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 researcher at UNSW Centre for Social Impact. 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 Landvogt of the WRAP Centre) in 2012 while working at the University of Melbourne. You can find out more about Gemma over at academia.edu. You can contact her at gemma.carey@unsw.edu.au and follow her on twitter - @gemcarey.


The WRAP Centre, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand

The Women's Research, Advocacy & Policy (WRAP) Centre is a specialised unit within Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and a leader in Australia’s social research and policy arena. It drives innovation for women’s services and programs within Good Shepherd and advocates for systemic change through the sharing of knowledge externally. The WRAP Centre’s research, policy analysis, public advocacy and evaluations are used to design policies and practice models that promote participation for all in the fullness of life.  The WRAP Centre makes policy submissions in the areas of human rights, women’s equality, financial security, educational and vocational access, and other issues that impact significantly on people's lives. Its policy analysis is informed by direct service experience and contact with those with lived experience of the issues. The WRAP Centre is pleased to co-direct, with Gemma, the Power to Persuade and the Women's Policy Action Tank. Follow the WRAP Centre on Twitter @GoodAdvocacy 



Susan works with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand as a Research and Policy Specialist, initiating research into educational disadvantage, young people’s engagement programs, and managing the Women's Policy Action Tank. She regularly contributes analysis of evidence-based interventions to program design and behaviour change, including reviews of best practice and the impacts of psychological states on behaviour. Prior to moving to Australia, Susan spent 20 years in the international development sector, including Director of Program, Design and Innovation with Habitat for Humanity in the Africa/Middle East region. Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/writing concentration, a Master of Science in Organisational Behaviour, and is currently a PhD candidate in psychology with Monash University. Susan is on Twitter @SusanMaury 


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 co-director of Power to Persuade. She is a Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business at UNSW Canberra and an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the impact of reform of public services on citizens with complex needs. Sue has worked in state government, the not-for-profit sector and in graduate teaching and research in the Melbourne School of Government, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She has been part of numerous research teams, government inquiries, cross-government and cross-sector initiatives, committees and working groups examining governance, policy implementation and equity issues in employment, training and disability services in Australia, and has worked on both sides of government contracts. Sue holds a PhD in Public Policy and is on the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Public Administration. She tweets @olney_sue


DR luke craven

Luke Craven is a consultant in systems and complexity practice at First Person Consulting. 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 jademhart@gmail.com and follow her on twitter @jademhart.   


dr Ariella Meltzer

Ariella is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact. Ariella’s research is about relationships and social change. She focuses on both how to support relationships and how relationships can contribute to social change, for example, contributing to beneficial outcomes in social and economic engagement and wellbeing. To date, some of her key research has been about:

  • the relationships between people with and without disabilities, particularly the experience of and support to family and sibling relationships which include a person with a disability;

  • the experience and impact of relationships that young people have with trusted adults and mentors;

  • how relationships facilitate and function within peer support.

She has also worked on a range of other research focused more broadly on service and funding arrangements and other structural influences that promote social and economic engagement and other positive social outcomes, including for people with disabilities and young people and in housing and homelessness. 


DR Brigid TrenerRy

Brigid is an interdisciplinary social science researcher who is currently based in Singapore. She has a strong background as both an academic and a practitioner and is jointly committed to academic rigour and policy translation. She has a PhD from Western Sydney University in the area of workplace diversity, institutional racism and anti-discrimination policy and practice. Her thesis brought together understanding of these interlinked concepts in an organisational level analysis and in the context of Australian local government for the first time. Brigid is also committed to gender equality and her current research focuses on the intersection of gender and racial diversity and the effectiveness of workplace diversity interventions. Her PhD led to the development of a workplace assessment tool launched by peak human rights, diversity and health promotion bodies in Australia, including the Australian Human Rights Commission, VicHealth and Diversity Council Australia. She has worked in various research, consultancy and teaching roles at Western Sydney University, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne, as well as in the philanthropic and community sectors.


DR Jack noone

Dr Jack Noone is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), working in outcome evaluation across a range of projects. His research interests lie at the intersection of healthy ageing and structural disadvantage with a particular focus on outcome measurement across the life course. He has developed an internationally validated measure of retirement planning and is involved in the measurement of precarious employment, work ability, workplace disorganisation.


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).


DR 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 https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-abigail-powell 


DR 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 atwww.onefishtofish.com 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.

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DR Archana Voola

Archana Voola is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Business School, Sydney. She manages and undertakes the financial suite of research projects, including Financial Resilience and Wellbeing projects and the Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program. Archana comes to CSI with a PhD and Post Doc from the University of Sydney.

Archana’s PhD in Policy Studies (2014) titled “Beyond the economics of gender inequalities in microfinance: Comparing problem representations in India and Australia”, explored the way in which social, economic and education policy in both countries impacts inequalities and social justice. Additionally, it disrupted binaries in the field of international development associated with ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries by reversing the gaze and providing lessons for Australia from India. She has engendered a program of research expertise focussed on vulnerable groups such as ultra-poor women, financially excluded people, people experiencing food insecurity and domestic violence. This research has been translated into publications in areas includes marketing strategies for social impact, gender equality strategies, anti-poverty program evaluations, comparative social policy and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

 You can find out more about Archana and her publications at : https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-archana-voola

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Celia Green is a research fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) and PhD candidate at the Australian National University. Her research interests include public health and social policy with a particular focus on how political science theories can be better used in real world applications to create more impactful policy change. Celia’s role at the CRE-DH involves working with expert policy stakeholders to gain a greater understanding of how problems are being conceptualised and addressed in disability and health with the aim of identifying effective and implementable policies to improve the health of Australians with disability. Utilising a political science perspective her PhD is analysing a global lack of policy action on healthy and environmentally sustainable diets, with Australia and Sweden as case studies.

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DR Megan Weier

Megan is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about conducting research that is reflexive and rigorous, and employs mixed methods when exploring research questions. Megan completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hon) and her PhD at the University of Queensland. Her Honours project and PhD thesis examined and took a critical approach to a psychological theory of development known as Emerging Adulthood. Her research considered the social and personal implications that are associated with what makes a ‘good’ young person with a focus on the impact of the Emerging Adulthood theories on a young person’s health and wellbeing. Megan also has experience in the field of drug and alcohol policy and public health, and has experience conducting mixed-methods research across a range of groups and stakeholders, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, people who are dependent on drugs, families of dependent drug users, e-cigarette users, health clinicians, and policy makers. Megan is particularly interested in improving how information in shared between policy makers and the public in ways that acknowledge varying forms of experience and expertise.

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Axelle Marjolin

Axelle is a research officer at the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney and is a Scientia PhD Scholar at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. Her research interests include social policy and social innovations, particularly the intersection of business and social change. Her doctoral research investigates the effects of applying an investment lens to how non-profits are resourced, by looking at the experience of Australian non-profit organisations with venture philanthropy. In her role at the Centre for Social Impact, Axelle has been involved in a range of academic and applied research projects aimed at addressing social problems, such as financial exclusion and homelessness.

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Laura is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group at the University of New South Wales Canberra. Her research explores principles of personal autonomy and social inclusion and how to enact them in practice, and her focus is on the current major reforms in disability policy and the social services sector. She holds a PhD in sociology and social policy from the University of Sydney, and a Masters in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science. You can find out more about Laura at her UNSW profile page https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/our-people/dr-laura-davy or over at LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-davy-88a97473/.