Ged Kearney and Kate Carnell

Recent Speaker

ACTU President and beyondblue CEO

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm

"Improving productivity through healthier workplaces - The National Go Home on Time Day Address"

The issue of work/life balance has been described as a BBQ stopper, but long and irregular work hours can stop more than BBQs. Research has shown that stress and fatigue in the workplace have an adverse impact on mental and physical health and, in turn, lead to reduced productivity, increased staff turnover and significant costs to employers, employees, the community and the health budget. While many debates about industrial relations revolve around who wins and who loses, improving mental health in the workplace through improved workplace culture is a clear win-win outcome.


Kate Carnell was appointed Chief Executive Officer at beyondblue in 2012. Ms Carnell has been a Director of beyondblue since 2008 and Deputy Chair since 2010. beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia.

Previously, Ms Carnell was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Food and Grocery Council. She is also the former Chief Executive Officer of Australian General Practice Network is a pharmacist by profession and was the first female to become the National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Ms Carnell was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1992, and became leader of the ACT Liberal Party in 1993. She was elected Chief Minister, ACT in March 1995, and re-elected in 1998 becoming the first Liberal woman to be elected as Chief Minister or Premier in Australian political history.

Following her political career, Ms Carnell became a serious driving force behind Transact Communications' innovative broadband communications network, and also spent three years as Executive Director of the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI). Ms Carnell was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.

Kate is excited to lead beyondblue during its next phase of growth, to increase understanding and decrease the stigma that is sometimes associated with depression and anxiety, and to deliver better outcomes for those who experience these conditions, and their families.

 thumbnailGerardine (Ged) Kearney commenced as ACTU President on 1 July 2010, and is the third woman to hold the position following the departure of Sharan Burrow to the Brussels-based position of General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Ged believes that unions should not just be concerned with the experience of people at work but they should be advocates for change to improve all aspects of Australians lives. She wants to ensure that unions continue to be at the forefront of public debate in Australia.

Ged’s ambition as ACTU President is to build respect from political leaders and the broad community for the values of fairness and role played by unions in delivering social change so that people feel the need to join.

Ged was elected the Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation in April 2008. The ANF represents more than 200,000 nurses and midwives, and is one of Australia’s fastest growing unions.

She had been an elected official with the ANF since 1997, also serving as Assistant Federal Secretary, Federal President and Victorian Branch President.

Ged became a registered nurse in 1985, and has worked in many settings across the public and private acute sectors, predominantly in Melbourne, and has also been a nursing educator, including manager of the Clinical Nursing Education Department at Austin Health. She has a Bachelor in Education.

As Federal Secretary, Ged saw substantial membership growth of the ANF and the first national combined strategic growth campaign in the private sector aged care industry. Her background in nursing and industrial experience advanced the profession and industrial rights of ANF members.

In collaboration with ANF branches in every state and territory, Ged has worked to improve the working lives and conditions of dedicated nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing throughout Australia.

Ged now strives to improve the working lives and conditions for all Australian workers.

Ged is a director of CBUS Super Fund.

The second youngest of nine children, Ged grew up in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond, where her father was a publican. She was brought up in a household where the importance of the collective, both in politics and society, was emphasised from an early age.

The year after qualifying as a registered nurse, she took part in the famous Victorian nurses’ strike of 1986 which resulted in substantial improvements to pay and conditions.

Ged is a mother of four children aged from 16 to 23, and lives in Melbourne.

Registrations for this event are now closed. Please contact the reception for further details.