Speakers, Panellists and Presenters

The Free + Equal Conference will feature a diverse line-up of more than 60 eminent experts, thought leaders, social justice advocates and community heroes.

We’ve now announced our full line-up of speakers, panellists and presenters which includes several high-profile international guests as well as some of Australia's best to known media personalities, commentators and legal practitioners.

Check out our Agenda page to find out more about the session in which each of these speakers will be participating.

Disclaimer: Speakers, panellists and delegates attending the Free + Equal Conference will be expressing a range of views and opinions at the event. The views and opinions are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Similarly, any commentary by speakers, panellists or delegates before or after the conference on issues touched on at the conference will not necessarily be endorsed by the Commission. The conference is designed to bring together a range of views on a variety of subjects and the Commission intends to work with all attendees to ensure discussions at the conference are inclusive and respectful.

Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly is one of Australia’s leading cultural commentators as well as a television presenter, journalist, academic, and lawyer. He is a lecturer in politics at Monash University working in their Global Terrorism Research Centre, and a co-host of Network Ten's news and current affairs television program The Project. He also writes for Fairfax Media, co-hosts The Minefield, an ABC RN program about ethical dilemmas of modern life, and is lead guitarist in rock band Robot Child. He also worked early in his career as a lawyer with the Human Rights Centre.

Michael Kirby

Michael Kirby worked as Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission and Justice of the High Court of Australia.  He has also taken part in UN activities for Cambodia, North Korea and in relation to HIV and sexuality.  At the age of 9, his teacher gave him copy of the UDHR which has been with him ever since.

Jennifer Robinson

Jen Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, specialising in international law, human rights, and media law. Jen has acted in key human rights cases in domestic, regional and international courts, with clients including Julian Assange and Amber Heard. She is acting for Vanuatu in the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion proceedings on states' obligations on climate change. Her book with Dr Keina Yoshida, How Many More Women, demonstrates the ways in which the law is being weaponised to silence women from speaking about their experiences of gender-based violence.

Prof. Philip Alston

Philip Alston is one of Australia’s most internationally renowned human rights law practitioners. He is currently Professor of Law at New York University Law School and chair of the NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. In addition to his academic activities, he has held various United Nations posts including UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2014-2020); Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions (2004-10), Chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1991-98), Independent Expert on reform of the UN human rights treaty body system (1989-97), and Special Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (2004-07). During and after the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, he was the external legal adviser to UNICEF. He has also been a member of the UN Security Council Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic, and of the Independent International Commission on Kyrgyzstan.  

Tanya Hosch

Tanya Hosch is a First Nations social activist and business executive. She has held leadership roles in sport, the arts, social justice and public policy. She was joint campaign manager of the Recognise campaign run by Reconciliation Australia from 2012 to 2016. At her appointment as social inclusion manager to the Australian Football League (AFL) in June 2016, she became the first Indigenous person and the second woman appointed to an executive position in the AFL.

Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang is a writer and activist who works on human rights, race, gender, democracy, and politics. She has global, regional, and national experience, having worked for the United Nations as well as within the civil society sector and in private philanthropy. She is a popular commentator on social justice issues and writes for several publications, including as a regular columnist for The Guardian. She has penned an acclaimed memoir as well as a celebrated biography of Winnie Mandela.

Nazeem Hussain

Nazeem Hussain is a comedian, TV and radio personality, writer and activist. He has performed stand-up comedy around the globe, including sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from London to Paris to Colombo, and created and starred in a string of popular TV shows. Nazeem is also a children’s book author.  

Em. Prof. Rosalind Croucher AM

Prof. Croucher is has an extensive career in leading government agencies and law schools. A Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, she commenced her seven-year term as Commission President on 30 July 2017. Prior to joining the Commission, Prof. Croucher was President of the Australian Law Reform Commission (2009–2017) and Commissioner (2006–2009), where she led a number of landmark law reform inquiries, including on Disability Laws, Encroachment on Freedoms in Commonwealth Laws, and Elder Abuse. She has published extensively, principally in the fields of property, equity, legal history and public policy. She has led the AHRC’s Free & Equal project about revitalising Australia’s human rights framework, including the Commission’s work on developing a model for an Australian Human Rights Act.

Adam Spencer

Adam Spencer is one of Australia’s most popular and enduing media personalities. He is a comedian, broadcaster, author and ambassador for mathematics and science. He has 25 years of experience in television, radio and events, curating challenging and thought-provoking conversations. He has interviewed prime ministers, Hollywood stars, Fortune 500 CEOs, Nobel Prize-winning scientists and Australians of the Year.

Dr Pichamon Yeophantong

Dr Pichamon Yeophantong is a political scientist, academic and advisor. She is a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Humna Rights and is Head of Research and Associate Professor at the Centre for Future Defence and National Security, Deakin University at the Australian War College. She also leads the Responsible Business Lab and the Environmental Justice and Human Rights Project, which are funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship. In 2022, Pichamon was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council as an Independent Expert, serving as the Member from Asia-Pacific States on the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

Prof. John Tobin

Professor John Tobin is the Francine V McNiff Chair in International Human Rights Law at Melbourne Law School where is Coordinates the Human Rights Program.  He has written extensively on children’s rights and is the editor of the award winning The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Commentary (OUP 2019).  He is a member of the Victorian Children’s Council and the Principal Examiner for the Law Institute of Victoria’s Child Law Specialisation program.  He has provided advisory services and training on children’s rights to government bodies, judges and NGOs within Australia and internationally.

Prof. Kim Rubenstein

Kim Rubenstein is an Australian legal scholar, lawyer and gender equity advocate. She is a Professor at the University of Canberra, Faculty of Business, Government and Law, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. From 2020-2022 inclusive she was the inaugural Co-Director, Academic of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra. She is one of Australia’s leading published experts on citizenship, and has also acted as a consultant to government and appeared as legal counsel in citizenship matters before the Administrative Review Tribunal, Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia. She comments on citizenship, constitutional and gender matters in print, radio and TV media. 

Prof. George Williams AO

George Williams AO is a Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law at UNSW. His books include Australian Constitutional Law and Theory and Human Rights under the Australian Constitution. He has appeared as a barrister in the High Court in many cases over the past 25 years, including on freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. As chair of the Victorian Human Rights Consultation Committee, he helped bring about Australia’s first State bill of rights, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. He is a columnist for The Australian.

Prof. Toby Walsh 

Prof. Toby Walsh is Chief Scientist at UNSW. He is a Laureate fellow and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the UNSW School of Computer Science and Engineering. He has served as Scientific Director of NICTA, Australia's centre of excellence for ICT research. He is noted for his work in artificial intelligence, especially in the areas of social choice, constraint programming and propositional satisfiability. He has served on the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Juliana Nkrumah AM 

Juliana has dedicated more than 30 years to advancing human rights in Australia and abroad, particularly women’s safety and equity. She has a deep commitment to refugee and migrant women’s empowerment and is currently the Manager, Gender Equality and Women’s Safety at Settlement Services International. Juliana founded African Women Australia and has served on numerous boards including YWCA Australia, Australian National Committee on Refugee Women, Act for Peace, African Ministerial Committee, and the Eminent Australians Committee that reviewed the Australian Citizenship Test. For over 10 years, she coordinated the NSW Police Force’s Multicultural Community Liaison Officer Program. Juliana has led Australia’s work on female genital mutilation and is a subject matter expert on the impact of this cultural practice on diaspora communities.  

Samantha Connor 

Samantha Connor is one of Australia’s leading disability rights activists. She has held many prominent positions in the disability sector including President of People with Disability Australia, Australia’s peak disability rights organisation, board membership of Physical Disability Australia and the Autism Self Advocacy Network, and membership of the WA Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability in WA. She was also a key member of the coalition which successfully campaigned for the Disability Royal Commission. Ms Connor is a wheelchair user and has lived experience of autism and ADHD and is heavily involved in actively working for a better NDIS. As a founder and administrator of the online group NDIS Grassroots Discussion, she supports 48,500 people with disability and their families to navigate the scheme.

Alan Wu 

 Alan works with communities to build power to make decisions that matter. He currently serves as chair of Democracy in Colour, Australia’s first racial justice initiative run by people of colour. He’s on the board of progressive political campaigning organisation Get Up and the Victorian Pride Centre, the nation’s first purpose-built centre for LGBTIQ+ communities. Alan previously served as the youngest and longest-serving member of the board of Oxfam Australia, as chair of Australia’s peak body for young people, as Envoy for Young People to the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, and on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO. He was also an executive and lawyer with the Australian Government, working in the Departments of the Attorney-General, and Prime Minister and Cabinet. Alan is admitted as a lawyer to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, and is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and the Chartered Governance Institute.

Anna Brown

Anna Brown’s fingerprints are on nearly every major reform for LGBTIQ+ people in recent years. She played a critical role in the campaign for marriage equality co-chairing the Equality Campaign. Anna has been instrumental in hard fought battles to secure federal LGBTI discrimination protections, remove discriminatory laws across the country and right historical wrongs by establishing schemes to erase historical homosexual offences. Anna’s legal work has helped improve access to hormone treatment for young trans people, advance marriage equality and further recognition of gender diversity. Anna has worked with the Sex Discrimination Act for over 12 years, as Legal Director at Human Rights Law Centre, and more recently as CEO of Equality Australia.

Zahra Al Hilaly 

Zahra is the Chief Executive Officer of Oaktree Australia, the largest youth-led international development organisation in Australia. Zahra sits on the boards of Missing Perspectives, an online newsroom for women and girls, and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Zahra’s mission is to create an Australia that represents collaborative and productive inclusivity for all.  

Val Fell OAM

Val Fell is a fierce advocate for the rights of older Australians. Ms Fell received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her services to people impacted by dementia. As a member of the Council of Elders, she advises the Government on the quality and safety of aged care services, as well as advocating for the needs and rights of older Australians. She is also an active ambassador for the Older Peoples Advocacy Network, Dementia Australia and the Council on the Ageing. At 95 years old, Val is also potentially the oldest person at an Australian university, where she is studying a Bachelor of Dementia Care. 

Prof Amanda Third

Professor Amanda Third (PhD) is Professorial Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University; Co-Director of the Young and Resilient Research Centre; and Faculty Associate in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

An international expert in child-centred, participatory research, her work investigates children's technology practices, focusing on marginalised groups and rights-based approaches. She has led child-centred projects to understand children’s experiences of the digital age in over 70 countries, working with partners across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors and children and young people themselves. 

Kate Eastman AM SC

Kate has 30 years experience in dispute resolution and advocacy in a wide range of employment disputes, all aspects of discrimination law (employment, services, education, transport and media), human rights (international and Australian), public law and health law. Kate has extensive experience in Royal Commissions and inquiries, and recently served as senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. In 2021, Kate was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the law, to human rights and to professional organisations.

Kate is also an experienced teacher. She was a Senior Fellow of the Faculty of Law, Monash University. She has taught a range of post-graduate international and Australian human rights laws courses. 

Ghassan Kassiseh

Equality Australia’s Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh has been involved in over a decade of LGBTIQ advocacy alongside a commercial litigation career in Australia and overseas. He has contributed to LGBTIQ+ advocacy in Australia and abroad, including in communications to the UN Human Rights Committee, petitions before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and in legislative reforms for LGBTIQ+ equality.

Beny Aterdit Bol OAM 

Beny is currently the President of the Queensland African Communities Council (QACC) – an umbrella organisation that represents more than 80,000 people and organisations of African descent in QLD. He is also a Senior Manager for Youth Engagement and Community Partnerships at Queensland Program of Assistance for Survivors of Trauma and Torture. He was also a Program Manager at Youth Off The Streets Ltd for more than 9 years. Up until COVID-19, he was also managing Youth Off The Streets’ programs in Victoria and Queensland. Beny holds two Masters degrees – Master of International Law from Griffith University, and Master of Governance, Public Policy and Development from the University of Queensland; Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Politics and Government from Griffith University. Beny is a recipient of several government and community’s awards including a Medal of the Order of Australia. In 2022, Beny’s name was added to the wall of the Australia’s National Monument to Migration in recognition and honour of his contribution to Australia. 

Chris Ronalds AO SC GAICD 

Chris Ronalds is a barrister specialising in discrimination and harassment law who has been involved in number of landmark cases, including Wotton v State of Queensland (No 5) [2016] FCA 1457.As a legal adviser and consultant to the Office of the Status of Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, she was closely involved in the development of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the Policy Discussion Paper (Green Paper) Affirmative Action for Women (AGPS, 1984) and in the development and passage of the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986. She was also involved with the passage of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. In 2021, she chaired an Independent Panel of Female Experts and conducted an in-depth investigation into the role of women and girls in swimming for Swimming Australia and made various recommendations. Chris is the co-author of the fifth edition of Discrimination Law and Practice, a Federation Press publication. Chris was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2018 for distinguished service to the law and the legal profession particularly in supporting, mentoring and developing the careers of Indigenous lawyers and law students. She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (AM) in 1994 for services to women, particularly in relation to sex discrimination and affirmative action.

Assoc. Prof. Ramona Vijeyarasa

Ramona Vijeyarasa is the Chief Investigator behind the Gender Legislative Index, a tool designed to promote the enactment of legislation that works more effectively to improve women’s lives. Her work innovatively combines law, engineering and data science to reinvigorate decades-long debates about the law’s role in addressing gender inequality. Ramona is one of the leading global scholars on gender-responsive legislation. Her gender equality work has been recognised by the American Society of International Law, the ANZ Society of International Law, the Letten Foundation and the Women in AI awards among many others. Ramona is currently the Juris Doctor Program Head at the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney and a Women's Leadership Institute Australia Fellow. She brought to her Associate Professor position at UTS a decade of experience working in civil society as a women’s rights lawyer and activist.

Kupakwashe Matangira

Kupakwashe Matangira is a youth empowerment activist and social entrepreneur. Kupakwashe’s goal is to ensure all young people enjoy a lived experience of their rights. She has connected hundreds of young people to decision-makers to ensure their voices inform climate policy and youth justice reform at every level of Government, including at the 2023 Conference of the Parties and 2022 United Nations Convention on the Status of Women. Kupakwashe advises several state and federal Government Departments on issues affecting young people. She is a Plan International Youth Activist and sits on the Global Youth Committee at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.

Dinesh Palipana AM

Dinesh is a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate, and researcher. While in medical school, he was involved in a car accident that caused a spinal cord injury. Dinesh works in the emergency department at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is a researcher and senior lecturer at the Griffith University. Dinesh is a researcher in spinal cord injury. He is a doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby team. Dinesh was a senior advisor to the Disability Royal Commission. He is an ambassador to the Human Rights Commission’s Includeability program. He is a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia. He is an advisory board member to HealthyLife. Dinesh is a John Monash Scholar. Dinesh was the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service’s Junior Doctor of the Year in 2018. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019. He was the third Australian to be awarded a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. He was the 2021 Griffith University Young Alumnus of the Year. Dinesh was the Queensland Australian of the Year for 2021. In 2022, Dinesh was listed as number 33 in the Courier Mail’s top 100 power list for Queensland’s most influential in health and wellbeing. His autobiography, Stronger, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2022.

Les Malezer

Les Malezer is a proud Gubbi Gubbi, Butchulla and Gamiliroi man who has devoted his entire 45+ year career to fighting for the rights of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples. He was head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the Queensland Government in the 1990s, has worked extensively in community-controlled organisations at the local, regional, national and international levels, and has held important posts in representative bodies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including Secretary General of the National Aboriginal Conference and Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He is well known internationally for his work on human rights and raising the profile of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings. He was appointed as a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for the term of 2017 to 2019. In 2008, he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal for his service to Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world.

Rob Hulls

Rob Hulls is the former Victorian Labor attorney-general and deputy premier. As attorney-general, Rob instigated significant changes to Victoria’s legal system which saw the establishment of the state’s first Charter of Human Rights and reform to Victoria’s Upper House.

He established specialist courts in Victoria including for Victoria’s Indigenous community, for people with mental health issues, and for victims of family violence and introduced an open tender process for applicants to Victoria’s judiciary. In October 2012 Rob was appointed adjunct professor at RMIT and was invited to establish the new Centre for Innovative Justice as its inaugural director. The Centre’s objective is to develop, drive, and expand the capacity of the justice system to meet and adapt to the needs of its diverse users.

Assoc. Prof Sarah Moulds

Dr Sarah Moulds is a senior lecturer in law UniSA: Justice + Society and co-founder of the Rights Resource Network SA.  She is passionate about parliaments and connecting citizens and communities with law makers, and her most recent book Committees of Influence explores the important role parliamentary committees play in rights protection in Australia.  Dr Moulds has been actively engaged in local, national and international conversations about emergency law-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role parliaments can and should play in holding government's to account.  In 2022 Dr Moulds was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore how to empower young people to engage effectively with Australian parliaments. Dr Moulds' career has a strong law reform focus and includes seven years at the Law Council of Australia including as Director of Criminal Law and Human Rights, and more recently as a Senior Project Officer at the South Australian Law Reform Institute.

Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is one of the most impressive new young faces and voices in the public eye. The multi hyphenate  is a writer and a  disability advocate (her biggest work includes the wildly successful change.org petition encouraging Disney to create a disabled Disney Princess and making international news headlines after successfully getting both Lizzo and Beyonce to change ableist lyrics). She’s also an actress – having made her television debut in the groundbreaking SBS show Latecomers as arguably the first disabled person to lead a show in the world. Her feature film debut Audrey is set to hit cinemas later this year after premiering to rave reviews at American film festival South By Southwest.  As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also the Editor in Chief of global grassroots youth newsroom Missing Perspectives, dedicated to platforming the lived experience of girls and young women around the world. Her debut book, I'll Let Myself In was released on September 12, 2023. 

Seleena Blackley

Seleena Blackley, is a proud young Kalkutungu woman and emerging Indigenous leader committed to nurturing the potential of First Nations youth in Mount Isa. Through her roles as a Youth Specialist and Cultural Facilitator, she champions cultural resilience and educational empowerment. Seleena's impactful work extends beyond her community, as she actively engages in truth and treaty initiatives in Queensland, advocating for Indigenous voices to be heard on a state level. With a deep-rooted passion for preserving Indigenous culture, Seleena continues to pave the way for a brighter future for her community and beyond.

Anjali Sharma

Anjali Sharma (she/her) is 19 years old. At 16, she became the lead litigant of Sharma vs Environment Minister, a class action legal case which argued that the Environment Minister owes all young people a duty of care to protect them from the impacts of climate change. In 2021, she was successful, but following an appeal from the Minister, this ruling was overturned. However, Anjali continued the campaign, now calling to have this duty legislated through Federal Parliament. Anjali aims to raise awareness about the disproportionate impacts of climate change, particularly towards young people and people of colour.

Sam Koslowski

Sam Koslowski is a business leader, journalist, and presenter, who co-founded The Daily Aus with Zara Seidler. It's Australia’s premier social-first news outlet for young Australians, with over two million monthly engagements across Instagram, TikTok, website, videos, podcasts, and newsletters. Koslowski is a Forbes 30 Under 30 awardee and authored a book on understanding the news with Penguin Random House. 

Siobhan Toohill

As Westpac’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Siobhan leads the Group’s sustainability strategy, with a particular focus on climate change, human rights, social impact and the emerging area of natural capital. As a corporate sustainability leader for over 20 years, Siobhan is passionate about the capacity of business to realise positive social and environmental impact – and through this, create long-term value.

Over her career Siobhan has held a wide range of governance roles, including currently as Co-chair Banking Board for the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and as a member of the Steering Group (the key governance body) for the Net Zero Banking Alliance.

Siobhan has been recognised as an AFR 100 Woman of Influence (Board and Management Category) and in 2023 was awarded Chief Executive Women’s INSEAD Leadership Transition Scholarship.

Aisya Zaharin

Aisya M. Zaharin is a PhD researcher who focuses on navigating Asian values and media responsibility from a decolonial approach. Her research covers various fields such as political science, history, decolonization, LGBTQI+ and Islam, with a special focus on improving social inequality and promoting cultural relativism. As an intersectional feminist, Aisya understands how social identities can create overlapping inequalities and discrimination. She works to amplify the voices of those who experience intersecting discrimination, and integrates these with her own lived experiences and academic-activist performance. She recently collaborated on a publication called “Reclaiming Transgender Identity Through Intersectionality and Decoloniality,” which features her critical auto-ethnography of herself that reflects intersectionality's commitment to reflexivity, structural critique, and understanding the complexity of LGBTQIA+ and her religion. Aisya comes to the academic-activist realm from her lived experience as a progressive Muslim, and having faced enduring oppression due to transphobia throughout her early transition in Malaysia. Her work has been recognized by the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, who awarded her as the Trans Activist/Advocate of the Year in 2021. Some of her publications can be found at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aisya-Zaharin 

Caitlin Reiger 

Caitlin Reiger is CEO of the Human Rights Law Centre and a human rights lawyer. She has spent the past 25 years working globally on transitional justice for mass human rights violations, international criminal law, and justice system reform. Since returning to Australia, Caitlin supported the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria in the design and establishment of the Yoorrook Justice Commission.

Caitlin’s work has included the interplay between truth-telling, reparations, criminal justice and institutional reform efforts, including in Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Colombia. She headed the European Union’s flagship access to justice programme in Myanmar, MyJustice, which used arts, culture and social media platforms to improve public awareness of fundamental rights, and supported recognition of traditional/informal justice systems as part of peace negotiations. 

Most recently, Caitlin served as Director of Strategic Policy and Research at the Yoorrook Justice Commission, after supporting the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria in the design of the Commission and its mandate. 

Daney Faddoul

Daney Faddoul is Campaign Manager at the Human Rights Law Centre since March 2020 focused on the campaign to create an Australian Human Rights Act.Prior to that, Daney was at GetUp where he was a Senior Campaigner then Political Director, and before that worked in the trade union movement.

Narelda Jacobs OAM

Narelda Jacobs is a Whadjuk Noongar journalist, presenter, MC, keynote speaker and commentator. Her career at Network 10 has spanned more than two decades. Narelda currently presents the daily one-hour national news bulletin 10 News First: Midday, and 10 News First: Afternoon at 3.30pm. Narelda is a regular at NITV and SBS, co-hosting The Point, Going Places with Ernie Dingo and the network’s January 26 coverage. She co-hosted Sydney Mardi Gras with SBS from 2019-2021 and has appeared on The Project, Insiders, Q+A and The Drum.  Narelda is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and is on the board of the National Justice Project. She is on Football Australia's National Indigenous Advisory Group and is a Legacy ‘23 Ambassador for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Narelda is an ambassador of The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, Motor Neurone Disease Association WA, WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute, The Pinnacle Foundation and Deadly Science, and was a Rainbow Champion for Sydney World Pride 2023. 

Giridharan Sivaraman

Giridharan Sivaraman is the newly appointed Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Prior to becoming Commissioner, Mr Sivaraman was Principal Lawyer with Maurice Blackburn, where he led the firm’s Queensland Employment Law department, ran numerous state and national race discrimination cases and led the pro bono compensation scheme for underpaid 7-Eleven workers. He also held the position of Chair of Multicultural Australia from 2021-2024 and was a member of the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council from 2019-2024, where he was an advocate for the rights of victims of racial vilification. He also appeared at a state parliamentary inquiry to demand legal reform to better protect the rights of victims of racial vilification. In his advocacy, he has committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of First Nations peoples. 

Dr Anna Cody

Dr Anna Cody is Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner. Anna has had a long and distinguished career as an academic, as a lawyer specialising in discrimination and as a passionate advocate for human rights in Australia and internationally. Anna has been Dean of the School of Law and Professor at Western Sydney University, Director of the Kingsford Legal Centre at the University of New South Wales, Chair of Community Legal Centres Australia and a Director of the NSW Legal Aid Commission Board and Advisory committee of Law Access.  Her work over the years has included substantial advocacy to various United Nations human rights committees when they have reviewed Australia’s fulfilment of its human rights obligations and human rights advocacy internationally.   

Katie Kiss

Katie Kiss is Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Commissioner Kiss is a proud Kaanju and Birri/Widi woman who grew up in Rockhampton, Central Queensland on the lands of the Darumbal People. 

She was previously the Executive Director of the Interim Truth and Treaty Body supporting Queensland’s Path to Treaty, and held senior positions in the Queensland Government, including Chief of Staff to the Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, and Senior Advisor to the Deputy Premier. Commissioner Kiss also worked for eight years at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where she was the Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Team. 

Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald is Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner. Mr Fitzgerald was previously the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner and Australian Productivity Commissioner, NSW Community and Disability Services Commissioner, and Deputy Ombudsman.  He served as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, was Chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board and has served on NGO boards for more than 40 years - including The Benevolent Society, St Vincent de Paul Society, Caritas Australia, and Social Ventures Australia. He is a former President of the Australian Council of Social Services. 

Anne Hollonds

Anne Hollonds is Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner. Before her appointment to the role, Anne was the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, an independent statutory authority of the Australian Government responsible for conducting research and providing advice on child and family wellbeing. In this role she was also Director of the Australian Gambling Research Centre. For more than 23 years Anne was a Chief Executive Officer of government and non-government organisations focussed on research, policy and service delivery in health, education and social services. Anne has had extensive front-line experience including in child protection, out-of-home care, domestic and family violence, child and family therapy, parenting education, and mental health. Anne currently contributes to several advisory boards and councils, including the Family Law Council, the National Plan Advisory Group, the National Child Maltreatment Study, and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council. Anne has a professional background as a psychologist and social worker, combined with an MBA, and has completed international executive programs in strategy and leadership at Harvard and Stanford universities.

Lorraine Finlay

Lorraine Finlay is Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner. Prior to joining the Commission, Lorraine has worked as a lawyer and academic specialising in human rights and public law. Her most recent roles have been as the Senior Human Trafficking Specialist with the Australian Mission to ASEAN, and as a law lecturer at Murdoch University. In her academic roles, Lorraine has lectured in areas including criminal law, constitutional law and international human rights, and has been recognised with a number of national and university awards for her teaching and research. Before moving to academia, Lorraine worked as a State Prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (WA) and at the High Court of Australia, initially as a Legal Research Officer and later as a Judges’ Associate. Lorraine is a former Singapura Scholar, being awarded a dual Masters in Law from New York University (majoring in Justice and Human Rights) and the National University of Singapore (majoring in International and Comparative Law).

Assoc. Prof. Geoffrey Levey

Geoffrey Brahm Levey is a political theorist at UNSW and a prominent contributor to Australian and international debates on minority rights and multiculturalism. He has advised various government bodies and served as a research expert for the Global Pluralism Monitor project at the Global Centre for Pluralism, Ottawa. As an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, he examined what Australian national identity could mean in a multicultural liberal democracy. He has held research fellowships at Brown, Oxford, Bristol, European University Institute Florence, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He established and directed the UNSW Program in Jewish Studies.

Nareen Young

Nareen is Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) at the University of Technology, Business School, Sydney. She also leads UTS Jumbunna Indigenous Education and Research Institute's Indigenous People and Work Research and Practice Hub which focuses on robust research and analysis, policy, practice, people and law reform at the intersection oof the human rights and employment jurisdictions as it pertains to Indigenous people. The Hub leads the National Indigenous employment sector and convenes the First Nations Employment Alliance. Nareen she is influenced by both her Indigenous and culturally diverse heritages in this work and has received numerous awards and acknowledgements, including the inaugural Westpac 100 Women of Influence honour for Diversity. Naureen and her team advise public sector, corporate and NGO organisations and unions on employment issues affecting First Nations people, and leads ‘Gari Yala’, the only Indigenous-lead survey of Indigenous people’s workplace experiences that utilises Indigenous research methodology.  

Ilona Millar

Ilona Millar leads the Climate Change and Sustainability team at Gilbert + Tobin. She has over 20 years experience advising on international and domestic climate law and finance, including the development of law and policy and its implementation by both governments and the private sector. This experience extends to complex multi-jurisdictional transactions as well as the development of innovative responses to climate change and sustainability problems. Ilona's experience also extends to all aspects of environmental law and policy and she has a strong background in all aspects of natural resource management, planning and projects. Ilona currently serves as a board member of the Natural Resources Access Regulator, an independent body which oversees natural resources compliance in NSW. She is also a former commissioner of the NSW Independent Planning Commission which reviews and determines state significant development proposals. 

Hannah Ferguson

Hannah Ferguson is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cheek Media Co, an independent news commentary and multi-platform, digital media project amplifying voices, stories and ideas. She also co-hosts a news and culture podcast, Big Small Talk. In 2023, Hannah released her debut book, Bite Back. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing from The University of Queensland. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, the Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey and more. 

Carly Kind

Carly Kind commenced as Australia’s Privacy Commissioner in February 2024 for a 5-year term.

As Privacy Commissioner, she regulates the handling of personal information by entities covered by the Australian Privacy Act 1988 and seeks to influence the development of legislation and advance privacy protections for Australians. 

Ms Kind joined from the UK-based Ada Lovelace Institute, where she was the inaugural director. As a human rights lawyer and leading authority on the intersection of technology policy and human rights, she has advised industry, government and non-profit organisations on digital rights, artificial intelligence, privacy and data protection, and corporate accountability in the technology sphere.

She has worked with the European Commission, the Council of Europe, numerous UN bodies and a range of civil society organisations. She was formerly legal director of Privacy International, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting data rights and governance.

Ms Kind has a Masters of Science, International Relations (Hons) from the London School of Economics, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) (Hons) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland.

Dr Meg Brodie

Meg leads KPMG’s human rights services and works with corporate clients in financial services, property, retail, mining and other sectors to translate human rights commitments into practical commercial solutions. She specialises in modern slavery responses, as well as transformative human rights change processes and complex stakeholder dynamics. Meg also manages KPMG's Global Business & Human Rights Network, bringing together international insights and skills for cross-jurisdiction engagements. Prior to joining KPMG, Meg’s human rights specialisation was honed as a lawyer, advocate and consultant. She offers clients diverse perspectives from across the corporate, government and community sectors, combining breadth with experience of practical responses to rights problems. “To make rights real, we have to start where people are at.”

Gemma Pitcher

Gemma is an Associate at Common Cause Australia, a consultancy which helps mission driven organisations use the power of values and frames to motivate change.. Gemma began her career as a travel writer in Africa before moving to the nonprofit sector, holding senior communications roles at organisations including ActionAid and Red Cross. She entered the campaigning sphere as communications manager for a NSW state MP, alongside her freelance career as an in-demand copywriter. Gemma is now a communications and messaging consultant, helping organisations tell new and fresh campaign stories in strategic ways.

Kristy Muir

Kristy Muir is Paul Ramsay Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer.  She is also a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney Business School, and Chair of Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy Australasia. Kristy has worked for more than three decades - as a support worker, academic, collaborator, leader, funder, and board director - with for-purpose organisations that enable children, families, and communities to thrive. Kristy is a seasoned keynote speaker and internationally recognised leader. She has published widely, and has delivered her insights on governance for social impact to hundreds of non-executive directors and CEOs through formal executive education programs. She founded the AGSM Governance for Social Impact course and the Social Impact Leadership Australia program which she currently teaches to for-purpose CEOs. Kristy was CEO of the Centre for Social Impact (2017-21), served as an elected academic member of UNSW’s Council (2016-2021) and was a non-executive Director of the Community Council of Australia and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People (ARACY). She has a PhD in social history and is a graduate of executive education at Harvard Business School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Kylea Tink

Kylea Tink is the Independent Federal Member for North Sydney. Kylea is a successful business leader, active social commentator and activist: widely recognised for work that has changed the shape of Australian society. She has been a CEO, a Managing Director, a business owner, a Board Director and a Strategic Adviser. Kylea is a passionate believer that each of us can play an important role in addressing the challenges facing our community: being told something can't be done, or shouldn't be considered or discussed, has more often than not motivated her to ask "why not" and to play her part in the push for positive change regardless.

Sarah McGrath

Sarah is a Director at Pillar Two, a specialist business and human rights advisory firm. Sarah has extensive experience embedding responsible business conduct standards into policy and practice and collaborating with diverse organisations to assist them build human rights capacity, manage their human rights risks and drive positive change. Sarah has worked at the forefront of business and human rights issues in roles at Twitter, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR). She has been appointed to range of government and multi-stakeholder advisory groups and has authored thought leadership pieces and practical guidance in the area of business and human rights.

Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts

Vanessa is an advocate for Human Rights, a lawyer, and has recently been appointed as the Inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People. From experiences in Out Of Home Care and facing injustices to becoming a Commissioner, Vanessa has devoted her life to empowering Indigenous self-determination and fighting for justice for First Nations people and children in Australia and worldwide. Vanessa is a highly accomplished professional with a strong background in advocating for human rights, particularly focusing on First Nations children and young people, global Indigenous rights, and transnational solidarity. She holds qualifications in Law, Social Work, and First Class Honours. Vanessa is also a Fulbright Scholar who actively builds connections on international and national levels in the realm of human rights, particularly focusing on Indigenous communities. Additionally, she is a doctoral researcher in the field of Law and Children's Rights concerning Family Policing and Statutory Out Of Home Care.

Dr Robin Banks

Robin is a human rights and discrimination lawyer with experience in legal practice and community management. Between 2010 and 2017, Robin was Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, responsible for the administration of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas). She is the chair of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, a member of the Australian Discrimination Law Experts Group and of the University of Queensland’s Social Change Lab. Robin works closely with A Fairer World to co-design and deliver diversity and inclusion training and with Rodney Croome to develop and deliver community activism and engagement training.

Robin’s PhD was on discrimination law reform and the psychology of prejudice. In it, Robin explored the capacity of the psychology of stigma, prejudice and discrimination to enhance discrimination law. Her thesis highlights gaps in discrimination law and presents reform proposals based in an understanding of the social psychology of prejudice and discrimination.

Dr Nora Amath

Dr Nora Amath is an expert community developer and sociologist whose research focuses on multiculturalism, social inclusion, diversity, leadership and community development. Nora is a director of Yarah, a non-executive director of Islamic Relief Australia, an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University, and an Australian Fellow at the Centre for Women, Faith and Leadership at the Institute for Global Engagement in Washington DC. She was also the first female chair of Islamic Relief Australia. In recognition of her efforts, Nora is a 2-time recipient of the Australia Day Community Awards, a recipient of the Queensland Day’s Award 2023 and a recipient of the Australian Muslim Achievement Awards as Woman of the Year. In 2024, Nora was included in the UN’s Building a Better World: The Women Leading Religions for Peace global directory.