International Women’s Day UN Women Australia Forum

Recent Speaker

Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, the Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Helen Conway and Julie McKay

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

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

'Progress and Pathways to Gender Equality'

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2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic Fourth World Conference on Women, which produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights. The Declaration was signed by 189 nations, including Australia.

This year, on International Women’s Day, UN Women will mark the Beijing+20 milestone with a reflection on that bold vision, the progress made, and the work yet to be done. The theme for IWD 2015 is ‘Let’s not wait another twenty years to achieve gender equality.’

As part of the global celebrations, UN Women Australia National Committee will host the annual IWD discussion forum, featuring introductory remarks from Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, and the Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition.

As passionate advocates for gender equality, both speakers will briefly reflect on progress made since the historic Beijing Platform for Action was signed 20 years ago, and outline their vision for the way forward to achieve gender equality.

Following those opening remarks a panel comprising Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Young Australian of the Year (QLD); Helen Conway, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency; and Julie McKay, Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women, will discuss ‘Progress and Pathways to Gender Equality’. The panel will focus on women’s economic empowerment; violence against women; the success of gender quotas; and the value of multilateral agreements in improving the status of women in Australian and across our region.

The panel discussion will be moderated by ABC presenter, Virginia Haussegger AM.

Opening Speakers:

• Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, representing the Honourable Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia
• The Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition


• Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Young Australian of the Year (QLD)
• Helen Conway, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency
• Julie McKay, Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women
• Virginia Haussegger, ABC Presenter, Moderator

Belinda Robinson

Recent Speaker

Chief Executive, 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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Belinda commenced as Chief Executive with Universities Australia - the peak body representing Australia's 39 universities - in January 2012. Belinda is a highly experienced Chief Executive of peak national organisations with an extensive background in public policy and in the private sector.

Belinda has been the Chief Executive of peak bodies for over a decade and came to Universities Australia from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association where she was Chief Executive for over 6 years.

Belinda spent nine years in the Federal Government including six in senior and executive positions within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where she was responsible for the oversight of a range of resource, primary industries and environment policy issues. Belinda has also worked in a variety of resource planning roles, in State and local governments, and has sat on a wide range of commercial and not-for-profit boards and advisory committees. Belinda has degrees in geography and law and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda is spearheading the sector's campaign to deepen its engagement with the Australian public, to build strong mainstream support and have widely recognised the role that universities play in securing Australia’s long-term well-being.

Workplace Relations Debate

Recent Speaker

Ged Kearney and Kate Carnell

Tuesday, 17 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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thumbnailKate Carnell commenced as CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in May 2014. ACCI, Australia's largest and most representative business organization, is the leading voice of business in Australia advocating for over 300,000 businesses across all industries.

Kate was CEO at beyondblue from 2012 to 2014 addressing issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia. Prior to this, Kate was the CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council. She is also the former CEO 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.

Kate was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1992, and became leader of the ACT Liberal Party in 1993.

Kate was then elected ACT Chief Minister in March 1995, and re-elected in 1998 becoming the only Liberal woman to be elected as Chief Minister or Premier in Australian political history.

Following her political career, Kate 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).

Kate 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.

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 250,000 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.

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 20 to 26, and lives in Melbourne.

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.

The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Recent Speaker

Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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

'Sharing the Future: Competition in a Digital Economy'

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Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fraser in the ACT. Prior to being elected in 2010, Andrew was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. Andrew holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard, having graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in Law and Arts. He has previously worked as a lawyer and as a principal adviser to the Australian Treasury. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, the only parliamentarian to be a fellow of one of the four national academies. In 2011, he received the 'Young Economist Award', a prize given every two years by the Economics Society of Australia to the best Australian economist under 40. His books include Disconnected (2010), Battlers and Billionaires (2013) and The Economics of Just About Everything (2014).

Andrew is the father of three sons - Sebastian, Theodore and Zachary, and lives with his wife Gweneth in Hackett. He has been a member of the Australian Labor Party since 1991.

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.