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.
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!
Malinda is the current Executive Director of Good Pitch Australia and Shark Island Institute. Since 2014 Good Pitch Australia has raised more than $14 million in philanthropic grants for the funding of 19 social impact documentaries and their impact campaigns, forging over 300 new collaborative cross-sectoral partnerships connecting the NGO and business sectors, education and policy leaders and the media in support of the impact campaigns aligned with each of their documentaries.
Malinda’s professional experience spans senior roles within the corporate, political, philanthropic and NGO sectors. She has been the recipient of a number of scholarships most recently, the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship from the European Commission (2010-2012) where she completed a double Masters in Public Policy & International Development (Democracy and Governance) with distinction.
Malinda is an Executive Producer of THE FINAL QUARTER (Dir. Ian Darling), 2040 (Dir. Damon Gameau) and LIFE AFTER THE OASIS (Dir. Sascha Ettinger Epstein). She has advised on business and strategic planning for a number of production and distribution companies including Madman, Hopscotch, Transmission, and Revolver. She is also the Executive Producer of the following projects in development - DEMOCRACY FOR SALE (Dir. Craig Reucassel) and BETWEEN US (Dir. Hollie Fifer and Ez Eldin Deng).
Malinda has served as a mentor for pitch and impact workshops including Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, served on the jury of FIFO, Antenna and Environment Film Festivals, and a number of advisory boards including the Social Enterprise World Forum and AIDC. In 2016 Malinda was recognised as one of the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence.
Malinda is Deputy Chair of The Caledonia Foundation, a Board Member for Centre for Australian Progress and The Reichstein Foundation. In 2018, Malinda delivered a TEDx talk on how impact documentary story-telling can deliver better policy and strengthen democracy.
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 two years 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.
She moved to Sydney after high school, studied politics and journalism, and managed to land a job with GetUp as they were first getting started. She’s been in awe of the power of mere words to change the world ever since.
As an advisor, ally and writer for mission-driven organisations and movements, Lily’s been honoured to help craft the Vision of Australia reMADE; and now leads their ongoing communications work.
She is for the first cup of coffee in the morning, the laughter of her children, the feel of the earth beneath her feet, the friendships that care for us and the dance of cherishing what's good, and transforming what isn't.
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.
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.
We’ve asked you what inspires and moves you and it’s pleasure to experience. We hope you find inspiration and courage here too.
Inspired by Australia reMADE, Miriam Hechtman’s poem, I AM FOR continues to inspire us back.