Violence against Women Advisory Group


Joint Media Release with the Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek

The Australian Government today announced the members of the new Violence against Women Advisory Group. The Prime Minister announced at the White Tie Dinner in Sydney that the new Advisory Group will be chaired by Libby Lloyd AM.

The other ten members of the Council are: Georgie Gardner, Annie Parkinson, Bess Price, Mick van Heythuysen OAM, Heather Nancarrow, Vanessa Swan, Norman Raeburn, Dr Leigh Gassner, Dr Rae Kaspiew and Victoria Hovane.

The Government is providing national leadership in reducing domestic violence and sexual assault through the development of a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women.

The Plan is being developed through the Council of Australian Governments and will be released in 2010.

The role of the Advisory Group will be to provide the Australian Government with expert advice on the implementation of National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women initiatives.

The Advisory Group will also provide advice on issues and recommendations raised in Time for Action: the National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2009-2021, including immediate actions the

Government is already implementing.

Advisory Group members have been drawn from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, which will enable them to provide expert advice and direction to assist the Government.

The Violence against Women Advisory Group has been appointed for a period of two years.

Upcoming priorities include:

• Establishing a new high quality national domestic violence and sexual assault telephone and online crisis and support service. • Implementing Respectful Relationships programs into school and non school settings to change attitudes and behaviours that contribute to

violence. • Working with the States and Territories to establish a National Centre of Excellence in the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

The Prime Minister also announced the opening of the second round of applications for the Respectful Relationships Program, to introduce respectful relationships education into high schools across Australia.

$1.1 million will be invested in this round, as part of a total $9.1 million investment in this program.

An additional 2,000 young people are expected to be educated through this round – bringing the total to 8,000 throughout the duration of the program.

Respectful Relationships is a primary prevention strategy that seeks to prevent sexual assault and domestic and family violence through education.

Round 1 of the Respectful Relationships Program is currently being implemented in 56 school and non-school sites across Australia this year.


Libby Lloyd AM, ACT (Chair) Ms Libby Lloyd served as the Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children in 2008-2009 and is a former President of UNIFEM Australia. She was actively involved in re-establishing the White Ribbon Campaign in Australia in 2003, a national campaign led by men to speak out against violence against women and is a founding Board Member of the White Ribbon Foundation. Ms Lloyd is the principal of a management consultancy, focusing on cross cultural awareness, program and service review. She is also involved in a wide range of community support activities.

Georgie Gardner, NSW Ms Georgie Gardner is the news presenter and fill-in co-host on Nine’s TODAY show. Ms Gardner worked at Sydney’s top-rating radio station 2DAY FM in 1994 spending three years as the drive-time newsreader before joining the Ten Network as a television news reporter and fill-in presenter in 1997. In 1998, Ms Gardner moved to the Seven Network to read the Late News. She went on to co-host the network’s early morning Sunrise program for two years. Ms Gardner joined the Nine Network in July 2002 to present various news bulletins. She is a strong advocate for a wide range of social issues, particularly those affecting young people and women. Ms Gardner is an active supporter of Oasis and Red Kite. She lives in Sydney with her husband, Tim, and their two young children.

Annie Parkinson, NSW Ms Annie Parkinson is the current President and a longstanding member of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA). She has over 30 years experience in activism beginning with her involvement in the early days of the Sydney Rape Crisis Centre. She was involved in the groundbreaking publication ‘I Always Wanted to be a Tapdancer’, a book of stories from women with disabilities published in the late eighties. She has worked as a research assistant in the disability field and in the 1990s co-founded an organisation called Access Plus, a group that addressed issues which particularly affected gay, lesbian and transgender people with disabilities. Ms Parkinson has been actively involved in the establishment and management of several organisations. Annie is now a member of the reference group for the Australian Family and Domestic Violence Clearinghouse. She is also on the management committee of a small SAAP funded housing organisation that offers short-to-medium term housing for women who have experienced child sexual assault.

Bess Price, NT Bess Nungarrayi Price was born at Yuendumu in Central Australia. Her first language is Warlpiri. She also knows Luritja, Western Arrernte and Anmatyerre. Mrs Price has a Batchelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtain University and has worked in education and training, public administration, the media, community development, interpreting, translating and language teaching and has experience in small business management. She has represented Central Australia at conferences in Quebec, Beijing, Vancouver and Deerfield Massachusetts. Mrs Price is a partner, with her husband Dave, with Jajirdi Consultants working in cross cultural awareness training, community liaison and Warlpiri language services. In recent times she has built up a reputation as an artist through Warlukurlangu Arts Centre developing a uniquely personal interpretation of traditional themes. At present she chairs the NT Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council and is a member of the NT’s Hospital Services Planning Project Committee, the Wild Harvest Advisory Committee with the Desert Knowledge CRC in Alice Springs and the management board of Indigenous Community TV.

Mick van Heythuysen OAM, NT Mr Mick Van Heythuysen is a security consultant and adviser on cross-cultural and multi-cultural awareness. Before moving into private work, he was a Superintendent in the Northern Territory Police Service and in charge of the NT Police and Aboriginal and Ethic Services Unit. He has worked in the communities of Lajamanu, Borroloola and Yulara before moving to Alice Springs and Darwin. He is a former winner of the Police Officer of Year award for his work with Timorese refugees and was a member of the Council for Multicultural Australia from 1999 to 2004.

Heather Nancarrow, Qld (Deputy-Chair) Ms Heather Nancarrow served as the Deputy Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children and is the immediate past Chair of

Queensland’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Domestic and Family Violence. In June 2009 Ms Nancarrow was the recipient of the Queenslander of the Year Community Spirit Award for her 27-year struggle against domestic and family violence. Her work has included 11 years in community-based women’s services and approximately 10 years in Government policy. This included management of

Queensland’s Domestic Violence Prevention Unit, with responsibility for domestic violence legislation, cross-government policy coordination and community education. Ms Nancarrow is the Director of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, Central Queensland University. Her primary research interests include justice responses to domestic and family violence, and responses that meet the needs of Indigenous, and rural and remote communities.

Vanessa Swan, SA Ms Vanessa Swan served as a member of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children and is the Director of Yarrow Place, the lead public health agency responding to adult rape and sexual assault in South Australia. Ms Swan is a former Chairperson of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence (NASASV), the peak body for organisations who work with victim/survivors of sexual violence and who work to prevent sexual violence. Ms Swan is on the Parole Board of South Australia and is a current member of the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) Reference Group. She is of Lebanese origin and has a women’s health and therapy background.

Mr Norman Raeburn, Tas Mr Norman Raeburn has been Director of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania since January 2000, returning to Tasmania after seventeen years at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, eleven of them as Deputy Secretary. He is currently the Chair of National Legal Aid and was also previously Chair from August 2002 until April 2004. Before his appointment to the Attorney-General’s Department, he was a legal academic for nineteen years at the Universities of Monash, Tasmania and New South Wales. He is a barrister of the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Tasmania.

Dr Leigh Gassner, Vic Dr Leigh Gassner was until recently an Assistant Commissioner for Victoria Police. He is now a consultant working with private and public sector organisations advising on organisational performance and cultural change, strategy development and organisational re-positioning, and providing executive coaching and development programs. Dr Gassner’s experience has also included bringing together multiple and diverse stakeholders, across organisations and sectors to achieve common outcomes and in particular complex social and community systems. Because of his experience and study Dr Gassner brings both a practical and theoretical mix to his work. He has worked with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in north-western China delivering workshops on family violence as part of human rights. Dr Gassner is a Member of the White Ribbon Day Foundation, the Australian Community Support Organisation and the Minister’s Advisory Council for the Victorian Mental Health Reform Strategy 2009 – 2019. Dr Gassner holds a Doctorate in Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy and Administration.

Dr Rae Kaspiew, Vic Dr Rae Kaspiew is a socio-legal researcher who currently specialises in research and legal policy analysis in the areas of family law and family violence. She has published material in range of areas including sexual violence and has a particular interest in the needs of CALD groups. She joined the Australian Institute of Family Studies in April

2007 to work on the Institute’s Family Law Research Program. She is the manager of the Legislation and Courts Project in the Evaluation of the family law reforms that is being conducted by AIFS. She is also admitted to practice as an Australian lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Victoria Hovane, WA Ms Victoria Hovane is an Aboriginal woman from Broome in the Kimberley region of WA with family links to the Injibarndi group from the Pilbara as well as the Gooniyandi and Kitja groups from the Kimberley. She holds a First Class Honours degree in Psychology and is part way through PhD in Forensic Psychology examining child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. Her current work focuses on the area of the fall-out from violence – specifically sexual assault, child sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect, family violence and generalised violence. She has worked for both the Victim Support & Child Witness Service, and the Community Justice Services Intensive Intervention Centre for convicted perpetrators where she was the Aboriginal & Regional Programs Consultant. She also has expertise in policy and program development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Over the past 27 years, Ms Hovane has advocated and promoted Indigenous social justice in legal services, social welfare, counselling, community based offender rehabilitation programs and victims’ services.