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Program & Keynote Speakers

Skip Navigation LinksWACOSS Conference 2016 Program & Keynote Speakers

Master of Ceremonies:

James Lush has been working in the media since the early 90's, producing and presenting TV and Radio programs for the BBC and ITV in the UK and since 2004, for the ABC here in Australia. James also has a strong media and presentation consultancy and is considered as a first class MC for corporate events. Prior to moving to Perth from the UK, James was presenting live news programs on National BBC Radio 5 Live and working for BBC TV and ITV as a reporter and presenter. Here in Perth, James presents the Saturday Breakfast Show on 720 ABC Perth and fills in on the Statewide ABC Morning Show when the presenter is away.


Keynote Speakers:

Dame Diane Robertson (DNZM) is the former CEO of the Auckland City Mission who were involved in a ground breaking research project called Family 100.  The Family 100 Research Project provides a powerful insight into the lived experience of those struggling with poverty. The project creates a powerful advocacy tool by giving a direct voice to disadvantaged people, backed up insightful analysis of the day-to-day barriers they must overcome simply to get by. Dame Diane Robertson is a qualified teacher, counsellor and family therapist. She is the Chair of the Data Futures Partnership and the Chair of the Committee for Auckland Trust. She is a  member of the Institute of Directors; a Paul Harris Fellow and was awarded a Sesquicentennial Medal for Services to the Community. Diane was appointed Dame Companion in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


Les MalezerMr Les Malezer is from the Butchulla/Gubbi Gubbi peoples in southeast Queensland. Les was Co-Chair National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples from 2011to 2015 and has extensive experience in campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and has represented community interests the local, State and national levels. Les is a former head of the Qld Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs and is currently Chairperson of the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) and in that role he is a delegate to United Nations forums on Indigenous issues. In 2008 he won the Australian Human Rights Award, and his contribution to coordinating Indigenous Peoples’ advocacy for the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly is well known and respected.



Dorothy Adams heads the New Zealand government’s newly formed Social Investment Unit, a multi-agency unit tasked with implementing an investment approach to social services involving the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Development, Justice, Corrections, Police, Business, Innovation & Employment, the Treasury, State Services Commission, Pacific Island Affairs and Te Puni Kōkiri. It aims to improve the lives of New Zealanders by applying evidence-based investment practices to get better results for targeted populations. Prior to taking up this role in July 2015 Dorothy was General Manager, Insights MSD at the Ministry of Social Development. Dorothy worked in local government for ten years holding a number of policy and governance roles. She has also worked for the Department of Labour, the NZ Employment Service, the Minister of Employment and Work & Income NZ. Dorothy has a Master of Public Administration from Monash University and a LLB from Victoria University of Wellington. She is an Enrolled Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of Wellington, New Zealand.

Plenary Sessions

Kate Fulton

Kate is an honorary lecturer with Lancaster University teaching on Leadership for Change. Kate had a leading role on some of the first self directed support initiatives in the UK and has used these experiences to share some valuable lessons about real system change and empowerment.  Kate developed Bright Souls, a community of like-minded people who share their learning and experiences to live positive and meaningful lives. Kate has worked in the statutory, private and independent sector exploring planning and service design.

Grahame Searle

Grahame Searle is a well-respected public sector leader and former Director-General for the Department of Housing. He recently resigned from this position to head a cross-portfolio reform, looking at the way infrastructure and human services are provided to Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.


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