Hon John WatkinsChair
John Watkins was appointed Chair of the McKell Institute in October 2011.
John is currently CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and Chair of the Mary MacKillop International aid agency. John is still Chair of the Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd, one of Australia’s largest not for profit health providers.
Prior to his appointment at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, John was a member of the NSW Parliament between 1995 and 2008. He was Deputy Premier from August 2005 to September 2008 and held portfolios including Transport and Finance.
Prior to becoming a politician, John was a school teacher at St. Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, a Master of Arts degree and a Diploma of Education.
Hon Steve BracksChair, Victorian Advisory Board
The Hon Steve Bracks AC was Premier of Victoria for eight years. He now advises several leading Australian finance and service sector corporations. Mr Bracks also holds two major honorary positions: as an Adviser to the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and Honorary Chair of The Union Education Foundation.
He is Chairman of the superannuation fund Cbus; a non executive Director of Jardine Lloyd Thomson Australia; Chairman of AFL SportsReady; Chairman of Cycling Australia; Chairman of the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust; and a member of the: Monash Business School Business Advisory Board (BAB); the Australian Republican Movement’s Republican Advisory Panel (RAP); and, the West of Melbourne Alliance Board.
Sam CrosbyExecutive Director
Sam Crosby was appointed Executive Director of the McKell Institute in March 2014 and brings to the role years of experience working in government, business and civil society.
Previously, Sam served as Corporate and Government Affairs Manager for Johnson and Johnson, Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to a number of NSW Cabinet Ministers, and advisor to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. His experience spans infrastructure, transport, ports, mining, forestry, treasury and healthcare.
He holds a Bachelor of Economics and Social Sciences with First Class Honours from the University of Sydney and an MBA from the UNSW’s Australian Graduate School of Management. While completing his undergraduate degree, he served as President of the University of Sydney Union
James PawlukExecutive Director - Victoria
James Pawluk is the Executive Director of the McKell Institute Victoria
Prior to taking on the role, James was Manager of Business Development for Australia Post, focusing on developing business strategies for the company’s parcels business including overhauling its domestic air freight arrangements. James has also served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to various Federal Cabinet Ministers with experience across areas such as government service delivery, digital transformation, budget processes, policing and customs.
James completed a Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne majoring in Economics and Political Science.
Peter Bentley is an Investment Consultant at Contango Asset Management, an Australian fund manager, and is a board member of the McKell Institute, having served as the Founding Executive Director of the Institute from 2011 until 2014.
Prior to helping establish the McKell Institute, Peter served as a Senior Policy Director specialising in housing and infrastructure delivery. He has worked as a market Research Director, and an official for the Australian Labor Party.
Peter also serves as a board member of Club Plus Super and Ecclesia Housing. He holds a Master of Policy Studies with First Class Honours (UNSW), a Diploma of Superannuation (ASFA), and is currently completing a Master of Finance (UTS). He is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate of FINSIA.
Verity Firth is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Verity Firth is Chief Executive of the Public Education Foundation, a not for profit organisation that provides scholarships for teachers and students in public schools and which works to enhance the value and reputation of public education.
In 2007, Verity was elected to the NSW Parliament as the Member for Balmain. She was immediately elevated to the Ministry and held a number of portfolios including Minister for Women and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. In 2008 she was promoted to Minister for Education and Training, a position she held until the state election in March 2011.
Verity is also a former Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney. Before her parliamentary career, Verity worked as a lawyer at Slater & Gordon. Verity is also a board member of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare and is a Patron of Centipede at Glebe School Inc.
George Williams AOResearch Committee Member
George Williams AO is one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers and public commentators. He is the Anthony Mason Professor, a Scientia Professor and the Foundation Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. As an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, he is engaged in a multi-year year international project on anti-terror laws and democracy. He has held visiting positions at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Columbia University Law School in New York and University College London.
As chair of the Victorian Human Rights Consultation Committee in 2005 he helped bring about Australia’s first State bill of rights, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. In 2007 he chaired a NSW Government inquiry into Options for a New National Industrial Relations System that produced the historic referral of State industrial power over the private sector to the Commonwealth. George was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011: ‘For distinguished service to the law in the fields of anti-terrorism, human rights and constitutional law as an academic, author, adviser and public commentator.’
Tim Ayers is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Tim Ayres is the NSW Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and a member of the Australian Labor Party’s National Executive.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Sydney.
Bruce Hawker is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Bruce is the Managing Director of Campaigns and Communications, an organisation specialising in political and corporate campaigns. Prior to that, Bruce was founder of Australia’s largest government relations practice, Hawker Britton. Bruce also served 9 years as Chief of Staff to former NSW Premier Bob Carr. Bruce has spent more than 30 years providing high-level consulting advice to governments, the Labor Party and corporate Australia.
Bruce is currently a prominent political campaigner and commentator. Bruce makes regular appearances on ABC Radio, Sunrise, Sky News and Channel 10’s “Breakfast” programme. He also contributes to print publications including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Bruce holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and a Law degree from the University of NSW.
Stephen MillsResearch Committee Member
Stephen Mills is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Government, University of Sydney. He teaches Public Sector Leadership, supervises student research and delivers an Extractive Industries Governance module to the school’s training programs in Africa. His research interests centre on election campaign management, and his most recent book – “The Professionals: Strategy, Money and the Rise of the Political Campaigner in Australia” (2014) – is based on his PhD research into the professionalisation of Australian election campaigns. He is also the author of “The New Machine Men: Polls and Persuasion in Australian Politics” (1986) and “The Hawke Years” (1993).
Stephen was a journalist and editor in the Fairfax newspaper group in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney for ten years. He served as speechwriter to Prime Minister RJL Hawke from 1986 to 1991. He also has more than 10 years’ experience in managing external relationships for leading financial services companies including ASX, Citigroup and Bankers Trust. He won a Harkness Fellowship in 1983, leading to a Master of Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1985.
Sarah KaineDirector & Research Committee Member
Dr Sarah Kaine is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Sarah is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Management at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Her research focuses on several broad themes including employee representation, the development and exercise of employee voice, the formal and informal regulation of employment relations, human resource management, Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability.
Prior to becoming an academic Sarah worked as an industrial relations practitioner and as a consultant to not for profit organisations
Kristina is the Director of Gender Inclusion/Adjunct Professor at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and an Anchor at Sky News Australia. She also serves as a Chairman of Souths Cares, a Board Member of the United States Studies Centre, Patron of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia and Ambassador for Opportunity Australia International. She was a member of the Referendum Council to advise on the constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.
Previously, Kristina is the 42nd Premier of New South Wales, serving from 2009-2011. She is the first woman to hold the NSW Premier. Kristina served in Cabinet in various roles including; Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Planning, Minister for Infrastructure and Government Spokesperson for World Youth Day. She was the CEO of Basketball Australia between 2012 and 2014.
Kristina holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and an MA in Religious Studies both from the University of Dayton.
Daniel Walton is the National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, Australia’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union with over 100,000 members.
Daniel began his career in the union movement in 2003, when he started working for Unions NSW. It was here that he began to develop specialised campaigning and negotiating skills.
In 2008, he joined the Australian Workers’ Union National Team as a Campaigns and Growth Co-Ordinator, where he gained unique experience in change management and team leadership. He led a number of union recruiment projects, the success of which has been recognised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
In 2014, Daniel became National Vice-President of the Union, and used this position to advocate for policies that protect and strengthen Australian industries. His leadership in the 2015 Bluescope Steel negotiations kept the manufactuer from closing down their Australian operations.
In November 2016 Daniel was elected National Secretary of the AWU.
Daniel is a director on the board of Chifley Financial Services. He is also completing a Masters in Business Administration at the University of New South Wales.
Mark Lennon is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Mark has been Secretary of Unions NSW since October 2008, having served as Assistant Secretary since June 2001. Mark joined Unions NSW in 1988 and has held a number of positions in the organisation including Training Officer, Industrial Officer and Executive Officer.
His responsibilities over the years at Unions NSW have included industrial and political work in the areas of railways, electricity, health, industrial legislation, occupational health and safety, forestry and superannuation.
In addition to the McKell Institute, Mark is also a board member of First State Super, Health Super Financial Services Pty Ltd, Safety, Return to Work & Support Board, Trade Union Education Foundation and the Trades Hall Association.
George NewhouseCompany Secretary
George Newhouse is Company Secretary of the McKell Institute.
George is currently practicing as an Australian lawyer at Shine Lawyers Ltd. and has previously been involved in some of Australia’s most well-known Civil and Human Rights Cases. He authors the Civil Justice Issues chapter in the Laws of Australia and is a former Mayor of Waverley Council.
In 2008, George helped established the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and is currently a member of the Board of the Stolen Generations Testimony Foundation. In 2009, Newhouse travelled to PNG to establish the Adrian Lam Foundation to assist youth in PNG through education and sport.
George holds a B.Com, Accounting and Financial Systems and a B.Com LL.B from the University of NSW
Liberty SangerDirector - Victorian Advisory Board
Liberty Sanger is a Principal, Board member and Practice Group Leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, co-leading the firm’s Victorian WorkCover and Road Accident Injury (TAC) departments. Liberty is a qualified Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist and is recognised by Doyles Guide as one of only five leading lawyers in workers’ compensation in Victoria. She has previously been a Board Director of ESSSuper, Federation Square and YWCA Victoria.
She is also a regular panellist on the Wrap on 774 with Jon Faine, and reviews the newspapers on ABC News Breakfast. She is committed to ensuring socially just outcomes in both words and actions, and is endlessly curious about what practical steps we can take to make the world a better place. There are no grey clouds – just silver linings waiting to be found!
Ric Sissons is a board member of the McKell Institute.
Ric is the Founder and Managing Director of Campaign City Pty Ltd., a progressive, print-based communications company specialising in creative campaign material. Previously Ric co-founded Social Change Media and Pluto Press Australia.
Ric is a long-time political activist and is an award winning cricket historian.
Ric holds a Bachelor of Arts Economics from the University of Sussex.
Luke HilikariDirector - Victorian Advisory Board
Luke Hilakari is the Secretary of Victorian Trades Hall Council. Under Luke’s leadership, Victorian workers are taking grassroots action in unprecedented numbers to improve our working lives. Luke’s experience organising some of Victoria’s lowest paid workers drives him to fight for wage justice in Victoria. Under the banner of We Are Union, Victorian workers are leading the fight for progressive social change.
Nick has a strong interest in representing working people and ensuring that opportunity is available for all Australians.
Nick has worked at the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW for over ten years and in that time has worked as a legal officer, official, is one of the youngest ever elected officeholders and currently serves as the Union’s Chief of Staff.
Nick holds a B Com (Economics) LLB (Hons) from Macquarie University.
Owen has more than a decade of experience at senior levels of government and public sector health agencies. In that time, he contributed to the development of the national health reform agenda and developed a passion for healthcare policy.
He is currently a Senior Manager in the Economics and Policy team at PwC. Previously he has been a policy and political adviser to Australian and New South Wales Governments, serving the Australian Minister for Health and Ageing, the NSW Minister for Health, and the Premier of NSW. He also served as the Head of Policy and Planning at the National eHealth Transition Authority and a program manager at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Owen holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Health Service Management from the University of New South Wales, and recently commenced a Doctor of Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.
Rachel has a particular interest in health and human services policy and reform, with more than 15 years managerial and professional experience in the public and private sector.
Rachel is currently an Associate Director at KPMG where she focuses on organizational and behavioural change management, designing stakeholder engagement programs, strategic communications, research and analysis and public policy for government. Prior to consulting, Rachel was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Health and before that a Senior Patent Attorney specialising in the area of Medical Science.
In 2016 Rachel authored McKell’s report “Big Data and Big Possibilities: How Australia can use big data for better healthcare”.
Rachel holds a Master of Business Administration (Exec) (AGSM), Master of International Development (Deakin University), and an honours degree in Medical Science (Sydney University).
Marielle Smith is a member of the board of Australia’s only multi-national operator of franchised public transport and the State Procurement Board of South Australia. She also works as a Senior Adviser on international public policy issues relating to gender and education.
Marielle has extensive experience in Federal Government, having worked as a policy adviser to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on international policy, homeland and border security and social inclusion, and to the former Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare on early childhood education and care. She previously held a senior management role in the public transport industry where she contributed to international public policy debates on service delivery and the sustainable provision of public transport services. Marielle has also volunteered her time working on child protection policy issues in West Africa.
Marielle holds a First Class Honours degree from the Australian National University and a Master of Public Policy and Administration with Distinction from the London School of Economics.
Marieke is a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and was previously a policy officer with The McKell Institute, a position which saw her author major reports into education, biotechnology, innovation and more.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts, with a double-major in International Politics and Media & Communications from the University of Melbourne. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Public Policy part-time at the University of Sydney.
Marieke presently serves as President of the Australian Swimmers’ Association and previously ran her own small business and was an Elite Athlete Program Coordinator at the University of Melbourne. She is also a member of the Australian Swim Team, having competed in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Paul is a thought leader in the public audit arena. He has a strong interest in technology in the work place, particularly in practical applications for identifying opportunities to increase profitability through re-engineering, improving supply chains, and getting the most out of existing approaches and people.
Currently, Paul is a Partner of consulting firm Performance Audit Review and Chair of the Sydney Business Enterprise Partnerships. Previously, he served as Minister for Ports & Waterways, Minister for Mining & Forests in the NSW Government and as a Member of Parliament. Prior to entering Parliament, he was Assistant General Secretary of the Public Service Association.
Paul holds an MBA from the UNSW Australian Graduate School of Management.
Adele has an interest in a range of policy areas including law reform, human rights, social justice and industrial relations. She has a strong focus on issues affecting women including women’s safety, equality, advocacy and empowerment.
She currently works in Washington D.C as an adviser to U.S businesses on the Australian market. Prior to this, Adele served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Federal Attorney General and Federal Minister for Justice and Home Affairs and worked as a government lawyer in the Commonwealth public service. Adele has worked in a range of private and community sector legal roles and for non-profit organisations in Australia and the United States.
Adele is a recipient of the UN Women Australia National Committee MBA Scholarship, and she holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Economics (Social Science) from the University of Sydney.
Madeleine has worked for the union movement, aid organisations and the private sector leading campaigns on economic justice, climate change and energy efficiency, and workplace relations.
Madeleine’s interests include affordable housing policy and tenancy rights, climate and energy policy; tax reform; early childhood education and care and aged care.
At present, she is the National Campaigns and New Organising Coordinator for United Voice.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology & Government and International Relations) from the University of Sydney.
Amit has deep public policy experience having served as a senior economic adviser to two Prime Ministers and most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Leader of the Opposition. He currently works in public policy at Uber Technologies and is based in San Francisco.
Having held corporate advisory roles at a boutique adviser, Pottinger and as a lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills, Amit has advised technology, infrastructure and financial services corporations and investors on M&A, strategy, project finance and regulatory affairs. Amit also co-founded a consumer startup that has grown to over 200,000 members.
Amit holds honours degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Sydney. He is passionate about improving economic participation and does this through his work with Fitted for Work which supports women to return to work.
Aron is a Melbourne based professional with over ten years’ experience in the banking and financial services sector.
While having an interest in a broad range of policy areas, his main focus includes economic development, geopolitics, demographic change and its impact on cities and urban development, transport and infrastructure, and education and skills.
Aron holds a degree in Arts (Political Science) and a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
In 2016 he was an inaugural McKell Institute international fellow.
Cameron has a strong interest in a number of policy areas including health, trade, industry and innovation. With more than 15 years of experience within Government, consultancy and multinational corporations he has a deep understanding of the development and implementation of public policy.
He currently works as the Head of Government Relations and Public Affairs for a biopharmaceutical company with responsibility for Australia and New Zealand. Prior to this, Cameron worked for a Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Company, as a Director of a Corporate Affairs consultancy and as a Advisor in the Queensland Government to both the Minister for Health and the Minister for Industrial Relations.
Cameron holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Industrial Relations) from Griffith University.
Carole is a French national living in Melbourne who has an interest in a wide range of policy areas including the arts, education, social justice, international relations and constitutional law (particularly international comparisons).
She has spent her career working in marketing, communications and event management in Arts and Culture including with the French Embassy in Madrid, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Paris and the Institut Français in Valencia (Spain). She is now Campaign Coordinator for a national consumer advocacy campaign.
Carole holds a Bachelor of Political Science and a Master of Cultural Management.
Courtney Miller has headed up the peak industry body for fashion, the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC) since its beginnings. The AFC is Australia’s industry body united by the vision to strengthen, promote and develop Australian fashion design by nurturing talent here and abroad.
Courtney holds has an undergraduate degree in International Relations and a Masters in Communications. She is also fluent in French speaker who attended France’s premier political university, Sciences Po, Paris from which she has a diploma.
Danae has an interest in social policy across a diverse range of fields including women’s health and rights; climate change and climate justice; public transport and urban infrastructure.
Danae works as a Research and Politics Lead Organiser at the Victorian Trades Hall Council, the peak body for unions in Victoria. She has worked over a decade in the labour movement including LHMU (now United Voice) National Office and CPSU, as well as time working in community grassroots organising. She was elected a city councillor in October 2016 to Yarra Council in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.
Danae holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Arts from Melbourne University as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in International Community Development from Victoria University.
Kelvyn LavelleDirector - Victorian Advisory Board
Kelvyn Lavelle is currently Executive Director Corporate Affairs for international public infrastructure specialist, Plenary. He is responsible for Plenary’s external communications, and directs media, government and corporate affairs strategies across the business.
Previously, Kelvyn has worked as a public affairs consultant and advisor on a diverse range of social infrastructure projects across Australia.
He is an independent Director of Western Health which is responsible for acute public hospitals for Melbourne’s growing Western Region and also a Director of Plenary Conventions.
Kelvyn has a Master of Arts degree by Research and a Graduate Diploma in Urban Research and Policy. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Darrin BarnettFellowDarrin has been working for close to 20 years in media and politics and has a strong interest in a number of public policy areas including health, housing, community services and industrial relations.Darrin is currently the director of a corporate affairs consultancy, Watson Consultants. In the past, he has served as Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, and Press Secretary/Policy Adviser to various Federal and NSW Government Ministers.Darrin was a long term employee of both the ABC and Australian Associated Press and remains a political commentator and occasional columnist for the ABC, Sky News and News Ltd. He holds a Bachelor of Media Studies (Journalism) from Latrobe University.
Fiona has an interest in innovation policy which fosters growth in new industries and new jobs for Australia, in particular in the medical technology and biotech sectors. This includes healthcare and telehealth policies, advancement of STEM skills and commercialisation. She is also has a strong interest in policies that increase female participation in the workforce.
Fiona is an Associate Partner at the Endeavour Consulting Group, a Canberra-based government consultancy that advances clients’ policy interests within parliaments and bureaucracies throughout Australia in areas as diverse as trade, resources, tertiary education, media, telecommunications and financial services. Prior to that, Fiona worked at the Medical Technology Association of Australia, the peak body representing commercial, regulatory and policy matters affecting device, diagnostic and technology companies. She has worked as a senior ministerial advisor and Chief of Staff in the NSW Government in key public policy areas including transport, housing and mental health.
Fiona holds a Bachelor of Communications from Charles Sturt University, Bathurst.
Jade has a strong interest in education policy and reform with over 10 years of experience directly advising state and federal governments and more recently as a philanthropic adviser in the United States.
She currently works in New York as an adviser to Bloomberg Philanthropies, providing advice on new investments across the United States to better align school and post-secondary education systems with workforce demand. Jade also works as a senior strategic advisor to a non-profit education incubator – America Achieves – supporting the identification, design, strategy and launch of new national education initiatives.
Jade holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics from the University of Melbourne.
Tim WilliamsResearch Committee Member
Author of: Homes for All. The 40 things we can do to improve supply and affordability
Tim is CEO of the Committee for Sydney. He is a part time Principal for global consultancy Arup. He is also an advisor to the Federal Committee on Assisted Housing. He has advised PowerHousing, the peak organisation for Australia’s biggest community housing providers. He has worked with a number of other Community Housing Providers in NSW and South Australia. This report is written in his private capacity. Prior to becoming a resident here, Tim was Managing Director for Navigant Consulting in London where he built a team of 25 working on housing, urban renewal and local government. Tim was special advisor to the Rt Hon David Miliband when he was UK Cabinet Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government. Tim advised the current London Mayor on the housing design guide for London, the CEO of the Homes and Communities Agency and the CEO of Lend Lease Europe on the Olympic legacy. In 2007 Tim chaired an inquiry for the UK’s Housing Corporation into the design of affordable housing in Thames Gateway, published as ‘The Williams Report’. Tim was Chief Executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership between 1998 and 2003, when the Gateway, Europe’s biggest urban renewal programme, become a national priority.
Tim studied at Cambridge, Oxford and the University of Wales where he gained his Ph.D. He is also a qualified barrister.
Edward CavanoughManager of Policy
Edward Cavanough is the Manager of Policy at The McKell Institute. His professional experience spans Australian and US political, private sector and not-for-profit environments.
Edward has authored major reports on economic opportunity, trade policy, infrastructure, superannuation and more. His commentary and analysis been featured in Australian and international publications such as The Hill, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Huffington Post, The Diplomat, Real Clear Defense and The Lowy Interpreter.
He holds an MA in International Relations from The University of Sydney, and a BA in History & Political Science from the University of Adelaide.
Edward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @edwardcavanough
Esther RajaduraiPolicy Officer
Esther joined the McKell Institute in 2017 as a policy officer specialising in quantitative analysis.
Born and raised in Sri-Lanka, Esther moved to Australia in 2014 to pursue her higher education.
She holds a diploma of Business from NCC Education UK and a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University.
During her time at university, she was part of the Global Leadership Program and was selected to represent the university on an exchange program to the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark. She has also collaborated with academics from the university in developing case studies for future undergraduate programs and other research projects across NSW.
Esther has a passion for developing sustainable fiscal and social policy that would help in shaping ordinary lives.
Connor WherrettManager of Social Media
Connor joined the McKell Institute in 2017 as Social Media Manager
Connor has significant social media presence, creating and administrating a Facebook page has reached over 2 million viewers a week.
He has been frequently involved in political campaigns for all three levels of government. He is also involved in student politics and has been elected as councillor of the University of Sydney SRC.
His interests include baking, aviation and musical theatre. Connor has always loved the performing arts, appearing in over seven stage productions including the Sydney Law Revue.
Connor is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Economics (Honours) at the University of Sydney and has a keen interest in public policy, education and automation.
Nadia SuperinaPolicy Officer
Nadia joined the Institute in 2017 with extensive experience in research and business.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences with specialties in Government and International Relations, History and Environmental Sciences and a post graduate degree in Development. Nadia recently completed her Masters in International Relations.
Nadia is passionate about the role of economics in development and growth, as well as the impact of international ties and relationships on domestic affairs. Nadia is an accomplished musician having played violin for the past 20years, including at the Sydney Opera House.
Jamila RizviDirector - Victorian Advisory Board
Jamila is an author, columnist and commentator. She currently works as an opinion columnist for News Limited, writing for news.com.au, WIMIN and Kidspot. Jamila’s first book, a career manifesto for millennial women, will be published by Penguin in 2017. She appears regularly on the Austereo Radio Network, The Project, The Drum and ABC News Breakfast.
Jamila is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Women’s Network websites, which reach more than 2 million women each month. In 2014 Jamila was named one of Cosmopolitan’s 30 Most Successful Women Under 30 and in 2015, was listed as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review. Jamila was a finalist for Best Newcomer in the 2014 Women In Media Awards and under her stewardship Mamamia was named ‘Brand of the Year’ in 2013.
Prior to entering the media, Jamila worked in politics for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister Kate Ellis. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law from the Australian National University and was named Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. Jamila is an Ambassador for CARE Australia’s Walk In Her Shoes and refugee advocacy group Welcome to Australia and a board of the Melbourne’s Writer’s Festival. She is also mother to the world’s most energetic toddler, Rafi, age 18 months.
Danielle AsciakManager of External Relations
Danielle Asciak began with McKell as Manager of External Relations in May 2017 and brings to the role experience in events and project management, philanthropy and corporate hospitality, as well as marketing and communications within the not-for-profit and corporate sectors.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Music from the University of Melbourne, specialising in Voice and Arts Law/Management. While completing her undergraduate degree, Danielle served as Arts Officer with the University of Melbourne Student Union, and is now Secretary of the University of Melbourne Alumni Association Sydney Committee.
Danielle is passionate about innovation, social entrepreneurship, and challenging creative thinking. When not overhauling events and members at McKell, Danielle can be found performing her one woman cabaret shows at domestic and international festivals or volunteering with animal rescue organisations.