The Hon Tony Abbott MP Prime Minister

Recent Speaker

Prime Minister of Australia

Monday, 2 February 2015

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

'The Prime Minister’s Address to the National Press Club'

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The Prime Minister will open the 2015 political year.

Tony Abbott was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia on 18 September 2013.

Prior to the election of the Coalition Government on 7 September 2013, Mr Abbott had been Leader of the Opposition since 1 December 2009.

Mr Abbott was first elected as Member for Warringah in March 1994. He has been re-elected as Member for Warringah at seven subsequent elections.

During the Howard Government, Mr Abbott served as a Parliamentary Secretary, Minister, Cabinet Minister, and Leader of the House of Representatives.

As Minister for Employment Services (1998–2001) Mr Abbott oversaw the development of the Job Network and a major expansion of Work for the Dole.

As Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (2001–2003) Mr Abbott boosted construction industry productivity through the establishment of the Cole Royal Commission.

As Minister for Health and Ageing (2003–2007) Mr Abbott oversaw the expansion of Medicare rebates to allied health professionals such as dentists and psychologists and introduced the Strengthening Medicare reforms which delivered record levels of bulk billing for patients. Mr Abbott also introduced the Medicare safety net for people with big out-of-pocket expenses, increased hospital funding by $2.2 billion, and resolved the medical indemnity crisis.

At the 2010 election, the Coalition under Mr Abbott’s leadership achieved the best result for a first term opposition since 1932.

Since Federation, no Opposition Leader has been elected Prime Minister with more ministerial experience than Tony Abbott.

As Prime Minister, Mr Abbott has promised to spend a week each year living and working in an indigenous community. In recent years, Mr Abbott has spent time working as a teacher’s aide in Coen and as a truancy officer in Aurukun as well as participating in Bush Owner Builder indigenous housing project near Hopevale on Cape York. Last year, Mr Abbott and a team of business leaders spent four days helping to refurbish the library of the local school at Aurukun.

Prior to entering parliament, Mr Abbott was a journalist with The Australian and The Bulletin. He was press secretary and political adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, Dr John Hewson, before becoming Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

Mr Abbott holds Economics and Law degrees from Sydney University. He is a Rhodes Scholar and holds a Master of Arts (Politics and Philosophy) from Oxford University. Mr Abbott is the author of four books.

Mr Abbott is a long term member of Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club and the Davidson Brigade of the Rural Fire Service.

Tony Abbott is married to Margaret. They are the proud parents of three daughters – Louise, Frances and Bridget.

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.

Joe Morrison

Recent Speaker

CEO, Northern Land Council

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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

'It Comes with the Territory: Staring Down Old Threats -- Eyeing New Opportunities'

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The CEO of the Northern Land Council, Joe Morrison, talks about the challenges and opportunities facing indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and the absolute value of the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 in shaping that future. Joe will also discuss the history of constant opposition to the Act from fringe conservative forces in the NT and the need for protection of the legislation and Indigenous people against a backdrop of pressure for unsustainable and unethical development of Northern Australia.Joe Morrison was born and raised in Katherine and has Dagoman and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

After growing up and schooling in Katherine, he gained a BA from the University of Sydney in Natural Resource Management and set about working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to establish land and sea management efforts across northern Australia.

Mr Morrison's first job after leaving school was at the NLC from 1992-94. He worked first at the old mechanical workshop at Coconut Grove, moved into administration, then at the NLC's Registry Office.

He then moved onto Greening Australia where he helped to establish the Aboriginal Landcare Education Program -- designing living areas on Aboriginal communities.

In 1998, Mr Morrison began work with NT Parks and Wildlife as a land management facilitator, establishing land and sea ranger groups in south-east Arnhem Land, the VRD and Barkly -- many of them now under the management of the NLC, but some now independent.

Two years later he became founding Chief Executive Officer of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance. Mr Morrison nurtured the development of NAILSMA from a small unit within a large western science-focused research institution, to the nationally recognised Aboriginal institution operating across tropical northern Australia.

Mr Morrison has an ambitious agenda for his new role as NLC CEO, connecting with the NLC's constituency to reinvigorate the importance of maintaining control over the lands and waters that Aboriginal people have fought hard for and to work towards appropriate social, cultural and economic development that creates lasting employment opportunities in a post determination era.

Mr Morrison has authored and co-authored many articles relating to Indigenous rights, management of country, economic development and of northern development.

He has a young family and has lived in Darwin since 2001.

Professor Bernd Fitzenberger

Recent Speaker

Professor of Statistics and Economics

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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

'The German model of labour relations and its effect on global competitiveness: An international perspective '

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Distinguished economist Professor Bernd Fitzenberger of the University of Freiburg will visit Australia at the invitation of the HR Nicholls Society to speak on the German model for labour relations and its contribution to competitiveness especially after the Global Financial Crisis.

Professor Fitzenberger’s Address, an examination of the German model, is apt in the context of the planned review, by the Productivity Commission, of Australia’s labour relations system and of the uncompetitiveness of many sectors of Australian industry.

Bernd Fitzenberger is Full Professor of Statistics and Economics at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. He has a PhD in Economics from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Statistics.

Professor Fitzenberger’s areas of study include: trends in wage inequality - trade unions, coverage, union density, wages, and employment - evaluation of labour market programs - gender specific wage and employment trends. He has been co-editor of the Journal for Labour Market Research since July 2005.

His recent awards include a Special award of the Students Committee for Economics at the University of Freiburg (granted for commitment to teaching) in March 2014 and in June 2011 he shared the Bertha Ottenstein Prize for fostering gender equality.

In 2014 he co-authored ‘From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany’s Resurgent Economy.’ Professor Fitzenberger (and his co-authors) contend that the governance structure of German labour market institutions enabled them to react flexibly during a period of extraordinary economic circumstances and that this has been the main reason for Germany’s economic success over the last decade.

The German experience of labour markets being able to assist in managing economic change has potential relevance for Australia as it adjusts to a downturn in demand for commodities.

Tim Wilson

Recent Speaker

Human Rights Commissioner

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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

'Beyond human rights to exercising freedoms'

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A year after being appointed Austalia’s 6th Human Rights Commissioner and completing a nation-wide Rights and Responsibilities 2014 Consultation, Tim Wilson, will canvas the human rights and freedom issues across Australia. Mr Wilson will discuss the reforms he will seek to advance over the remainder of his 4 years in office. Mr Wilson will also give an overview of the issues he has encountered as the defacto Commissioner for sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex issues and reforms.

Tim Wilson was appointed Australia's Human Rights Commissioner in February 2014.

Dubbed the "Freedom Commissioner", Tim is a proud and passionate defender of universal, individual human rights. As Commissioner he is focused on promoting and advancing traditional human rights and freedoms, including free speech, freedom of association, worship and movement and property rights.

Prior to his appointment Tim was a public policy analyst and a policy director at the world's oldest free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs. He has also worked in trade and communication consulting, international aid and development, as well politics. He has served as a Board member of Monash University's Council and on the Victorian Board of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

He has extensive experience in public debate and has had many regular radio and television commitments, with both commercial and public broadcasters. The Australian newspaper recognised Tim as one of the ten emerging leaders of Australian society. He has written extensively for newspapers, journals and books. He recently co-edited the book Turning Left or Right: Values in Modern Politics.

Tim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Policy) and a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade (International Trade) from Monash University. He has also completed executive education at Geneva's Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement and the World Intellectual Property Organisation's Worldwide Academy.

Tim lives with his partner, Ryan.

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.

Professor Ian Chubb AC

Recent Speaker

Chief Scientist of Australia

Wednesday, 25 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 Chubb's address is a highlight of Science meets Parliament 2015. This peak annual event is in its 15th year, and brings 200 scientists into the Federal Parliament, putting science at the top of the national agenda where it belongs.

Professor Ian Chubb was appointed to the position of Chief Scientist on 19 April 2011 and commenced the role in May 2011.

Prior to his appointment as Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb was Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University from January 2001 to February 2011. He was Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University of South Australia for six years and the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Monash University for two years.

He was Chair of the Higher Education Council (the Commonwealth Government’s peak advisory body on higher education) from September 1990 to December 1994 and was, until mid-1994, the Deputy Chair of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training (the Commonwealth’s peak advisory body on all matters related to the Employment, Education and Training portfolio).

From January 1986 to September 1990, Professor Chubb was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong and an Honorary Professor of Biology. During the period 1978-1985 he was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the School of Medicine of Flinders University. Before that he was at Oxford University where, during the period 1971-1977, he was a Wellcome Foundation Scholar, a Junior Research Fellow of St John’s College, and a Royal Society Research Fellow. He spent 1969-1971 as a JF & C Heymans Research Fellow at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Professor Chubb’s research focussed on the neurosciences and was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Grants Scheme and by various Foundations.

Professor Chubb was President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC) during 2000 and 2001. Professor Chubb was an elected member, or member, of the Board of the AVCC between 1996 and 2006. He was Chair of the Group of Eight universities during 2003/5.

In 1999 Professor Chubb was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for “service to the development of higher education policy and its implementation at state, national and international levels, as an administrator in the tertiary education sector, and to research particularly in the field of neuroscience”. In 2006 he was made a Companion (AC) in the order for “service to higher education, including research and development policy in the pursuit of advancing the national interest socially, economically, culturally and environmentally, and to the facilitation of a knowledge-based global economy”.

Professor Chubb has been awarded 4 honorary doctorates: a DSc from Flinders University in 2000, A DUniv from the Australian National University in 2011; a DLitt from Charles Darwin University in 2011 and a LLD from Monash University in 2012. He was the ACT’s Australian of the Year in 2011.

Simon Mordant

Recent Speaker

Australian Commissioner for the 2015 Venice Biennale

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

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

'The Venice Biennale - what's in it for Australia'

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Simon will address the importance of Australia's participation at the Venice Biennale and the importance of Australia's creative talent being exposed internationally and he will also discuss the journey to building a new Australian Pavilion in Venice which will open in May 2015.

Australia is the only country able to redevelop its Pavilion and is concluding the building of the first 21st Century building in the Biennale Gardens and indeed in Venice-there is great interest in this project from within the art's community internationally and the Venetian community.

Australia wants to be known as a culturally ambitious nation and Australia's participation in the Venice Biennale and the construction of this new building-a public and private sector project where the substantial portion of the funding was raised from 80 families across Australia-is a key part of realising that aspiration.

Simon Mordant is a corporate adviser and philanthropist.

He has 30 years’ experience in advising Australian and multinational companies and Government on their M&A and capital markets strategy.

Until 2014 Simon was Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Greenhill & Co. In 1999, Simon co-founded Caliburn and was Joint Chief Executive Officer of the firm. Previously, he was Co-Head of Corporate Finance at BZW and ABN Amro. Simon is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Simon is the Australian Commissioner to the 2015 Venice Biennale , a role he also performed in 2013. In addition Simon has led the campaign for the redevelopment of the new Australian Pavilion in Venice.

Simon is Chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; a director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a director of MOMA PS1, a director of the Garvan Research Foundation, a member of the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, a member of the Executive Committee of the Tate International Council, a member of the Leadership Council of the New Museum in NY, an advisory board member of Venetian Heritage in Italy, a member of the Wharton Executive Board for Asia, and was Deputy President of Takeover Panel 2000-2010. Simon was awarded an AM being made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for “Services to the Arts and to the cultural environment of Australia through philanthropic and executive roles, and to the community”.

Catherine Livingstone AO

Recent Speaker

President, Business Council of Australia

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

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

'Address to the National Press Club'

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In the second year of her presidency of Australia’s peak business group and in her first address to the National Press Club, Ms Livingstone will canvass key national economic, social and political challenges for Australia and the policy agenda required to address them.

Catherine Livingstone was elected President of the Business Council of Australia in March 2014.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and working with Price Waterhouse in Sydney and London, Catherine joined the Nucleus Group and spent nearly 20 years working in the field of implantable medical devices, including six years as CEO and Managing Director of Cochlear Limited from 1994 to 2000.

Catherine is Chairman of Telstra Corporation Limited and is a Director of WorleyParsons Limited, Director of the George Institute for Global Health, Director of Saluda Medical Pty Ltd and President of the Australian Museum Trust. She is a Member of the Advisory Board for the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney.

Catherine is a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council and has worked on many government reviews over the past 10 years, including as a Member of the Advisory Panel for the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and a Member of the National Innovation Systems Review Panel. She is a Member of the Commonwealth Science Council.

Catherine was Chairman of CSIRO from 2001 to 2006, President of Chief Executive Women from 2007 to 2008, and Chairman of the Australian Business Foundation from 2002 to 2005.

She has served on the boards of Macquarie Group Limited, Goodman Fielder Limited and Rural Press Limited.

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and an Honorary Doctorate in Business from Macquarie University, an Honorary Doctorate in Science from Murdoch University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Business from UTS.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

In 2003 Catherine was awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society in Business Leadership. In 2008 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the development of Australian science, technology and innovation policies to the business sector through leadership and management roles and as a contributor to professional organisations.