Professor Julian Disney AO

Recent Speaker

Chair of the Australian Press Council

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

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

'Media Standards: Some key challenges and opportunities'

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The Internet and related technological developments have brought major benefits to the media landscape. The benefits include much faster and more affordable access to a broader range of sources of information and opinion, fewer constraints on the length and manner of presentation of articles, and more people being able to convey their knowledge and views in the public domain. They have also improved the ability to update material rapidly and to provide ready access to other material through hyperlinks.

The same developments, however, have increased pressures and opportunities to publish reports before adequately checking them for accuracy and fairness. Yet even if a report is later corrected, the initial version may already have been read and passed on by many people, and it may remain readily and permanently accessible through search engines. The new technologies have also facilitated wider publication of material that is deliberately misleading, highly abusive or from unknown and unreliable sources.

Declining strength and diversity within the mainstream print media in Australia has made it especially important that the benefits of digital media are maximised and the dangers minimised. Amongst other things, this requires principled and far-sighted leadership in the print and digital media, including support for the Press Council as it seeks to fulfil its responsibilities to promote good media standards, monitor the extent to which they are achieved, and facilitate genuine freedom of expression throughout the community.

Julian Disney has been Chair of the Australian Press Council since December 2009. He is a Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, founder and National Chair of Anti-Poverty Week, and Chair of the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW. He is on the Board of Governors of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia and on the Asialink Advisory Council.

Professor Disney was Coordinator of the Sydney Welfare Rights Centre for six years, assisting people in hardship. He has also been President of the Australian Council of Social Service and of the International Council on Social Welfare which represents social welfare and development groups from more than 80 countries.

He was a NSW Law Reform Commissioner for seven years and on the Australian Government's Economic Planning Advisory Council (EPAC) for a similar period. He has been chair or member of government advisory committees on education, employment, social security, public administration, literacy and housing.

Professor Disney has been Director of the ANU Centre for International and Public Law, and Chair of the National Affordable Housing Summit. He has been a policy consultant for social welfare and business groups, and principal author or editor of books and articles about aspects of the legal profession, taxation, housing, social welfare, governance, national development and international organisations.

He was the Rhodes Scholar for South Australia in 1970. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1995 for services to the development of economic and social welfare policy, and to the law. In 1999, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LL.D) by the University of New South Wales.

Professor Sandra Harding

Recent Speaker

Chair, Universities Australia

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

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

'Address to the National Press Club'

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Professor Sandra Harding took up her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in January 2007. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Townsville, Cairns and Singapore.

Educated at the Australian National University, The University of Queensland and North Carolina State University (USA), Professor Harding is an economic sociologist with a keen scholarly interest in markets and how they work, and organisation survey methodology. She also has a keen professional interest in education policy and management

Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. In addition, she has undertaken a wide variety of senior university-aligned roles as well as memberships/directorships of a variety of local, national and international Boards and Councils.

Current roles include: Chair, Universities Australia; Member, the Australia-China Council Board; Co-Vice Chair, the New Colombo Plan Reference Group; Member, International Education and Training Advisory Council Queensland; Director, Regional Australia Institute; Council Member, the Australian Institute of Marine Science; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Member, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Advisory Board; Member, Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Board; Director of Townsville Enterprises and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies); and; a Governor of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

Previous external roles include: Commissioner, Queensland Independent Commission of Audit (March 2012- February 2013); Australia’s representative on the University Grants Commission for the University of the South Pacific; Chair of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council; Member of the HIH Assessment Review Panel; Board member, Skills Queensland; Board member of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council; Chairman of Brisbane Marketing Pty Ltd; Director of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation; Director of the Global Foundation for Management Education Ltd (Montreal); Chair, Innovative Research Universities (an alliance of seven Australian universities: Charles Darwin, Griffith, La Trobe, Flinders, Murdoch, Newcastle and James Cook universities); Inaugural President of the Australian Business Deans Council; Vice-President of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance.

In 2003, Professor Harding was recognised as North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna for that year. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate for services to education from Japan’s Josai International University and in 2012, she was recognized as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) and was named the ACE 2012 Queensland Medallist “… in recognition of her leadership of education in the tropics that has seen a new academic emphasis on life and the people of the tropics.”

Professor Harding is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Dr Martin Cross

Recent Speaker

Medicines Australia Chairman

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

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

'Address to the National Press Club'

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Dr Martin Cross became the Appointed Chairman of Medicines Australia on the 4th November 2013.

Martin’s career spans nearly 30 years in the prescription medicines industry. His early career was in the UK before he gained considerable international experience in global roles and in Japan. Martin started work in Australia in 2003 and became an Australian citizen in 2008. Prior to becoming the Chairman of Medicines Australia he has been the Managing Director of two major pharmaceutical companies in Australia, on the board and executive of Medicines Australia and Chairman of the GMiA. From 2012 to 2013 Martin served as the Chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Industry Council, the peak body for Australia's pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Martin graduated with a PhD in microbiology from Aberdeen University Scotland and has undertaken postgraduate study at INSEAD and the Harvard Business School and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.