Ambassadors

Chris Bath / Journalist and TV Personality / Channel 7
Chris Bath is an Australian journalist and television personality. She is currently the primary anchor of Sydney’s 6:00pm Seven News bulletin, presenting Monday-Friday; and co-presenter of Seven’s current affairs program Sunday Night. Nationally, Bath is most well known for her performances in Series 3 of Dancing with the Stars in 2005, and for presenting the National Seven Morning News, bulletin, weekdays at 10:30am from 2004 to 2006. Bath has been with Seven since 1996 when she joined the Sydney newsroom.Bath was born and raised in Sydney’s working-class western suburbs. Chris was born in Auburn and raised in South Wentworthville, and attended Holroyd High School. Later, she enrolled at Sydney University where, in 1985, she studied English, psychology, German and legal institutions for two months before deciding it was not for her.Bath subsequently applied to study communications at Mitchell College (now Charles Sturt University) in Bathurst. Not only was she accepted into the course, she also won a scholarship, and majored in politics. During her studies she was a broadcaster with the on-campus community radio station 2MCE-FM. In 1988, half-way through the last year of her three-year course, she was offered a job at Sydney AM radio station 2UE as a cadet reporter and newsreader.Her second job came a year later, after a friend encouraged her to apply for a job with a regional television station in Albury. She moved to Albury-Wodonga, where she spent the next 20 months working at Prime Television station AMV-4 and spending her weekends in Melbourne. At AMV-4, she started reporting, was the weather presenter for a while, and then finished off as the full-time newsreader.In 1991, at 23, she joined Newcastle’s NBN Television, where she stayed for the next five years as a reporter and host to the evening local news broadcast. Originally she thought she was going there as just a reporter, but the newsreader resigned and they offered the vacant position to her. She resigned from NBN Newcastle in late 1995 after being offered a job by Seven in Sydney.
Chris Bowen / Federal Member for McMahon / Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
“I am pleased and proud to be an ambassador of what is a very worthy initiative – Future Direction Network. It is great to see a group of young professionals form South West Sydney who clearly understand the benefits of tertiary education work together to help the next generation of high school students achieve similar”. Chris Bowen was elected to the Federal Parliament as Member for Prospect in October 2004.Chris was educated at Smithfield Public School and St Johns Park High School. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics and won the Australian Transport Officers Federation Prize for the best industrial relations student at the University.He joined the Labor Party in 1988 and has held many honorary positions in the party.He was elected to Fairfield Council in 1995 and has been Chairman of the City Outcomes Committee, the Fairfield Town Centre Management Committee and the Community, Recreation and Development Committee.

Chris was elected Mayor of Fairfield for 1998 and 1999, and became President of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils from 2000 to 2002.

In December 2006, Chris was appointed to the Federal Labor Party’s frontbench as the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Revenue & Competition Policy.

Following the historic election of the Labor Government in 2007, Chris was appointed to the new Ministry. Chris took on two portfolios as Assistant Treasurer, and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs. In June 2009, Chris was elevated to Cabinet as Minister for Human Services. He also served as Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law.

Following the re-election of the Labor Government in 2010, Chris was appointed as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Chris is passionate about seeing more young students from South West Sydney attend university. In 2009 Chris engaged a panel of successful young professionals from Western Sydney to provide motivational talks with students from his electorate. Chris is a fine example of an individual who has shown what can be achieved through dedication and application. Chris has become a key player in Australian politics and has done it all from South West Sydney.

Soutphommasane Profile
Dr Tim Soutpomassane / Philosopher, Academic and commentator
“I am a passionate believer in the power of education. Where you grew up has no bearing on where you will end up. It all begins with belief and hard work. I’m proud to be an ambassador for FDN – an organisation that is doing wonderful work in expanding opportunity and inspiring young people.”Dr Tim Soutphommasane is a political philosopher and commentator. From February 2013 he will be University Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is also a columnist with The Age newspaper.Born in France to parents from Laos, Tim grew up in Canley Vale and Bonnyrigg Heights. He arrived in Australia as a three-year-old and was educated at Canley Vale Public School and Hurlstone Agricultural High. He topped the state in 3-unit economics in the 1999 HSC, and was dux at Hurlstone, before studying economics/law at the University of Sydney where he won numerous prizes. After completing his economics degree with honours, he won a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he would complete his postgraduate studies in political philosophy. While at Oxford he was editor-in-chief of The Oxonian Review of Books and captained the Balliol First XI in cricket.Tim’s thinking on patriotism, diversity and national identity has been influential in reshaping debates in Australia and Britain. He has been variously described as ‘one of the Australian Left’s intellectual heavy-lifters’ (The Australian), ‘an important influence on the Labour leadership (UK)’ (The New Statesman), ‘an Australian philosopher whose views have caught the imagination’ (The Sunday Times, London) and ‘one of Australia’s most celebrated young intellectuals’ (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The Daily Telegraph of London named him one of the 100 most influential figures on the British political left in 2012.

Tim is the author of three books: The Virtuous Citizen (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (New South Books, 2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (Cambridge University Press, 2009). For a number of years he was the philosopher in residence at The Weekend Australian, where he wrote the popular ‘Ask the Philosopher’ column. His experience includes working as a leader writer for The Financial Times and The Guardian in London. He has also served as a political adviser and speechwriter, including to Bob Carr when he was Premier of New South Wales.

Previously a research fellow and lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Tim has also taught at Sydney and Oxford universities in the areas of political theory, public policy and communications. He serves on the board of the National Australia Day Council and on the Australian Multicultural Council.

mike_pyke_portrait
Mike Pyke / AFL player and Masters student / Sydney Swans / USYD / Citi
 “I was drawn to FDN because I consider education to be essential in achieving one’s goals in the pursuit of a happy and balanced life. I believe the desire to learn should not be obstructed by economic barriers and that FDN provides a much need service to young adults on their path to higher education.”Mike Pyke is best known as a senior member of the Sydney Swans Football Club. Whilst he has now won a premiership with the Swans, only five years ago, Pyke was representing Canada as a Rugby Union international.Pyke first started playing basketball, soccer and ice hockey, at St. Michaels University School in British Columbia, a school which has produced several Canadian national rugby players over the past few decades, such history was ultimately influential in Pyke choosing rugby.Pyke began his professional rugby career at the Edinburgh Gunners in 2004 and won his first international cap against Japan, at age 20 the same year. In November 2006, he signed with US Montauban, where he played alongside Canadian teammate Ryan Smith.

Pyke achieved fame in 2007 for running the length of the field and scoring a try against the New Zealand All Blacks off an intercepted pass from Dan Carter.

Injuries sustained at US Montauban saw Pyke look for a career change. A friend, Matt Woodland, convinced Pyke that he had all the attributes of an AFL great and set in motion the code switch. Pyke put together a DVD showcasing his rugby highlights, which Woodland then sent onto AFL player agent Michael Quinlan from Top Dog Management. Quinlan was immediately convinced of the possibilities and after speaking with Pyke several times began dialogue with the Sydney Swans, a team known for unconventional recruitment.

Against the odds in 2012, Pyke was a stand out performer in the AFL Grand Final. He was the first ever Canadian to play in the AFL and is now the first ever Canadian to win a AFL Premiership. He credits this achievement to hard work and the supportive environment at the Sydney Swans.

Although AFL football has become increasingly demanding on players, Mike is currently completing a Master of Commerce at the University of Sydney, double majoring in Finance and Economics respectively. He attends class and finds time to complete study during week nights  Mike also holds an internship at CITI bank in Sydney where he is able to apply his studies in a more functional fashion.