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Prudence Jane Goward born 2 September 1952 in Adelaide, an Australian politician, is the New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Social Housing, since January 2017 in the Berejiklian government, and the Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, since 2015. She has previously served as the Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, and Assistant Minister for Health between April 2015 and January 2017, and the Minister for Women between 2011 and January 2017, in the second Baird government and the Minister for Planning during 2014 and 2015. With the first Berejiklian government she returned to Community Services portfolio which she previously held between 2011 and 2014, in the O’Farrell and first Baird governments. Goward is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Goulburn for the Liberal Party since 2007. In December 2018, she announced that she would not be contesting the next election in March 2019.

Prior to entering politics, Goward served as the Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Early life and personal background

Goward was born to Gerald Goward and Zipporah Riggs and was raised in Adelaide. She attended Morphett Vale Primary School, Willunga High School and gained entrance to Woodlands Church of England Girls Grammar School on a half scholarship. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Econ) (Hons) in 1974 from Adelaide University.

She was married from 1973 to 1983 to university lecturer Alastair Fischer, whom she met while studying at Adelaide University.

Goward married journalist David Barnett in 1986. Goward and Barnett have maintained a close personal friendship with former prime minister John Howard for many years, and jointly written a biography of Howard in 1997.

She is the mother of three daughters, former model and actor Kate Fischer, Penny Fischer, and Alice Barnett. She has two granddaughters.