The Hon Bruce Billson MP

Recent Speaker

Minister for Small Business

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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

'Address to the National Press Club'

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Bruce Billson was sworn in as the Minister for Small Business and as a Cabinet Minister with responsibilities in the Treasury portfolio including for competition and consumer affairs on 18 September 2013.

He was first elected to the Australian Parliament in 1996 to represent the beautiful outer Melbourne coastal constituency of Dunkley.

Mr Billson was the Shadow Minister for Small Business from 2009 and prior to that served as the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence in the Howard Government.

He also held a number of Parliamentary Secretary roles in the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs portfolios.

As a former small business owner, Mr Billson understands the issues facing small businesses and is passionate about his portfolio. He is deeply committed to the enterprising women and men working in in the ‘engine room’ of our economy and to ensuring Australia is the best place to start and grow a business.

Having grown up in a community not without its challenges, Mr Billson firmly believes a person’s postcode should not determine their potential. His motto ‘positive, passionate and persistent’ captures his approach to his work for those he has the honour to represent.

Mr Billson is married to his sweetheart Kate and the proud father of four children.

Salil Shetty

Recent Speaker

Amnesty International Secretary General

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

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

'Amnesty International Report Launch: Smart Justice for Indigenous Kids'

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Why Australia is imprisoning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at 24 times the rate of non-Indigenous children, and the innovative ways we can get smarter about justice and keep communities safe.

Salil Shetty joined Amnesty International as the organisation’s eighth Secretary General in July 2010.

A long-term activist on poverty and justice, Salil Shetty leads the movement's worldwide work to end human rights violations.

Prior to joining Amnesty International, Salil Shetty was Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign from 2003 to 2010. He played a pivotal role in building the global advocacy campaign for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

From 1998 to 2003 he was Chief Executive of ActionAid, and is credited with transforming the organisation into one of the world’s foremost international development NGOs.

Salil Shetty studied at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and at the London School of Economics.

Rosie Batty

Recent Speaker

2015 Australian of the Year

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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

'Stopping violence before it happens'

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As violence against women dominates the Australian headlines as never before, there is great opportunity and willingness to understand and prevent violence. Australian of the Year and Our Watch Ambassador Rosie Batty will talk about the role of the media in influencing the national conversation and launch a major new initiative to recognize and reward journalists whose work has contributed to change.

Family violence campaigner Rosie Batty is the 2015 Australian of the Year, the Pride of Australia’s National Courage Medal recipient and Our Watch Ambassador.

Rosie is a leader in the crusade against domestic violence and has turned her personal tragedy into a fight to help others. Rosie’s name became synonymous with the words courage and resilience. Only hours after her son’s life was tragically taken, Rosie gave voice to many thousands of victims of domestic violence who had until then remained unheard.

Rosie Batty rose above her personal tragedy and the great loss of her 11 year old son, Luke, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father in a very public assault. Rosie’s ability to articulate the train of events that led to this tragedy, has demonstrated the wider implications of her experience.

Rosie continues to champion efforts in the fight against domestic violence and along with the former Victorian Police Chief Ken Lay, Rosie has been named as the founding members of an advisory panel on preventing violence against women.

Our Watch has been established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children. Its vision is an Australia where women and their children live free from all forms of violence. Its mandate is to stop violence before it happens.

Professor Ashok Saluja

Recent Speaker

2015 ASMR Medallist

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Arrive from 5.15pm, speaker 5.30pm, cocktail reception 6.30pm, concludes 7pm

'Address to the National Press Club'

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Professor Ashok Saluja obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Punjab, India before moving to the US where he obtained his doctoral degree in Biochemistry from Washington State University and completed his post doc at Cornell. He then spent twenty years at Harvard, after which he joined University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 2006, Dr. Saluja joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School as Professor and Vice Chair. He also holds the Sit Family Chair in Pancreatic and GI Cancer Research as well as a University of Minnesota McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair.

The American Cancer Society’s has estimated that around 49,000 people in the US alone will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Dr Saluja is internationally renowned for his work on the pathogenesis of pancreatitis. His group has shown that pancreatic tumors overexpress Heat Shock Protein 70 and its inhibition causes death of these cells not only in in vitro settings, but also in mouse models of pancreatic cancer. Dr Saluja’s group has been successful in developing a small molecule which they have named Minnelide, a drug extracted from the lei gong ten or ‘thunder god vine’ (Tripterygium wilfordii). The compound is effective in several models of pancreatic cancer and entered Phase I clinical trials in 2013.

Dr Saluja said about his work on this most aggressive of cancers, "I start imagining that one day, and the one day in my lifetime is very soon," he said, "Maybe this curse of pancreatic cancer will be over."

Dr. Saluja has published more than 120 original research papers along with review articles and book chapters. He is an inventor on two patents and is also Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of a start-up biotechnology company.

Hon Andrew Robb AO MP

Recent Speaker

Minister for Trade and Investment

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

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

'Address to the National Press Club'

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On the 10th anniversary of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, Minister Robb will outline how the Australian Government is promoting increased economic activity and prosperity through its trade and investment policy agenda.

Mr Robb has qualifications in Agricultural Science and a first class Honours Degree in Economics.

In the 70s Mr Robb worked as an animal health officer and then as agricultural economist. In the 80s he was Executive Director of the Cattle Council of Australia, and later, Executive Director of the National Farmers' Federation.

From 1990 to 1997 Mr Robb was the Federal Director and Campaign Director of the Liberal Party. The highlight of that time was directing the successful 1996 federal election campaign.

From 1997 to 2004 Mr Robb worked for Mr Kerry and James Packer, as well as advising major companies around Australia and overseas. During this time he also built an Australia-wide direct marketing technology company, was on the investment team for the Gorgan Gas Project, and was a Board Member of Sinclair Knight Merz, Australia’s largest consulting engineering company.

Mr Robb has also been a Board Member of the Garvan Medical Research Foundation, the Menzies Research Centre, the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring organisation, a member of the YWCA Leadership group and was honorary Treasurer of the Liberal Party in NSW. He also served as Chairman of the Australian Direct Marketing Association.

In 2003 Mr Robb was awarded the Office of the Order of Australia for his service to agriculture, politics and the community.

Mr Robb was elected to the Federal seat of Goldstein in October 2004, holding positions as Chairman of the Government’s Workplace Relations Taskforce, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and then Minister for Vocational and Further Education. In Opposition, he held positions as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Climate Change, Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee and Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction.

Following the Coalition victory at the 2013 election, Mr Andrew Robb was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Trade and Investment.

Mr Robb lives in Brighton with his wife Maureen, and has three adult children Tom, Joe and Pip.

Dr Tim Soutphommasane

Recent Speaker

Race Discrimination Commissioner

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

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

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Since assuming his role as Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane has been a forthright advocate for racial tolerance and multiculturalism. In this National Press Club Address, he will give an account of the state of race relations in Australia.

Forty years on from the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act, it is timely to reflect on the role of the law in combatting racism, debates about free speech, and the importance of community harmony amid concerns about national security.

Dr Soutphommasane will also outline the emerging opportunities and challenges for corporate Australia in promoting culturally diverse leadership.

The National Press Club Address will follow the release of the Commissioner’s new book, I'm not racist but ..., written to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Dr Soutphommasane commenced his five-year appointment as Race Discrimination Commissioner on 20 August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, he was a political philosopher at the University of Sydney. His thinking on multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in reshaping debates in Australia and Britain.

Dr Soutphommasane is the author of I’m not racist but… (2015), The Virtuous Citizen (2012), Don't Go Back To Where You Came From (2012), Reclaiming Patriotism (2009) and co-editor of All That's Left (2010).

He has been an opinion columnist with The Age and The Weekend Australian newspapers, and in 2013 presented the documentary series “Mongrel Nation” on ABC Radio National.

A first-generation Australian, Dr Soutphommasane was raised in southwest Sydney. He completed a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with distinction) at the University of Oxford, and is a first-class honours graduate of the University of Sydney.