Christine Nixon

Christine Nixon
Born (1953-06-11) 11 June 1953
Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Residence Melbourne
Nationality Australian
Education BA, Macquarie University
MPA, Harvard Kennedy School
Known for First woman to become a police commissioner in Australia.
Title Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
Term 2001–2009
Predecessor Neil Comrie
Successor Simon Overland
Spouse(s) John Becquet

Christine Nixon APM (born 11 June 1953) is an Australian former police officer who was the chief commissioner of Victoria Police from 23 April 2001 to 27 February 2009, being the first female chief commissioner in any Australian state police force. After leaving Victoria Police, she was appointed as chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority in February 2009 until she stood down from the position in July 2010.


Nixon attended Macquarie University before attaining a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[1]

Police career

The daughter of Ross Nixon, an assistant commissioner with the New South Wales Police Force, Christine Nixon began her policing career with the same police force in 1972, also rising to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.[2]

She was appointed Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police in April 2001 by the Bracks Labor government.[3]

Having initially set a retirement date of late March 2009, Nixon departed earlier at the request of the Victorian Government to take on responsibility for the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority.[4][5]

She was succeeded as Chief Commissioner by Simon Overland.[6]

Pride March

The gay community showed their respect for Nixon in marches at the 2009 Midsumma festival.

As Chief Commissioner, Nixon marched in uniform during Melbourne's gay and lesbian 'Pride March', run as part of the Midsumma Festival. Nixon is heterosexual but marched to express her support for gay and lesbian causes, stating "What I'm doing is supporting decent and reasonable people who want to get on with their lives, and they have been treated appallingly previously by the Police, and I'm prepared to do something about it. And if it's a small symbol of marching with them, then that would be a reasonable thing to do."[2][7]


Nixon was criticised when she joined her husband, John Becquet, a former Qantas senior executive of crew operations, on the inaugural international flight of Qantas' Airbus A380 airliner from Melbourne to Los Angeles, as guests of Qantas in an all-expenses-paid, three-day trip. Ms Nixon called the trip "reasonable" and commented that she was accompanying her husband, and that she had not had a holiday in about 12 months. Mr Becquet defended the trip saying they were invited to LA after a chance meeting with a Qantas executive. "I am normally her handbag but on this she's my handbag." The couple celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary during this week.[8] The head of the Office of Police Integrity, Michael Strong, sought information on the matter from Ms Nixon[9] at a time of calls for her to reimburse the airline for the cost of the trip.

Royal commission

Nixon was called to appear before the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission concerning her actions as chief commissioner during the Black Saturday bushfires on 7 February 2009. Counsel assisting the commission, Rachel Doyle SC, questioned Nixon on issues such as a morning hairdressing appointment, a lunchtime meeting with her biographer and an evening dinner at a restaurant, all during the worst day of the bushfires. Nixon defended her actions, stating "It was not my job to swoop in and take control. When you have good people who are more skilled in emergency management than I am, you let those people do the job."[10]

Bushfire authority

In February 2009 Nixon assumed responsibility for the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, the agency tasked with rebuilding areas affected by the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009.[5] She stood down from the position on 17 July 2010, and announced she would take on a voluntary advisory role with the authority.[11]

Other positions

Nixon was a non-executive director of Foster's Group from 1 April 2010[12] to 31 August 2010.[13] She also serves as Patron or Advisor to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation,[14] Onside Victoria,[15] Operation Newstart Victoria[16] and The Phoenix Club Inc.[17] She has been appointed as the Deputy Chancellor of Monash University.[18]


Nixon has been awarded the Australian Police Medal, the National Medal, the Centenary Medal, the New South Wales Police Medal and clasps for Ethical and Diligent Service and the New South Wales Police Force Olympic Citation.[19]


As a large woman, Nixon's size has received disproportionate emphasis in the media.[20][21]

On 18 July 2010 Nixon was taken to hospital. She subsequently underwent gall bladder surgery.[22]


In 2011 Nixon published her memoirs in the book Fair Cop (ISBN 9780522856859), launched by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The book was criticised by the Police Association Victoria for what the association claims is a biased recall of events,[23] and by the Herald Sun.[24]

See also


  1. Nixon, Christine (23 January 2003). "Interview With Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon: Australia's First Female Police Chief" (PDF) (Transcript). Interview with Tim Prenzler. Melbourne: Griffith University. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  2. 1 2 Nixon, Christine (10 October 2005). "Christine Nixon". Talking Heads (Transcript). Interview with Peter Thompson. ABC Television. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  3. "Victoria appoints Australia's first female Police Commissioner". PM. ABC Radio. 16 March 2001. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  4. Wallace, Rick (2008-11-05). "Global search for Victoria Police boss as Christine Nixon quits". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  5. 1 2 "About Us - Christine Nixon, APM". We Will Rebuild. Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  6. Silvester, John (3 March 2010). "Copping it sweet". The Age. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  7. Wisdom Interviews: Christine Nixon. Retrieved 25 September 2007
  8. Christine Nixon not sorry about Qantas junket, Peta Hellard, Holly Ife, Herald Sun, 23 October 2008
  9. Nixon faces OPI quiz over Super Jumbo freebie, The Age, 24 October 2008
  10. Rintoul, Stuart (17 April 2010). "Christine Nixon's admissions fan the flames of outrage". Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  11. Nixon steps down from bushfire authority, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2010.
  12. "Christine Nixon joins Foster's board". 1 April 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  13. "Christine Nixon Resigns from Foster's Board". 20 August 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  14. "Advisory Board and Partners". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  15. "Our Patrons". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  16. "Operation Newstart Victoria". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  17. "Our Patron". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  18. "Dr Christine Nixon". Monash University.
  19. "Australian Honours - Christine Nixon". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  20. Harvey, Claire (11 April 2010). "Christine Nixon: what the backlash is really all about". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  21. Sparrow, Jeff (20 April 2010). "The bizarre case against Christine Nixon". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  22. "Christine Nixon rushed to hospital". 18 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  23. "Police association secretary slams Nixon biography as 'inaccuracies and lies'". 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  24. Howe, Alan (1 August 2011). "Christine failed us all and that's about the size of it". Retrieved 2 August 2011.

External links

Police appointments
Preceded by
Neil Comrie
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
Succeeded by
Simon Overland
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