Keynote speaker

The Hon Susan Ryan AO
Age & Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Susan Ryan was appointed as Australia’s first Age Discrimination Commissioner on 30 July 2011 for a five year term. Susan Ryan is also the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, from 12 July 2014. Up until her appointment as Commissioner, she had been Women’s Ambassador for ActionAid Australia and chaired the Australian Human Rights Group since 2008. She had also chaired the Australian Human Rights Act Campaign Inc. since 2005. Immediately prior to commencing as Commissioner, Susan was also the Independent Chair of the IAG and NRMA Superannuation Plan and had been President of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees from 2000 to 2007, member of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors from 2001 to 2007, member of the ASX Corporate Governance Council from 2003 to 2007 and CEO of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia from 1993 to 1997. Susan has also held a number of positions at the University of New South Wales. She was Pro-chancellor and Council member from 1998, Chair of the UNSW Risk Committee from 2002 and Chair of the Advisory Council FASS UNSW since 2010. From 1975 to 1988, Susan was Senator for the ACT, becoming the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in a federal Labor Government. She served in senior portfolios in the Hawke Government as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women and Special Minister of State. As Education Minister, Susan saw school retention rates double and universities and TAFEs grow significantly without the charging of tuition fees. She also pioneered extensive anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation, including the landmark Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Affirmative Action Act 1986. In 1990, Susan was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia for her contribution to Parliament. She published her autobiography, Catching the Waves, in 1999 and has been a frequent media commentator on her areas of expertise.

Guest speakers

Rowan Arndt
Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Sageco

Rowan is one of the leading experts in Diversity and Inclusion in the Australian market. Rowans’ Diversity experience originated from the Banking and Finance sector, when he was running the diversity group for one of Australia’s largest banks. He now works closely with Australia corporates on developing, enhancing their Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.  In addition to running his own inclusion consulting business, Rowan is a Corporate Champions Consultant  and Diversity Advisor for Sageco and the Ambassador for Catalyst in Australia.

Katharine Betts
Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology, Swinburne University of Technology

Katharine Betts was joint-editor of the demographic journal People and Place for 18 years. She taught Sociology, first at Monash and then at Swinburne, over a 29-year period. She has written many articles on demographic topics and four books, including Ideology and Immigration, 1988 (revised and reissued as The Great Divide in 1999). Her most recent work is a paper published this year on the implications of demographic ageing.

Sue Hendy
Chief Executive Officer, Council on the Ageing Victoria

Sue has a background of more than three decades of working as an advocate for older people. This has culminated in her present role as CEO at Council on the Ageing Victoria, which she has held for more than 10 years. Sue has previously worked in residential care, local and state government; predominantly with a focus on older people, but has also focused on women, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with disabilities and kooris. Sue is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars and is a regular guest on radio including ABC, 3AW and Golden Days Radio. Sue is a Director of National Ageing Research Institute, is an International Ambassador for COTA Australia, is the Vice President of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), with a particular focus on Human Rights. Sue currently chairs the Global Alliance on The Rights of Older People Australia.

Emily Millane
Research Fellow, Longevity and Positive Ageing Project, Per Capita

Emily is Per Capita's principal research fellow working on the Longevity and Positive Ageing project.  Her most recent report, The Entitlement of Age, argued that Australia’s retirement income system must be fairer in order for it to be socially and economically sustainable. Emily has published widely on ageing and longevity issues in the national media, including pieces for the Australian Financial Review and The Drum, and appearances on ABC Radio National, ABC Television and Sunrise. Prior to joining Per Capita, Emily practised as a lawyer for national law firm Maddocks. She has also worked at Demos, an independent think-tank in London.


Colette Browning
Professor of Healthy Ageing and Director of Research, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University

Professor Colette Browning is a health psychologist and social gerontologist. She is Director of Research and Professor of Healthy Ageing in the School of Primary Health Care at Monash University. Professor Browning is recognised as a national and international leader in ageing and health psychology and in recognition of her contributions to the psychology profession she is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. Professor Browning has a career total of over 190 publications including peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and authored books. Her research focuses on healthy ageing, services for older people, quality of life for older people, and behavioural and social factors in ageing and chronic disease self-management. She co-directs the “Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing program (MELSHA)”. This is one of Australia’s most prominent ageing studies. Her research in China focuses on primary health care reform, ageing and health services evaluation.