Kumi Naidoo has been Secretary General of Amnesty International, the world's largest human rights organisation, since August 2018. Born in Durban, South Africa in 1965, Kumi’s first taste of activism came at age 15 when he organised and took part in an anti-apartheid protest that saw him expelled from his school. As a result of his continued anti-apartheid activism, he was forced to live in exile in the UK in 1986.
He returned to South Africa in 1990 to work with the African National Congress. He went on to hold multiple leadership roles in civil society and global organisations, including as the CEO of Civicus and Executive Director of Greenpeace. Naidoo holds a BA in Law and Political Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a DPhil in Politics (University of Oxford).
Columnist, The Guardian
Owen Jones is a columnist for The Guardian and one of Britain's most well known political commentators, broadcasters and authors. He was born in Sheffield, grew up in Stockport and studied history at Oxford. After working in a trade union and as a parliamentary researcher, his first book, the international bestseller Chavs, was chosen as one of the New York Times top 10 non-fiction books of 2011. In 2013 he won Young Writer of the Year at the Political Book Awards. His second book is the bestselling The Establishment: and How They Get Away With It, an exposé of Britain's powerful elites.
He is a columnist for The Guardian, and has appeared regularly as a panelist on BBC's Question Time, and news programmes for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 4.
Writer and social advocate
Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-born Australian mechanical engineer, writer and social advocate. Yassmin worked on oil and gas rigs around Australia for almost half a decade. She is the author of “Yassmin's Story” and the upcoming novel "You Must be Layla". She is currently based in London.
Yassmin's presented Australia Wide, a weekly current-affairs show on the ABC and Motor Mouth, a podcast on becoming an F1 driver. Her TED talk, "What does my headscarf mean to you?", has been viewed 2 million times. She has written for Teen Vogue, The New York Times and The Guardian, and delivered keynotes in over 20 countries. Yassmin was awarded the 2018 Young Voltaire Award for Free Speech and Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2015.
Iranian-Kurdish journalist and refugee, detained on Manus Island
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, human rights activist and refugee currently detained on Manus Island after fleeing Iran in 2013. Behrouz holds a masters degree in political geography and geopolitics, and has also worked as a freelance journalist for several Iranian newspapers. Behrouz has written for The Guardian, The Saturday Paper and the Huffington Post. In August, he published his memoir, No Friend But The Mountains, a groundbreaking book of prison literature which poetically uncovers Australia’s offshore detention regime and the systematic torture of people seeking asylum.
Cognitive linguist and founder, ASO Communications
Anat Shenker-Osorio examines why certain messages falter where others deliver. She's led research for new messaging on issues ranging from freedom to join together in union to clean energy and from immigrant rights to reforming criminal justice. Anat's original approach through priming experiments, task-based testing and online dial surveys has led to progressive electoral and policy victories across the globe. Her writing and research is profiled in The Atlantic, Boston Globe, Salon, The Guardian and Grist among others.
Australian Journalist & Political Editor, The Guardian Australia
Lenore Taylor has been the editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia for two years and is the chair of the Walkley Judging Board. Lenore has been with Guardian Australia since its launch in May 2013, when she joined as political editor. Lenore has been honoured with two Walkley Awards and has twice won the Paul Lyneham Award for excellence in press gallery journalism. She is a formidable commentator on the Australian political landscape and has long been a regular guest on radio and television current affairs programs, including the ABC's Insiders.
Head of Mobilisation and Social Change, Australian Red Cross
Ebony is a social designer and entrepreneur with a curiosity and passion around the intersections of the future of networks, technology and social change. Currently, she is the Head of Mobilisation and Social Change at the Australian Red Cross, leading thinking and testing of decentralized mobilisation models, social connection and large-scale social change in areas like loneliness, nuclear weapons and homelessness. Ebony has moved through a range of sectors includuing family violence, justice, therapeutic/self-help communities and government. Recently, she co-founded Thiry Waves, a social purpose design firm focused on the intersections of marketing, strategy and decentralized social movements.
Writer, Academic & Author - University of Melbourne
Tim Dunlop is a writer, speaker and commentator whose work is concerned with a central question: how do we make our democracies work for the many and not just the few? He has written extensively on media, politics and the future of work, and has spoken at events around the world on these and related issues. His latest book, The Future of Everything: Big, Audacious Ideas for a Better World, is comprehensive attempt to redesign key institutions on the basis of a progressive, bottom-up notion of democracy and a life in common.
Digital Communications Manager, Climate Council
With a decade of experience in all aspects of digital communications, Nelli has managed portfolios of social media platforms with over 1.5 million followers, and has spearheaded digital projects that have reached over 75 million people. She has worked on a range of environmental and conservation issues including whaling, reef conservation, illegal fishing, and offshore drilling. Prior to her current role, she was Digital Media Specialist at Sea Shepherd Global.
Campaigner, Tipping Point
Isaac is a #StopAdani campaigner and has worked for seven years to keep Galilee Basin coal in the ground. Isaac co-founded Tipping Point, an organisation that supports the #StopAdani grassroots network. On the #StopAdani trail, Isaac supported the push on Westpac and CommBank rejecting Adani with 130+ grassroots actions, the design of the #StopAdani website that has 160 groups and 1200+ events registered, and recently supported the #StopAdani push that defined the Wentworth by-election. Isaac is a Bob Brown Young Environmentalist of the Year.
Writer and activist
Nayuka is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. She is passionate about climate justice, the rights of women and the self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Nayuka works across the youth sector as a program manager, facilitator and consultant.
Strategic Projects Officer, Farmers for Climate Action
Anna Rose is the Strategic Projects Officer at Farmers for Climate Action, helping people use their time, talent and treasure to tackle climate change. Previously, Anna ran Earth Hour with WWF-Australia and before that founded the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. She is author of the book Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic and co-starred in the ABC documentary ‘I Can Change Your Mind on Climate Change’. She is a former Churchill Fellow, former Myer Foundation Innovation Fellow, a recipient of the Sierra Club’s Earthcare award, was the Australian Geographic Society’s Conservationist of the Year 2015 and Australian of the Year finalist the same year.
National Co-Director, Democracy in Colour
Neha Madhok has over ten years of experience in Australian political campaigning and is driven by the power of grassroots organising to win tangible outcomes for social justice. Currently, Neha is a National Co-Director at Democracy in Colour - the first Australia-wide organisation led by and for people of colour campaigning for racial and economic justice. Previously she was a Senior Campaigner at 350.org Australia. Neha worked on the Yes campaign at Australian Marriage Equality, and has been a Digital Campaigner in the Australian union movement.
Head of Policy & Campaigns, ActionAid Australia
Lucy Manne is the Head of Policy and Campaigns at ActionAid Australia. ActionAid Australia is a women’s right organisation, and part of the global ActionAid Federation working in over 45 countries to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication. Lucy has been a climate justice campaigner for 10 years. She is the former National Co-Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and has worked with the Wilderness Society and the Climate Action Network Australia.
Director, Plan to Win
Holly Hammond assists individuals, groups and campaigns to develop the skills and clarity required to win change in the world. Through Plan to Win Holly offers facilitation, training and mentoring, covering topics including campaign strategy, community organising, building strong groups, and sustaining action. Holly is also founder and co-convenor of Plan to Thrive, Melbourne Campaigners’ Network and the Decolonizing Solidarity book club. In July 2019 she will convene the International Gathering of Activist Educators in Catalonia. She brings twenty-five years of experience in social movements to assisting groups and campaigns to build community power for social and ecological justice.
Founder & Executive Director, Unharm
Will's professional experience is in drug and alcohol program evaluation, social policy research, communications and campaigning. He completed a Bachelor of Arts and a PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney before beginning a career as a research and evaluation consultant to Australian government departments and agencies. Will’s personal and professional experience made him aware of scale, patterns and demographics of prohibited substance use across Australia, the barriers to good policy, and the need for new approaches. He founded Unharm in 2014 to work with communities of activists to promote policy innovation, wellbeing and practices of care.
Major Gifts Manager, Oxfam Australia
Micah Demmert is the Major Gifts Manager at Oxfam Australia. Under his stewardship Oxfam received national recognition from the Fundraising Institute in Australia in 2016 for excellence in Major Gifts, and in 2017 Micah was named a 'Mover & Shaker' by Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine, after having increased revenue by 150% in just 4 years by introducing a number of innovations. Micah holds 11 years as a major gift fundraiser, working with organisations like ACF, Climate Council and AYCC as well as big campaigns including 'Say YES! Australia', 'Just Add Water', 'Behind the Brands' and 'What She Makes'. Micah knows that through some simple, achievable strategies, you can not only receive the income you need for your project, but can create a lifetime of change and partnership.
Executive Director, Essential
Peter is one of Australia’s leading public campaigners and commentators with more than two decades experience in media, politics and communications. One of Essential’s principals, he has been behind some of Australia’s most successful and innovative campaigns including Every Australian Counts for the NDIS and Never Alone of the Luke Batty Foundation. Peter oversees the fortnightly Essential Report and is a regular columnist for the Guardian Australia. He is the author of ‘Webtopia – the worldwide wreck of tech and how to make the net work’ (out June 2019)
Author and appearance activist
Carly Findlay is an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist. She writes on disability and appearance diversity issues for news outlets including the ABC, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and SBS. Her first book and memoir, Say Hello, was released in January. She was named as one of Australia’s most influential women in the 2014 Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. She has appeared on ABC TV’s You Can’t Ask That and Cyberhate with Tara Moss, and has been a regular on various ABC radio programs. She organised the history-making Access to Fashion – a Melbourne Fashion Week event featuring disabled models. She has a Masters of Communication and Bachelor of eCommerce. Carly identifies as a proud disabled woman.
Marine Parks & Ocean Plastic Pollution Campaigner, Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS)
Jimmy Cordwell is the Ocean Plastic Pollution Campaigner with the eNGO the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australia's only national charity dedicated solely to protecting our oceans and ocean wildlife. Jimmy has studied environmental conservation and has worked in environmental education and advocacy roles around Australia. He also works within the Save Our Marine Life Alliance, campaigning to rightfully reinstate our national marine sanctuaries after the Federal Government robbed Australia of nearly half the sanctuary protection our oceans so desperately need - part of the largest cutback to marine protection in conservation history. Jimmy believes that systematic changes need to occur right now in order to turn the tide on ocean plastic pollution and to save our precious oceans. Because the longer we wait, the worse it gets.
Author, presenter and political commentator
Jamila Rizvi is an author, presenter and political commentator. She is Editor-at-Large for the Nine Network's Future Women platform and hosts their podcast of the same name. Jamila is a regular commentator on The Project, Today, 3AW, The Drum and ABC News Breakfast and an occasional host on ABC Melbourne Afternoons. Jamila's best-selling book Not Just Lucky, a career manifesto for millennial women, was published by Penguin in June 2017 and long listed for the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2018. In 2015, Jamila was listed as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review, and in 2017 she was included in the Weekly Review’s top ten list of young rising stars in Melbourne. Jamila holds bachelor degrees in law and commerce from the Australian National University. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Jeremy and very excitable three-year-old son, Rafi.
Cat Nadel is a co-founder of a new youth campaigning organisation called YOUNG. YOUNG campaigns for economic justice by organising and mobilising young people to call out systemic inequality and win campaigns for a fairer future. Cat first cut her teeth in campaigning while still at uni where she led the student powered campaign for Monash University to divest from coal. Cat now works as a climate campaigner at Environment Victoria, growing the movement for a safe climate and a just transition in Victoria.
National Secretary, National Union of Workers
Tim is National Secretary of the National Union of Workers. Over Tim’s twenty years at the union, he has worked as an organiser, industrial officer, assistant national secretary, Victorian branch secretary and national president. His time at the union has seen increased worker-led activism and the creation of the NUW’s Community Membership, which is beginning to build links between NUW industrial activists and community activists for equality, decent and secure jobs, and a Fair Australia. He has a BA (Hons) and MA in International Relations from Monash University, and a Bachelor of Law (Hons) from La Trobe University. Tim is a Director of Per Capita and Deputy Chair of LUCRF Super, the NUW industry fund.
Gemma Borgo Caratti
National Director, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Gemma is the National Director at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Over the last 10 years Gemma has led AYCC's Campaigns and core programs from coordinating the banks campaigns to see Australia's big four banks rule out investment in the Adani coal mine, to supporting a new generation to get involved in climate action through the Schools Strike 4 Climate.
Director of Fundraising, Democracy in Colour
Aliya is a Pakistani-Australian activist. She is the Fundraising Director for Democracy in Colour, a national racial justice campaigning organisation led by people of colour. Aliya currently works at Essential as a Campaigns Consultant and helps design campaigns for different progressive organisations. She is particularly passionate about campaigns on issues that affect people of colour and the Muslim community and in the context of colonialism and decolonisation.
Vivien Thomson AFSM
Farmer, firefighter, advocate and author
Vivien is an award winning firefighter who has authored several books about the journey that firefighters go through after a major bushfire event. She became interested in climate change after witnessing several bushfires where she could not understand the fire behaviour that was occurring, it was not in her training. She lives and works on a farm with her partner Robert at Muttama on the South West Slopes in NSW were they run 4 commodities. She has recently returned to full time work to offset the farm income in this devastating drought, where she has watched not only the farm animals and the landscape suffer terribly, she is also witnessing the native animals and the overall health off the land buckle under the lack of climate action and decent climate policy.
Yoga Teacher & Founder, Liminal Life
Alicia is an activist, social change maker, yoga teacher and mother who is passionate about working towards social, economic and environmental justice. Alicia is the founder of Liminal Life, which provides yoga and meditation, values and strengths based education, creative arts, group work facilitation, retreat experiences as well as program design and evaluation. She holds over 15 years experience in designing and facilitating personal and leadership development programs and a background in community development and youth engagement. As an advocate and practitioner, Alicia is committed to helping those working within the social change and community sectors to integrate wholistic health and wellness practices into their life and work.
Grant Program Manager, William Buckland Foundation
Ferdi Hepworth currently manages the William Buckland Foundation. She has held leadership roles at Social Ventures Australia and Children's Ground where she was responsible for developing and implementing ambitious social investment, communications and partnerships strategies. Ferdi has spent the majority of her career working to create and influence positive social change. A self-described social justice warrior and philanthropy geek, she has worked across the corporate, non-profit and granting sides of the for purpose sector and takes great delight in supporting quality ideas, people and organisations to amplify their impact.
Manager of Strategy and Planning, Bank Australia
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg is the Manager of Strategy and Planning at Bank Australia, one of Australia’s leading customer owned responsible banks. At Bank Australia, Victoria is responsible for aligning the bank’s program of work to deliver significant growth, and achieve mutual prosperity for customers, our communities and the planet we share. Victoria is also the Chair of the Climate Action Network of Australia (CANA), and an Advisory Board Member of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne. At CANA, Victoria is part of leading a coordinated approach to building a powerful, strategic and diverse social movement for action on climate change. Over the past 10 years, Victoria has led national community campaigns for government action on climate change, including the campaign to close Hazelwood power station, campaigns for carbon pricing and the Renewable Energy Target.
Outreach Support Worker, Federation of Community Legal Centre
Tarneen Onus Williams is a writer and has worked in Aboriginal community control most of her career until moving over to Oxfam Australia in 2017. She is the Senior Program Officer of Straight Talk, an Aboriginal and TSI women's political engagement program and an Executive member of the Koorie Youth Council. Tarneen is a community organiser with Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance.