an employment and recreation officer, before becoming the Director of the Ballarat Education Centre in 1985 and Statewide Manager of Victoria’s Employment Programs in 1989. During this period Bracks was an ALP campaign manager for the federal seat of Ballarat and contested the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Ballarat North in 1985 and 1988. In 1990 he became a ministerial adviser to Premier John Cain Jr. and continued this role with Premier Joan Kirner. In 1993 he was principal adviser to Neil O’Keefe, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Communications.

When Kirner retired in 1994, Bracks was elected for Labor to her former seat of Williamstown in the Legislative Assembly. In opposition during Jeff Kennett’s Liberal National coalition government, Bracks served in the shadow Employment, Industrial Relations, Tourism, Multicultural Affairs and Treasury portfolios and in March 1999 became leader of the opposition. The September 1999 election delivered a surprise result. Kennett’s government was widely expected to win, however a significant swing against it in rural and regional Victoria gave the balance of power to three independent members. Bracks successfully negotiated with the independents and formed a minority Labor government on the 20thOctober 1999.

As the 44thPremier of Victoria, Steve Bracks held the portfolios of Treasurer (1999-2000), Multicultural Affairs (1999-2007) and Veterans’ Affairs (2006-2007) and successfully contested two further state elections in 2002 and 2006. An early achievement of the Government was the establishment of Constitution Commission Victoria in March 2001, paving the way for the Constitution (Parliamentary Reform) Bill in March 2003. The Bill created a more democratic parliament with four year fixed terms for both houses, proportional representation in the Legislative Council and the removal of Council’s right to block supply. Other achievements of the government include establishing the Regional Fast Rail Project, Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, the construction of the Melbourne Recital Hall and establishment of the Victorian Opera, and overseeing the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Steve Bracks resigned as Premier on 30thJuly 2007. His career since has included advisory positions with the federal government, not for profit foundations and private business. He was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Parliament and community of Victoria in 2010.

The Artist and the Portrait

Vladimir Sobolev –

The artist, Vladimir Sobolev, was born in Moscow and is now a citizen of Australia. His work is included in institutions and private collections worldwide. This portrait was privately commissioned and presented as a gift to Parliament by Steve Bracks in 2010.


© Vladimir Sobolev