Kate Carnell & Ged Kearney

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman & ACTU President
'Sunday Bloody Sunday - The Penalty Rates Debate'
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

Registrations for this event are now closed. Please contact reception for further details.

Kate Carnell commenced her role as Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) in March 2016.

Kate brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role of Ombudsman, having run her own small businesses for 15 years before becoming ACT Chief Minister in 1995 for a five year period.

Prior to her appointment as the inaugural ASBFEO, Kate held the position of CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents more than 300,000 businesses across Australia. She has also served two years as CEO of beyondblue, four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, four years as CEO of the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) and three years as CEO of the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI).

Kate is a pharmacist by profession and was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the first female to become the National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Kate was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to the community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.


Gerardine (Ged) Kearney was re-elected as ACTU President at the ACTU Congress in May 2015, a position she has held since 2010, and with ACTU Secretary Sally McManus is leading the ACTU’s campaign against cuts to penalty rates.

Previously, Ged was the Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), after stints as Assistant Federal Secretary, Federal President and Victorian Branch President.

Ged grew up in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond, where she was brought up in a household emphasising the importance of the collective in politics and society.

Ged became a registered nurse in 1985 and worked in a variety of roles in public and private acute sectors, including manager of the Clinical Nursing Education Department at Austin Health. She has a Bachelor in Education.

She also participated in the famous Victorian nurses’ strike of 1986 which resulted in substantial improvements to pay and conditions.

As Federal Secretary, Ged’s nursing and industrial experience advanced the professional and industrial rights of ANMF members, overseeing substantial membership growth and the first national growth campaign in the private sector aged care sector.

As ACTU President, Ged strives to improve the working lives and conditions for all Australian workers. She believes that unions should also continue to be at the forefront of public debate to ensure a better future for Australia.

Ged is a director of CBUS Super Fund.