Pru was first elected to the NSW Parliament in 2007. She has also held previous roles as the Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, Minister for Planning, Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Health.
Prior to entering Parliament, Pru served as Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner and also Commissioner responsible for Age Discrimination. During her time with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission she became best known for her advocacy of a national paid maternity leave scheme, the implications of demographic change, and the challenge of work-life balance.
An economist by training and a broadcaster by practice, Pru spent 19 years with the ABC as a reporter and national political commentator for television and radio. She has received a number of awards for journalism, including a special Walkley Award, journalism`s highest honour.
In 1997 Pru left broadcasting to become Executive Director of the Office of the Status of Women in the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and was later appointed Government Spokesperson for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, responsible for media management of the thirty Commonwealth Government agencies.
Pru started work as a shop assistant and later as a cleaner and waitress. She has also been a university Economics tutor, a University lecturer in Broadcast Journalism, a high school economics teacher and media consultant. She has authored two books: A Business of Your Own, success strategies for women in business, and co-authored, John Howard, a Biography with her husband, David Barnett.
Pru is a former Chair of the Council for Australian Arab Relations, Deputy Chair of Anglicare (Canberra and Goulburn), and a former member of a number of boards including the John Curtin School of Medical Research. Pru has represented Australia at international forums and negotiations, including APEC, and has been an official guest of the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand and Israel. Her speeches have been reproduced in several important collections.
In 2001 she was awarded a Centenary Medal for her services to journalism and women’s rights, and in 2007 an Honorary Doctorate of Business from Charles Sturt University.