Keynote speakers

The Hon. Mark Raymond Speakman, SC MP

NSW Attorney General

Mark Speakman has been the Attorney General for NSW since January 2017.

The Attorney General is the lead minister for the Stronger Communities Cluster, the area of government responsible for:

  • administration and enforcement of the law;
  • punishment and rehabilitation of offenders;
  • emergency services; 
  • women’s safety;
  • care of at risk children and families and the disabled;
  • multiculturalism, seniors and veterans.

As First Law Officer of the state, Mark oversees the administration of over 200 Acts of Parliament, the most of any minister in the NSW Government. Mark was the Minister for the Environment and Minister for Heritage from April 2015 to January 2017 and also the Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence from April 2019 to December 2021. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury, Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills and Chair of the Joint Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Mark was elected as the Member for Cronulla in 2011 after a career at the commercial Bar. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 2004, having been called to the Bar in 1991. Mark began his legal career in 1983 as a solicitor, then partner, at law firm Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst). He holds a Master of Law (Hons 1) from Cambridge University and degrees in law (Hons 1 and University Medal) and economics from Sydney University.

An image of Mark Joseph Coure

The Hon. Mark Joseph Coure, MP

Minister for Multiculturalism, and Minister for Seniors

The Hon. Mark Joseph Coure MP is the Member for Oatley, and Minister for Multiculturalism and Seniors.  Born and bred in the St George area, Mark attended local schools and ran his own small business before being elected to the NSW Parliament in 2011. Mark lives locally with his wife Adla, a school teacher, and together they raise their two sons.

Mark has always been passionate about supporting and delivering results for his community. Now, as Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors, he is extending that passion to communities right across NSW.

Prior to his elevation to Cabinet, Mark held the roles of  Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure—a role he was incredibly passionate about—before being promoted to Assistant Speaker in the Legislative Assembly.

As both a Member of Parliament and Minister, he works tirelessly to deliver for people across the Oatley electorate, the St George area, and all of New South Wales. Mark’s priority is to ensure both seniors and the state’s multicultural communities are safe, have access to the best possible services, and are able to live happy, fulfilling and healthy lives

Keynote Photo for conference - Debbie Nguyen

Michael Tidball

Secretary, Department of Communities and Justice

Michael Tidball commenced as Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) on 1 February 2022.

Prior to joining DCJ, Mr Tidball had been the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and the Secretary-General of LAWASIA.  He also served as the CEO of the Law Society of NSW for 14 years.

During his 35-year career, Mr Tidball has worked with Government leaders and ministers, agency heads, industry leaders, the judiciary, non-government organisations and the community.

Mr Tidball began his career in child protection working for the South Australian public service, before moving to the Commonwealth to develop community corrections and juvenile justice programs in the lead-up to self-government in the Australian Capital Territory.

An image of Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald AM

NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner

Robert Fitzgerald AM is currently NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner.

He was a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for five years. He was formerly a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission, the inaugural Chair of the Advisory Board, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission and Community and Disability Services Commissioner and  Deputy Ombudsman in NSW.

He has served on numerous NGO boards for over 30 years including previously as President Australian Council of Social Service, NSW State President St Vincent de Paul Society, Deputy Chair Benevolent Society and is currently a Board Member of Social Ventures Australia and Chair of Caritas Australia.

Robert holds degrees in commerce and law from the University of NSW and an honorary doctorate from the Australian Catholic University and is currently an Adjunct Professor with the University of Western Australia.  He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994. 

An image of Joseph La Posta

Joseph La Posta

Chief Executive Officer, Multicultural NSW

As the CEO of Multicultural NSW, Joseph is driven to improve access and services for our newest Australians. He is also passionate about supporting established communities to preserve and nourish their cultures and language.

Since joining as CEO in January 2019, Joseph has overseen the delivery of Multicultural NSW’s strategic plan for 2021 to 2025 and the implementation of a new award for the language services business. In addition, our Multicultural NSW team has grown to 85 full-time staff and 1,300 interpreters and translators.

Joseph is a strong advocate for gender equality, increasing the number of women in the Senior Leadership team from 25% to 60% and has worked towards equal representation of men and women on the Multicultural NSW Advisory Board.

Prior to becoming CEO, he was a member of the Advisory Board at Multicultural NSW and the Chair of Sport NSW. Professionally, Joseph was previously a General Manager in a private leadership and development consultancy and former State Manager for the AFL (Australian Football League) in NSW/ACT.

Joseph loves sport – namely AFL, touch footy, surfing, swimming and running – and enjoys fishing and camping. He was also an accomplished pianist when he was younger.

An image of Peter Doukas OAM

Peter Doukas OAM

Chair, Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW Inc

Elected Chair in 2013 and re-elected in 2015 and 2019 Peter Doukas was the youngest ever Chair of the Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW. He also served as Secretary between 2009 and 2013 and presided over significant changes to the internal governance structure of the organisation. Mr Doukas is managing Director of law firm Denison Toyer, based in the Sydney CBD and operating mainly in commercial, administrative an estates law. He has worked in corporate governance since 2006 and has provided extensive advice to associations, and NGOs around compliance and governance. He is currently the Senior Deputy Chair of FECCA and serves on various other non-profit boards.

Dr James Cockayne

An image of Dr James Cockayne

The Anti-slavery Commissioner for New South Wales

NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to introduce standalone legislation to address modern slavery, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW). Dr Cockayne is the first commissioner appointed to the role on a full-time basis. His 5-year term commenced on 1 August 2022. Professor Jennifer Burn served as Interim Anti-slavery Commissioner in 2018-2019.

The Anti-slavery Commissioner’s functions include:

  • advocating for and promoting action to combat modern slavery
  • identifying and providing assistance and support for victims of modern slavery
  • support to and oversight of NSW public procurement efforts to remove products of modern slavery from supply-chains 
  • issuing codes of practice and maintaining a public register related to efforts to address modern slavery risks in supply-chains 
  • raising community awareness of modern slavery. 

NSW Government agencies and local councils are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the goods and services they procure are not the product of modern slavery. State owned corporations are also required to monitor the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains. 

Read about the Anti-slavery Commissioner’s ‘First principles’ in combatting modern slavery in New South Wales


Prior to his appointment Dr Cockayne was an international lawyer, professor of global politics and anti-slavery leader. A former member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council for Equity and Social Justice, Dr Cockayne was a founder of Code 8.7, Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) and the United Nations’ anti-slavery knowledge platform, Delta 8.7. Dr Cockayne has previously led the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, the US Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Human Trafficking, the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, and the Transnational Crime Unit of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

An image of Brendan Thomas

Brendan Thomas

Deputy Secretary, Transforming Aboriginal Outcomes
Department of Communities and Justice

Brendan Thomas, proud Wiradjuri man, father of four, is the Deputy Secretary, Transforming Aboriginal Outcomes in the Department of Communities and Justice. Brendan is leading the Department’s response to NSW’s commitments to Closing the Gap – specifically overrepresentation of Aboriginal people and young people in the criminal justice system and the out of home care system, and women and children’s safety from domestic and family violence, within a newly created division.

Prior to this, Brendan was the CEO of Legal Aid NSW, one of Australia’s largest law practices, for half a decade. Brendan led work to ensure clients were at the heart of the important work it does, increased the number and quality of services provided to Aboriginal clients, and secured future funding for Legal Aid NSW and community legal centres across NSW.

As Deputy Secretary of the Department of Justice, Brendan led major criminal and civil justice reforms including reforms to sentencing, the introduction of circle sentencing, major reforms in the field of domestic violence, services to victims of crime and to Aboriginal communities, including Aboriginal Sentencing courts, the Safer Pathway Scheme and Youth on Track. He founded the Design Out Crime Research Centre and served among other things on the Australian Criminology Research Council, the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, and the Board of the NSW Crime Commission.

Brendan is the Executive Sponsor of Local Decision Making and the Multicultural Network, and the founding Chair of the DCJ Racism Taskforce. 

An image of Peter Shergold

Professor Peter Shergold AC

Chancellor, Western Sydney University

NSW Coordinator General for Settlement

Peter Shergold is the NSW Coordinator General for Settlement. A former Commonwealth Public Servant, he began his career in the APS as the foundation Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and rose to become Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He is Chancellor of Western Sydney University and, amongst other Boards, he is soon to become Chair of Australians for UNHCR.

An image of Violet Roumeliotis, AM & GAICD

Violet Roumeliotis, AM & GAICD

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Member of the Order of Australia
  • 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year and national winner of the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category
  • 2018 AFR 100 Women of Influence
  • 2018 InStyle Women of Style Community Champion

Violet Roumeliotis AM is a social entrepreneur who champions the strengths of our diverse communities and is committed to take a leadership and pioneering role to elevate reconciliation. Through her C-suite and board roles, Violet uses innovation and collective impact to promote social justice and inclusion.

She is the CEO of Settlement Services International (SSI), a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other vulnerable individuals to achieve their full potential. During her ten years as CEO, Violet has taken SSI from a Sydney-based organisation with 68 staff to an 900-plus workforce that supports more than 52,000 people nationally each year.

Violet is committed to achieving equity, and advancing diversity and inclusion in all forms. In 2020, she was made a member of the Order of Australia for outstanding service to the community. Violet is also a former Telstra Australia Business Woman of the Year, has been named one of AFR’s Top 100 Women of Influence for 2018 in the category of Diversity & Inclusion, In Style Magazine's Community Champion, and was awarded the title of Community Fellow from Western Sydney University for outstanding service to the community.

Violet sits on the board of the Australian Council of Social Service as the Deputy President and sits on the NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council. Her other appointments include Deputy Chair for the SBS Community Advisory Committee, she sits on the Australian Human Rights Commission's Expert Advisory Group for the 'Racism. It Stops With Me' campaign, the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Empowerment, teh University of Sydney's Open Society, Common Purpose taskforce, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity, the UTS Business MBA Advisory Group, the Council on Economic Participation for Refugees, the International Metropolis Steering Committee, the Australian Defence Force's Chiefs of Service Committee's diversity and inclusion panel, and the NSW Government’s join partnership working group overseeing refugee resettlement.

An image of Lord Mayor Councillor Donna Davis

Lord Mayor Councillor Donna Davis

Mayor of Parramatta Council

First elected to City of Parramatta in 2017, Cr Donna Davis was elected Lord Mayor in January 2022, and is the third female Lord Mayor in its 160-year history. She is proud to lead this inclusive and diverse Council, which includes eight female Councillors.

As Lord Mayor, Donna is committed to working with the community to ensure the City continues to flourish and evolve, building on the work that has been done over consecutive terms of Council.

Donna is passionate about including the community in Council’s decision making and would like to provide more opportunities for public input. She would also like to ensure appropriate development that complements and respects the existing built and environmental heritage across the City of Parramatta.  She is very aware of the pressures on our City and is a strong advocate for the delivery of increased open space, infrastructure, and essential services.

Another priority for the Lord Mayor is cementing Parramatta as the premier arts and culture destination outside of the Sydney CBD through the redevelopment of Riverside Theatres and harnessing the significant local talent that calls Parramatta home in Council’s events, arts, and cultural programming.

Prior to joining Council, Donna had a long history of participating in a range of local community organisations and for worthy causes, including 1st North Rocks Scout Group, Ermington Uniting Church Preschool and “Together for Hope” – a walk for suicide awareness and prevention. She has also volunteered for the Cumberland Gang Show for seven years and was previously Yates Avenue Public School P&C President. Councillor Davis continues to be an active and passionate volunteer in community-based organisations throughout the City.

Donna has a degree in Arts with Honours and has worked for a number of Federal and State Members of Parliament over the past 10 years. She held positions in the former Department of Employment, Education and Training and was previously involved in establishing funding for regional indigenous communities in Tasmania.

Donna lives with her husband and two sons in Dundas Valley.

An image of Mayor Khal Asfour

Mayor Khal Asfour

Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown Council

As a life-long resident of Canterbury-Bankstown, Mayor Asfour is passionate about his City and continues to live in the Greenacre community, along with his wife Sally, and their three children, Elias, Lucas and Analise.  He is a graduate of the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is also in the final stages of completing an MBA.

He was first elected as Councillor of the former Bankstown City Council in 2004 and held the role of Deputy Mayor in 2008.  He also served as Mayor of Bankstown from 2011-2014 and again in 2015.

On 26 September 2017, he was elected as the inaugural Mayor of the City of Canterbury Bankstown, the largest Council in NSW by population, with more than 370,000 residents, and a Gross Regional Product estimated at over $15 billion.

He is especially passionate about helping residents in need and ensuring the local community always has an opportunity to have a say on the future of Canterbury-Bankstown.

As Mayor, Asfour is dedicated to building stronger ties between Council and the community; sporting groups and associations; service clubs; registered clubs; and businesses across the City and continues to work closely with them for the benefit of all residents. 

He is on the board of a number of organisations, including Vice President (Metro) of LGNSW, Director of State Cover and Bankstown RSL.

He is also a member of the Executive Committee of SSROC. Under his leadership, projects such as the Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy, Street Lighting Improvement Program and Pest Animal Action Network have not only enriched our City but have played a large part in bringing member councils together in considerable joint procurements.

Throughout his life in local government, Mayor Asfour has encouraged progressive solutions, leading the advocacy on important matters, such as sustainable development and infrastructure support, to make Canterbury-Bankstown an even better place to live in, work in, visit and enjoy.

He is an inspirational leader with a strong voice, championing the rights of the worker and the people he represents and will continue to do so both now and into the future.

Keynote Photo for conference - Pino

Pino Migliorino

Managing Director and Chairperson, Cultural Perspectives Pty Ltd

Pino founded Cultural Perspectives Pty Ltd in 1994. He was motivated by a passion for and a unique experience of Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

Pino has worked in ethnic and multicultural affairs across a range of jurisdictions and organisations in both the government and non-government sector for 30 years. Pino is acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent voices in Australian’s multicultural society.

Under his leadership and guidance the company has excelled as an expert provider of research in both non-English communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; communications, particularly to Australia’s diverse linguistic and cultural communities ; and policy and program oriented consultancy in which the company provides the valuable bridge between structures interested in diversity and those community representatives making up this diversity.

An image of Naz Sharifi

Naz Sharifi

Youth Ambassador, Multicultural Youth Affairs Network

Naz Sharifi is a young Hazara woman currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Arts (International Relations) at the University of Sydney. She is deeply passionate about youth empowerment, refugee rights and systematic reform! Naz is a youth ambassador for MYAN (Multicultural Youth Affairs Network) NSW, Youth Advisor to the Department of Home Affairs and a Board Director (USU)! She has previously worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission, United Nations and STARTTS (NSW) on policy, research and youth empowerment!

Keynote Photo for conference - Debbie Nguyen

Debbie Nguyen

Manager, Communications and Engagement, Anti-Discrimination NSW

Debbie Nguyen is the Manager, Communications and Engagement at Anti-Discrimination NSW. She has a passion for meaningful engagement with at-risk communities to improve access to services and health outcomes. Prior to joining Anti-Discrimination NSW, Debbie worked in community and stakeholder engagement roles at the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Fair Trading. She also worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit sector for five years in various community engagement and health promotion roles. 

Last updated:

10 Nov 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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