Who is attending?
Over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing you to the incredible hearts and minds of the people attending the retreat. We’re incredibly excited by the mix of experience that will be in the room and look forward to conversations, laughter, thrills and bold ideas that emerge when we get together.
We’ll be adding photographs and bios as they get to us so please remember to send yours in (millie@australiareMADE.org).
David Ritter grew up in a ramshackle house on the banks of a creek in the foothills of suburban Perth, the most isolated capital city on the planet. His first political memory is the sacking of Gough Whitlam and his first physical memory is falling through a trapdoor in the floor of his parents' bedroom. He was educated at a set of undistinguished public schools, punctuated by two years of 'alternative school' where he learned how to smoke, shoplift and remove ticks from lizards, though he was not good at any of them. His formative social change work was as an Indigenous rights lawyer taking on the biggest mining companies on the planet, but this proved to be cul-de-sac. David's remaking occurred in London in the late naughties, through the general ferment of the GFC, working as a campaigner at Greenpeace, studying global politics and political economy at the LSE, exposure to a rich array of emergent social and political formations and becoming a father. David's is now driven by the recognition that the light on the horizon is only possible if we win through on climate change. He has two vocations in life that are of infinite importance: loving and caring for his family and making the most impactful possible contribution to securing an earth capable of nurturing life in all of its magnificent diversity.
Tamson Pietsch was born and grew up in Adelaide on the lands of the Kaurna people, as part of Australia’s German Lutheran community, and now makes her home in Sydney. She believes that the ways we make sense of who we are and how we got here helps to shape the societies we are striving to build. Tamson is committed to the roles that universities and other cultural institutions play as homes of this meaning-making. This commitment has been shaped by experiences and relationships made in academic and civic institutions in Adelaide, Melbourne, Oxford and London. It is a commitment that underpins Tamson’s work as an historian of higher education and ideas, and as Director of the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney.
I grew up in country NSW – on the land of the Biripi people - although at that time the Biripi community was pretty much sidelined from the rest of the town… I should have been more curious. My life revolved around the beach, our dog and my hero-worship of Jim Cairns! I attended ANU for a short time and learnt much about aimless protest but not much else, which I regret – all that knowledge at my fingertips, unappreciated. Instead I moved to Sydney and worked as a telephonist. My first day on the job I joined the union and the ranks of an amazing group of people and learnt the heady and hard lessons of community and solidarity. From more losses than victories I learnt the need to fight smarter. The union movement became my family. I met my partner there and I raised our two sons while working for many years to strengthen the movement thru amalgamations. I then found my second home – the miscellaneous workers union/united voice – it was diverse and rowdy, challenging and uplifting. I stayed for twenty years and from those members learnt about the best of what exists in this country and also the worst – what it’s like to go cold, to ration trips in the car, to never feel secure. Members courage was endless but never enough. Too little still took too much to win. But I also learnt that workers’ rights and inequality is but one battle and awoke belatedly to the challenge our very planet confronts. Unsurprisingly, I found my way to Australia reMADE.
Long before I fell in love with our rivers and forests, I grew up in a fairly tough neighbourhood where people had little money but were rich in courage and community spirit. This taught me the value of working for the greater good. As a teenager, we lived in a caravan in the country with no running water – this taught me about our reliance on nature for life. And then I moved to the big smoke and went to university and studied the science of nature.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked in business, in government and now in the community sector, all which are crucial to creating positive change.
In my roles I’ve established world-first environment protection policies, saved water, boosted recycling, safeguarded fragile rivers from overuse and pollution, stopped coal mines and kick-started renewable energy. I’ve advised business CEOs on their journey towards sustainability and chaired environment and community committees for government. But it’s the community work that I love.
Believing strongly in the power of people to advocate for a better future, I’m focused on growing the number and diversity of people who speak up and take action. There are millions of people who share a love of nature and a desire to do the right thing, let's unite and create change. After all, the power of the people is greater than the people in power... it is greater than anything!
Alison Pennington is Economist at the Centre for Future Work, housed within the progressive think-tank The Australia Institute. She conducts research on economic issues facing working people with the goal of both “shifting the goalposts” in public debate, and building the independent capacity and clout of the union movement. From a class-conscious blue-collar household in the western suburbs of Adelaide, Alison approaches economics as the natural extension of identifying injustice and taking action. She considers economics a powerful tool for reinvigorating popular consciousness about how society is and should be organised, and the discipline as a natural home for building a vision of a more democratic and meaningful life for working people. Like many young people without friends in high places, she has worked every low-wage, insecure job under the sun, and thanks the Employment Gods for secure jobs in the Commonwealth government and unions where she escaped poverty, migrated to Canberra and Sydney (where she now resides), and gained key strategic insights that inform her work today. As well as grounding critical ideas through years of collective action, Alison has been part of the music community as a singing teacher and has performed with her home-town vocal troupe for over 10 years. In her “breaks” she explores a fixation with questions of Australian history, labour movement strategy, and modern Australian identity.
As a kid Millie spent hours collecting toothbrushes outside supermarkets for Gulf War refugees and, although wasn’t allowed to watch movies for fear of scary themes like ‘divorce’, was aware from a young age of scarier things like ‘war’. As a result Millie’s dream was to become a butterfly dancer on stilts, catch the eye of a journalist and make it to the front page of the paper so that there could be some good news for once. Is it any surprise she ended up involved in Australia reMADE?
Millie grew up in Canberra on Ngunnawal countryand although now calls Tasmania home, she misses the dry scrappy dirt, the warble of the magpies and the smooth, flat bike paths.
Millie has worked as an environment officer at both the Australian National University and the University of Tasmania. She has constantly worked off the principle of ‘delight not fright’ which has resulted in Celebrate Sustainability Days, visions for student-led campus transformation and an award winning student sustainability internship program.
Millie’s PhD was an exploration into the social norms that determine our ability as Australian’s to share, or not, with our neighbours. She’s fascinated by these social norms that shape how we interact in ‘invisible’ social economies.
Millie has been involved with Australia reMADE for several years and had the privilege of being a part of the team talking to Australian’s about the country of their dreams and then writing the vision. She now has the challenging role of coordinating the project and is both daunted and thrilled in equal measure by the work that is to be done.
Millie is a carer for her family and community and is passionate about claiming this as a valid and legitimate use of her labour.
Lily was born in San Diego, California to an ex-Marine dad and New Age mama. Life was interesting from the start. She grew up in an ever-changing backdrop of new places, schools, people and countries. The mountains of California, fire ant mounds of Southern Texas, snowfalls of Oklahoma and rain-soaked streets of Paris and Seattle are all seared into her heart.
She was politicised around the kitchen table and on the simple suburban streets of tight-knit Navy base communities; where questions of government policy had real and immediate consequences for people’s lives. She remembers her dad turning off their answering machine for a good year so he wouldn’t come home to discover he was being sent off to the first Gulf War. Her family were split 50/50 Democrats and Republicans, and 100% opinionated.
Lily is a student of people, belief systems and narratives. As a writer and communications advisor, she’s worked with some of the very best movements and impact organisations in Australia and around the world. She was honoured to help craft the Vision of Australia reMADE and now leads their ongoing narrative work.
Pippa Bailey grew up and lives on Wangal Land in Sydney on the Parramatta River. She started her career as a performer and reporter/producer with SBSTV. Following an art action at the Kyoto Earth Summit, Pippa spent many years in the UK where she was Artistic Director for The Museum Of on London’s South Bank and for oh!art @Oxford House, a community arts centre in East London where she pioneered participatory installation and nurtured collaborative arts practice. Pippa played with fire as Associate Director with The World Famous – innovate company of pyrotechnicians 2001-13, helping to create and tour large-scale outdoor shows in the highly politicised street arts network, including signature events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She produced the Total Theatre Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007-13 exploring how attittudes and expectations of cultural excellence are shaped in an attempt to interrupt a sexist racist status quo. From 2007 she developed BiDiNG TiME, an international participatory theatre project highlighting the vital need to imagine new collaborative creative systems to empower women that adapt to place in response to environmental crisis. Pippa moved back to Australia in 2013 working with Performing Lines ro produce the work of extraordinary independent artists including Ghenoa Gela, Nakkiah Lui, Amrita Hepi, Martin del Amo, Sue Healey, The Climate Guardians and Sandra Thibodeaux. She was senior producer for Sydney Festival 2019 focused on their outdoor and Western Sydney programs. Pippa is currrently Director of ChangeFest, a national celebration of place based social systems change. She is on the Advisory Board of IETM, an international Performing Arts Network and a Board member of Theatre Network NSW. She remains passionate about the vital role arts and culture can play to lead on climate action in order to facilitate a just transition to a sustainable future.
Heidi Norman is Chair of Indigenous politics and history at UTS. Her work focuses on Aboriginal land justice with particular reference to NSW and how this movement and state response connect to questions of power, nation building, the market, regeneration and survival.
Cat Nadel grew up on Wurundjeri country in the inner west of Melbourne. Playing along the banks of the Maribyrnong River, catching frogs and yelling at boys to stop throwing rocks at cormorants, Cat discovered a love of nature and burning desire to protect it. As the granddaughter of Jewish refugees and child of proudly radical parents, Cat was raised to have a sense of history and to value her rights as privileges fought for and won by previous generations.
When she started university, Cat felt the familiar belly-fire when she learned that Monash had invested millions of dollars in planet wrecking fossil fuels companies. Together with a ragtag band of students and friends she helped establish the Fossil Free Monash campaign which would see the University divest $450 million in coal assets in 2016. On the long train rides from Footscray to Clayton, Cat had time to reflect on the privilege of getting to learn and test campaigning skills as part of Fossil Free and started thinking about how more young people should get to experience the thrilling feeling of discovering your own power.
Cat spent 3.5 years working as a climate campaigner at Environment Victoria, honing her campaigning and community organising skills and growing the movement for a safe climate and just transition in Victoria.
In 2018 Cat co-founded YOUNG Campaigns, a youth economic justice organisation. YOUNG supports and mobilises people from all backgrounds and experiences to call out systemic inequality and win campaigns for a fairer future.
Bronwen grew up in what was then Rhodesia, a very un-post-colonial bubble. She came to Australia at 17, and after studying literature and law here, she lived in the US and UK for 20 years before returning to Sydney in 2012. Early on, she was lucky enough to work for the High Court on the Mabo land rights case, which propelled her into a life of socio-legal academic research on the variety of ways in which law so often fails to live up to the hopes invested in it as a tool for social change, yet remains powerful and important. As a Professor of Law at UNSW, she remains optimistic that by working creatively across and beyond expertise, we can open new doors to change. To that end, some of the things she has been involved in include co-founding the New Economy Network of Australia, creating an (unfinished) dialogue between musical theatre and academic research, and participating in two wonderful projects within academia that aim to dissolve the walls of expertise silos: the Community Economies project and Meridian 180. Most of her current projects lurk at the intersection of activism and enterprise.
Jacqueline Phillips joined ACOSS as the Director of Policy and Advocacy in August 2013, managing ACOSS’ policy work and advocacy strategy across social, economic and environmental policy issues. Jacqueline has a long history of involvement with the COSSes, having previously worked as a Policy Officer at ACOSS and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS). She has qualifications in law and politics, and policy expertise social security, family payments, child care, housing and homelessness issues.
Frances grew up in the Perth hills, in a place that she now knows to be (but didn’t know then) traditional Noongar land. She is the descendant of Greek farmers and Irish labourers, but her family life was only dimly shaped by the traditions of Catholicism, Greek orthodoxy and the rhythms of working-class life that her parents had experienced directly. Her childhood was full of unstructured time, empty space, boredom, stability, domestic preoccupations and isolation. She has long been awed and fascinated by the sheer variety of human ways of being in the world, but also convinced of the importance of universals in enabling people and the non-human world to flourish and grow – in particular, the opportunity to be held, cared for and loved unconditionally by others and to nurture people, animals and places in turn. She is a keen critic of systems and entities that obstruct, alienate and degrade these human impulses, and deeply committed to building and strengthening collective institutions that support them. These ideas have animated her work in multiple settings: as a native title lawyer in WA, a historian of early twentieth century Britain and Ireland, a union researcher, and in her current role as a Sydney Fellow at the University of Sydney, where she is undertaking a study about the ways in which outsourcing has changed the nature of social citizenship and trust in public institutions in Australia.
Ann grew up the third child of seven, and somehow she became the family peacemaker. Not that there was a lot of war in her New York, Catholic/Jewish family; it's just that when nine people live in close quarters with few resources and parents active in struggles for social justice, there are unavoidable complexities that demand attention.
Finding executive power and success early in her management career expanded Ann’s sights and connections. Then the birth of her two daughters brought her back to the things that matter most to her: love, care and connection, all fueling the courage, tenacity and determination to act for what is possible. As a strategic consultant and facilitator, today Ann works with many warriors for people and planet. She is a partner and critical friend to organisations and individuals who are doing wonderful, important work. A few examples illustrate the breadth of decades of work: driving processes of prominent NGOs as they plot courageous strategic directions; bringing stakeholders back to negotiations to chart the nation’s response to HIV/AIDS; facilitating years of meetings as Forgotten Australian’s join to advocate for those who once languished in Australia’s orphanages; enabling staff from the Don Dale centre to be heard by the NT Royal Commission; eliciting the hopes of hundreds of Australians and translating them into the vision Australia reMADE.
She remains fearless in bringing people together across the subjects that normally divide us to have challenging conversations that can and will change this world. Still and always, family nourishes her -- as do Australia’s wondrous beaches, and the music-making that’s been passed down to her through generations.
Amanda is the CEO of The Next Economy. She has spent over two decades working with communities across Australia, Asia and the Pacific on community and economic development projects. Over the last five years she has been working with communities across Australia to strengthen regional economies by embracing the transition from fossil fuels to a zero emissions economy. Amanda is an Associate of the University of Queensland and the Sydney Policy Lab.
Steve Cork grew up in Turramurra, in the north of Sydney, in what was then mostly bushland, which he loved to explore. He knew “Ku-ring-gai” as a council district but not (he regrets) as the name of the Aboriginal people who once dwelt there. He spent his teenage years on the Gold Coast and learned to love beaches. But his respect for nature really grew as he studied ecology and wildlife physiology at university and then researched the relationships between people and the environment throughout his career with CSIRO. He spent many years working across the science-policy and science-community interfaces. He eventually discovered strategic foresight (futures-thinking) as a way to help people overcome their reluctance to engage with complexity and uncertainty and to encourage true conversations in which people understand and respect one another’s worldviews. He believes that failure to have such conversations is at the root of most of humanity’s current problems and much of his work as a teacher (Adjunct Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University), consultant (Ecoinsights) and Director (Australia21) now tries to address this failure. Steve lives and works in Canberra.
Eleanor was very fortunate to grow up in the bush just outside Brisbane/Meanjin with her parents, sister and dog. After the family TV blew up and was not replaced, she had plenty of play time exploring, tree-climbing and reading. Thanks to her concert pianist parents,she also grew up listening to two grand pianos being played simultaneously at opposite ends of the house.
As a child she became keenly aware of environmental and social justice issues. Her father and his family escaped Hungary during the 1956 revolution and came to Australia as refugees. Both parents volunteered for pro-social and environmental organisations. At uni she worked in solidarity with First Nations people in the Jabiluka uranium campaign and the campaign to end sandmining on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island).
Eleanor enjoys low impact travel by bike, train and boat. She recently returned from an 18 month journey with her husband and son, sailing from Europe to Brisbane via the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific, thus completing the family’s move from Sydney to Brisbane “the long way round”.
What feeds her soul is art, music, time with family and friends, and time in nature with fellow creatures. In her (mostly) paid work, Eleanor helps people engage the values that motivate us to care for each other and care for the planet. Her own closely held values include broadmindedness and creativity. Her end game is social, economic and political systems change to create a world where everyone thrives.
Dan believes in the power of social movements and purpose led business to create positive change in the world. He is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Amber Electric. Amber is a new way to buy electricity designed to enable the transition to 100% renewable energy. Before Amber, Dan worked for Tesla, the Boston Consulting Group and Hawaiian Electric, designing Community Solar Programs, Virtual Power Plants and other new business models to accelerate the uptake of wind and solar power. He has degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Commerce (Economics).
Prior to his work in renewable energy, Dan built movements around social and environmental issues, including founding the 2006 Make Poverty History concert, featuring U2 and Pearl Jam which inspired 50,000 Australians to join the campaign to end extreme poverty. For this work, he was the Victorian Young Australian of the Year.
Paul Oosting is the National Director of GetUp!, a 1,000,000 strong people-powered organisation that has campaigned for progressive policy in Australia for more than a decade.
As National Director Paul has led GetUp through two federal election campaigns and ushered through a raft of innovative campaign tactics and tools, including during the successful marriage equality plebiscite to help thousands of people mobilise and enrol to vote.
Paul works alongisde GetUp’s one million members and talented team of world class campaigners, organisers, technologists and analysts, to drive a campaign agenda focused on building a more progressive Australia and bringing participation back into our democracy.
Before joining GetUp, Paul led the successful campaign to stop Gunns' proposed pulp mill in Tasmania and led negotiations which resulted in the protection of over 160,000 hectares of Tasmania's ancient forests.
Shen Narayanasamy is a human rights and public policy specialist who has led GetUp’s Human Rights campaigns for the last 4 years. Her first activist moment was 20 years ago organising the high-school walkouts against Pauline Hanson, since then she's worked on land grabs and economic justice issues in the Asia Pacific, both in law and then advocacy with Oxfam - leading Oxfam’s successful campaign to pressure Australian banks to act against land grabs in the Asia Pacific region.
After her two kids based her more firmly in Australia, Shen founded the No Business in Abuse campaign which successfully saw the exit of major international corporations from offshore detention, and contributed to the closure of the Manus Island Detention Centre. She leads GetUp’s refugee campaigning, including the #LetThemStay and #KidsOffNauru campaigns which saw every child detained offshore brought to Australia within 4 months, and led the refugee sector’s cross-party effort which resulted in the historic passage of the Refugee Medevac Bill in Parliament this year.
Shen also leads GetUp’s racial justice work including the successful campaigns against changes to s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and the institution of an English requirement for Australian citizenship, and instituted Colour Code - GetUp’s platform for people of colour and First Nations members and issues.
Maya Angelou in a letter to her daughters
Time and time again we talk about the importance of the creative arts, not only as a presence in the world that we want, but as an essential part of the process of getting us there.
Inspired by Australia reMADE, Miriam Hechtman’s poem, I AM FOR continues to inspire us back.