Movers & shakers: women take the lead

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday September 20, 2019

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

APS senior executives

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Rachael Jackson

Rachael Jackson has been appointed Chief Operating Officer in the National Indigenous Australians Agency in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. She was most recently a General Manager in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and has also worked in Finance and the Attorney-General’s Department.

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The Department of Environment and Energy has a new General Manager, Jane Wardlaw, who has taken the role in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting & Safeguard Branch of the Clean Energy Regulator.

Anna Rudziejewski has been promoted to General Counsel in the Department of Defence. She was formerly Director of International Government Agreements.

Home Affairs has two new assistant secretaries, Patrick Hallinan in the Policy and Implementation division and Melissa Bennett in Identity and Biometrics Capability.

Donna Looney has moved up and across from PM&C to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as a General Manager. 

In Treasury, Cristy England has been promoted to head up the People and Organisational Strategy Division.


Phillipa Harrison

Phillipa Harrison has been named Tourism Australia’s new Managing Director.

She brings industry experience and “pizzazz” to the role, according to Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham.

“Over the past three years Phillipa has made a significant and valuable contribution, overseeing operations in 12 countries and managing critical partnerships with airlines and global distribution activities,” he said.

“Phillipa is an exceptionally well qualified appointment who I am confident will represent and promote Australia with passion, professionalism and pizzazz.”

Harrison spent six years working for Hamilton Island Enterprises. She has also held senior sales, marketing and product roles at Viator Systems and Base Group in Sydney, as well as STA Travel, Contiki Holidays, and Trailfinders in London.

House of reps

Catherine Cornish

Catherine Cornish has been appointed Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives, as well as Registrar of Members’ Interests. The appointment means that for the first time in Australian history, the house will have a female Clerk and Deputy Clerk.

Cornish was formerly Clerk Assistant for the Procedure and Chamber Research Offices. She has held many roles in the Department of the House of Representatives, including Clerk Assistant (Table) and Director of the Chamber Research Office and Clerk’s Office. She has also worked as Committee Secretary. 


Mary Kelaher

Mary Kelaher will be the Bureau of Meteorology’s next Chief Information Security Officer. She replaces Robert Deakin, who has been acting CISO for the past year since Suthagar Seevaratnam went to the Australian National University.

Kelaher was most recently digital security officer at Energy Queensland. She has also held senior executive roles in Defence, and was recently an adjudicator in the Department of Human Services’ annual cyber war games.

Car races

Paul Little

Business leader Paul Little has been appointed chair of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, succeeding John Harnden, who became chief executive of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust on 16 September.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Little was well placed to “steer” the future direction of the board. He was a founder and managing director of Toll Holdings, and is currently chairman of the Little Group which has interests in property, aviation, marine transport and philanthropy. He also chaired Essendon Football Club from 2013-15

Janet Whiting

Little was awarded an Order of Australia in 2010 for his work in Australia’s transport and logistics industry, and support of sporting and medical research organisations. He has chaired Visit Victoria since 2017. He will be replaced by current board member and distinguished lawyer Janet Whiting.

Whiting is head of the Disputes and Investigations division at Gilbert + Tobin’s practice in Melbourne with experience in commercial disputes, corporations law and regulatory areas. She is also president of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, and was the first woman to hold the position.

In 2015, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to the community through the arts, health and major events sectors, and for her contribution to the law. She was also inducted on to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Whiting was previously deputy chair of the Victorian Major Events Company, a director of Tourism Australia, and president of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.

Dog races

Greyhound breeder, trainer and owner Ray Bartolo has been appointed to the board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).

Bartolo has spent three decades in the industry, and has held positions on the animal welfare committees of Greyhound Clubs Australia and GRV, as well as serving on GRV’s Animal Welfare Taskforce. He has also been a director of the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club and the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said Bartolo’s passion for greyhound welfare would be a great asset to the board.

“The greyhound racing industry is entering a new era and people like Ray will play a vital role in helping the industry realise its potential,” he said.

Future drought committee

A new Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee is tasked with delivering resilience funding and preparedness programs to communities.

Brent Finlay

Chair Brent Finlay will sit with Dr Kate Andrews, Dr Wendy Craik, Dr Elizabeth Peterson and Caroline Welsh. The committee will develop the Drought Resilience Funding Plan with input from drought-vulnerable communities.

Finlay has more than 40 years’ experience in agriculture. He has led AgForce, the National Farmers Federation and Traprock Wool Association.

Craik is an independent policy advisor. She is currently Chair of the Climate Change Authority and has other roles with the Reserve Bank, the Australian Farm Institute, and the NSW Maine Estate Management Authority among others.

Kate Andrews

Andrews is the director of Agrifutures and previously led the Lake Eyre Basin Coordinating Group, while Peterson is an adjunct senior lecturer in the School of Agriculture at the University of Western Australia, specialising in agricultural, environmental and fisheries economics.

Welsh has extensive experience with applying science-based research to broadacre farming and irrigated horticulture, having worked for GWMWater, the Lodden Mallee Regional Development Australia Committee, the Department of Primary Industries and Birchip Cropping Group.

Vic courts

Rosemary Carlin

Magistrate and coroner Rosemary Carlin has joined the bench of the County Court of Victoria.

Since being admitted to practice in 1985, Carlin has served as crown prosecutor for Victoria, senior crown prosecutor for the Northern Territory, and in-house counsel for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. She joined the Victorian Bar in 1991, before serving for seven years as a barrister for both state and Commonwealth law enforcement agencies.

Carlin was involved in many significant cases during her time as a crown prosecutor, including R v Tang, which established the modern legal definition of slavery in Australia. She was appointed a magistrate in 2007 before being assigned to the Coroners Court in 2014.

Meanwhile, Lisa Hannan is the new Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates Court of Victoria, creating a gender-balanced bench for the first time.

Lisa Hannan

She worked for eight years as a Magistrate and Coroner, 13 years as a County Court Judge, and served as the inaugural Head of the Criminal Division of the County Court from 2014 to 2018. She previously worked as a barrister primarily in criminal and family violence matters. Hannan joined the Victorian Bar in 1988 and has since founded the Women in Crime network that provides mentoring, education and support to roughly 250 female criminal lawyers.

In November, Hannan will replace Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen, who is retiring after seven years in the role and three decades as a Victorian Magistrate. 

Lauritsen has championed judicial wellbeing and reforms to improve access to justice. He will continue to serve as a Reserve Judge of the County Court.

Meghan Hoare has also been appointed to the Magistrates Court, starting in November and replacing Peter Mealy.

Hoare was admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1994 and has held senior roles in the legal sector including at Slater and Gordon. In 2016, she served as Chair of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Workers Compensation Committee and received recognition in the Doyle’s Guide. The following year, Hoare was appointed by the Minister for Finance to the WorkCover Advisory Committee.

NSW courts

Eight new magistrates have been appointed to the bench of the Local Court of NSW: barristers Holly Kemp and Allison Hawkins, and solicitors Sally McLaughlin, Kevin Hockey, Lisa Viney, Jillian Kiely, Janine Lacy and Michael Love. This brings the number of female magistrates to a record 65. They will begin their judicial careers in Sydney before relocating to regional or suburban courts.

Allison Hawkins

Love began as a clerk in the Supreme Court Criminal Registry and has spent most of his 30 year career working in the criminal justice system. His most recent role was Managing Solicitor for the Wollongong Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which he joined as a solicitor in 2002. Love also worked at the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, Department of Juvenile Justice and NSW Rural Fire Service.

A former Liberal staffer, Lacy has worked with the DPP for more than 14 years. She was previously the managing solicitor at the Campbelltown office of the DPP and has tutored at Western Sydney University. Most recently, she was deputy solicitor of the DPP’s Sydney West operations where she supervised 150 solicitors and support staff. She is married to One Nation politician Mark Latham.

The majority of Viney’s career has been spent in criminal law as a solicitor at the DPP. She has appeared as an advocate in summary prosecutions and committal matters in the Local Court, as well as sentences and appeals in the District Court. Viney has also held senior roles at the NSW Ombudsman’s Office and Crown Solicitor’s Office.

Kemp was a solicitor for almost 18 years in the Local, Children’s, District and Supreme Courts. She became a Crown Prosecutor in 2017. The following year, the NRL retained her to appear on its behalf in matters relating to female players charged with infringements. 

McLaughlin began working in the legal system in 2000 as a volunteer at Bidura Children’s Court and the Aboriginal Legal Service. She worked as an Associate to Judge Leonie Flannery in 2009 before joining Legal Aid NSW as a criminal lawyer. She has represented clients in the Local, Children’s, District and Supreme Courts, as well as the High Court of Australia.

Kiely has worked almost exclusively with the DPP as a solicitor for 14 years, appearing regularly in the Local Court. She was most recently the acting solicitor in charge of the Sutherland Office of Legal Aid NSW.

Hawkins practised as a barrister with Wardell Chambers since 2014. She has appeared in the Local, Children’s, District Supreme and High Court and has extensive experience in civil and criminal law. She also practised as a solicitor in the criminal division of Legal Aid NSW for 11 years.

Hockey is a former prosecutor with the NSW Police Force. After an honourable discharge from the police in 1998, he pursued his legal career and managed his own firm in Dubbo. Prior to joining the police, he worked as a motor mechanic.

Sophia Beckett

Deputy Senior Public Defender Sophia Beckett has been appointed to the bench of the District Court of NSW. Her legal career has spanned almost 30 years across all criminal court jurisdictions. She acted for the Crown in the trial of Eddie Obeid for misconduct in public office, and appeared for the defence in one of Australia’s largest terrorism investigations. She has also worked at the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, the Western Aboriginal Legal Service and the NSW Bar Association.

Beckett became a NSW solicitor in 1990 and was called to the Bar in 2007. Between 2004 and 2005, she was a senior policy officer at the stat, advising on criminal law and drafting legislation. She returned to the Legal Aid Commission as senior solicitor in the Indictable Appeals Unit. She spent almost a decade as a barrister at Forbes Chambers before joining the Public Defenders.


Jennifer Johanson has been appointed to IBAC’s Audit and Risk Management Committee for a three year term. She is an experienced non-executive director in financial services, education and the not-for-profit sector.

The committee provides independent assurance and assistance on the effectiveness of IBAC’s internal controls, financial and risk management, and compliance framework. It oversees and reviews IBAC’s financial reporting, internal audit function, external audit, risk management, and legislative and policy compliance. There are four members of the committee.


The Western Australian government has appointed Ross Love to lead consultation for a proposed industry funded voluntary buy-back of homes in the West End of Port Hedland. He has previously held a number of senior roles in government and private industry.

Love will visit Port Hedland to meet with homeowners, local government, mining industry representatives and the Pilbara Ports Authority, then report back to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti following the three-month consultation period.

Six new faces at Victorian Multicultural commission

Maria Dimopoulos

Maria Dimopoulos has been named Deputy Chairperson. Trained as a lawyer, she has more than 25 years of experience in advocacy for cultural diversity, gender equity justice and human rights. She has worked with government and community as a policy adviser and strategist, community advocate, speaker and mentor. In 2008, she was appointed by the federal government to the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. She received the Australian Migration and Settlement Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

Mohammed Yassin has been appointed as Community Organisation Representative Commissioner. Yassin is the founder and CEO of Culture and Co, a cultural consulting and training organisation that is working with the government and the non-for-profit sector to create programs that meet the needs of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. He is part of multiple advisory boards including the ECCV’s Intercultural Young Advocacy Leaders group. Having arrived in Australia in 2003, Yassin provides leadership training for young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds at the Centre for Multicultural Youth.

Bwe Thay has been appointed as a Commissioner. He has held leadership roles within Victoria’s multicultural sector and has received a range of community and academic awards for his contributions, including the commission’s 2018 Emerging Leadership in Multiculturalism Award. Thay has been a member of the commission’s Eastern Metropolitan Regional Advisory Council since 2017. He arrived in Australia in 2009 as a refugee and currently works as the Migrant Student and Community Liaison at the Swinburne University of Technology.

Dr Judy Tang has been named a Commissioner. She has volunteered for more than 10 years to promote and advocate for multiculturalism and equality for migrants. She is a former Multicultural Champion at the commission and President of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council. Tang is a practising Clinical Neuropsychologist.

David Nyuol Vincent

New Commissioner David Nyuol Vincent has worked in the community sector for more than a decade. He is a former Youth Ambassador for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and currently leads community engagement for Initiatives of Change Australia. As a refugee, Vincent has published a memoir about his life as a child solider and his journey to rebuild his life in Australia.

Sankaran (Shankar) Kasynathan has been named a Commissioner. He came to Australia with his family as a refugee, and has worked with refugee and migrant communities in Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT for 15 years. Since December 2017, Kasynathan has been the National Refugee Campaign Manager with Amnesty International Australia. He is also a non-executive director of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, an adviser to Welcoming Australia, and specialises in communications and public policy.

The commission advises the minister on a broad range of issues facing Victoria’s diverse communities. The commission also promotes the social, cultural and economic benefits of diversity, oversees a network of Regional Advisory Councils and delivers the state’s largest multicultural celebration, Cultural Diversity Week.


Gabrielle Bell

Gabrielle Bell has been appointed as the new Chair of the V/Line Corporation Board. She has been a Board Director at V/Line since July 2015 and will take over from Jeroen Weimar.

Weimar was recently appointed Deputy Secretary, Transport Operations, under the new Department of Transport structure, having been the Chief Executive Officer of Public Transport Victoria.

During his tenure, Weimar oversaw continued performance improvements at a time of record patronage growth and huge capital investment in new rail infrastructure.

Bell, working with the Chief Executive Officer James Pinder, will continue to improve V/Line’s performance and ensure it operates a safe, reliable and accessible network.

Bell has worked as a corporate lawyer in Australia and South-East Asia, and is currently serving on the boards of South East Water, VicSuper Pty Ltd and InLife Independent Living Ltd.

During her career she has specialised in general corporate advisory, including corporate governance. 


Susan Hunt

Susan Hunt has been named chief executive officer of Western Australia’s Lotterywest and Healthway. She has been acting in the roles since July 2017 and January 2018 respectively and will serve a term of five years. The Lotterywest and Healthway boards were integrated in 2018.

A fellow of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government, Hunt will implement new initiatives to increase sales and create long-term sustainability for Lotterywest’s network of small retail businesses. 

From 2004 to 2017, she led the Zoological Parks Authority (Perth Zoo), where she spearheaded the development of the first World Zoo Animal Welfare Strategy. She was the driving force behind the transformation of the zoo from a recreation facility to a wildlife conservation organisation. 

Hunt was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010 and received the Institute of Public Administration Australia Patron’s Award in 2017. 

Uniting Vic.Tas

Bronwyn Pike

Former Victorian health and education minister Bronwyn Pike has stepped down as chair of Uniting Vic.Tas to become its next Chief Executive from October.

Interim chair Allan Thompson said Pike’s experience across the public, private and community services sectors would give her the ability to move the organisation forward.

“Ms Pike brings many different perspectives from growing up in rural Australia to working as a community worker and service manager, her time as Victorian Government Minister responsible for housing, aged care, community services, health and education, and as the inaugural Board Chair of Uniting Vic.Tas,” he said.

“She has a proven track record of championing the rights of vulnerable people. In particular, Ms Pike’s senior leadership role at Telstra Health over three years has also given her valuable insight into how technology will continue to play a greater role in the sector.”

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