2017 Talking Justice speakers

alexanderDr Renata Alexander

Renata is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Monash University and a Victorian barrister. She teaches family law and clinical legal education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is the author/co-author of three books on family law and family violence and child abuse as well as numerous book chapters and articles.

She completed her PhD in law in 2001 titled ‘Reflections on Gender in Family Law decision-making in Australia’, which looked at gender bias against women in the three areas of parenting cases, property settlements and mediation.

As a barrister, she specialises in family law with particular interest in family violence and child abuse cases.


beckhouseKylie Beckhouse

Kylie is the Director of Family Law at Legal Aid NSW and in this role oversees the largest family law practice in Australia. She is also responsible for Legal Aid’s family dispute resolution service. Kylie has specialised in family law for over 23 years and is both an accredited specialist in family law and an independent children’s lawyer.

She is a member of the NSW Children’s Court Advisory Committee, Family Courts Children’s Committee, Family Courts Self Represented Litigant’s Committee, Law Society of NSW’s Family Law Issues & Children’s Committees and National Legal Aid’s Family Law working group.

She served on the Family Law Council of Australia from 2011-2016 and during that time worked on two significant published reports. The first on ‘Parentage and the Family Law Act’ and most recently ‘Families with Complex Needs and the Intersection of the Family Law and Child Protection Systems’.

In 2014 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate the administration of child legal representation schemes internationally. She regularly speaks, writes and trains on the topic of children’s participation in legal processes – most recently on the ABC Law Report.


bryantDiana Bryant AO
The Honourable Diana Bryant AO was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia in 2004. Prior to her appointment she was the Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (now the Federal Circuit Court of Australia) from 2000-2004, having guided the emergence and growth of that court as the inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate. She is one of the two Hague Network Judges for Australia and is currently chairing a working group for the Hague Permanent Bureau in relation to Article 13(b) of the Child Abduction Convention. She is also co-chair of the Association of International Family Judges.

Before her appointment to the Bench, Chief Justice Bryant practised as a family lawyer with a national firm in Perth and spent 10 years at the Victorian Bar, becoming a Queen’s Counsel in 1997. She has had a longstanding commitment to the advancement of women in the law and is currently the Patron of Australian Women Lawyers and a committee member of the Australian Association of Women Judges.

Chief Justice Bryant received a Centenary Medal in 2001 for her role in the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for her distinguished service to the judiciary.


buchananLiana Buchanan

Liana Buchanan commenced as the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2016. She also sits as a part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Liana has a background in oversight and system reform for people experiencing disadvantage, with a strong focus on family violence and sexual assault. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, her roles included the Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, where she lead the peak body for Victoria’s 50 community legal centres, and the Director, Office of Correctional Services Review, where she was responsible for monitoring Victoria’s corrections system. Liana has also held legal and policy positions with a social justice focus in a number of agencies including the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, Department of Justice, Office for the Status of Women (SA) and Women’s Legal Service (SA).


fatoneClaudia Fatone

Claudia is the Executive Officer of the Fitzroy Legal Service, a position she has held since April 2013. She is also a board member of the Victoria Law Foundation and director of Cricket Victoria. Prior to joining Fitzroy Legal Service, Claudia held a range of management roles including the Sector Development Manager at the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Associate Director at Sport Employment Australia, the Women’s Cricket Operations Manager at Cricket Victoria and the Executive Officer of the Victorian Women’s Cricket Association. Claudia has a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a mentor with the Asista Mentoring Program which matches young women with volunteer mentors.


carrickDamien Carrick

Damien is the presenter/producer of The Law Report, the weekly legal current affairs program on ABC Radio National. Before his career in media, Damien Carrick worked as a lawyer. Since jumping into journalism, he has won numerous awards, including the UN Media Peace Prize for Radio, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Radio Award and the Victoria Law Foundation Legal Journalist of the Year Award.

His work on the Law Report has been twice nominated for the Walkley National Awards for Australian journalism. He has also been awarded a number of fellowships, including the Qantas-European Union Journalism Award (2004) and the ABC/Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism Fellowship at Oxford University (2012).

His additional work at the ABC includes reporting for ABC Radio Current Affairs, guest hosting the Sunday Extra program, and co-production of an Australian Story: ‘Suddenly One Summer’.


holmesGerard Holmes

Gerard has been a lawyer for many years having graduated in 1978 with Law and Economics degrees, practising as a solicitor until March 1994 when called to the Bar to read with Dan Sweeney.

As Counsel he has been involved in high profile financial and parenting cases. He has participated in many mediations since 1984 both as Counsel and as Mediator. He understands and values the benefits of Mediation and Arbitration as a form of dispute resolution. Gerard is also an accredited Arbitrator.

He has been active in committees within the LIV (Law Institute of Victoria) and continues that commitment as the Victorian Bar representative on the LIV Court’s Practice Committee.

Gerard was awarded the Law Institute Award for Family Law for several years and was one of the first solicitors to become an Accredited Specialist in Family Law.

He has written and presented many papers and articles on aspects of Family law including advocacy, evidence, financial and parenting matters.

He realises there is a less-serious side to the Law and at one stage in his career he and some colleagues had their own radio programme entitled “putting on the writs!” on an FM station in Melbourne.

He has also been a board member of Relationships Australia and member of the Family Law and Psychology Association of Australia.

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Mediators and Arbitrators.


jacobsJoanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs is an award-winning digital strategist and company director, and she is the Managing Partner (with Gavin Heaton) of Disruptor’s Handbook, a firm that facilitates incubation of innovation from a marketing perspective.  She is on the Board of Code Club Australia, as well as the NSW Government Digital Advisory Panel. She is on a number of other industry advisory boards and is an active mentor of startups. She formerly ran the Australian office of 1000heads, a word of mouth marketing firm. In her career, Joanne has worked in London where she ran a social media production house, and she was a consultant in social networking technologies, as well as a professional speaker, business coach, trainer and strategist for digital marketing practices. Joanne also has a long history in academia, lecturing extensively in the strategic use of information technology and strategic internet marketing.  She was co-editor with Axel Bruns of the book, Uses of Blogs (2006).


kellyDr Fiona Kelly

Dr Fiona Kelly is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Law and Society at the La Trobe University Law School. Fiona’s research focus is primarily on the intersection between family law and health law, with a particular interest in the legal regulation of assisted reproduction. More recently, her research has focused on the role of the Family Court in medical decision-making for transgender youth. Her research in this field has led to two invitations to speak to federal politicians about removing the requirement that transgender adolescents seek Family Court approval before accessing hormone treatment.


langley mcnamaraIsabelle Langley & Naomi McNamara

Isabelle is a 13 year old transgender girl.  Isabelle lives with her parents and little sister Hattie in country Victoria and attends her local Secondary College.  Isabelle and her family shared their story on Four Corners in 2013 highlighting the need for law reform to ease access to stage 2 treatment for transgender adolescents.  Since that time, Isabelle and her family have travelled to Canberra on several occasions to speak with members of parliament advocating for this reform.

Naomi is Isabelle’s mum, she is an active member of parent support and advocacy groups and she is a strong advocate for her daughter and other transgender children. She is a trained social worker and works full time as Manager Community Services for local government.


mooreDavid Moore

David supports individuals and organisations to change adaptively and communicate constructively. He works as a Facilitator, Academic,  Writer and System designer.

David consults to a wide range of organisations and is Principal Consultant with Primed Change Consulting.  David is a founding committee member and the current President of the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice.  He has recently been an Associate at La Trobe Law School, consultant to the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and is currently a Principal Consultant to the National Redress Scheme.

David was inaugural coordinator of Charles Sturt University’s Justice Studies program, and has been involved in international reforms using the Group Conferencing process since that time. He worked in the Office of the Queensland Premier & Cabinet before co-founding Transformative Justice Australia (TJA) to train Group Conference facilitators in Australia, North America and Europe, and to provide facilitation and training services to organisations across government, community and corporate sectors. This work inspired David Williamson’s Jack Manning Trilogy of plays: Face to Face, A Conversation, and Charitable Intent (1999-2001) and Michael Rymer’s award-winning film of Face to Face (2011).

David has taught in politics, history, peace and conflict studies and law at Melbourne, Charles Sturt, Queensland, La Trobe and James Cook Universities. He holds a Master’s Degree in political and economic history from Melbourne University and a doctorate in history and social theory from Griffith University. He has published widely and continues to produce educational video materials on conflict management and organisational governance.


peelerAunty Lois Peeler

A recognised Elder of Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri heritage, Lois Peeler is a passionate educator and leader. She is the Executive Director and Principal of Worawa Aboriginal College, the only boarding school catering specifically for young Aboriginal women.

Lois’ up-bringing included family life on the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve where activism for improved conditions for Aboriginal people was deeply embedded. She grew up surrounded by strong women who, based on their personal experiences, led the fight for equal rights for Aboriginal people to education, healthcare, housing, legal services and social justice.

Lois has had a diverse career in the music industry, public service, social activism, tourism, community development and Aboriginal education.

One of the original members of The Sapphires, an all-girl singing group from the 1960s, she is also acknowledged as Australia’s first Aboriginal model and TV presenter.

Lois began her career in the community sector as Assistant Director of the Aborigines Advancement League leading to senior positions in the State and Federal public service (spanning 16 years in public sector Aboriginal Affairs). Lois is author of Aboriginal Oral History of the Flats and co-author of Yorta Yorta Language Heritage. She headed Aboriginal Tourism Australia for more than a decade leading Indigenous tourism development and co-authoring the Respecting our Culture tourism accreditation program for the Australian Tourism industry.

In 2003 Lois received The Centenary Medal for her work in tourism. In 2014 she was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her significant service to the Indigenous community as an educator, advocate and role model.

Lois is currently Chairperson of the Department of Justice and Regulation, Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (Eastern), a member of the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Justice Forum, Chairperson of the Eastern Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and involved in the implementation of the Department of Education and Training’s Marrung Aboriginal Education Action Plan.

As Principal of Worawa Aboriginal College, Lois oversees implementation of a holistic education for young Aboriginal women, nurturing Aboriginal culture, history and identity in an education framework – empowering Aboriginal girls and young women to ‘Walk in Both Worlds’.

She was named Senior Victorian Australian of the Year 2017 and was a finalist in this year’s Australian of the Year awards.


wallbankPaul Wallbank

Paul is a freelance journalist contributing to Fairfax, News Limited and the ABC along with various international outlets. He has been covering how digital technologies are changing society and business for over twenty years.

An engineer by profession, Paul fell into journalism after a series of IT ventures and writing a series of books on technology. He describes freelance journalism as “the last refuge of the penniless scoundrel.”

Through his website, Decoding the New Economy, he explores how communities and industries are evolving in the face of new opportunities and risks in the Twenty-First Century along with examining the challenges facing traditional media that is still struggling with the internet’s arrival.


wardRoz Ward

Roz Ward co-founded, developed and directed Safe Schools Coalition Victoria at La Trobe University from 2010 until March 2017. Safe Schools Coalition Victoria was the first Australian program to specialise in supporting gender diversity and sexual diversity in schools. Through research-driven resources, teacher education and policy advocacy, the program promotes practical measures for creating affirming and inclusive learning environments for same sex attracted, gender diverse and intersex students, staff and families. Roz’s academic interests are centred on translating research into practice with a specific focus on the experiences of same sex attracted, transgender and gender diverse young people.


espieNick Espie

Nick is an Arrernte man with family ties to Alice Springs. He also has family connections to the Top End and through his children further family connections in The Kimberley. Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Law from Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University).

Following completion of his articled clerkship at the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions in Alice Springs, he returned to the Top End and worked for North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency covering Darwin, Katherine and community courts. Nick has spent 11 years working in the Kimberley Region, seven years with the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and four years with Legal Aid Western Australia.

His legal career has predominantly involved Criminal Law but also includes some civil and family law, as well as Care and Protection Proceedings. Throughout his career and employment Nick has been involved in delivering Community Legal Education, including educating the most remote communities in the Kimberley, and has participated where possible in law reform submissions, particularly regarding Aboriginal People.

Nick is currently working for the NT Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention and Child Protection in the Northern Territory as a Community Engagement Officer. He will return to Legal Aid WA after the Royal Commission. Nick has always maintained close relationships between the Aboriginal peoples in the regions where he practices and strives to bridge the gap between Aboriginal people and the wider community.


zapponeChris Zappone

Chris Zappone is a foreign news editor at The Age in Melbourne, where he wrote some of the first stories in the media about Russian cyber interference during the US election. He joined Fairfax Media in 2008 as a business and economics reporter. Previously, he worked at CNNMoney in New York and Fortune Magazine. He began his career as an analyst at an online business and industry research firm in Austin, Texas in the late 1990s.


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