Tim Costello and Peter Jennings

Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia & Chair of Community Council for Australia and Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)
'What price the war on terror?'
Thursday, 24 August 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.

This event is run in conjunction with the Canberra Writers Festival 2017.

This Address will be broadcast live on ABC News24 and can be watched again on iView. 


With the Australian Government planning to spend $200 billion on defence over the next decade, questions need to be asked: is this a suitable use of taxpayer money? Join two high profile Australian leaders as they debate the merits of this record spending.

Tim Costello
Rev Tim Costello is one of Australia’s best known community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics.

For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, placing the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. In his current role as Chief Advocate, Tim continues to use his public profile to affect change.

In addition, Tim chairs the Community Council for Australia and is a member of the following: the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum; Australian National Development Index; Concern Australia Advisory Group and the Campaign for Australian Aid.

Tim is a founding board member and spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which campaigns for law reform to prevent harm from poker machine gambling.

In earlier roles Tim was National President of the Baptist Union of Australia and Mayor of St Kilda. He has been Baptist Minister at St Kilda Baptist and Collins Street Baptist in Melbourne, as well as Executive Director of Urban Seed. In these roles he spearheaded public debate on problem gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse.

Initially Tim studied law and education at Monash University, followed by theology at the International Baptist Seminary in Rueschlikon, Switzerland.  He also received a Masters Degree in Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity.

In 2006 Tim was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year, in June 2005 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO); in 2004, was named Victorian of the Year; and in 1997 was named as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.

Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings is the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) a position he has held since May 2012.

Peter has worked at senior levels in the Australian Public Service on defence and national security. Career highlights include being Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Defence Department (2009-12); Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence (1996-98) and Senior Adviser for Strategic Policy to the Prime Minister (2002-03).

Since May 2012 Peter has expanded ASPI’s role from its original high-quality research on defence to include research on cyber security; policing and international law enforcement, border security, national resilience and counter terrorism studies. Now with around 40 staff and close working relations with Government, Parliament and industry, ASPI is Australia’s leading think-tank on national security.

Peter’s research interests include Australian and regional defence policies, military operations, crisis management, government decision making and future defence capabilities.

Peter led the ‘External Expert Panel’ appointed by Government in early 2014 to advise Ministers and the Defence Department on the Defence White Paper, released in February 2016. Peter is a member of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group, appointed by the Prime Minister and German Chancellor in 2015 to develop closer bilateral relations. He is a member of the Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations advising the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Peter has previously held a number Senior Executive Service positions in Defence including First Assistant Secretary International Policy Division, First Assistant Secretary Coordination and Public Affairs and Secretary of the Defence Audit and Risk Committee.

Peter was Director of Programs at ASPI between late 2003 and January 2006 and has taught postgraduate studies on terrorism at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

In the Defence Department, Peter has been the Deputy Director of the then titled Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (2002) and head of the Strategic Policy Branch (1998–1999). In late 1999 Peter was co-director of the East Timor Policy Unit, responsible for developing Australia’s policy approaches to the international peacekeeping operation in East Timor. Following that, as an acting First Assistant Secretary, Peter was closely involved in developing the 2000 Defence White Paper.

Peter studied at the London Business School in 2000–2001 as a Sloan Fellow and was awarded a Masters of Science (Management) with Distinction. He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the Australian National University (1987) and a BA (Honours) in History from the University of Tasmania (1980–1984). He has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985). Peter taught politics and international relations at the University of New South Wales/ADFA (1987–1990).

Peter was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day 2013 Honors list for outstanding public service through the development of Australia’s strategic and defence policy, particularly in the areas of Australian Defence Force operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. In February 2016 Peter was awarded the French decoration of Knight in the National Order of Legion d’Honneur.