Profiles

Rowena Allen was appointed by the Victorian Government in July 2015 as the state's first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner. We sat down with Rowena to discuss her role and catch up on her work as Commissioner, one year on. How would you describe your role as Gender and Sexuality Commissioner? I…
Keran has represented issues related to women’s health, violence prevention and the rights of people with disabilities over many years. Keran was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the National Disability Awards in Canberra last year for her advocacy and has been inducted to the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll. How far…
Graeme Innes AM is a lawyer, mediator and company director, and was Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner from December 2005 to July 2015. He recently published Finding a way, a book documenting the love and support, challenges and failures in overcoming discrimination for people with disabilities. Discrimination of people with a disability in the…
Aunty Zeta, Yorta Yorta on her mother's side and Wurundjeri on her father's, has been a tireless campaigner and advocate for her people all her life. She was the first Victorian Aboriginal painter to have work exhibited at Melbourne Museum's Bunjilaka Gallery, at a time when the Yorta Yorta land…
Kristen Hilton was appointed as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner on 1 June 2016. Prior to her appointment, Ms Hilton was the Executive Director, Legal Practice, with Victoria Legal Aid and has previously worked with the organisation as Executive Director, Civil Justice and Access. You have been…
Justice Tony Pagone was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in June 2013. He answered some questions for us about when he discovered his passion for the law, what it was like growing up Italian-Australian in the 50s and 60s, and why Law Week is important to those in the…
Passionate advocate for multicultural youth, big sister and mean cupcake maker, Tina Hosseini answered some questions for us about her role as Youth Commissioner for the Victorian Multicultural Commission.  
For Helen Kapalos, one of her greatest gifts has been growing up in Australia immersed in the richness of Greek culture. Born to Greek parents, Helen grew up in an incredible close, tight-knit Greek community that fostered a love of not only her own roots but also instilled in her…
Anna Brown, self-confessed "law nerd" and "human rights tragic" is proof that the loudest voice doesn’t always make for the most influential advocate. As the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director for Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, and during her time as co-convener of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Anna…
Taking on responsibility for the tram network in a city synonymous with its trams is no small feat, especially when you’re responsible for a major shake up. When Clément Michel learnt seven years ago that he and his family would be moving to Melbourne so he could take on the…
It was about 7pm on a Friday when Peter Couzens got the call. On the other end of the line was the then Attorney General Robert Clark. After a bit of small talk the A-G revealed the true purpose of his call. It went something like this: “Peter, I’d like…
It’s just turned 8am on a crisp September morning and already the Treasury Café is in full swing. Ro Allen has just raced across from an adjacent building for her first meeting of the day with a second appointment scheduled an hour later in the same place. One set of…
George Taleporos has been the manager of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service for over a decade and an outspoken leader in disability advocacy, youth engagement and service reform. Last year he lead the charge against the ABC’s decision to scrap the disability and opinion news website Ramp Up by staging…
Meena Singh has recently returned from a trip to New York where she attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. So how did she wind up on the human rights world stage? We sat down with Meena to find out more about her overseas adventure and her tireless…
It was the early 2000s when armed with little more than a laptop, mobile phone and a modest grant, Antoinette Braybrook went about setting up the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria (FVPLS). A newly minted CEO, she had no management experience, no public speaking experience and…
As Elizabeth Broderick nears the end of her eight years as federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, she can report good news and bad news in the fight for gender equality. The good news is we've made substantial progress. The bad news is that we still have a long way to go.…
Joh Kirby came to the law came via the arts. You might see these as divergent paths, but she doesn't. Instead, the executive director of the Victoria Law Foundation says there's a link between the two, part of a consistent theme in her career. One thread in the link is…
Greg Kennedy went through troubled times when he was a kid. His parents separated when he was young. He grew up in a single-parent home in Robinvale, a small country town on the banks of the Murray. He had a rough time at school and didn’t do well, leaving after…
Tim Soutphommasane is an ideal person to talk to about cultural diversity. Not just because he thinks and talks and writes about it. And not just because he's the Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In a way, he personifies Australia's diversity. And while everyone's personal story…
Amy Middleton thought there was something missing in the Australian media landscape – a complex, intelligent and challenging discussion of sexuality and gender issues. So she filled the void by launching Archer magazine, an independent journal of sexual diversity. You'd think Amy Middleton's first job in publishing would have made…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to disability advocate and Co-Chair of the Disability Reference Group Liz Wright. It took years for Liz Wright to grow into her own skin. Years in which, as she puts it, she ''dabbled in denial''. What she was denying was the disability that came…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to Executive Director of Transgender Victoria, Sally Goldner. The Melbourne that Sally Goldner grew up in as a young person trying to navigate gender identity issues in the 1970s was a very different world to the Melbourne we know today. At that time, transgender…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to CEO of the Council on the Ageing, Sue Hendy. Even as a teenager, Sue Hendy knew she was going to forge a career advocating for the interests of older people. Council on the Ageing (COTA) CEO Sue Hendy has spent almost four decades…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard. Jan has worked in corrections since 1984 and has been Victoria’s Corrections Commissioner since December 2012. There is a widely held stereotype, perpetuated by prison TV shows and movies that Corrections attracts heartless and inhumane people. The Victorian Corrections…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to the Manager of the Commission’s Dispute Resolution Unit and recent recipient of the Public Service Medal, Michelle Mead When she left school at age 17 in pursuit of a job that would finance her first car and enable her to experience overseas travel,…
For this profile, the Commission spoke to Commander Sue Clark. Commander Clark joined the police force after leaving high school, where she worked for 25 years. In 2004, Commander Clark took up a role with the AFL, where she became the General Manager of People and Culture before returning to…
When you speak to Commission Board member Abeselom Nega, you are left in no doubt that he is driven by a determination to make a difference. Born in Ethiopia, Abeselom was a teenager when his home country was torn apart by civil war. After making the precarious journey by foot,…
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Jack Heath, CEO of SANE Australia

Jack Heath, the chief executive of SANE Australia, has been working to build better lives and give voice to the challenges and achievements of Australians affected by mental illness for close to two decades. His personal involvement through a family member set him on a path to improving the lives…