The Hon John Brumby (Chair)
The Advisory Board is chaired by the Hon John Brumby AO.Mr Brumby is well known for his roles as former Premier (2007-10) and Treasurer of Victoria (2000-07) as well as his time in Federal Parliament (1983-90) during the Hawke Government.
Since retiring from politics in 2010, Mr Brumby has taken on a number of roles in the not for profit and business sector including as Chair of the Victorian Breakthrough Fund, Chair of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Chair of the Fred Hollows Foundation. Mr Brumby is a Professor (Honorary) at the University of Melbourne and in March 2019 he was appointed Chancellor of La Trobe University.
Mr Brumby is a former Chair of the COAG Reform Council and has led a number of Government Reviews including the 2012 GST Review, the 2013 Anti-Dumping Review and the 2015 Victorian Review into Regional Development.
He is the author of a number of articles and books, including the 2015 release ‘The Long Haul - Lessons from Public Life’.
Dr Pradeep Philip
Former Director of Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister of Australia between 2007 and 2009, Secretary of the Victorian Department of Health between 2012 and 2015 (currently Department of Health and Human Services). In September this year Dr Philip has been appointed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to lead LaunchVic, the new entity constituting the Government's priority start-up initiative established to foster, develop and accelerate entrepreneurship in the Victorian economy.
Former Chief of Staff to Australia's Prime Minister (2011-2013), Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2007-2009) and Principal Adviser to the Victorian Premier (1999-2002 and 2004-2007). Ben was also Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, the Government agency coordinating the recovery of communities affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Anna Cronin is Victoria's first Commissioner for Better Regulation, appointed by the Victorian Government in 2015. In June 2018, the Victorian Government appointed her as Red Tape Commissioner as well. Anna has considerable experience in regulatory issues across many policy areas, including in agricultural and mining regulatory and approvals frameworks. She has also held a number of board positions in the government and not-for-profit sectors, including on the Australian Landcare Council and Rural Skills Australia. Anna was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for services to rural leadership. She currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne. Anna graduated from the Australian National University in economics and econometrics and started her career as an economist in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and (what is now) the Productivity Commission. She has been closely involved in policy development for 25 years from diverse perspectives, including as CEO of the National Farmers’ Federation, as the senior bureaucrat responsible for major project approvals in the Western Australian Government’s State Development department and as Chief of Staff to two Premiers in the Victorian Government.
Dr Helen Szoke AO
Former Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia, a human rights advocate who has worked for many years to stop race discrimination in Australia. Dr Szoke served as Australia's Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, following seven years as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.
Former Australian diplomat, with extensive experience both overseas and in Canberra. He was High Commissioner to Malaysia (2010-2014) and Singapore (2005-2008). He was Ambassador to Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand, and also had postings in Egypt, France and Indonesia (as deputy head of mission). In Canberra he held a range of senior positions: as head of the Foreign Affairs Branch in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; as head of the Foreign Minister's Office; and in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade including as Deputy Secretary. He concluded his foreign service career in 2014, and is now a part-time consultant.
Dr Ian Watt AO
Former Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet between 2011 and 2014 and head of the Australian Public Service from 2011 until he resigned late 2014. Prior to that, he was Secretary of the Departments of Defence; Finance; and Communications, Information Technology and the Arts between 2001 and 2011. Dr Watt serves on the Boards of Smartgroup Corporation, the Grattan Institute (The University of Melbourne) and O'Connell Street Associates Pty Ltd.
Founder of Neota Logic where he leads the pack of innovators. John has been instrumental in providing vision and building platforms that advance the law. For example, Neota's been engaged to develop an interactive portal for New Mexico legal aid in a project funded by the Legal Services Corporation; and has collaborated with Georgetown University Law Center on three semester-long courses in which students build Neota Logic applications serving the public interest; partnered with the Australian law firm Plexus. Neota's collaborated with the world's largest employment and labor law firm, Littler Mendelson. In July 2014 John was honoured as a top innovator in the legal industry - "the most interesting, proactive and courageous leader in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology".
Professor Craig Jeffrey
Director of the Australia India Institute, Professor of Human Geography at The University of Melbourne. He is former Professor of Development Geography at the University of Oxford and Official Fellow of St. John's College. He is a leading authority on South Asian youth and also writes on Indian democracy, educational transformation, globalization, and the 'social revolution' that he sees occurring across India in the Twenty-First Century. Professor Jeffrey is currently leading a large project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on educated unemployed youth in South Asia. Craig Jeffrey was recently elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and, in addition to his academic work, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, Times Literary Supplement, and The Guardian.
Deidre Willmott is an experienced non-executive director and executive in the public and private sectors.
She is a non-executive director and chair of the People & Sustainability Committee at Australia Post, a director and chair of the Audit, Risk and Remuneration Committee of the Perth USAsia Centre and a director of Rock Art Australia. She is also a member of the Murdoch University Vice Chancellor's External Advisory Board.
Her previous executive roles include Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry WA, Director External Relations at Fortescue Metals Group, General Manager of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and Chief of Staff to the Premier of Western Australia. Previous board roles include Senses Foundation Inc, EDGE Employment Solutions and chair of St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls.
Ms Willmott attended UWA where she graduated with Bachelors of Jurisprudence and Laws and The University of Melbourne where she completed a Master of Laws. She worked in law in Perth and London.
The Hon Tony Smith
The Hon Tony Smith is an alumni of The University of Melbourne, and was the 30th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives from 2015 to 2021. In recognition of his work to uphold Parliamentary standards and ensuring bipartisan accountability within the parliament, he was named the McKinnon Political Leader of the Year in 2022. Mr Smith is currently the CEO of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.