PANELLISTS - THUR 4 SEPTBill Shorten
Before entering Parliament Bill Shorten was one of Australia’s best-known trade union leaders. As secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union he was a major player in the national industrial relations debate and gained widespread prominence for his role on the scene of the Beaconsfield mine disaster in Tasmania in 2006.
As a key member of the Victorian ALP’s right-wing Centre Unity faction for more than 20 years, Bill was always expected to pursue a career in Parliament. He was elected to the seat of Maribynong, covering Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs, in the 2007 election and was promoted straight to a senior role as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services.
Bill is one of a new breed of Labor politicians who are expected to take senior leadership roles in the party through the Rudd years and beyond.
Born in Melbourne in 1967, Bill graduated in arts and law from Monash University and – unusually for a trade union leader – completed a Masters in Business Administration from Melbourne University. Apart from his union and political activities he also served as interim CEO of the Australian Netball Players’ Association and on the advisory board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association.
Bill is married to Debbie Beale, daughter of former Victorian Liberal MHR Julian Beale. They live in Moonee Ponds.Christopher Pyne
Christopher Pyne was 25 when he entered Parliament as the Liberal member for Sturt, in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide, in 1993.
Christopher was born and raised in Adelaide and graduated in law from Adelaide University.
He became active in politics as a teenager and played a prominent role in the South Australian Liberal Party, as president of the Young Liberals and as a member of the State Executive.
Factionally aligned with the moderate wing of the party and known as a supporter of former Treasurer Peter Costello, his opportunities for advancement under John Howard’s leadership were limited. It was not until March 2007, eight months before the government lost office, that he was promoted to the front bench as Minister for Ageing.
Following the election Christopher was runner-up in the contest for Liberal deputy leader and was given the portfolio of shadow minister for justice, border protection and assisting the shadow minister for immigration and citizenship.
Christopher is married to Carolyn and they have four children, Eleanor, Barnaby, Felix and Aurelia.Kerry Chikarovski
After a career as a solicitor, Kerry Chikarovski was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in May 1991.
After only thirteen months in Parliament she was appointed Minister for Consumer Affairs. She later held the portfolios of Assistant Minister of Education, Minister for Industrial Relations, and the first Minister for the Status of Women appointed in NSW.
In December 1994 Kerry was elected Deputy Leader of the NSW Parliamentary Liberal Party – a position she held until the State election the following year which Labor won. In Opposition Kerry held the portfolio responsibilities of Corrective Services and the Environment. In December 1998 she was elected Leader of the NSW Parliamentary Liberal Party, the first woman to lead a major political party in NSW.
Following the 1999 election loss Kerry continued in the leadership until 2002, retiring from politics at the 2003. She then established her own consultancy advising individuals and organisations who seek her experience in working with various levels of government.
Kerry is a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium and is involved in many community projects, including the boards of a number of charities.
In 2004 she released her life story – Chika – which has been described as an uncompromisingly honest account of life in the difficult world of the NSW Parliament.
Kerry was born in Sydney in 1956. She grew up in the northern suburbs and attended the University of Sydney. In her spare time Kerry enjoys working out at the gym and spending time with her grown-up children, Lisa and Mark.Eric Beecher
Eric Beecher started his career in newspapers as a journalist on The Age newspaper in Melbourne. He later worked at The Sunday Times and The Observer in London and The Washington Post in the US. In 1984, at age 33, he became the youngest -ever editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, and in 1987 was appointed editor-in-chief of the Herald and Weekly Times newspaper group. In 1990 he became a founder, CEO and major shareholder in The Text Media Group, a public company which produced newspapers, magazines and books, which was acquired by Fairfax Media in 2003. In 2003 he formed Private Media Partners, which acquired Crikey.com.au in 2005. Since then he has been a founding shareholder and chairman of three further online media ventures: SmartCompany.com.au, EurekaReport.com.au and BusinessSpectator.com. He has also held positions as chairman of the Lighthouse Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation servicing homeless youth, chairman of the Victorian Government's bid committee for Melbourne to become a UNESCO City of Literature, and chairman of the Victorian Government's Reference Group to create a Centre for Writing and Ideas. In 2000 he delivered the annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture and in 2007 was awarded the Walkley Award for Journalistic Leadership.Jane Caro
Jane Caro wears many hats; including author, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker and award winning advertising writer. The common thread running through her career is a delight in words and a talent for using them to connect with other people. A skill she developed and honed during her very successful 30 years as an advertising writer.
Today, she runs her own communications consultancy and lectures in Advertising Creative at The School of Communication Arts at UWS.
She has published two books; “The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education” co-authored with Chris Bonnor (New South 2007), and “The F Word. How we learned to swear by feminism” co-authored with Catherine Fox (New South, 2008) and is working on a third.
She is sought after as a speaker and workshop facilitator by a wide range of organisations, in both the public and private sectors, including most recently the AEU, ACTU, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Sydney Leadership (NSW Benevolent Society), Women in Finance and AMP. She is also sought after by the media to comment on a range of issues from advertising and marketing to education, feminism, women and work, and parenting.
She used to appear regularly on Channel 7 Sunrise, and is now a semi-regular panellist on Richard Glover’s Political Forum on Radio 702. She is also a regular panellist on the ABC’s top-rating show on advertising “The Gruen Transfer.”
She remains in high demand by advertising agencies as a freelance writer and her advertising work has won many national and international advertising awards including Cannes (2004), AWARD, London International, ATV, Asia Pacific, One Show, Mobius, Kinsale, and Caxton.
She is often asked to judge both national and international advertising award shows and remains the only woman to have been Chair of Judges of AWARD (Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association) and both Adelaide and Brisbane Art Directors Awards.