Our team of moderators bring you news and analysis about social policy. 


dr gemma carey

Gemma is a social policy, public administration and public health senior researcher at UNSW Canberra. She holds a PhD in social policy and public health from the University of Melbourne. Most of her academic work focuses on joined-up government and the impact of policy on the social determinants of health. She has been working with the community sector for over ten years and is committed to improving relationships between academia, the community sector and policy. Gemma also tries to get away from the university from time to time. She contributes to a range of health- and policy-related blogs and publications, including CroakeyVCOSS Voice, The Record, Parity and Good Policy. She also gives talks at a variety of community sector and policy forums. Gemma launched Power to Persuade (with Kathy) in 2012 while working at the University of Melbourne. You can find out more about Gemma over at You can contact her at and follow her on twitter - @gemcarey.


dr kathy landvogt

Kathy works in the Women's Research, Policy and Advocacy (WRAP) Centre at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand in Melbourne. She manages the organisation’s research and advocacy agenda, which includes primary research, policy research, system advocacy and program evaluations, with a particular focus on increasing the economic security of women and their families. She has conducted research into women’s financial capability, family violence and service delivery systems. Kathy is a social worker with experience in service delivery, management and consultancy in both government and community-based organisations. She has also worked as an educator in tertiary, vocational and community settings. Kathy completed her PhD at the University of Queensland on the topic of community-based women’s groups.


tanya corrie

Tanya is a social policy researcher in the WRAP Centre at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. She has been with Good Shepherd since 2009, and mostly works in the areas of financial exclusion, income security, cost of living and essential services for people on low income. Before moving into the not-for-profit sector, Tanya worked in banking, primarily in branch management, statutory compliance and project management. She has a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in politics and policy studies), a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in economics) and a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Applied Social Research.


marie mcinerney

Marie McInerney has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 30 years, including for Reuters and Australian Associated Press. She was founding editor of Insight, a specialist social issues magazine published in Melbourne by the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and is a moderator and contributor to Croakey, the health arm of Crikey. She has also worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing at the University of South Australia and RMIT.



Sue Olney is a Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business at UNSW Canberra. She has worked in the Melbourne School of Government and the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne; in the Victorian Government Departments of Education & Training, Planning & Community Development, Human Services and Health; and for Jesuit Social Services. Her research and her work experience has revolved around access and equity in employment, education, training and disability services in Australia with particular focus on the impact of system reform on citizens with complex needs. Sue holds a a PhD in Public Policy, a Master of Public Policy & Management and Bachelor of Education & Training from the University of Melbourne. 







luke craven

Luke Craven is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. His key research interests are in the areas of public policy and management, with a particular focus on food, health, and environmental issues. Much of his work aims to develop conceptual and methodological tools to support the design, implementation and evaluation of systems approaches in the public sector. Luke holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Sydney, where he won the University Medal for his thesis which examined the implications of temporary migration for questions of vulnerability, equity and sustainability in rural Vanuatu. You can find out more about Luke over at LinkedIn or read some of his work at his personal website. He Tweets @LukeCraven.


Jason Rostant

Jason has worked in a variety of policy, advocacy, management and education roles in NGO and government settings over two decades and across four states. His career has included direct service delivery in youth homelessness and suicide prevention, campaigning for Tasmanian gay law reform, policy advisory roles in several capacities, and senior executive management in community health. Previous employers have included cohealth, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association, and a minor party Senator. Now working on a consultancy basis, Jason’s specialist interests include health access and equity; rights-based practice and advocacy; models of community development, consumer-led practice and co-design; and organisational development and change management. Jason has a Bachelor of Social Work from Curtin University.


MIchelle lam

Michelle is a recent graduate of the Master of Public Policy and Management program at the University of Melbourne and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. As a seasoned communications and government relations professional, Michelle has been dedicated to working with and volunteering for health, social justice and animal rights charities around the world. Michelle is currently on the executive committee of The Water Well Project, a Melbourne-based charity that aims to improve the health and well-being of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers by improving their health literacy.



Jade Hart manages the Victorian Primary Health Network Alliance and is a PhD Candidate with Centre for Health Policy, School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Jade is passionate about health improvement and system strengthening, with particular interest in evidence-informed strategy, models of care and service design, and evaluation. Linked to this, her research interests examine evidence use, decision-making, and health system stewardship. Jade holds diverse cross-sector and collaborative experience, having previously established the Global and Community Health Program at Indiana University School of Public Health, and holding various roles within the Western Australian Department of Health and health consulting. She has a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Health Services Management. You can contact Jade at and follow her on twitter @jademhart.  




Alison Brown

Alison Brown is a consultant specialising in healthcare governance and clinical governance. Alison has extensive experience in the Victorian health systems working with clinicians, managers and boards on developing appropriate systems and processes to support effective governance. Alison has a background as a clinician, quality manager, researcher and project manager. In addition to consultancy work, Alison is currently conducting a study, as a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, investigating the characteristics of effective governance of healthcare quality. Alison has a Master of Public Health and has undertaken the company directors course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


ellie malbon

Ellie is a  Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales. She holds a Combined Bachelor of Arts and Science from the ANU with first class honours in Human Ecology. Her specialisation within Human Ecology is system thinking methods to support public policy. Her work to date focusses on the insights that systems science can bring to policy that impacts upon the social determinants to health and to health equity. She is passionate about teaching and she has tutored for multiple courses within the Fenner School of Environment and Society, and currently tutors for the course Complex Environmental Problems in Action.



Sarah-Jane Fenton is a Lecturer in Mental Health Policy at the University of Birmingham.  Sarah-Jane holds a joint PhD in Social Policy from the Universities of Birmingham (UK) and Melbourne (Australia). Her PhD research looked at mental health policy and service delivery for 16-25 year olds in the UK and Australia. Prior to undertaking her PhD Sarah-Jane worked for many years in the charity sector in the UK with children, young people and families, which is where her interest in this field began. Since completing the PhD Sarah-Jane has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick (UK) on an NIHR funded study looking at Evaluating the Use of Patient Experience Data to Improve the Quality of Inpatient Mental Health Care (EURIPIDES).


sophie yates

Sophie is a Research Fellow at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), which is owned by all the state, territory and national governments of Australia and New Zealand, as well as 15 university partners. She works on public administration topics such as co-production and the political astuteness of public managers, coordinates ANZSOG’s competitive research grants program, and is Assistant Editor of peer-reviewed journal Evidence Base. She is also a PhD student at UNSW.



Dr Sukanlaya (Sukie) Sawang

Sukie is a senior lecturer in innovation at QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology. Her research primarily focuses on cross-cultural perspectives and management of small businesses, innovation and wellbeing. Three broad topics frame her research: 1) small business and innovation, which includes identifying critical factors (including government intervention) for small business to be innovative; 2) small business and wellbeing, which draws on the perspective that the measurement of small business success should not only be captured by economic growth but instead should include the procedures that lead to economic outcomes, such as entrepreneurs’ mental health and wellbeing; and 3) technological innovation and wellbeing, where she examines how digital initiatives can enhance or hinder personal wellbeing and learning, and whether impacts differ across cultures.



women's policy action tank

The Women’s Policy Action Tank is a joint initiative of the Power to Persuade and the Women’s Research Advocacy and Policy Centre at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.  Women and men experience the impacts of policy in different ways. Acknowledgement of this fact is evident in specific policy areas such as childcare and domestic violence. The vast majority of policies, however, purport to be gender-neutral. There is growing concern that this approach drastically fails women, contributing to a feminization of poverty, negative health and safety consequences and an accrual of disadvantage across the lifespan.  The Scorecard on Women and Policy project is one way that the Action Tank is addressing the policy gap, by providing an analysis of a range of policies using a gender lens.  You can read more about the Women’s Policy Action Tank and its other initiatives here




Abigail currently holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) titled ‘Promoting work-life balance: do flexible work arrangements really work for employees in Australia?’ She is also co-CI on an ARC Linkage project with Professors Martin Loosemore (UNSW Built Environment) and Louise Chappell (UNSW Arts and Social Sciences) investigating gender equity in the Australian construction industry.

Abigail has over 10 years’ experience as an academic researcher, whose research is underpinned by her passion for social justice and equality. Abigail is an experienced project manager and mixed methods researcher with expertise in gender diversity, work-life balance, young people and social policy. Abigail has worked with industry, government and NGOs, including research and evaluations for NSW Health, NSW Commission for Children and Young People, beyondblue, headspace, Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Diversity Council Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

You can find out more about Abigail and her publications at


Deb Cleland

Deb Cleland is a contract academic, currently working on how individuals and institutions can build social capital to improve regulation, quality of life and citizen engagement at RegNet, ANU. Combining her background in human ecology and interest in creative research approaches, Deb is working out how to create playful pathways to participation as well as how to best incorporate dreadful alliteration into website biographies. She blogs on occasion and tweets from @debisda. When not making ends meet through working in Higher Education, you can watch her perform (usually for free) as an acrobat with the aerial dance troupe SolcoAcro or the arts group Distaffik Collective in and around her home town of Canberra, Australia.