ACLW Panel on the Concerns of Women Experiencing Disadvantage in Australian Communities

on Friday, 22 February 2013. Posted in Panel on the Concerns of Women Experiencing Disadavantage

ACLW Panel on the Concerns of Women Experiencing Disadvantage in Australian Communities

The ACLW Panel of 15 Community Leaders explores a range of issues that concern women who are experiencing disadvantage in Australian communities commences. 

The Panel comprises women who advocate for, work with, research and represent women who are disadvantaged.

Pannellists will be focussing on:

  • Key issues that concern women in disadvantaged communities from your perspective
  • Impacts on women in relation to these issues
  • Analysis of the positives and negatives in how the issue is being addressed nationally
  • Recommendations for areas that need addressing in the upcoming election 

An article from each of the Pannellist was published here commencing on 22 March 13 and concluding before the federal election on 7 September 13.


List of Panellist's contributions 



An ongoing summary of Pannellists' contributions



Carol Berry

Carol Berry, CEO, Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

Carol Berry is an advocate for progressive social change and has had over 20 years experience as a campaigner, researcher and lobbyist. Carol has also practised as a lawyer and specialises in health and human rights law. She has worked as the CEO of the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability and is currently the head of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre.  Carol has also served on a number of Boards of progressive organisations, including the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). (photo: Illawarra Mercury)

Key Issues for women from disadvantaged communities



Eve Bodsworth

Dr Eve Bodsworth, Research and Policy Manager, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Eve is a Research and Policy Manager in the Research and Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Her research focuses on social policy issues regarding income support, welfare to work policies and alternative approaches to employment services for disadvantaged groups. In particular, Eve’s work highlights the intersections of disadvantage and the interplay between everyday lives, social policy and the labour market – with a focus on the circumstances of low income women. Her work has been cited in Australian and overseas media, OECD and government publications and she has published in several peer reviewed journals. She was a member of a Commonwealth legislative review panel examining the effects of the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008. Eve recently completed a doctorate that examined how single mothers make choices about work, family and income support in the context of Australian welfare reform. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and, prior to commencing her career in social policy, she worked as a lawyer including in the areas of family law and family violence.  Eve is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Australian women are worth the investment


Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown, ACE, Aboriginal Community Engagement

Janelle Brown has lived in the Illawarra her whole life. Janelle is a descendant of the Gunai-Kurnai and Yuin people, from the far south coast of NSW. Janelle is the Aboriginal Community Engagement Facilitator at Communities for Children, South Coast Barnados. In 2012, Janelle was awarded the Regional NAIDOC Aboriginal Worker of the Year Award. Janelle is passionate about moving forward and achieving better health, education and employment opportunities for her people.

 Disadvantage facing Aboriginal Women




Sandy head shot

Sandra Cook, National Director of Policy, BPW Australia 

Sandra is the National Director of Policy for BPW Australia, and Chair of economicSecurity4Women, one of the government funded National Women’s Alliance. The organisations she represents provide advice and lobby across government to ensure that the economic equality of women is at centre stage. Sandra works with members who are employers, employees and self employed business women, providing a unique perspective to consider the participation of women in the workforce in all its aspects – from the initial training skills required to the barriers they face in joining, and remaining in the workforce. Economic empowerment is critical to the wellbeing of women, and her organisations’ focus has most recently been on two areas:  that impact of insecure work and the impact of care – both paid and unpaid on women’s ability to work.

Sharing the caring - we need to spread the load




Jane Corpuz-Brock, Executive Officer, Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association

Jane Corpuz-Brock: originally from the Philippines, works as Executive Officer at Immigrant Women's Speakout Association (Speakout/IWSA) - the peak body of immigrant and refugee women in New South Wales. She is a member of the National Council of the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Women of Australia (NIRWA). Her work with immigrant and refugee women spans over 30 years in Asia and Western Europe. In completing her MA in Development Studies (University of Geneva, Switzerland) she reviewed literature on the work conditions migrants and refugees and interviewed migrant workers where she came to know about trafficked and bonded labour migrant workers.  At present Jane is a volunteer with Migrante Australia providing assistance and support to Filipino temporary work visa holders (457) who are in distress. Together with APDP (Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines – solidarity network) and Migrante Australia, she used her experience in working with 457 visa holders in writing the policy submission changes to 457 visa during the Department of Immigration review on 457 coordinated by Barbara Deegan. Her advocacy and campaign work on migrant and refugee issues in particular on the case of Vivian Solon Alvarez, Jane, together with Migrante and Speakout/IWSA had been acknowledged when she was granted the Edna Ryan award for community activism.

Permanent Residency for Migrant Workers and Partner-Marriage Migrants 




Libby Davies, CEO, White Ribbon Foundation

Libby Davies is currently the CEO of the White Ribbon Foundation.  Prior to this position, and in recent years, Libby has worked as a business development consultant to Frontier Services, a national provider of aged and community services across rural and remote Australia , senior policy adviser with the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, and as a consultant in the areas of social policy, strategic planning and mentoring to the community sector. Ms Davies has also held a number of chief executive positions, such as CEO for Family Services Australia, National Director of UnitingCare Australia and Executive Director of the Head Injury Council of Australia (now Brain Injury Australia). She is currently Chair of the board of UnitingCare NSW.ACT, Board member of the House with No Steps, immediate past Board member of The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and held a number of board and representative positions (including at executive and ministerial level) in health, ageing, and family and community services including ACOSS. Before moving into national social policy and advocacy work in community and welfare services, Libby worked in projects of national significance with the Australian Government relating to education and national curriculum development, and was a secondary teacher of social sciences.

Men's Violence Against Women (VAW) 




Kerriann Dear, Director, Queensland Working Women's Service (QWW)

Kerriann Dear is the Director of the Queensland Working Women’s Service (QWW). She also works in private practice as a counsellor and is a registered mental health care provider under the Medicare Better Access Program. QWWS is a front line service for women that delivers various specialist industrial relations and employment rights services. The organisation is unique in that it provides women with advice and support as well as advocacy to address workplace concerns and improve the status of women at work. QWWS has been active along with two other Working Women’s Centres in South Australia and the Northern Territory in highlighting the inequities and outcomes for women in industrial relations in Australia in policy submissions and to government enquiries. Besides leading QWWS for the past 10 years, Kerriann has undertaken published academic research in partnership with various universities relating to women’s experiences in the workplace in the areas of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and workplace harassment and has been a passionate advocate for systemic reforms in these areas. Kerriann holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science from Griffith University and a first class Honours Degree in Social Work from the University of Queensland as well as qualifications in counselling and family therapy.

Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces… Still? 




Terese Edwards, CEO, National Council of Single Mothers & their Children

Terese Edwards is CEO of the National Council of Single Mothers & Children Inc since 2009. She is also the Deputy President of ACOSS since February 2010. She is a Steering committee member of the Equality and Rights Alliance (National Women`s Alliance) since 2012 and the newly elected chair of the South Australian Women Services Network. She is a Member of the Economic Security for women since October 2012 and a Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group Member since 2009.Terese has a Masters in Public Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Management and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy.   

Single Mothers, their Children and Poverty: It should not be a foregone conclusion



Kelly Hinton

Kelly Hinton, Executive Director, Project Respect

Kelly is the Executive Director at Project Respect since 2010. Under her leadership, Project Respect has been awarded the Our Community Kookaburra Awards (Community Group), Anti Slavery Australia Freedom Award 2011 (Organisation Contribution), and highly commended in the 2012 Australian Government National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards (Excellence in Supporting Pathways to Employment or Education). Kelly represents Project Respect at the Federal Attorney General's National Anti-Trafficking Roundtable, the Stop the Traffik (Australia) Coalition, the 2012 Equality Rights Alliance Housing Working Group and co facilitates the Project Respect training program "Working with Women in the Sex Industry." 

Kelly has been actively involved in challenging violence against women since 2004 and has worked in family violence refuges. She has appeared in a 4 Corners report on sex slavery, been published in the Age and Women's Views on the News, has written numerous submissions to government inquiries on the sex industry and trafficking,  and has spoken at a number of conferences, including the International Symposium to Prevent Sex Trafficking.  Kelly frequently meets with delegates from NGO's and governments in Australia and internationally to discuss how to address trafficking and sexual exploitation of women, from both a policy and practical level.  Most importantly, Kelly speaks to women who have been in the sex industry virtually every day, and is passionate about ensuring that vulnerable women's voices and stories are heard. Kelly has a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) from the University of RMIT. 

 Silence, Violence and the doors that remain closed 




Dr Cathy Kezelman, President, Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)

Dr Cathy Kezelman is a medical practitioner, mental health consumer advocate, President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), a national Australian peak body advocating for needs of adult survivors of complex trauma ( abuse in all its forms, neglect, family and community violence and other adverse childhood events) to be better met, director of Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC), peak body of NGO's NSW and a foundation member of the national Trauma Informed Care and Practice Advisory working Group.  

She sits on a number of government and independent mental health and child protection advisory committees. Under her stewardship ASCA has grown from a peer support organisation to one combining a prominent consumer voice with that of researchers, academics and clinicians advocating for socio-political change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma. She is a prominent voice in the media and at conferences, as well as author of a memoir chronicling her journey of recovery from complex trauma: Innocence Revisited- a tale in parts. She is co-author of the highly acclaimed ASCA document - Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery, the first of their kind nationally and internationally.

Improving outcomes for women impacted by childhood trauma




Debbie Kilroy, CEO, Sisters Inside Inc

Debbie Kilroy OAM, MLB, GDFMenH, GDLPrac and BSocWk, former prisoner is the CEO of Sisters Inside which is an independent community organisation which advocates for the human rights of criminalised women.  Debbie is a strong, active advocate for the implementation and monitoring of human rights within women's prisons and against discriminatory practices. Debbie has participated in several international meetings including the expert meeting in developing the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) and the Commission of Status of Women Sessions annually.  She is the first person convicted of serious criminal offences admitted to practice law and Debbie's expertise is in criminal defence law.

 Imprisonment - a default response to women's poverty and disadvantage



 Melba - cropped HHotelsMelba Marginson, Executive Director, Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition

Melba Marginson is known in the community sector as Founding Chair and Executive Director of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition. Through this organization, Melba has pioneered the development of a Women’s Leadership Course that is now being delivered as pre-accredited course in many neighbourhood houses in the southeastern part of Victoria.  She also developed the Women Building Bridges project that is now producing women champions in Victoria who are positioning themselves in locally-based boards and committees, school councils and local councils. 

Melba’s work on Filipino women’s issues was the subject of extensive media coverage and academic research in the late 1980s through to the 1990s.  Her public appearances in the media and various speaking engagements inspired many Filipino and migrant women. Due to her activism and perspective on women’s organizing and advocacy Dr. James Jupp asked her to write the Filipino Chapter on the 2001 Australian Encyclopedia.  Her advocacy for immigrants and refugees has been recognised by the Labor Government in Victoria under Premier Steve Bracks who appointed her to the Victorian Multicultural Commission in 2000.  She was also selected for the First Women's Honour Roll by the Victorian Government in celebration of Australia's Centenary of Federation in 2001. Melba is the national spokesperson of the Centre for Philippine Concerns Australia.  She has a Master's Degree in Social Science (Policy and Management) at RMITUniversity. 

Australia’s Temporary Crisis: Safeguarding the human rights of overseas women without permanent residency  




Ludo McFerran, National Project Manager, Centre for Gender Related Violence Studies at the University of New South Wales

Ludo McFerran has been an activist in the Australian domestic violence sector since 1978. She has worked in every aspect of the sector including state and national peak bodies. She pioneered policy on support systems to enable women and children to stay safely in their homes and is currently managing a national program promoting the introduction of domestic violence  protections  in industrial and discrimination instruments. She is currently the National Project Manager in the Centre for Gender Related Violence Studies at the University of New South Wales. Ludo is also a farmer and was in a previous life a chart topping saxophone player in a rock band. 

Discrimination Proctections in law for people experiencing domestic violence


VioletViolet Roumeliotis, CEO of Settlement Services International 

Violet Roumeliotis has a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology and History from UNSW and has a Masters in Management from UTS. She is also an accredited mediator. Violet has an extensive background in advocating for and developing services for vulnerable and at risk communities and individuals with more than thirty years’ involvement, in both a professional and voluntary capacity, in human resource and project management. In particular, she has developed specialized knowledge and skills in working with people of a non-English speaking backgrounds and culturally diverse communities, refugees and humanitarian entrants, families in crisis, women and children at risk. Her special areas of expertise is in the non-government sector includes building the capacity of small and emerging communities, leadership skills development, women at risk, prisoners, youth mentoring, and cultural diversity training. She is a past President of the NSW Immigrant Women’s Speak out and Sydney Rape Crisis Centre, a past Director of the South East Sydney Area Health Board, Chair of South West Sydney Legal Centre and immediate past President of Settlement Services International and sits on the  Connect Australia Foundation Board.  Violet’s also a Board member of the Sydney Alliance and a member of its Leaders Council. Violet has extensive experience in representing community interests on government committees and boards such as the NSW Police Commissioners Advisory Council on Diversity Policing and a past trustee of the NSW Financial Trust Fund. Violet is currently CEO of Settlement Services International.

Pushed to the margins: building pathways towards greater social inclusion for refugee women in Australia  




Rita Tratt, Secretary, Older Women's Network NSW (OWN NSW)

Rita Tratt is Secretary of the Older Women’s Network and Coordinator of its Theatre Group, which seeks to educate health professionals, carers, community groups and local councils, on issues affecting older women.  Rita has been involved in Human Rights and Equal Opportunity areas since the 70s and has worked at The Anti-Discrimination Board, the Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity and was an Equal Opportunity Coordinator in the NSW Attorney General’s Department.  Rita has also been a TAFE Literacy and Numeracy teacher and is very aware of the needs of older women, who are trying to re-enter the work force. 

 Older Women - A lifetime of disadvantage