Bronwyn King is a doer, a fixer and a nurturer. Her passion and energy are contagious and her calm diplomacy, coupled with uncompromising vision, is the stuff we long for in our politicians. As a doctor she has a brilliant evidence-based scientific brain, and as a mother – of Oliver, eight, and Charlie, six – she feels compelled to make a better world for everyone’s children.
In March 2010 Bronwyn had an epiphany that changed her life and is now changing the world. “I was buying a house with my partner [who is now her husband]. I sat down with the accountant who said ‘you need to sort out your money; how much do you have in your pension plan?’ I shrugged my shoulders. I had no idea. I knew that superannuation existed but that was it. I was working as a cancer specialist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. I’d been a doctor for 10 years and so I’d been a member of a super fund for 10 years and I’d not thought about it at all, which is unfortunately very typical.
“Because of that meeting I organised to talk with a representative from the super fund. We met at the cafeteria and he brought along some paperwork to show me how much money I had. I remember having a latte and a little conversation and then I shook his hand, the meeting finished and I left.”
As she walked back to the lung cancer ward she was working on, where patients of all ages were daily taking their last breath, a niggling thought entered Bronwyn’s head and she turned on her heel and rushed back to the cafe and her super rep. “I said to him, ‘oh by the way, was I meant to tell you what to do with that money?’ He said, ‘no, no, it’s all taken care of, you’re in the default option.’ …‘Option? Does that mean there are other options?’ she replied. He rolled his eyes: ‘well, there is this one ‘greenie’ option for people who have a problem with investing in mining, alcohol or tobacco’.”
And then it happened. Fireworks, thundering horses, flapping angels’ wings, shock. Bronwyn gasped, uttering, “Did you just say tobacco? Are you telling me I’m currently investing in tobacco?” He said, ‘Oh yes, everyone is!’”
Bronwyn was rooted to the spot, incredulous at what she was hearing. “I just couldn’t believe it. There I was, going to work every single day in the biggest cancer centre in the Southern Hemisphere, which is filled with people suffering as a result of tobacco. One-third of all cancers globally are caused by tobacco. And I’d seen the raw suffering, right in front of my eyes for years and years, and yet then I found out my own money was invested in the companies that make the products killing my own patients.”
Bronwyn’s was the super fund for most of the health professionals at her hospital. The irony was stark and dark. “I distinctly remember thinking, that’s got to change. I just can’t accept that. I cannot let that go.”
Bronwyn has always been driven. From the age 12 she was a competitive swimmer, training 10 times a week with a dream of maybe going to the Olympics. “I represented Australia at a junior level. I was a freestyle sprinter and when I think of my youth, that’s what I think of,” she says smiling.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The birth of hope
In 2020, the number of children in foster care rose to 46,000, and almost half of those are in NSW. With many moving from place to place with no solution in sight, one inspiring young woman is determined to end the cycle.
Murder in Larrimah
The curious investigation into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty and his kelpie Kellie in a tiny Northern Territory 12-person community.
Love under fire
Keith Payne VC is an Aussie hero, bravest of the brave, but managing the pain beyond the glory has proved a tough battle for Keith, his unfailingly supportive wife, Flo, and their five sons.
Our happy place
When high-profile political journalists Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales started a podcast characterised by their own madcap friendship, it showed them what happiness is all about.
A patchwork of love
When Helen Comport’s son was critically injured in the war in Afghanistan, she was inspired to gather a community of quilters to wrap our veterans and their families in gratitude.
SLAVERY IN THE SUBURBS
There is a common misconception that slavery is a matter for the history books, but millions of people are still enslaved today – shockingly, some of them right here in Australia.
When Rachel met Deborah
They always admired each other from afar but when Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman finally joined forces in TV’s Total Control they were not only in fan-girl heaven, they became instant friends.
What's really going on with Princess Charlene?
Why has she spent so much of this year away from Prince Albert and their children in Monaco? The word on the streets of this glamorous principality is that Princess Charlene might never return!
WHO KILLED THE BEATLES?
Millions of words and hours have been spent on the break-up of the Beatles. But now, half a century on, the history books are being rewritten, old scapegoats exonerated and new culprits brought to light.
Women of the land
There are so many inspiring women championing courage, kindness and resilience in the bush. Here are just a few who we’ll be thinking of on October 15, the United Nations International Day of Rural Women.
This iOS game was made for a cat and reviewed by a cat
THE TALE OF TWO AGES: A Plan for Your Healthspan
For the longest time our age has been defined by the day we were born and the number of times we are fortunate enough to circle the sun.
WARP-SPEED SHATNER HEADED FOR CRACK-UP!
DYNAMIC “Star Trek” legend William Shatner still has plenty of get up and go at age 90. But sources dished the space case thinks he’s invincible and loved ones are begging him to slow down before he hurts himself!
SEXY AT 63!
Sharon’s Summer Bod
American Dipper: a swimming and singing songbird
If you walk along a mountain stream almost anywhere in the western United States, you may see a uniformly gray bird standing on a rock near a riffle or rapid in the middle of the river.
Soured on Pickles
IT STUCK TO the bar of soap in the bathtub, so you didn’t want to wash with it.
Evie Zimmer uses her background in representational art to paint detailed abstractions that combine color and shapes
PROTECT YOUR NUTS!!! Get Your Balls in Gear
There is one defensive measure that men universally master – protecting one’s nuts.
Remembrance & a Sacred Earth
LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE mourns our forgetting of our connection with the Earth, inviting us once more to remember, reconnect and rekindle the sacredness of that relationship in our lives.
Cleaning Without Chemicals
Do you have specimens like desert roses, quartz crystal clusters, or geode halves that sat for eons in the open before being collected?