Day 1 - Thursday 7 November 2019

Catherine McGregor AM - Keynote

Freelance Writer. Broadcaster. Author.
Catherine McGregor is a freelance writer, broadcaster and author. Catherine served as an officer, in operational and strategic roles, in the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force for over three decades. She was a strategic adviser and speech writer to every Chief of Army from 1999 to 2014. She subsequently served as Director of Research and Analysis for the Chief of Air Force.  Her ability to communicate complexity with simplicity and style has inspired collective action and change. 

Catherine has written widely on politics, global security issues and cricket for Fairfax and News Limited. She has appeared as a regular guest on The Drum, 7.30 and Lateline. She serves on the Boards of Grassroots Cricket and Stand Tall4 PTSD.

Catherine received the Order of Australia (Military Division) in 2012.

The 2018 Sydney Theatre Company stage production, Still Point Turning: The Catherine McGregor Story, canvasses her story of courage and authenticity.


Andrew Dempster - Keynote

Economic Analyst. Mental Health Advisory Consultant. Advocate.
Andrew leads KPMG Australia’s Mental Health Advisory business. He works with private businesses, not for profit organisations and industries to realise their role in promoting the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

Andrew led the development of the seminal ‘Investing to Save’ report commissioned by Mental Health Australia. The report provides compelling and evidence-based recommendations to improve mental health and wellbeing and create a positive economic return on investment.

Andrew is passionate about improving health and wellbeing and is dedicated to realising an Australian community that is at the forefront of providing innovative, high quality, world leading mental health services.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Bachelor of Commerce (Management), Graduate Certificate in Psychiatric Nursing, and Bachelor of Nursing.  


Madonna King - Facilitator

Journalist. Broadcaster. Author.
Madonna King is an award-winning journalist, author and commentator. An accomplished investigative reporter, Madonna’s experience and insights mean she can ask the hard questions and elicit meaningful answers. Madonna leads hypotheticals and facilitates conferences on topics as varied as education, health, business, law and politics. She has a weekly social and political column in Fairfax publications and is a regular commentator on ABC’s The Drum and breakfast television. Madonna is the author of 10 books, including two best-sellers Being 14 and Fathers and Daughters. She is the biographer of Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer and former Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

A fellow of the prestigious World Press Institute, Madonna has served as a visiting fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, and on the Walkley Advisory Board for Journalism. In 2018, Madonna chaired the Queensland Government’s Anti-Cyber Bullying Taskforce.

 Her website www.madonnaking.com.au provides further detail.


Day 2 - Friday 8 November 2019

Carmel Tebbutt - Keynote

Leader. Campaigner. Advocate.
Carmel Tebbutt, the first woman Deputy Premier of NSW, is a leading advocate for reform in mental health systems and services. Carmel served her state and her community as the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health (2009 – 2011), Minister for Community Services, Disability Services and Youth (2002-2005), and Minister for Juvenile Justice (1999 – 2002).

Currently, the CEO of the Mental Health Coordinating Council, the peak body for community managed mental health organisations in NSW, Carmel is a successful campaigner who creates a space for service providers and service users to achieve real reform.

Carmel was a Member of the NSW Parliament for 17 years serving in both the Legislative Council and as the Member for Marrickville. She has a Bachelor of Economics.

Professor Patrick McGorry AO - Keynote

Advocate. Researcher. Psychiatrist.
Professor Patrick McGorry is a psychiatrist, researcher, and tireless advocate for innovation and reform in the mental health system. He is Executive Director of Orygen (the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health), Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and a Founding Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace).

Professor McGorry has published extensively in specialist literature and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

His work has played a critical role in the development of safe, effective treatments for, and innovative research into, the needs of young people with mental disorders. He has been instrumental in leading transformational reform of youth mental health services. He currently chairs the Expert Advisory Committee to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.  

Professor McGorry was the 2010 Australian of the Year.

Bri Lee - Panellist

Author. Campaigner. Lawyer.
Bri Lee is an author, lawyer, editor and campaigner based in Brisbane. Her first book, Eggshell Skull, explored the entrenched and often legislated sexism that exists in the legal industry and criminal justice system. The memoir prompted a campaign, led by Bri and some fearless letter writers, to change the Queensland Criminal Code.  Despite strong opposition from within the legal establishment, in mid-2019, the Attorney-General announced a review into the legal excuses used by individuals accused of rape.

Bri has appeared on Radio National, Late Night Live with Phillip Adams, and been published in Griffith Review.  She was the inaugural recipient of the Kat Muscat Fellowship in 2016, and one of the 2017 Griffith Review Fellows. Her second book will be released in November 2019.

Bri has a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts (Mandarin) and is currently completing her Masters in Creative Writing.

Hetty Johnston - Panellist

Leader. Advocate. Campaigner.
Hetty Johnston is Australia’s leading child protection advocate. For 30 years she has campaigned to protect children from the crimes of paedophilia and sexual assault. Her fearless ability to break through the barriers of silence and stigma lead her to establish Bravehearts – an organisation which aims to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.

Hetty has successfully campaigned for law reform at state and federal levels, authored national awareness campaigns and education materials, and created safe places for families and children to seek counselling and support.  A skilled communicator and successful businesswoman, Hetty is a trusted community advocate and respected campaigner.

Hetty was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014, for service to the community through a range of organisations promoting the welfare and rights of children. In 2015 she was named the Queensland Australian of the Year.


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More speakers to be announced.