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 Bracks ACChair, 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 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.
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.
Marianna O’GormanExecutive Director - Queensland
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.
Edward CavanoughManager 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 Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, ABC News, the South China Morning Post, The Hill, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Huffington Post, The Diplomat, The Lowy Interpreter and others, and includes reporting from Afghanistan, China, Cuba, East Timor, Mongolia and Vanuatu.
Prior to joining the Mckell 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.’
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.
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!
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.
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.
Troy SpenceDirector- Queensland Advisory Board
Troy Spence has recently commenced practise as a Barrister in Queensland. Previously, Troy was a member of the Queensland Branch and National Executive of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU).
Troy was also the Metals and Construction District Secretary at the Queensland Branch of the AWU for over 8 years where he represented workers in the civil construction, mechanical engineering and manufacturing industries. As part of this role, Troy also led the negotiations for the AWU for the Bechtel Queensland LNG Projects Union Agreement 2014, an agreement that covered approximately 7000 civil construction workers employed by Bechtel on the Australia Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG Gas Plant construction projects on Curtis Island near Gladstone.
Troy has extensive board experience, including being the inaugural Chair of the AustralianSuper Queensland Advisory Board from 2014 until February 2018. This Board was established after the successful merger of the Aust Q Superannuation fund and AustralianSuper 1 January 2014. Troy has also been a Director on the Construction Skills Queensland and the QLeave board.
Troy holds a Bachelor of Laws, graduating with Honours, from the Queensland University of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, and a Diploma of Superannuation from the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Troy is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Linda LavarchDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Linda Lavarch was the first female lawyer elected to the Parliament of Queensland, Australia. In July 2005 she was appointed Minister for Justice and Attorney-General – the first woman to be Attorney-General in Queensland. As Attorney-General she oversaw the introduction of permanent drug courts in Queensland and the creation of the offence of identity theft.
Retiring from state politics in 2009, Lavarch became involved in medical research and the not-for-profit sector, chairing the Not-For-Profit Sector Reform Council. Lavarch stood as the Labor candidate for the Queensland seat of Dickson in the 2016 Australian federal election.
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.
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.
Dr Dimity Dornan AODirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Dr Dimity Dornan, AO is an entrepreneur, bionics activist, speech pathologist and researcher.
In 1992 she established Hear and Say as a leading not-for-profit for deaf children learning to listen and speak, particularly with surgically implantable hearing technology like the bionic ear. She is currently sharing her experience for the benefit of the stakeholders in the wider bionics industry. In 2013 she created an Australian national alliance, ‘Human Bionics Interface’ and also in 2016, founded ‘Bionics Queensland’, which was incorporated in 2018. Both of these groups seek to promote the Bionics Industry and help bring new bionics solutions to market for the benefit of people with previously untreatable medical problems. These include not only hearing but also visual, neurological, limb and organ conditions.
Dr Dornan is aiming to bring outcomes similar to those legendary ones possible for many people who use the bionic ear to other new spinoff devices (e.g. bionic eye, deep brain stimulation, bionic organs and limbs etc.).
Professor Paul BorehamDirector - Queensland Advisory Board
Paul Boreham is Emeritus Professor in the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, a member of the Board of Jobs Queensland and Deputy Director of the T J Ryan Foundation.
He was formerly Director of Research at the Institute for Social Science Research, Director of the UQ Social Research Centre, foundation Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies and Director of the Labour & Industry Research Unit all at The University of Queensland. He has held visiting Professorial positions at the Universities of Manchester, Strathclyde, York and the London School of Economics in the UK and Carleton University in Canada.
Paul was Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council, Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, a member of the University of Queensland Research Committee, Member of the Executive Council of The Australian Trade Union Training Authority and an editor of Labour & Industry and the Journal of Sociology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elliot has been engaged in public policy in Australia and now internationally for a decade.
He currently lives in New York City where we works as the Director of Public Diplomacy for the Australian Consulate-General – New York where he is responsible for advancing Australia’s soft power foreign policy. 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.
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 housing policy and tenancy rights, climate change and energy policy, economic justice and workplace relations.
She currently works for Reveille Strategy assisting unions with digital and campaign strategies to build power for working people. She was previously the National Political Strategist 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.
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.
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.
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.