Michael Buckland joins the McKell Institute from Australia’s largest philanthropic fund, the Paul Ramsay Foundation, where he led policy programs and public affairs to help achieve their mission to break cycles of disadvantage in Australia.
As a former Chief of Staff and Policy Director to NSW Labor Opposition Leaders he brings extensive experience in policy development and government.
Michael has a diverse background, having worked for derivatives trading firm, First Prudential Markets, and extensively with trade unions and advocacy campaigns.
Michael will start with the McKell Institute in mid-January 2021.
Hon Dr. Craig EmersonChair
Dr. Craig Emerson was appointed Chair of the McKell Institute in February 2019.
Dr Craig Emerson is an eminent economist with 35 years’ experience in public policy, politics and public service. He is Managing Director of Craig Emerson Economics Pty Ltd, providing professional services to governments and the business community. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Australian national University, an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University, a columnist with The Australian Financial Review and President of the Australia China Business Council NSW Branch.
Dr Emerson was Australia’s Minister for Trade and Competitiveness from 2010 to 2013. In 2012 he was appointed Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy and in 2013 he was also appointed Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
Dr Emerson was the architect of the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.
As Trade Minister, Dr Emerson concluded a free-trade agreement with Malaysia and revived the stalled negotiations between Australia and China, contributing to the successful conclusion in 2015 of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement. He was instrumental in gaining passage through the Parliament of the Agreement.
Dr Emerson brought close to completion the Japan Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement and launched negotiations for the Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
During the period 2007-2010, Dr Emerson was Minister for Small Business and the Service Economy and Minister for Competition Policy.
Dr Emerson was Economic, Trade and Environmental Adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke from 1986 to 1990.
He has been a senior public servant, heading the Queensland Environment Department and the Southeast Queensland Transit Authority. His early career was as Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Economic Adviser to Finance Minister Peter Walsh, and an Economic Analyst at the United Nations.
Dr Emerson has a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University.
Hon Steve Bracks ACPatron, McKell Institute Victoria
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.
Ryan BatchelorExecutive Director, McKell Institute Victoria
Ryan Batchelor is the Executive Director of the McKell Institute Victoria.
For more than 15 years Ryan has worked as a senior executive and adviser in Commonwealth and State Governments. He has a deep understanding of how government works – budgets, legislation, policy, strategy, engagement. He has worked on some landmark social and economic policy reforms including paid parental leave, establishing and funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, responding to the Global Financial Crisis, clean energy, pension reform, disaster recovery, child care, establishing the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and responding to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
During the last Federal Labor Government he worked with Prime Minister Julia Gillard as her Director of Policy, with Cabinet Minister Jenny Macklin as her Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser, and as Senior Adviser to Anthony Albanese when he was Deputy Prime Minister. Ryan also worked in Federal Labor Campaign HQ during the 2007, 2010 and 2013 federal elections.
Passionate about improving public services, for four years Ryan worked in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet leading the State Government’s public sector reform and innovation efforts as an Executive Director, where he established new teams using behavioural insights and data analytics to solve policy and service delivery problems.
He has also lived in Timor-Leste, working for an NGO on economic and community development projects with the people of Balibo.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Political Science from the University of Western Australia, a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University, and a Masters of Philosophy in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge.
Hon Rachel NolanExecutive Director, McKell Institute Queensland
Rachel Nolan is an experienced leader, non executive director and consultant specialising in governance and public policy.
Rachel leads and teaches governance programs for foreign governments (mainly from the South East Asian region) through University of Queensland International Development and she is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at UQ.
Rachel was a Member of the Queensland Parliament for 11 years from 2001, when she was elected as the youngest woman ever. She is a former Minister for Finance, Transport, Natural Resources and the Arts. In those roles she oversaw an historic round of economic reform, jointly leading the successful privatisation of QR National, the Port of Brisbane and Abbot Point Coal Terminal. She was a member of the Queensland Government’s central budgetary organ, the Cabinet Budget Review Committee.
Her policy expertise lies at the interface of the public and private sectors.
Ms Nolan has a diverse set of interests. For five years she owned and ran a café ranked as one of South East Queensland’s best in her hometown of Ipswich and she has traveled extensively, including completing an independent near overland journey from Ireland to Indonesia in 2013/14.
Melissa is the Deputy Secretary and NSW State Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.
Melissa has worked with members across all areas of the federal public sector, telecommunications, broadcasting and private sector industries. Melissa currently leads the national team with responsibility for members in the Department of Human Services (Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support). In her time at the CPSU Melissa has occupied a range of roles, including leading the national political, industrial, research and legal team prior to joining the national Executive Committee in 2015.
Melissa is also a Director of TelstraSuper.
Melissa has degrees in Social Science and Law and is a qualified lawyer.
Melissa is married with two children and lives in Sydney.
Mary Easson is the Chair and CEO of Probity International, a strategic adviser to business. Her business career began in Melbourne in the mid-1970s when she worked as Corporate Affairs Manager for the diversified manufacturing business ACI Industries. In 1983 she moved to Sydney to take on a senior position at Ansett Airlines, reporting to Sir Peter Abeles. In 1993 Mary was elected as the Federal Member of Parliament for Lowe in Sydney, serving from 1993 until 1996.
Thereafter she established her public affairs and strategic advice company, Probity International Pty Ltd. Over the years its clients have included Coca-Cola Amatil, IBM, AVCO Finance, BZW, ANZ Bank, Telstra, Lend Lease, City of Sydney, Coles Myer, Dairy Farmers, Microsoft, Medtronic, Teva Pharmaceuticals, InTech Strategies, the Queensland Government, Elbit Systems etc.
Charity work includes Director and National Secretary, UNICEF Australia, 1988-1993; Member of the ANZAC Foundation Board, 1995-96; Chair, Life Education NSW, 2005-08; Member of the Board of Campion College, 2005-09; subsequently a Fellow. I also served on the Board of the John Curtin Research Centre for two years.
Misha ZelinskyDirector, McKell Institute
Misha is the Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, Australia’s oldest and largest blue-collar union. He is responsible for national strategy, campaigns, communications, policy development, and industrial negotiations.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from the University of Wollongong and a Master of Public Administration from the London School of Economics.
Misha began his career as a criminal defence lawyer for the Aboriginal Legal Service, before moving into public policy as an advisor to the NSW Government and then to the AWU as the Chief Economist. He is the Secretary of the Australian Labor Party’s National Policy Forum, the body responsible for the development of ALP electoral policy.
Misha is a director of Cbus Super, an industry superannuation fund with over $60 billion under management. Misha joined the McKell Institute in July 2020.
A public policy expert, Misha is regularly published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, Australian Financial Review and is the host of the popular foreign policy podcast ‘Diplomates – A Geopolitical Chinwag’.
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.
Marianna O’GormanDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Marianna has worked as an adviser in the highest levels of Government, providing legislative, strategic, budgetary and communications advice to former the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Treasurer and other Ministers.
She has worked and studied internationally, including in Washington D.C. at the World Bank and has represented Australia at multilateral and bilateral climate negotiations in the Middle East, US, Asia, UK & Europe. She has extensive public policy experience in infrastructure, homelessness, broadband and telecommunications but particular expertise in climate change and renewable energy. She worked on the World Bank’s first ever climate change learning program; the development of Australia’s national price on carbon; on the formation of Australia’s first green investment bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and has undertaken academic research in the field including as a fellow with the ANU’s Centre for Climate Economics and Policy and a recipient of the Ross Garnaut Award.
Marianna’s is also passionate the establishment of a national scheme that meets the needs of disabled Australians, closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, social justice, homelessness and women in leadership.
Narelle Clay AMDirector
Narelle has worked in the community services industry for just over thirty years. Currently Narelle is the Chief Executive Officer of Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS). She was also employed by TAFE for almost 30 years.
She has been an elected official of the Australian Services Union (ASU) in NSW and ACT since 1995 and has been the President since 2007 (14 years). This Union covers the industry areas of Social and Community Services, Water, Rail, Ports, Info Tech and Travel. She was the first woman President of this Union and also the first one from the Social and Community Services Division.
In addition, Narelle has served on many Boards, Committees and Advisory Structures over the years including previous Prime Ministerial Task Force and currently chairs the Australian College of Community Services and Disability Practitioners and is a Member of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee for Social Services. She has shown the ability to work across the different political parties and she has been respected and maybe feared at times by all sides of the political sphere.
Narelle received the Member to the Order of Australia Award (AM) in 2005 for “Distinguished Service to the Community in the areas of direct service delivery and advocacy for vulnerable people.” In 2017 she received a Premier’s Award for Public Service. This was the first time that a non-Government agency received such an award and she won the Business Person of the Year in 2011, and was the first woman to win this honour and the first from Community Services.
Narelle Smythe is a board member of The McKell Institute.
Narelle is a leader in financial services regulation, investigations and enforcement at Clayton Utz. She is an acknowledged specialist in financial services regulation, investigations and privacy, and has been so for over 25 years. Though known in the financial services industry as being one of the best technically-driven in the business, her critical thinking capacity also delivers strategic and policy-orientated skills to the table.
Complementing her legal work is Narelle’s experience in the education of the profession and the process of law reform as a participant in the Law Council’s Privacy Working Party, and a member of the Law Council’s Financial Services Working Party. She is also a member of the editorial board of the Lexis Nexis Privacy Law Bulletin.
Danielle AsciakDirector Operations & External Engagement
Danielle Asciak began with McKell 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.
Danielle is a current Executive MBA candidate at the Melbourne Business School | The University of Melbourne. 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 President of the University of Melbourne Alumni Association Sydney Committee.
Danielle is passionate about innovation, social entrepreneurship, and challenging creative thinking. During her time at McKell, she has developed the Cultural and Creative Industries Policy series which aims to reset the conversation in the sector.
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.
Edward CavanoughDirector of Policy
Edward Cavanough joined The McKell Institute as Manager of Policy in August 2015.
He has authored major reports into a variety of issues, including economic inequality, international trade, retirement adequacy, industrial relations, indigenous policy, workplace entitlements, tax reform, infrastructure provision and more.
In addition to his policy work, Edward’s analysis and journalism has been published in Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, ABC News, the South China Morning Post, The Hill, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, and others, and includes reporting from Afghanistan, China, Cuba, East Timor, Mongolia and Vanuatu.
Prior to joining the Institute, Edward was Australian Foreign Policy Fellow at Young Australians in International Affairs; worked on a US Congressional campaign; and worked for a member of South Australia’s parliament.
He holds a BA in History & Politics from the University of Adelaide, and Masters of International Relations from the University of Sydney.
Liberty Sanger OAMDirector, McKell Institute & 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!
Mark Morey was elected Secretary of Unions NSW (formerly Labor Council of NSW) in February 2016. He previously held the position of Assistant Secretary and was responsible for coordinating Unions NSW industrial, industry reform and industry policy activities. Mark also coordinated the construction and rail industries.
Mark started his career as a social worker in the community sector. Mark came to Unions NSW in 2000 (formerly Labor Council) as the Research Director.
In 2004 Mark went to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (NSW Branch) where, as the union’s Executive Officer, he assisted in coordinating the unions political, industrial and campaigning activities. He returned to Unions NSW in 2009.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Laws (UTS); Bachelor of Social Work & Masters of Social Work (UNSW).
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.
Amanda NewmanDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Amanda Newman is the Director of Communications and Campaigning at the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU). Amanda develops and implements major campaigns aimed at creating fairer workplaces and better communities. Amanda leads a team of marketing, communications, media, education, recruitment and campaign professionals, all committed to making a difference for nurses and midwives and those in their care. Most recently Amanda has been responsible for developing the union’s Transformational Activism agenda, focused on growing sustainable local member structures which enable nurses and midwives to deliver real change for Queenslanders.
Daniel ChevertonDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Daniel Cheverton is General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Office of the CEO, QIC (Queensland Investment Corporation). Daniel joined QIC in early 2015 and is responsible for QIC’s relationship with it shareholding Ministers, corporate secretariat, corporate performance and reporting and CEO strategic initiatives. Prior to joining QIC he worked in public affairs for the Australian energy company Santos, most particularly on the US$18.5 billion GLNG project. He has previously served as a chief of staff and advisor to Australian and Queensland government ministers in the treasury, transport and infrastructure portfolios.
Luke HilakariDirector - 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.
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.
David PeetzDirector - Queensland Advisory Board & Research Committee Member
David Peetz is professor of employment relations at Griffith University and a co-researcher at the Centre de Recherche Interuniversitaire sur la Mondialisation et le Travail (the Inter-university Centre for Research on Globalisation and Work) in Canada. He was recently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative in the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; was once a manager in the Senior Executive Service of the Australian Government’s Department of Industrial Relations and has undertaken work for unions, employers, the International Labor Organisation, the OECD, and governments of both political persuasions in and outside of Australia, including a recent statutory report on the Queensland workers compensation scheme. His books include Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation: Varieties of Gender Gaps, Brave New Workplace, Unions in a Contrary World, Women of the Coal Rushes and The Realities and Futures of Work. His current research includes investigations of finance, climate change, digital human technology, and the harassment of scientists. He is a member of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
John HoggDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
John Joseph Hogg was a member of the Australian Senate for the state of Queensland from July 1996 to June 2014, representing the Australian Labor Party. He was elected the 23rd President of the Senate on 26 August 2008.
Before politics, he attended St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace and then the University of Queensland, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science He later completed a Diploma in Primary Teaching at Kedron Park Teachers College, now part of the Queensland University of Technology, and he taught at both primary and secondary schools.
He is now President of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association in Queensland.
Dr Linda ColleyDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Dr Linda Colley teaches in HRM / Strategic Management. Her research builds on this career, with her PhD examining Queensland public service employment from 1859 to 1999, and her UQ Postdoctoral fellowship examining workforce planning in the contemporary Queensland public service. She has published on topics such as merit, tenure, job security, redundancy, gender and age at work, public management reform, privatisation, and the effects of austerity measure on public employment.
Linda ShieldsDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Linda Shields holds the position of Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Queensland.
She recently retired from a research career in universities in Australia and Europe. A founding Board Member of the TJ Ryan Foundation, she also sits on the Board of Directors of the Australian College of Nursing and the Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Healthcare.
Her research covers two main areas – the way children and families are cared for in health facilities, and the history of health , with a particular focus on the role of nurses in the Third Reich.
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.
Sam Crosby is a fellow and former CEO of the McKell Institute. Sam works as the Executive Director, Members, Volunteers, Regions at St Vincent de Paul Society NSW. He has worked in senior roles in government, business and the trade union movement.
Previously, Sam served as corporate and government affairs manager for Johnson & Johnson, senior adviser and chief of staff to a number of New South Wales Cabinet ministers, and adviser to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during the 2013 election. His experience spans infrastructure, transport, ports, mining, forestry, Treasury, industrial relations 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 and national president of Australian Young Labor.
He lives in Sydney with his family and tweets as @SamPCrosby.
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).
Simon joins The McKell Institute Queensland as a Fellow after a distinguished career in both Australia and the UK.
Simon was Senior Adviser to the UK Department for International Trade between 2017-2018. He led development and delivery of strategic policy at the new Department in the formation of the first UK independent trade policy function for 40 years post-Brexit.
Prior to that, Brian has held posts at Big Society Capital, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a solicitor for Linklaters.
Simon holds a L.L.B (Hons.)/B.Comm (Hons.) from the University of Queensland, and a Master of Public Administration from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
With close to ten years of experience across the public and private sector, Veronica Newman is Government Relations Manager for IAG. Prior to joining IAG, Veronica was a part of the Government Relations teams at various organisations including Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Arrium Limited and Asciano.
Before entering the private sector, Veronica was an Adviser to the Hon. Jason Clare MP for several years, working across a number of portfolio areas including: Employment, Defence Material, Home affairs and Justice. Veronica has also spent time working for NSW Labor as the Business Communications Director.
Veronica holds a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Sydney and has her Masters in Policy Studies from the University of New South Wales.
Kelvyn LavelleChair - 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.
Fiona is Director, Government Relations at the Australian Banking Association and responsible for leading the sectors engagement with Government on a range of complex policy and regulatory issues in partnership with members. Prior to working at the ABA, Fiona was an Associate Partner with 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. Fiona worked as a senior ministerial advisor and Chief of Staff in the NSW Government for five years and has a particular interest in technology policy issues including data driven initiatives, STEM skills and cyber security.
Fiona holds a Bachelor of Communications from Charles Sturt University, Bathurst.
Elliot has been engaged in public policy in Australia and now internationally for a decade.
Based in Brisbane he is now the Director of Hawker Britton, a Labor aligned government relations firm after spending two years in New York City in the government and private sectors. Elliot previously served Federal and State Government Ministers as a Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser across various portfolio areas including transport, agriculture, natural disaster recovery and the Commonwealth Games.
Elliot holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in International Relations and Political Science, from the Australian National University and a Master’s Degree inGovernance and Public Policy from the University of Queensland. His Masters dissertation was one of the first Australian academic contributions to explore how policy makers are responding to disruptive technology in the economy.
He has published opinion pieces in News Limited outlets and with the Chifley Research Centre concerning an Australian Republic, youth skills training, Asian policy engagement and national Indigenous recognition.
Darrin is a former Press Secretary to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Canberra Press Gallery Journalist who has been working on the frontline of media, state and federal politics for more than 20 years.
Darrin worked extensively as a journalist in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra before crossing over to become a press secretary for Ministers at state and federal level.
He served as a senior adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office and was Senior Canberra Press Secretary for the 2013 and 2016 Federal Election campaigns, in addition to spending significant periods of time working in the trade union movement.
Darrin was also the campaign director, media spokesperson and principal adviser to Wentworth Independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps and his consultancy ran the successful campaign to elect Independent Zali Steggall MP in Warringah.
He has extensive experience across a wide range of portfolio areas including health, housing, community services and industrial relations, with additional journalistic experience covering financial markets and publicly listed companies.
Darrin also has extensive experience as a media spokesperson on both the ABC and Sky News, in addition to opinion pieces published in News Corp, Nine/Fairfax newspapers, ABC online and the Daily Mail.
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.
Dr John Hewson AMResearch Committee Member
Former Leader of the Federal Opposition, Australia
Dr Hewson has had several careers in academia, bureaucracy, business, politics, and the media. He is currently a Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, and an Adjunct Professor at Curtin, UTS, Canberra and Griffith Universities, having been Professor and Head of the School of Economics at UNSW, and Professor of Management and Dean Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University. He has worked for The Australian Treasury (Census and Statistics), the IMF, the Reserve Bank, the UN (UNESCAP), and the ADB, and often advises senior public servants.
In Business, he was a Founder of Macquarie Bank, Chairman ABN Amro Australia, and Chair/Director of a host of public and private companies, with current positions in insurance broking, renewable energy, and funds management and investment banking. He is Chair, Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, Chair, BioEnergy Australia, and a Patron of the Smart Energy Council and the Ocean Nourishment Foundation. In Politics he has served as Advisor/Chief of Staff to two Federal Treasurers and Prime Minister, as Shadow Finance Minister, Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Leader of the Liberal Party, and of the Federal Coalition in Opposition. In the media, he has been a regular Columnist since the early 80s for a range of domestic and international newspapers (presently Nine Media and Fairfax Regionals) and publications, a Sky News Contributor, and comments widely on economics and politics on TV, radio, in print, and on line, here and overseas.
Dr Hewson has also been active in charities and not-for-profits, main positions currently, Chair of Osteoporosis Australia and KidsXpress, Investment Advisory Committee of the Australian Olympic Foundation, Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Land Manager, and as Member, SteerCo Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap, National Standing Committee for Energy and the Environment, and as an Ambassador Women for Election Australia.
Richard HoldenResearch Committee Member
Richard Holden is professor of economics at UNSW Business School. Professor Holden received a PhD from Harvard University and was a faculty member at MIT and the University of Chicago before returning to Australia.
He has published in the leading economics journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review and Review of Economic Studies. His popular writings have appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, New Republic, American Affairs, Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation, and Crikey.
He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, and of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and is President-elect of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
Dr Angela JacksonResearch Committee Member
Angela is lead economist at Equity Economics, a consulting firm that focuses on the importance of inclusive growth in building a more sustainable economy and society.
Angela was previously Deputy Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP during the Global Financial Crisis.
She is currently National Deputy Chair of the Women in Economics Network, Board Member at Gender Equity Victoria, a regular contributor to the NFAW Gender Lens on the Budget and a member of the National Heart Foundation’s Victorian Advisory Board.
Angela holds a Masters in International Health Policy (Health Economics) with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has recently completed her PhD on the Economics of Disability in Australia at Monash University’s Centre for Health Economics. Angela provides regular economic commentary on television and radio, and has written for The Age, the Conversation, The Australian, The New Daily and Croakey.
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.
Marni LefebvrePolicy Analyst
Marni started at the McKell Institute in 2021 as a Policy Analyst and brings a decade of research experience with her to the role. Beginning with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from The University of Sydney, she discovered a love of anthropology and decided to follow her undergraduate degree with a Master of Applied Anthropology (focusing on corporate anthropology) from Macquarie University.
She then thought it prudent to be equally qualified in business, so she earned a Master of International Business and Law from The University of Sydney. Finally, to top it all off, she earned her fourth and final postgraduate research degree from Oxford University, specialising in sociotechnical imaginaries and science, innovation, and society.
Alice StaffordCommunications & Engagement Officer
Alice started at The McKell Institute in 2020. Alice brings previous voluntary experience to the role, having worked at global think tank The Institute for Economics and Peace and written coverage for not-for profit publications such as the Evatt Foundation and Young Australians in International Affairs. She is passionate about arts and cultural policy and international relations.
She is currently the President of the Sydney University Dramatic Society and has directed and performed in a number of student productions and revues.
Alice is a Dalyell Scholar at The University of Sydney. She is studying a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (International and Global Studies) with a major in Political Economy and minor in Italian.
When she isn’t working on social media for McKell, Alice can be found doing lighting design, paddle boarding or producing theatre shows.
Felix ZerbibEconomic Policy Analyst
Felix started at the McKell institute in 2021 as an economic policy analyst. Felix brings policy and data analytics experience from his work at the OECD’s Science, Technology and Innovation department. He also comes from a background of social enterprise, having led multiple teams on-ground in Fiji and Timor-Leste in collaboration with organisations such as the UN and WHO.
Felix is currently completing his degrees in engineering and economics at the University of Sydney.
When he isn’t working at McKell, Felix is either in the laboratory completing his honours thesis, playing AFL for USYD, or going on overnight hikes.