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Dr Angela Jackson, Besa Deda & Dr Aruna Sathanapally

National Chair of the Women in Economics Network, Lead Economist at Impact Economics and Policy, Chief Economist of Westpac’s Business Bank, CEO of the Grattan Institute
Women in Economics Network Pre Budget Address

Wednesday, 1 May 2024

The National Press Club of Australia

Dr Angela Jackson, National Chair of the Women in Economics Network & Lead Economist at Impact Economics and Policy, Besa Deda, Chief Economist of Westpac’s Business Bank & Dr Aruna Sathanapally, CEO of the Grattan Institute will address the National Press Club of Australia for the Women in Economics Network Pre Budget Address.

Dr Angela Jackson

Dr Angela Jackson is the current National Chair of the Women in Economics Network, and Lead Economist at Impact Economics and Policy.  Angela has authored a number of high-profile reports on health, aged care, disability, housing and gender policy.  She holds a PhD in health economics from Monash University and has worked at the highest level of Government.  

Starting her career as an economist at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Angela has worked directly on seven Commonwealth Budgets. As the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Australian Finance Minister during the global financial crisis, Angela was responsible for providing policy advice across fiscal policy and all areas of social policy.

An annual contributor to the National Foundation of Australian Women’s Gender Lens on the Budget since 2016, Angela is committed to ensuring women’s voices are represented in economic decision making. 

Angela is a member of the interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, and a part-time Commissioner at the Commonwealth Grants Commission.  In October 2023 Angela was appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the three person panel reviewing the Commonwealth Government’s Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In addition to her PhD, Angela holds a Masters in International Health Policy (Health Economics) with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania.

Besa Deda

Besa Deda is the Chief Economist of Westpac’s Business Bank. She is also the Chief Economist of St.George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and BT, which are other businesses within the Westpac Group.

Besa has been with the Group as a Chief Economist since 2009 and is a key spokesperson on the economy and financial markets. She manages a team of economists, regularly presents to clients and appears in the media. Besa is also the Chair of the Australian Business Economists, an organisation committed to fostering economic debate on economic issues and policy matters. She is also a member of ANU’s Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis RBA Shadow Board.

Besa was appointed the Chief Economist of St.George Bank in 2008, a role which saw her become the first female Chief Economist of a bank in Australia. Prior to this, she had specialised roles in fixed income, currency strategy, macroeconomics and equities at the Commonwealth Bank.

Besa has also worked for the Colonial Group. She has previously lectured for the Kaplan Business School and written a regular property column for the Weekend Australian.

Dr Aruna Sathanapally

Dr Aruna Sathanapally joined Grattan Institute as CEO in February 2024. She heads a team of leading policy thinkers, researching and advocating policy to improve the lives of Australians. A former NSW barrister and senior public servant, Aruna has worked on the design of public institutions, economic policy, and evidence-based public policy and regulation for close to twenty years.

 Before joining Grattan, Aruna worked for the NSW Treasury for over five years, where she headed up analysis and advice across the macroeconomy division, state-owned corporations, state and commonwealth revenue, and health and justice reform. She led the 2021 NSW Intergenerational Report and led the economic analysis for the 2022 Women’s Economic Opportunities Review. 

 Aruna previously practised as a senior lawyer in the Civil Regulation group at the Australian Government Solicitor and then as a barrister at 12 Wentworth Selborne Chambers, specialising in cases involving complex economic evidence. Prior to returning to Australia 11 years ago, Aruna worked at McKinsey & Company’s London office with a range of private and public sector clients.

 She holds arts (economics and politics) and law degrees from UNSW, where she graduated with the University Medal in Law, and two masters degrees in law and a doctorate from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Menzies Scholar and John Monash Scholar. She has published internationally in the field of constitutional design and human rights and was appointed in 2015 as external legal adviser to the Parliamentary Joint Committee of Human Rights.

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